Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 9:16

It came about at the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were neighbors and that they were living within their land.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Alliances;   Contracts;   Diplomacy;   Government;   Joshua;   Kirjath-Jearim;   Magnanimity;   Oath;   Servant;   Treaty;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Amorites, the;   Covenants;   Oaths;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Joshua the son of nun;   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 ;   Prince, Princess;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Gibeon;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Nethinim;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Covenant, in the Old Testament;   Joshua (2);   Make;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Alliances;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Elohist;   Gibeon and Gibeonites;   Hivites;   Oath;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

At the end of three days - Gibeon is reputed to be only about eight leagues distant from Gilgal, and on this account the fraud might be easily discovered in the time mentioned above.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-9.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors, and that they dwelt among them. And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by Jehovah, the God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes. But the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the God of Israel now therefore we may not touch them. This we will do to them, and let them live; lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them. And the princes said unto them, let them live: so they became hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation, as the princes had spoken unto them."

What could be more reasonable or necessary than the appearance of this paragraph exactly where it occurs in the sacred text? After Joshua 9:15, the question is, "What will Israel do about the deception after they find out about it?" This paragraph tells the story. Israel soon heard that they had been deceived, but when they continued their march via Gibeon, they discovered the truth from the Gibeonites themselves. Did Israel honor the covenant? Yes. What then, could be the grounds for the assertion of Sizoo that, "Joshua 9:17-21 are from a different source."[25] The only possible source of such a speculation, which is obviously incorrect, is the fertile soil of some scholar's imagination.

"All the congregation murmured ..." (Joshua 9:18). Why did the people murmur? Matthew Henry wrote that the Israelites desired the prey, or booty, that they would receive from the slaughter of the Gibeonites, being much more "jealous for their profits than for fulfilling God's Word."[26] Adam Clarke went even further and declared that Israel's murmuring was due solely to the fact of their being deprived of the spoil of the Gibeonites. "Israel at that time had fallen under the full control of the predatory spirit."[27] We cannot find any adequate grounds for denying such opinions as these, and it is possible that the sinful, greedy spirit which began at this time to dominate Israel was the true reason why God allowed the nation to be so shamefully deceived.

"Lest wrath be upon us ..." (Joshua 9:20). God would indeed have been displeased with Israel if they had violated the solemn covenant they had made with the Gibeonites in the name of Jehovah. Centuries later, we are told (2 Samuel 21) that the Israelites of David's time felt the "wrath" when Saul broke Israel's ancestral covenant with Gibeon."[28]

"Hewers of wood and drawers of water ..." This was considered the lowest class of work in ancient societies. "The curse of Noah (Genesis 9:25) on the children of Ham was thus fulfilled to the letter in the case of these Hivites."[29]

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/joshua-9.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And it came to pass at the end of three days, after they had made a league with them,.... The league seems to have been made the same day they came; the Gibeonites were no doubt in haste to have it concluded, lest they should be discovered; and Joshua, and the princes of Israel, took no pains, and gave themselves no great trouble to inquire about them, but made peace with them at once; and it was but three days after, or within three days of its being made:

that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them; that is, in their neighbourhood, as the Arabic version; and so NoldiusF18Concord. Ebr. Part. p. 211. No. 932. renders the words, "and that they dwelt near them"; for the Gibeonites did not dwell among the Israelites, or in the midst of them, but near the place where they were; and this they understood either by some deserters that came to the camp of Israel, or by some of the Israelites who were sent to reconnoitre several parts of the country, especially such as lay nearest, or for the sake of getting provisions for their camp.

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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 9:16". "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

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.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-9.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Three days — That is, at the last of them, or upon the third day, as it is said, verse17.

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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 9:16". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-9.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 9:16 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.

Ver. 16. At the end of three days.] Truth is the daughter of time: falsehood will out at length. Some is so thin, that it may be presently seen through: and some again so closely and covertly carried, that it appeareth not till after a time.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 16. And—at the end of three days—they heard that they were their neighbours Montanus's opinion of this matter is very probable. The pretended ambassadors of the Gibeonites having informed their countrymen of the success of their stratagem, rejoicings were made, the news of which could not fail to be soon brought to the camp of Israel.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". 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

At the end of three days, i.e. at the last of them, or upon the third day, as it is said Joshua 9:17; so this phrase is elsewhere used, as Deuteronomy 14:28 31:10. Or it may be properly understood, that after three days they heard this; and on the day after they heard this, they came to their cities, as is said, Joshua 9:17.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". 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 so it was that at the end of three days, after they had made a treaty-covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours and that they dwelt among them.’

Then after a few days had passed (the regular ‘three days’) the Israelites learned that the Gibeonites in fact ‘lived in the neighbourhood’ and ‘were dwellers in the land’. Note the parallel descriptions of their status which would ensure the point got over to the hearers. It was not the kind of secret that could be kept for long. Soon everyone would know about it. People would be gloating and laughing at the way that the Israelites had been duped. It was too good a story not to pass on.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-9.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

16.At the end of three days — The Gibeonites themselves probably notified Joshua, after three days, that they were dwelling in their vicinity.

This precaution was necessary as a safeguard against a sudden attack by Joshua. They held the pass of Beth-horon, the key of Central and Western Palestine, which a sagacious foe would seek to wrest from their hands.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-9.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Now. The five kings coming to attack the Gabaonites, these were forced to confess the truth, and to implore the assistance of the Israelites; (Calmet) or perhaps Rahab had given information who they really were. (Menochius) --- Josue flew to their assistance in the night, and arrived the day following, chap. x. 9.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". "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 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.

At the end of three days ... they heard that they were their neighbours. This information was obtained in their further progress through the country; for, as Joshua 9:17 should be rendered, 'When the children of Israel journeyed, they came to their cities.' Gibeon was about 18 or 20 miles from Gilgal.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". "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

(16) Their neighbours, and they that dwelt among them.—Literally, and that they (the Gibeonites) were dwellers in the midst of him (Israel). (So Joshua 9:7.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim.
that they heard
Proverbs 12:19
Reciprocal: Joshua 9:22 - ye dwell

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-9.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

16.And it came to pass, etc. The chastisement of their levity by the discovery of the fraud, three days after, must, by the swiftness of the punishment, have made them more sensible of the shame and disgrace. For it was thus known, that through sloth and lethargy, they had very stupidly fallen into error from not having taken the trouble to inquire into a matter almost placed before their eyes. Their marching quietly through that region, entering cities without trouble, and finding free means of sustenance, was owing to the paternal indulgence of God, who not only pardons their fault, but causes that which might justly have been injurious to turn out to their good. Here it is related that the children of Israel did not act in a hostile manner in that region, because the Gibeonites had received a promise of safety confirmed by an oath.

Now two questions arise —first, Whether the children of Israel, who had no intention whatever to pledge their faith to impostors, had contracted any obligation? and, secondly, Whether it was not in the option of the people to rescind a promise which their leaders had foolishly and erroneously made? In regard to the general position, the obligation of an oath ought to be held in the greatest sacredness, so that we may not, under the pretext of error, resile from pactions, even from those in which we have been deceived, since the sacred name of God is more precious than the wealth of a whole world. (85) Hence though a man may have sworn with little consideration, no loss or expense will free him from performance. I have no doubt, that in this sense David says, (Psalms 15:4,) that the true worshippers of God, if they have sworn to their hurt, change not, because they will bear loss sooner than expose the name of God to contempt, by retracting their promises.

I conclude, therefore, that if a private interest only is to be affected, everything which we may have promised by oath must be performed. And it is apparent from the words, that the Israelites were afraid lest they should expose the name of their God to disgrace among the nations of Canaan. For I think there is an emphasis in the expression — because they had sworn by the God of Israel. But a special reason left the Israelites at liberty to recede from the deceitful compact; for they had not only given up their own right, but improperly departed from the command of God, with which it was not lawful to interfere in the smallest iota. It was not in their power either to spare the vanquished or enact laws of surrender, whereas they now transact as if the business had been committed to them. We see, accordingly, that they twice profaned the name of God, while, under pretence of the oath, they persevered in defending what they had foolishly promised.

In the deference which the common people pay to their leaders, by abstaining from all violence to the Gibeonites, we behold the integrity of the age. Elsewhere it would have readily occurred to elude the promise by asserting that a whole people were not bound by the agreement of a few individuals, as the Romans did, in repudiating the Caudine peace, to which only the consuls, legates, and tribunes had sworn without the orders of the senate and people. The more praise, therefore, is due to that rude simplicity in which the religious obligation prevailed more than the too subtle arguments which the greater part of men in the present day approve and applaud. The people are indeed indignant that their leaders had taken more upon them than they were entitled to do, but their moderation does not allow them to proceed beyond murmur and noise. (86)

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:16". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-9.html. 1840-57.