Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 9:15

Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Alliances;   Confidence;   Contracts;   Craftiness;   Deception;   Diplomacy;   Government;   Joshua;   Kirjath-Jearim;   Magnanimity;   Oath;   Servant;   Treaty;   Thompson Chain Reference - Oaths;   Princes;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Amorites, the;   Covenants;   Gibeonites;   Oaths;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Joshua the son of nun;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Covenant;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - All-Sufficiency of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Covenant;   Gibeon;   Slave;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Adriel;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Joshua, the Book of;   Oaths;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gibeon;   Israel;   Joshua;   Stranger;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Covenant;   Gibeon ;   Prince, Princess;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Covenant;   Elder;   Gibeon;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Nethinim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Alliances;   Covenant;   Gib'eon;   Law of Moses;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Elders;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Covenant, in the Old Testament;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Alliances;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gibeon and Gibeonites;   Hivites;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for January 19;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Joshua made peace with them - Joshua agreed to receive them into a friendly connection with the Israelites, and to respect their lives and properties; and the elders of Israel bound themselves to the observance of it, and confirmed it with an oath. As the same words are used here as in Joshua 9:6, we may suppose that the covenant was made in the ordinary way, a sacrifice being offered on the occasion, and its blood poured out before the Lord. See on Genesis 15:10; (note), etc.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-9.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Joshua made peace with them,.... Upon the report the princes made of having examined what they had said, and which they found to be true, particularly concerning their victuals:

and made a league with them, to let them live; and not destroy them as he did the Canaanites, and was ordered to do; they being supposed not to belong to them by the representation of things they had made:

and the princes of the congregation sware unto them; that they would keep the league and covenant they had made with them inviolable; they ratified it by an oath, which was a sacred solemn thing.

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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
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-9.html. 1999.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

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.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-9.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

To let them live — That is, they should not destroy them. That this league was lawful and obliging, appears, 1. Because Joshua and all the princes, upon the review concluded it so to be, and spared them accordingly2. Because God punished the violation of it long after, 2 Samuel 21:13. Because God is said to have hardened the hearts of all other cities, not to seek peace with Israel, that so he might utterly destroy them, Joshua 11:19,20, which seems to imply that their utter destruction did not necessarily come upon them by virtue of any peremptory command of God, but by their own obstinate hardness, whereby they refused to make peace with the Israelites.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-9.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 9:15 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.

Ver. 15. And Joshua made peace with them.] This was not without the Lord; who, as he glorified his justice in rooting out the rest of the Amorites, so he manifested his mercy in saving these Gibeonites from that general deluge of destruction.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 15. And Joshua With the advice of the elders, who were deceived as well as himself, made peace with them, &c. That is, he not only preserved their lives, (for, supposing the Gibeonites to have come from a country situate beyond the land of Canaan, nothing obliged him to put them to the sword) but they were left in the quiet possession of their effects. The word life in Scripture is frequently of equal signification with prosperity; in which sense we understand it here. Joshua promised to preserve to the Gibeonites their territories, privileges, and liberty. Hence this general seems to have engaged himself, without knowing it, to what he could not perform; for all alliance with the Canaanites was prohibited. And how, indeed, could the Israelites contract alliances with nations, whose gods and worship they were to abolish, and whose government they were commanded utterly to overthrow? See Deuteronomy 7:2 and Shuckford's Connection, vol. 3: p. 385.

And the princes-sware They ratified this treaty of peace by a solemn oath, the violation whereof was afterwards punished with terrible severity. See 2 Samuel 21:6.

REFLECTIONS.—The same event produces very different effects, according to the different tempers of men. Israel's success roused the other Canaanites to battle, and warned the Gibeonites to make their peace before the sword overtook them. As no mention is made of Gibeon's king, and the three confederate cities, it seems they were a little republic; and whilst the proud kings of Canaan refused to bow, in their senators there was wisdom. We have here,

1. The method they took to obtain peace with Israel. Well acquainted with the late transaction, and being hardly more than eight leagues distant from the camp in Gilgal, of course, likely to be soon exposed to the arm of Israel, and no strangers to the utter extirpation of the Canaanites, which was commanded; they disguised themselves, as ambassadors come from a far country, on the fame of Israel's exploits; and, to confirm the cheat, appear before Joshua, as having undergone a tedious journey. Note; (1.) They who pretend to do us most honour are most likely to impose upon us. (2.) Pretences to antiquity have, we see, of old deceived God's Israel; we must beware of being caught with this Gibeonitish wile. (3.) Not every beggar who appears in rags is an object of distress: humble and true poverty has an artless tale; but when your Honour, or your Reverence, is pat on the tongue, this court to your pride detects the knave.

2. The Israelites and Joshua have some suspicion, and therefore begin to question who they were, and whence they came. We should not be credulous to every tale, but examine well before we contract intimacy. In our spiritual warfare, as much need is there to be aware of the wily serpent as of the roaring lion.

3. The more danger there is of discovery, the more need of strong assurances and artful pleas, to gain credit to their assertions. Though they carefully conceal the mention of the place, they affirm that they come from a far country; as if utterly unknown to Israel, and that their inducement was a respect for Israel's God, whose wonders in Egypt and the land of Bashan they had heard, not mentioning Ai or Jericho, though these latter were the real motives to their journey. They profess to be so affected by these wonders of God, that on any terms they would make peace with them, and call themselves their servants, as if ready to do them any service which should be desired. Note; (1.) A Canaanite is never at a loss for a lie. (2.) One lie seldom stands alone, but requires the addition of others to support its credibility. (3.) It is very evil to seek a right end by wrong means: Perhaps if they had spoken honestly and openly, God would have interposed for them, and they would have found better terms than they afterwards obtained.

4. The stratagem succeeds, and Joshua and the princes, having inspected their bread, and found it agreeable to their description, too hastily concluded on the truth of their story; and counting it unnecessary on such an occasion to ask counsel of God, they make an agreement with them, and confirm it with an oath to let them live. Note; (1.) They who are honest themselves, are least suspicious of fraud in others. (2.) When we are hasty in our resolves, we shall often have cause to repent of them. (3.) Nothing of importance should be transacted by us, without prayer to God for his direction. (4.) It is wise in every sinner to imitate (in a good sense) those Gibeonites; in rags of humiliation and godly sorrow, to be found at the feet of Jesus, seeking that peace without which we perish, and we need not doubt of success; for he will say unto us, "Live;" and, for the comfort of our hope, confirm it with an oath.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-9.html. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 252

JOSHUA’S LEAGUE WITH GIBEON

Joshua 9:15. And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live.

IT is not uncommon for persons to harden themselves against God, and, like Ahaz, “in their distress to trespass yet more against the Lord [Note: 2 Chronicles 28:22.].” The inhabitants of Canaan had been filled with terror and dismay even before the Israelites had passed over Jordan: yet they prepared to contend with the invading army, and to repel force by force. But when they saw that a passage was opened for Israel through Jordan, and that the walls of Jericho were thrown down by the sound of rams’ horns, and that Ai also was vanquished, it might have been hoped that they would submit themselves to the God of Israel, and endeavour by penitence to avert the impending danger. This however was not the case: on the contrary, the different kings of the country formed a confederacy, to oppose with their united power those whom they despaired of withstanding by their separate exertions. One people indeed ventured to stem the tide: the Gibeonites determined to shun the storm which they could not avert: accordingly they sent some of their chief men to make a league with Joshua.

This league is the subject of our present consideration: and we shall notice it, with a view to,

I. Moral instruction—

Two things in particular require our attention;

1. The deceit they practised—

[The device which they executed was extremely subtle and ingenious. They knew that God had given to the Israelites a command to extirpate the seven nations of Canaan: and they saw by the manner in which Jericho and Ai had fallen, that there was no hope of resisting them with success. They therefore sent some of their chief men, with instruction to feign themselves ambassadors from a distant nation, and in a very submissive manner to entreat that they might not be extirpated also. Whatever terms Joshua chose to impose, they were ready to accede to, provided they might but return to their country assured on the oath of Israel that they should be permitted to live. That their story might have the appearance of truth, “they took old sacks, old and rent leathern wine-bottles, old shoes, clouted upon their feet, and old garments, and, for their provision, bread that was dry and mouldy,” pretending that every thing was new when they set out from home, but that, by reason of the length of their journey, it had been reduced to the state in which it then was. They professed a great regard for the God of Israel whom they feared, having heard of all the wonders he had wrought for his people in Egypt, and of the victorious manner in which he had enabled them to prevail over the kings on the other side of Jordan. But respecting the miraculous passage through the river Jordan, or the fall of Jericho and Ai, they said not a word; because they would have it supposed that their country was so far distant as not to admit of such recent events being known there.

But this falsehood was altogether unjustifiable. It is true, the very existence of their nation apparently depended on it; and to deceive an enemy may in some cases be allowable: but here was falsehood, direct, palpable, systematic falsehood: and, as is usually the case, having begun with one falsehood, (That they were come from a far country,) they were forced to utter a multitude of others to support it. Nothing could justify this: and, if they had been truly pious, they would have preferred death before it. Their better way would certainly have been, to declare the whole truth, and to implore Joshua’s intercession with God to spare their lives, and to instruct them in the knowledge of his ways. This, we can have no doubt, would have succeeded, though no provision was made for such an event in the general orders which God had given to Israel. The exception of sparing those who opened their gates related to distant nations only, and not to those within the borders of the promised land [Note: Deuteronomy 12:10-11; Deuteronomy 12:15-16.]. Yet God, as a God of mercy, would have spared them: or, if he had not, it would have been better for them to die, than to preserve their lives by falsehood: for the sentence of God against liars, without any respect to the occasion of their lies, is, that “they shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death [Note: Revelation 21:8.].”]

2. The league that Joshua made with them—

[Joshua, though some suspicion was intimated in the first instance [Note: ver. 7.], was too easily imposed upon: (for those who are themselves guileless, are least suspicious of guile in others:) he formed his judgment from the circumstances that were before him, and made up his mind without consulting God [Note: ver. 14.]. This in him was faulty: both he and the elders were guilty of criminal neglect. To what purpose had God given them the Urim and Thummim, but that they might ascertain his will in all doubtful matters ? and Eleazar, the high-priest, was at hand; so that no delay would have been occasioned. To the same source may be traced innumerable errors of our own. We “lean to our own understandings,” instead of seeking direction from God. To what purpose is it said, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths [Note: Proverbs 3:5-6.],” if we do not avail ourselves of this privilege? Let us bear in mind, that there is nothing so great or so small, but it is our duty and our privilege to ask counsel of God respecting it.

But though we blame Joshua for so hastily concluding a covenant with the Gibeonites, we highly applaud him for adhering to his engagement. There might indeed have been much to say for rescinding the covenant: ‘He had been imposed upon: they were not the people whom they had represented themselves to be; nor were their cities out of the precincts of the promised land.’ Still however, “he had sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel;” and therefore he considered the whole nation as pledged to fulfil the covenant; nor would he suffer the congregation to execute upon them the vengeance which they meditated. This was doubtless the proper line of conduct for him to pursue. If he had rescinded his covenant, the whole people of Canaan would have represented him as a violator of his engagements: it was therefore better to fulfil his hasty and unadvised agreement, than by departing from it to give occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme. From hence we may learn our duty on all such occasions. Joshua had erred through haste, and a neglect of properly consulting God; and therefore it was right to abide the consequences. Had his oath indeed been like Herod’s, duty would have required him to violate it; because an engagement to commit murder could not be binding upon any man: but as there was no such obstacle to the performance of his vows in the present instance, he acted the part of an upright man, who “sweareth to his neighbour, and changeth not [Note: Psalms 15:4.].” Nevertheless it was not necessary that he should go beyond his agreement. All that he had promised, was, to spare their lives [Note: The text, with ver. 20.]: that therefore he adhered to: but as they had deceived him, and as it was necessary to pacify the congregation who were offended at the covenant, he reduced them all to a state of servitude, and made them hewers of wood and drawers of water to the whole congregation in the house of the Lord. This satisfied all parties; and turned even the error which he had committed, into a public benefit.]

Thus have we considered the subject with a view to moral instruction, particularly in reference to the evil of falsehood, and the importance of seeking direction from God, and the indispensable necessity of fulfilling our engagements. We shall now consider it with a view to,

II. Religious improvement—

It is thought by most commentators that the league made with Gibeon was typical of the admission of the Gentiles into the Christian Church: but without insisting upon that, we may justly deduce from it the following instructions:

1. That we ought without delay to seek the salvation of our souls—

[The Gibeonites did not wait till Joshua had invested their cities, but, whilst he was yet at a distance, sent to desire conditions of peace. They believed that God had given the whole land to Israel, and had ordered them to slay all the inhabitants, and that it was impossible to oppose them with success. They knew also that there was abundant evidence of God’s power to execute all that his wisdom had decreed [Note: ver. 24.]. Therefore they lost no time in seeking to arrest the hand of vengeance, and to obtain life on any terms. Did they then act thus for the life of their bodies, and shall not we for the life of our souls? Have not we as clear evidence of God’s determination to destroy all the ungodly, as they had of the gift of Canaan to Israel? and are not the judgments inflicted on the rebel angels, on the old world, on the cities of the plain, and on the Jews themselves at this hour, as clear proofs of God’s determination to fulfil his word? I say then, Learn of these heathens: learn to come to Jesus ere it be too late. Stay not till you are besieged by sickness and death; but now, whilst the enemy appears distant, seek a covenant of peace and life. You need not cover your design with falsehoods, but rather declare the whole truth: and come at first, as they did after their imposture was detected; “Behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do [Note: ver. 25.].”]

2. That no man shall seek for mercy in vain—

[The Gibeonites, though they obtained mercy by fraud, were spared from a respect for the honour of the God of Israel. Notwithstanding Joshua had been commanded to extirpate all, yet were they spared, when once he had inadvertently passed his word in their favour. And shall not we be spared if we apply to the true Joshua? The Lord Jesus to whom we apply “came into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” So far therefore is mercy from being contrary to the ends of his mission, it is the very end for which he came, that he might “seek and save that which was lost.” Nay more, he came not only to spare us, but to bring us into covenant with himself, that we might be numbered amongst his own peculiar people. Hear his own word, addressed to every one of us in his name by the Prophet Isaiah; “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David [Note: Isaiah 55:3.].” If you are inclined to doubt whether “he will take the children’s bread, and cast it to such a dog as you;” learn from the Canaanitish woman, that your unworthiness shall be no bar to your admission to his favour: only, like her, believe in Jesus; and, like her, you shall assuredly and acceptance with him. Moreover, if Jesus once admit you into covenant with himself, not all the universe shall ever prevail upon him to violate his engagements with you. If at any time he appear to frown upon you, you may take his covenant, and plead it with him at the throne of grace; “Do not abhor us for thy name sake; do not disgrace the throne of thy glory; remember, break not thy covenant with us [Note: Jeremiah 14:22.].” What astonishing pleas are here! And shall they be used in vain? Had Joshua such respect for the honour of God, that he would not violate his inadvertent covenant, and shall not Jesus fulfil the covenant which he has ratified with his own blood? Surely none ever did, or ever shall, make application to him for mercy in vain.]

3. That, if we would obtain mercy, we must submit to the terms imposed upon us—

[The Gibeonites accounted it no great matter to cede their cities, and to spend their days in servitude, seeing that their lives were spared. And shall we think much of sacrificing any temporal interests, or of performing any self-denying duties, when we have reason to hope that God has spared the life of our souls ? What if we be called to give up father and mother, and houses and lands, for Christ’s sake: should we not “account them all as loss for Christ?” What if we be menaced with cruel torments and death for his sake; should we not say, “None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto me, so that I may but fulfil his will, and finish my course with joy?” Had the Gibeonites demurred, they had lost the benefit conferred upon them: and so shall we, if we refuse to comply with the terms assigned us: for “whoso loveth his life, shall lose it.” If we look for mercy at the hands of Jesus, all that we have, and all that we are, must be the Lord’s. Our whole life must be a life of self-denying obedience. Hear this then, ye Gibeonites, who desire a covenant of life and peace: these are the terms, and only these, that can ever be allowed you. But know ye this, that though they may appear hard to flesh and blood, they are not really hard: on the contrary, the service of God is perfect freedom: and it is “better to be a doorkeeper in the house of your God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” If then ye have been awakened from your heathenish security, whatever terrors may have brought you to the feet of Jesus, bless God for them: and whatever hardships ye may endure in the service of your Lord, bless God for them also. If only ye submit to God, and take part with his people here, you shall have your portion with them to all eternity.]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/joshua-9.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

To let them live, i.e. that they would not destroy them. Some question whether this league was lawful and obliging, because it is contrary to a positive and precedent law of God, by which they were enjoined to make no peace with them, but utterly to destroy them, Exodus 23:32 Exo 34 &c. But this law seems to admit of some exception and favourable interpretation, and that taken from the reason and soul of that law; which was this, that the Israelites might not be tainted with their idolatry and other abominations by cohabitation with them; and therefore when that reason ceased, i.e. if they were willing to relinquish their possessions and idolatry, and other wickedness, and to embrace the true religion, they might be spared. And though this law was delivered in general terms, because God foresaw that the Israelites would be most prone to err on that hand, by sparing those whom they should destroy; yet that it was to be understood with an exception of penitents and true converts might easily be gathered, both from the example of Rahab, and from the tenor of Divine threatenings, which, though absolutely delivered, allow of this exception; as appears from Jeremiah 18:7,8 Jon 3 Jon 4, and from the great kindness and favour which God hath manifested unto all true penitents, in delivering them from evils threatened to them, and inflicted upon others; which kindness of God we also are obliged to imitate by virtue of that natural and moral law of God implanted in us, and revealed to us, to which such positive commands as this of killing the Canaanites must give place. And that this league was lawful and obliging, may seem probable,

1. Because Joshua and all the princes upon the review concluded it so to be, and spared them accordingly, Joshua 9:19,20,22,23.

2. Because God punished the violation of it long after, 2 Samuel 21:1.

3. Because God is said to have hardened the hearts of all other cities not to seek peace with Israel, that so he might utterly destroy them, Joshua 11:19,20, which seems to imply that their utter destruction did not necessarily come upon them by virtue of any absolute and peremptory command of God to destroy them, but by their own obstinate hardness, whereby they neglected and refused to make peace with the Israelites.

Object. This league was grounded upon a deceit and error of the persons, which also they had entered a caution against, Joshua 9:7.

Answ. Their supposition that they were Canaanites was indeed a part of the foregoing discourse, Joshua 9:7, and the Israelites rested satisfied with their answer, and believed they were not, and so entered into the league; but that league was absolute, not suspended upon that or any other condition; and the error was not about the persons, but about the country and people to which they belonged, which was not material to this contract, no more than it is to a contract of marriage, that the one person believed the other to be of another country or family than indeed they were.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". 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 Joshua made peace with them, and made a treaty-covenant with them, to let them live. And the princes of the congregation swore to them.’

Following up the token eating of their food to indicate acceptance (compare Genesis 31:54; Exodus 18:12; Exodus 24:11) a treaty-covenant was drawn up. Peace and non-belligerence was promised. ‘To let them live’ indicates the practical effect as described in Joshua 9:24. Once these oaths were made it would not be possible to destroy these people as God had commanded. And the oaths were taken by all the princes of the congregation, the leaders of the whole of Israel. It is noticeable in all this that Joshua does not act as a dictator but in consultation with the elders and princes of Israel. When in battle he was in command, but for day by day affairs of government responsibility was shared.

“The princes of the congregation” is a regular Mosaic expression (Exodus 16:22; Exodus 34:31; Numbers 4:34; Numbers 16:2; Numbers 31:13; Numbers 32:2). Israel was seen as ‘the congregation’ because they gathered together as one to worship YHWH. There are no good grounds for not seeing the expression as Mosaic. There was a regular ‘congregation’ and there were ‘princes’.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-9.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15.Peace — He solemnly pledged the faith of his people to abstain from war against their commonwealth.

A league — This is a step beyond peace; an alliance, binding the two parties to mutual assistance in defensive, if not offensive, war.

Princes of the congregation — Called, in Joshua 9:6-7, men of Israel, that is, representative men, consisting of heads of families and elders of the people.

Sware — The Hebrew princes appealed to God in their oaths in such phrase as, “The God of Abraham judge;” “As Jehovah liveth:” “God do so to me and more also;” “God knoweth,” and similar formulas.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". "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 9:15. Joshua made a league with them to let them live — Not merely, it seems, to spare their lives, which, supposing them to belong to a far country, they had no warrant to take away, but to let them continue in the enjoyment of their effects; the word life in Scripture being frequently of equal signification with prosperity. That this league was lawful and obliging, appears, 1st, Because Joshua and all the princes, upon the review, concluded it so to be, and spared them accordingly. 2d, Because God punished the violation of it long after, 2 Samuel 21:1. 3d, Because God is said to have hardened the hearts of all other cities, not to seek peace with Israel, that so he might utterly destroy them, (Joshua 11:19-20,) which seems to imply that their utter destruction did not necessarily come upon them by virtue of any peremptory command of God, but by their own obstinate hardness, whereby they refused to make peace with the Israelites.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-9.html. 1857.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". "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 it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them.
made peace
2:12-19; 6:22-25; 11:19; Deuteronomy 20:10,11; 2 Samuel 21:2; Jeremiah 18:7,8
and the
2 Samuel 21:2
Reciprocal: Leviticus 5:4 - to do evil;  Joshua 9:21 - as the princes;  Joshua 10:1 - how the;  Joshua 10:4 - we may;  Joshua 10:6 - from thy;  1 Samuel 30:15 - Swear;  2 Chronicles 36:13 - who had;  Esther 9:27 - and upon their seed;  Hebrews 6:16 - an oath

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 9:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-9.html.