Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 9:20

This we will do to them, even let them live, so that wrath will not be upon us for the oath which we swore to them."
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 - Gibeonites;   Oaths;   Swearing Falsely;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - All-Sufficiency of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Gibeon;   Slave;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - 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;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Charm;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Alliances;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gibeon and Gibeonites;   Hivites;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

This we will do to them,.... Either this favour we will show them, preserving their lives, next mentioned, or this punishment we will inflict on them, making them hewers of wood, and drawers of water; which though not mentioned directly, was what was upon their minds, and in their design to propose, only they were extremely desirous of sparing their lives, which they repeat:

we will even let them live; this by all means must be done, their lives must not be taken away as the rest of the Canaanites:

lest wrath come upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them; that is, lest the wrath of God come upon us princes, and upon the whole community, for perjury, a breach of the third command, Exodus 20:7, a sin highly displeasing to God; since an oath is made not only in his presence, and before him as a witness, who is appealed unto, but in his name, and is often severely threatened, and sorely punished; and as even the breach of this oath was several hundreds of years after, in the times of David, 2 Samuel 21:1. The Vulgate Latin version therefore reads the words, "lest the wrath of the Lord come upon us": but Abarbinel observes, that it may be understood of the wrath of Israel; for the words may be rendered, "and there shall not be wrath upon us, because of the oath": there need be none, there is no occasion for it, since this was agreed upon on all hands, that the Gibeonites should be let to live; and since it was an act of kindness and goodness, and especially they would have no reason to be angry and wrathful with them, when they heard them out, what they had further to propose to them, to make them their servants, though they spared their lives.

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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 9:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-9.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the k oath which we sware unto them.

(k) This does not establish rash oaths, but shows God's mercy toward his, who would not punish them for their sin.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 9:20". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-9.html. 1599-1645.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 9:20 This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them.

Ver. 20. Lest wrath be upon us.] In the twelve tables at Rome it was written, Periurii, poena divina, exitium; humans, dedecus." God punisheth perjury with destruction, men with disgrace. Tissaphernes the Persian being overcome by Agesilaus, desired a truce, and had it, both parties swearing to observe it. This Agesilaus did with great care, but not Tissaphernes. Agesilaus comforted himself and his army with this, that the Persian by his perjury would both provoke God and offend men, and should fare accordingly. (a)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 20. This we will do to them, &c.— "That we may not draw down upon us the wrath of God, by the violation of our oath, though rashly made; this is what we may now do with the Gibeonites. Let their lives be spared, but let them be reduced to the servile occupations of hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation, them, and their children after them, for ever." The expression, all the congregation, is explained in ver. 23 to be the house of God. Thus then the Gibeonites were condemned to fetch all the water and wood necessary for the sacrifices, purifications, holy feastings, and, without exception, for whatever the service of the sanctuary required; a mean and toilsome occupation, (see Deuteronomy 29:11.) which indicated a real slavery; and which, doubtless, they filled up by turns, in the same manner as the Levites discharged their functions. The Romans observed the same conduct as Joshua's towards the Brutians, a people who at that time possessed what is now called Calabria; and to punish whom for having quitted their alliance, and taken part with Hannibal, they condemned them to serve always as couriers to all the magistrates and officers whom they sent into the provinces dependent on the republic. See Strabo, lib. 5: Some learned men are of opinion, that the Gibeonites were afterwards called Nethinims; i.e. people given, as it were, to the service of God. Note; How great the mercy shewn unto the sinner, if but his life were given him for a prey; but how much greater, when his lot is assigned him in the temple of God, and the perfect freedom of God's service becomes his happy portion.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 9:20". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-9.html. 1801-1803.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

20.Lest wrath be upon us — By neglecting to consult God they had brought themselves into a state of moral perplexity. They were in a strait between their oath and the plain command of God, strengthened by the murmurs of the people.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 9:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-9.html. 1874-1909.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them.
lest wrath
2 Samuel 21:1-6; 2 Chronicles 36:13; Proverbs 20:25; Ezekiel 17:12-21; Zechariah 5:3,4; Malachi 3:5; Romans 1:31; 1 Timothy 1:10
Reciprocal: Genesis 24:8 - clear;  Exodus 20:7 - guiltless;  Joshua 9:19 - We have;  1 Samuel 30:15 - Swear;  2 Chronicles 16:3 - break;  Ezekiel 17:16 - whose oath

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 9:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-9.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

20.This we will do to them, etc. Although, according to agreement, they give the Gibeonites their lives, they ratify the whole covenant only in part. For while the Gibeonites were entitled to be made perfectly secure, they are deprived of liberty, which is dearer than life. From this we infer that Joshua and the others had, as in a case of doubt and perplexity, devised a kind of middle course, so as not to make the oath altogether void. The principal object of this device was to appease the multitude: at the same time, while they were indignant at having been imposed upon by the Gibeonites, they punished the fraud, and did not allow impunity to increase their derision. It was a harsh condition, in this arrangement, that the Gibeonites were not only doomed to servile labors but withdrawn from their homes, to lead a vagrant and wandering life. The office of scullions imposed on them was no less mean than laborious, but the worst, of all was to hew wood and draw water, wherever God should be pleased to station the ark.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:20". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-9.html. 1840-57.