Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 9:18

The sons of Israel did not strike them because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord the God of Israel. And the whole congregation grumbled against the leaders.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Alliances;   Contracts;   Covenant;   Government;   Joshua;   Kirjath-Jearim;   Magnanimity;   Oath;   Servant;   Treaty;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Covenants;   Gibeonites;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Joshua the son of nun;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - All-Sufficiency of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Gibeon;   Slave;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Alliances;   Congregation;   Pentateuch;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Joshua, the Book of;   Oaths;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gibeon;   Israel;   Joshua;   Stranger;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Prince, Princess;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Elder;   Gibeon;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Nethinim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Alliances;   Congregation;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Government of the Hebrews;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Grudge;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Alliances;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gibeon and Gibeonites;   Hivites;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

All the congregation murmured - Merely because they were deprived of the spoils of the Gibeonites. They had now got under the full influence of a predatory spirit; God saw their proneness to this, and therefore, at particular times, totally interdicted the spoils of conquered cities, as in the case of Jericho.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 9:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-9.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the children of Israel smote them not,.... The inhabitants of the four cities, when they came to them, though they found it to be a true report that was brought them of their being neighbours, and that they were imposed upon by them:

because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel; by the Word of the Lord God of Israel, as the Targum, and therefore they restrained the people from smiting and plundering them; for it was not the oath of the princes the people so much regarded, or had such an influence on them as to abstain from seizing on them, but the princes, by reason of their oath, would not suffer them to touch them:

and all the congregation murmured against the princes; not only for taking such an oath, but chiefly because they restrained them from smiting the Gibeonites, and taking their substance for a prey; their eager desire of revenge, and of seizing their goods, and inhabiting their cities, raised a murmur in them against the princes. This is to be understood not of the whole body of the people at Gilgal, but of all that party that was sent to Gibeon, and of the princes that went with them.

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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 9:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-9.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation l murmured against the princes.

(l) Fearing lest for their sin the plague of God would have come on them all.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 9:18". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-9.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.

Against the princes — Both from that proneness which is in people to censure the actions of their rulers; and from their desire of the spoil of these cities.

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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 9:18". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-9.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 9:18 And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.

Ver. 18. Smote them not.] But yet bore them on their backs, as we say, and murmured against the princes who were gulled by the Gibeonites, and the people by that means beguiled of the spoil of those great cities.

Because the princes … had sworn unto them.] ορκος quasi ερκος; an oath is a hedge which must not be lept over for the avoiding of a piece of fouler way. If the Gibeonites had been slain after an oath given for their security, the banks of blasphemy would have been broken down in those heathens that had heard of it.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 18. And the children of Israel smote them not, &c.— Even though they had not thought themselves bound by their oath, (as some think they were not, since it had been obtained upon a false pretence;) yet it was for the honour of religion that they should shew themselves scrupulous not to violate an engagement which had been entered into in the name of Jehovah. Nothing could be more proper than this prudent delicacy, to give the Gibeonites great ideas of the majesty of the true God, a majesty which would have been degraded in the sight of the Canaanites by a different conduct. Such was the respect of the ancient Hebrews for oaths, that even when they might have found plausible pretences for breaking them, they made it an indispensable duty to keep them faithfully. "Then," to use the words of a celebrated Roman historian, "men were not arrived at that pitch of indifference and contempt for religion, which is now grown so common: instead of giving themselves the liberty to interpret laws and oaths according to their own interest, each, on the contrary, submitted his conduct to the laws." Liv. l. iii. c. 20.

All the congregation murmured against the princes It is the disposition of almost all nations to be ever ready to cavil at the conduct of those who govern them. In the present case, the Israelites could not justly reproach their leaders with being actuated by levity, and exposing the nation to fail in its duty, however it might be conducted; but what they most repined at was, evidently, because they could not pillage the cities of the Gibeonites, and enrich themselves with their spoils.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 9:18". 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

Partly, from that proneness which is in people to censure the actions of their rulers; partly, because they might think the princes by their rashness had brought them into a snare, that they could neither kill them for fear of the oath, nor spare them for fear of God’s command to the contrary; and partly, for their desire of the possession and spoil of these cities, of which they thought themselves hereby deprived.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 9:18". 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 children of Israel did not smite them, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by YHWH the God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.’

True to their treaty-covenant the Gibeonites were spared. Such a treaty was totally binding and unbreakable. But the people themselves were not happy. They wanted to get their own back on these Gibeonites who had made such fools of them, but the princes would not let them.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 9:18". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-9.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

18.The congregation murmured — This entire land had been promised to them for an inheritance. A part of that long-promised inheritance, to which they had for many years looked forward with hope, was now suddenly snatched from them as they were just entering on its possession. The manner in which this had been done aggravated their disappointment, and increased their indignation against the princes who had permitted themselves to be so duped, and the Hebrew people to be cheated out of its divine legacy. Another reason for their murmuring was the imprudence of the chiefs of Israel in entering into a treaty like this without consulting Jehovah.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 9:18". "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 9:18. All the congregation murmured against the princes — Both from that proneness which is in people to censure the actions of their rulers, and from the desire of the spoil of these cities.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 9:18". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-9.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Israel. This is one reason why their lives were spared. But we have seen that they could not, with justice, have treated them as enemies, on their submitting to the conditions required, even if they had not engaged themselves by oath. The Gabaonites knew with what respect oaths were then kept by the Hebrews, even when they might have some specious pretext for dispensing themselves from their obligation. "People had not yet begun to neglect God, as they do in the present age; nor did they allow themselves the liberty of interpreting an oath, and accommodating the laws to their own humour, but they rather regulated their morals by their prescription." Nondum hæc quæ nunc tenet sæculum, negligentia Dei venerat, &c. (Livy iii.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 9:18". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-9.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

made a league = solemnised a covenant.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 9:18". "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 children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.

The children of Israel smote them not. The moral character of the Gibeonites' stratagem was bad. The princes of the congregation did not vindicate either the expediency or the lawfulness of the connection they had formed, but they felt the solemn obligations of their oath; and, although the popular clamour was loud against them, caused by disappointment, perhaps, at losing the spoils of Gibeon, but especially by displeasure at the apparent breach of the divine commandment, they determined, to adhere to their pledge, because they had "sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel." The people demanded the dissolution of the league, but the princes would not comply. The oath was in their eyes a momentous fact; and it may be remarked, that so much was the old ecclesiastical theology impressed with the sanctity of an oath, that it declared the oath which had been made even to a robber inviolate. The Israelite princes acted conscientiously: they felt themselves bound by their solemn promise; but, to prevent the disastrous consequences of their imprudent haste, they resolved, as a species of atonement for their error, to degrade the Gibeonites to a servile condition, as a means of preventing the Hebrew people from being ensnared into idolatry, and thus acted up, as they thought, to the true spirit and end of the law.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 9:18". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-9.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them.
had sworn
2 Samuel 21:7; Psalms 15:4; Ecclesiastes 5:2,6; 9:2
Reciprocal: Genesis 24:39 - Peradventure;  Deuteronomy 7:2 - make no;  Joshua 2:12 - swear;  Joshua 6:22 - as ye sware unto her

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 9:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-9.html.