Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 9:8

But they said to Joshua, "We are your servants." Then Joshua said to them, "Who are you and where do you come from?"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Confidence;   Contracts;   Craftiness;   Deception;   Diplomacy;   Joshua;   Kirjath-Jearim;   Magnanimity;   Oath;   Treaty;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Amorites, the;   Gibeonites;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - All-Sufficiency of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Gibeon;   Slave;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gibeon;   Israel;   Joshua;   Stranger;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Gibeon ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Gibeon;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Nethinim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Gib'eon;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Tears;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Alliances;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gibeon and Gibeonites;   Hivites;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

We are thy servants - This appears to have been the only answer they gave to the question of the Israelitish elders, and this they gave to Joshua, not to them, as they saw that Joshua was commander-in-chief of the host.

Who are ye? and from whence come ye? - To these questions, from such an authority, they felt themselves obliged to give an explicit answer; and they do it very artfully by a mixture of truth, falsehood, and hypocrisy.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 9:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-9.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And they said unto Joshua, we are thy servants,.... Not that they meant to be subjects of his, and tributaries to him; but this they said in great humility and lowliness of mind, being willing to be or do anything he should enjoin them. Abarbinel observes, that this they proposed to Joshua singly, not to be servants to all the people, but to him only, and to have him for their head and governor:

and Joshua, said, who are ye? and from whence come ye? by what name are ye called? and from what country do ye come? suspecting, as it should seem, that they were the inhabitants of Canaan; or however he was cautious and upon his guard, lest they should be such, and yet was not enough upon his guard to prevent imposition.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-9.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?

Thy servants — We desire a league with you upon your own terms; we are ready to accept of any conditions.

From whence came ye — For this free and general concession gave Joshua cause to suspect that they were Canaanites.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-9.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 9:8 And they said unto Joshua, We [are] thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who [are] ye? and from whence come ye?

Ver. 8. We are thy servants.] We come not to capitulate with thee, but to receive conditions from thee; and to be wholly at thine appointment. A servant is υπηρετης και οργανον, saith Aristotle, the master’s underling and instrument.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 8. And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants Being more pressingly interrogated by Joshua, they answered with humility, that, knowing the greatness of the nation of Israel and their own inferiority, they desired nothing more than to live in amity and alliance with them; which is all that the expression, we are thy servants, implies. We see others like it in the history of the Patriarchs, (Genesis 18:3-4; Genesis 32:20.) where they are most certainly used merely by way of compliment.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 9:8". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-9.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

We are thy servants; we desire a league with you upon your own terms; we are ready to accept of any conditions.

Who are ye? and from whence come ye? for this free and general concession of theirs gave Joshua just cause to suspect that they were of the cursed Canaanites.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 9:8". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-9.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Joshua 9:8 a

‘And they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.”

In the face of such an objection silence was the wisest precaution. They simply responded humbly and awaited further events. The idea of ‘servant’ was not literal. It was a typical Near Eastern show of humility that was not intended to be taken too literally. Perhaps this should have alerted Joshua. If they had been genuine they would have protested vigorously. But Joshua, perhaps elated at the success in Shechem, was not thinking clearly. Even godly men can drop their guard at times, and they can tend to assume honesty in others. But we must remember that we live in a deceitful world.

Joshua 9:8 b

‘And Joshua said, “Who are you? And from where have you come?”

Both were necessary questions. Their descent and present whereabouts were of supreme importance. The problem was that he believed their answers. It is not spiritual to be naive.

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Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 9:8". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-9.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

8.We are thy servants — This expression hardly implies that these Gibeonites anticipated their destiny of serfdom, as some suppose; it is rather a common oriental mode of speech by which inferiors becomingly address a superior. Compare Genesis 43:28; Genesis 44:7.

Who are ye? — Joshua seeks to draw from them their nationality and their country, but he is baffled by their vague reply.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 9:8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-9.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Servants. They did not mean to submit to servitude, but to make a league; otherwise they would not have needed to have recourse to such artifices. (Calmet) --- But finding that no other terms could be procured, they were willing, at any rate, to save their lives. (Haydock)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 9:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-9.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?

No JFB commentary on this verse.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 9:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-9.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?
11,23,25,27; Genesis 9:25,26; Deuteronomy 20:11; 1 Kings 9:20,21; 2 Kings 10:5
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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 9:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-9.html.

8. Zij dan zeiden tot Jozua: Wij zijn uw knechten; 1) wij willen ons aan u verbinden; sta ons toe, slechts op te merken, dat wij niets te maken hebben met de volken van deze landen, maar dat wij alleen door eerbied en genegenheidvoor uw volk gedreven werden, om een verbond van vriendschap met u te sluiten. Toen zei Jozua, die nu geloof aan hun woorden begon te slaan, tot hen: Wie zijt gij, en waar komt gij vandaan?

1) Hiermee bedoelen zij niet, dat zij aan Jozua schatplichtig willen worden, zoals velen van mening zijn, maar deze uitdrukking is een zeer gewone en Oosterse manier van spreken, om daarmee te kennen te geven, dat zij met een vreedzame bedoeling komen. Het was een soort van Oosterse vleierij of pluimstrijkerij, om Jozua's hart voor hen te winnen..

Wat zij wilden, blijkt duidelijk genoeg, nl. om, zoals Hugo de Groot terecht aantekent, een verbond met hem te sluiten, waardoor hun vrijheid en bezitting van grond wordt toegestaan. Zij wensen op voet van gelijkheid met hem en Israël te staan..