Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 9:14

So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord .
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Confidence;   Craftiness;   Deception;   Diplomacy;   Joshua;   Kirjath-Jearim;   Magnanimity;   Oath;   Prayer;   Servant;   Treaty;   Thompson Chain Reference - Credulity;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Amorites, the;   Bottles;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Joshua the son of nun;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - All-Sufficiency of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Corn;   Gibeon;   Slave;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Law;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gibeon;   Israel;   Joshua;   Stranger;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Covenant;   Eating;   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 - Urim and Thummim;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Alliances;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Covenant;   Gibeon and Gibeonites;   Hivites;   Urim and Thummim;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for January 19;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The men took of their victuals - This was done in all probability in the way of friendship; for, from time immemorial to the present day, eating together, in the Asiatic countries, is considered a token of unalterable friendship; and those who eat even salt together, feel themselves bound thereby in a perpetual covenant. But the marginal reading of this clause should not be hastily rejected.

And asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord - They made the covenant with the Gibeonites without consulting God by Urim and Thummim, which was highly reprehensible in them, as it was a state transaction in which the interests and honor of God their king were intimately concerned.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-9.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The elders of Israel Joshua 9:18, tasting what was offered them by the Gibeonites, pledged themselves according to the usage of Eastern nations to peace and friendship with them. They credited the story at once, instead of seeking the direction of God in the matter. The rendering of the margin is not to be preferred to that of the text.

At the mouth of the Lord - i. e. by the Urim and Thummim Exodus 28:30.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-9.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the men took of their victuals,.... That is, the princes of Israel took thereof; not to eat of them, for it cannot be thought that such personages would eat of such dry and mouldy bread, and especially as they were now in a plentiful country, and possessed of the fruits of it; but to see whether it was in such a plight and condition as they said, whereby they might judge of the truth of what they said; and they learned and knew, as R. Jonah observes, from the dryness of their food, that it was truth they said; and so the Targum, the men hearkened to their words; and so Jarchi, they believed what they said on sight of their provisions; but, according to Kimchi and Ben Melech, they ate with them, to confirm the covenant they made with them; but had this been the case, as it sometimes was a custom to eat together at making covenants, see Genesis 26:30; the princes would doubtless have provided a better entertainment for such a purpose: the "margin" of our Bibles leads to the other sense,"they received the men by reason of their victuals:"

and asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord; as they might and should have done, by desiring the high priest to inquire of the Lord by Urim and Thummim; but this they neglected, which, had they attended to, the fraud would have been discovered; or however, they would have had the mind of God about making peace with the Gibeonites, which in all likelihood he would not have disapproved of, they becoming proselytes, and giving up their possessions to Israel; but this did not excuse their neglect.

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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.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-9.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the g men took of their victuals, and asked not [counsel] at the mouth of the LORD.

(g) Some think that the Israelites are of their victuals, and so made a league with them.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-9.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.

The men — That is, the princes.

Their victuals — That they might examine the truth of what they said.

The mouth of the Lord — As they ought to have done upon all such weighty occasions. So they are accused of rashness and neglect of their duty. For though it is probable, if God had been consulted, he would have consented to the sparing of the Gibeonites; yet it should have been done with more caution, and an obligation upon them to embrace the true religion. In every business of importance, we should stay to take God along with us, and by the word and prayer consult him. Many a time our affairs miscarry, because we asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord. Did we acknowledge him in all our ways, they would be more safe, easy and successful.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-9.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 9:14 And the men took of their victuals, and asked not [counsel] at the mouth of the LORD.

Ver. 14. And the men took of their victuals.] That is, they did eat of it in token of a league made with them, say some: others more probably, they took it and looked on it, to see whether it were hoary and mouldy, as they had said.

And asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.] This precipitancy and credulity is seldom successful. Good Josiah lost his life by it. Sometimes both grace and wit are asleep in the holiest and wariest breasts.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 14. And the men took of their victuals It has been asked in what light they thus took of it? and some pretend it was to taste with them in token of friendship, peace, and alliance, according to the ancient custom in use among almost all nations. Others think it was rather to examine whether their bread was, as they said, dry and mouldy, like a biscuit which has been a long voyage.

And asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord They did not consult the high-priest, arrayed in the breast-plate with the Urim and Thummim, as they ought to have done, to know from his mouth the will of the Lord. They were determined by views merely political. After a bare inspection of the victuals which the Gibeonites brought with them, they believed their declaration, and received them cordially, without giving themselves the trouble of consulting God, who, in all probability, would have permitted them to make peace with them, on the conditions imposed by Joshua, and secretly prescribed by his divine providence.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". 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

The men, i.e. the princes, as before, Joshua 9:6.

Took of their victuals; not from their want or any desire they could have to such unpleasant and unwholesome food; nor in a ceremony usual in making leagues, for that was not now done, but in the next verse; but that they might examine the truth of what they said.

Asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord, as they ought to have done upon all such weighty and doubtful occasions. So they are accused of rashness, and neglect of their duty. For though it is probable, if God had been consulted, he would have consented to the sparing of the Gibeonites; yet it should have been done with more caution, and an obligation left upon them to embrace the true religion, which here was omitted.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". 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

‘And the men took of their provisions and did not ask counsel of YHWH.’

O how foolish we are when we do not consult God. Convinced by the false evidence the food was accepted by the elders of Israel, Joshua among them. It would only be a token participation to demonstrate acceptance in view of the condition of the food, although they were more used to eating mouldy food than we are. But it was specifically done without consulting YHWH (see Numbers 27:21). How careful we should be before we come to decisions, especially decisions which bind us to alliance and working together, without giving time for full consultation with God.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-9.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14.The men — The chiefs in Joshua’s camp with whom the Gibeonites conferred.

Took of their victuals — But it is not said that the men of Israel ate of these victuals. Yet, as it is a custom among the Arabs to eat the victuals of a guest, as a sign of peace and friendship, this may have been the purpose of their taking the provision of these Gibeonites. This passage has puzzled all the interpreters. The marginal reading in our English Bible is ingenious, but it is not sustained by the Hebrew, “they received the men by reason of their victuals.” Nor did they make a treaty with them by eating their food, for this was not customary. More plausible is the theory that they took their bread into their hands to examine it. But we would suggest that the real meaning may be, they presumed the truth of the story from their victuals. The original word for took is sometimes used for mental acts.

And asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord — A momentous question was settled with no reference to the Divine will, and that, too, on a point in regard to which Jehovah’s commands were very explicit — alliance with aliens. Compare note and references on Joshua 9:7. Jehovah, who had made special arrangements for communicating with his people through the urim and thummim, was slighted and ignored. These Israelitish princes have had many imitators in the senates and cabinets of Christian lands. How rarely is God consulted by statesmen, even in affairs in which the destiny of a nation is involved!

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-9.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 9:14. The men — That is, the princes. Their victuals — That they might examine the truth of what they said. Asked not at the mouth of the Lord — As they ought to have done upon all such weighty occasions. So they are accused of rashness and neglect of their duty. For though it is probable, if God had been consulted, he would have consented to the sparing of the Gibeonites; yet it should have been done with more caution, and an obligation upon them to embrace the true religion. In every business of importance we should take God along with us, and by his word and prayer consult him. Many a time our affairs miscarry, because we ask not counsel at the mouth of the Lord. Did we acknowledge him in all our ways, they would be more safe, easy, and successful.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-9.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Victuals, to examine whether they were as old as they pretended; or they eat of them in sign of friendship. (Menochius) --- Thus we find a feast generally accompanied the making of a league, Genesis xxvi. 30., and xxxi. 54. To betray a guest was deemed a heinous injury, Psalm liv. 15. (Euripides) --- Lord. By the high priest, clothed with the Urim and Thummim. (Calmet) --- This remark shews that the Israelites had been guilty of some negligence. (Haydock) --- Hence they were so easily deceived, being perhaps overjoyed that their friendship should be courted by so distant a nation. (Menochius) --- The high priest was ordered to consult the Lord for Josue, at the door of the tabernacle, Exodus xxix. 42., and Numbers xxvii. 21. (Worthington)

Ver 15. Them. Were they bound to keep this promise? Some maintain the negative, as it was obtained by fraud, and therefore the Gabaonites leave themselves to the mercy of Josue, (ver. 25,) who condemns them to perpetual servitude in the house of the Lord. He could not, however, have taken away their lives after what had passed. The error was not essential, but the people might have obtained the same conditions, if they had frankly told the truth. If we make a contract with a person who pretends to be of a nation to which he does not belong, the contract will hold good. The deceit of the Gabaonites was punished as it deserved. But God required that the conditions which were granted to them, should be diligently observed; and the family of Saul was severely punished, because he had slain some of them, 3 Kings xxi. If the rest of the Chanaanites had changed their religion, and submitted to the Israelites, they might have been preserved, as Rahab, and so many others were, with whom the pious kings scrupled not to form alliances, chap. xi. 19., and Deuteronomy xx. 10, &c. (Masius; Bonfrere; Calmet) --- They were, however, obliged to yield possession of the land to the Israelites, and to renounce idolatry. The Gabaonites were willing to accede to these conditions, and therefore Josue might justly make a peace with them. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-9.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the men. Hebrew, plural of ish or "enosh. App-14

took of their victuals. Probably tasted, or partook of their food; or, ate with them--a token of friendship.

asked not: i.e. by "Urim and Thummim". Compare Exodus 28:30, note.

mouth. Put by Figure of speech Melonymy (of Cause), App-6, for the counsel given by the mouth.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-9.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.

The men took of their victuals. The mouldy appearance of their bread was, after examination, accepted as guaranteeing the truth of the story; and in this precipitate conclusion the Israelites were guilty of excessive credulity and culpable negligence, in not asking by the high priest's Urim and Thummim the mind of God before entering into the alliance. It is not clear, however, that, had they applied for divine direction, they would have been forbidden to spare and connect themselves with any of the Canaanite tribes who renounced idolatry and embraced the worship of the true God. At least, no fault was found with them for making a covenant with the Gibeonites; while, on the other hand, the violation of it was severely punished (2 Samuel 21:1; Joshua 11:19-20).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-9.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(14) And the men took of their victuals.—And they accepted the men from (the appearance of) their provisions. This, which is the view taken in our marginal reading, seems to be the more probable interpretation, and follows the Targum. “The men” can hardly refer to any one but the ambassadors of the Gibeonites.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.
the men took of their victuals
or, they received the men by reason of their victuals. asked not.
Exodus 28:30; Numbers 27:21; Judges 1:1; 20:18,28; 1 Samuel 14:18,19; 22:10; 23:9-12; 1 Samuel 30:7,8; 2 Samuel 2:1; 5:19; 1 Chronicles 10:13,14; Ezra 8:21; Proverbs 3:5,6; Isaiah 30:1,2; James 1:5
Reciprocal: Exodus 23:32 - shalt make;  Judges 20:7 - give here;  1 Samuel 23:2 - inquired;  1 Samuel 25:13 - Gird ye;  1 Kings 22:5 - Inquire;  2 Kings 3:11 - that we may;  1 Chronicles 17:2 - Do all;  2 Chronicles 35:22 - the mouth;  Luke 9:50 - Forbid;  1 Timothy 5:22 - suddenly

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-9.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

14.And the men took of their victuals, etc. Some commentators here have recourse to the insipid fictions that they ate the bread, to ascertain from the taste whether it were stale from age, or that they confirmed the covenant by a feast. The words rather, in my opinion, are an indirect censure of their excessive credulity in having, on slight grounds acquiesced in a fabulous narrative, and in having attended merely to the bread, without considering that the fiction was devoid of color. And, certainly, had not their senses been blunted, many things would have instantly occurred to refute the Gibeonites. (84) But as it sometimes happens, that the most piercing eyes are dazzled by an empty spectacle, they are more severely condemned for not having ascertained the pleasure of God. The remedy was at hand, had they attempted nothing without consulting the oracle. It was a matter deserving of careful inquiry, and it was therefore a sign of gross carelessness, when a priest was ready to seek an answer from God, by means of Urim and Thummim, to decide rashly in an obscure case, as if they had no means of obtaining advice. Their rashness was the less excusable, from being combined with such supine neglect of the grace of God.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:14". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-9.html. 1840-57.