This chapter relates to us, the confederacy formed by the several kings of Canaan to fight against Israel. The subtilty of Gibeon, to make peace with Israel; and the event of their craft, in being made servants to Israel.
Reader! observe, how all nations unite against Israel. No doubt, the Hittite and the Amorite, had their jealousies and struggles one among another for preeminence, as well as other people; but, yet there is but one common cause among them, when the Lord's people are the object. Was it not so in after ages, when the Lord of his people himself, was brought before Herod and Pilate. Foes as they had been to each other, yet when Jesus and his cause comes in view, the same day they are made friends together. Luke 23:12. Is it not so now? Are not all the parties of sin confederates against Jesus? Psalms 83:2.
The Gibeonites, as appears by Joshua 9:17, possessed four cities in the country of the Hivites.
I pass over the historical relation of the Gibeonites conduct, to direct the Reader to the spiritual gospel sense of the passage. Are not those Gibeonites a picture of the Gentile Church, coming to our Almighty Joshua, in all the poverty of the tattered garments of a ruined nature, and from having heard of the wonders wrought by the God of Israel in a covenant way, earnest to seek the redemption of their life, in any manner, and upon any terms, the Lord shall think proper? Reader, bring the subject nearer home. Are not we ourselves by nature like the men of Gibeon, being Gentiles and aliens to the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise? And as such, until introduced into the privilege of the church of Jesus, and brought nigh by his blood, may it not be said of us, that we are from a far country? For who so far from salvation by Jesus, as those who sit under his gospel, and yet to whom it is the savour of death unto death? Ephesians 2:11-13; 2 Corinthians 2:16.
The, deceit which the Gibeonites made use of, blinded the eyes of Israel. And it is astonishing it should, so: for in the close of the defeat of Ai, Joshua caused Israel to hear the command of God, that no covenant of peace was to be made with the inhabitants of Canaan, on any consideration whatever. See Deuteronomy 7:1-2. Yet it is worth our observation at the same time, that certain provision for peace, the gracious Lord had made, concerning those nations, like Gibeon, who accepted overtures of peace. I beg the Reader particularly to consult on this point, Deuteronomy 20:10-11. And is there not much of gospel here? Is it not thus, that our Almighty Joshua sends out his ambassadors to propound pardon, mercy, and peace, in the blood of his cross, and prays sinners in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God? 2 Corinthians 5:20.
Reader! do not fail to behold your own interest and concern in this history. Are you come, as the men of Gibeon, to seek peace in Jesus? And hath your Almighty Joshua made peace with you, and entered into covenant with you, and made you his? Read that precious passage of Jesus's love to this purport, concerning his church: Ezekiel 16:8.
When we consider the motives for which Gibeon sought the peace of Israel, because as they said, they had, heard of the Lord God of Israel: when we add to this consideration, that the people of Israel, were all of them to a man, led to make peace with them they knew not how: and when we consider yet further, that the Lord gave Israel an account of the Gibeonites, as we read in the next chapter, the most glorious victory Joshua ever had, we cannot but be led to reflect that the hand of God was in it. Dearest Jesus! is it not thus, that thy kingdom is to be extended, and that the Gentiles are to come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy shining? Isaiah 60:3.
The murmuring of the congregation, on account of the mercy shown Gibeon, serves to remind us, of the displeasure of the elder brother in the parable, because of the mercy shown the younger. The case is similar. Our Lord thereby evidently meant to show, how, in the first instance, our elder brother the Jew is hurt, at his younger brother the Gentile being made a fellow-heir, and partaker of the same promise in Jesus. But dearest Jesus! how doth it tend to endear thee to the love of all thy people! And how endeared no less is the Father's grace and mercy thereby to every believer ' s heart. Luke 15:25 to the end; Ephesians 3:6; Isaiah 49:6.
Observe, how the Lord overruled the minds of his people, in behalf of Gibeon. See this doctrine illustrated more fully: Genesis 20:3-7.
The curse here denounced by Joshua, is done away by the privilege the Gibeonites were brought into, as incorporated among God's heritage. Jesus hath redeemed both Israel and the Gentile church from the curse of the law, being made a curse for them. And if they were doomed to servitude, it was a service that is perfect freedom when employed in the house of God.
Reader! remark with me, what grace teacheth. Doth not every poor sinner, when he is brought by the Holy Ghost to Jesus, our Almighty Joshua, doth he not say: Behold I am in thine hand, do Lord as it seemeth right by me.
Here, surely, I behold my Jesus, delivering me from the hand of every enemy, and rebuking Satan, who stands to accuse me. Zechariah 3:1-2.
Oh! what an honour were those Gibeonites brought to, in this best of all services. If the Reader will consult the prophecy of Isaiah, he will there discover, that the Lord hath promised to gather all nations to see his glory; and that he will make of the poor heathens, like Gibeon, priests and Levites for his sanctuary: Isaiah 66:18-21.
PAUSE, my soul, over this chapter, and in the review of the conduct of Gibeon, behold and see, what an earnest concern this people manifested for the preservation of their lives. And wilt not thou feel a more awakened concern for thine everlasting welfare? Is it not said in God's most holy word, as it was told the Gibeonites, that the Lord hath given commandment, to destroy all nations that are not his Israel? Is it not a most sure and certain truth, that the hour is hastening when the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God? And wilt not thou arise, and flee for thy life, and seek peace with thy Joshua, in the covenant promises of Israel?
Oh! thou Great and Almighty Joshua, thou sent, and sealed, and anointed of thy Father; behold I am come to thee, and am come from a far country indeed, for who so far from God as the sinner, until brought nigh by the blood of Jesus. My own garments and my own covering are old, like the Gibeonites. They were indeed once new, when my nature in my first parent was erected in God's image; but now rent and torn, and worse than nothing. Make thou a league with my soul, I desire to be thy servant forever: far better wilt it be to be thy servant in the lowest place, a door keeper in thine house, than to dwell in the tents of ungodliness, though in a royal city, like Gibeon. If I am thy servant, I shall be the Lord's freeman. And to be but a hewer of wood, or a drawer of water, for the service of thy sanctuary, will I esteem an higher honor than to enjoy all the pleasures of sin for a season. Thy reproach will be greater riches to me, than all the treasures of Egypt.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 9". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Lent