Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 9:3

When the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Confidence;   Contracts;   Craftiness;   Deception;   Diplomacy;   Gibeon;   Joshua;   Kirjath-Jearim;   Magnanimity;   Oath;   Treaty;   Thompson Chain Reference - Gibeon;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Amorites, the;   Gibeonites;   Hivites;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Hivites;   Kiriath-jearim;   Palestine;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - All-Sufficiency of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Gibeon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ai;   Joshua, the Book of;   Transportation and Travel;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ai;   Gibeon;   Israel;   Joshua;   Stranger;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Gibeon ;   Hivites ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Gibeon;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Nethinim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - A'i;   Gib'eon;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Ibeon;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Beeroth;   Gilgal;   Hill;   Joshua (2);   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Alliances;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gibeon and Gibeonites;   Hivites;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The inhabitants of Gibeon heard - These alone did not join the confederation. Gibeon is supposed to have been the capital of the Hivites. In the division of the land it fell to the lot of Benjamin, Joshua 18:25, and was afterwards given to the priests, Joshua 21:17. See the note on Joshua 10:2.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 9:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-9.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Gibeon was the head of the four towns Joshua 9:17 occupied by the Hivites Joshua 11:19. The inhabitants were Amorites 2 Samuel 21:2; the name “Amorites” being used as a general name for the Canaanite population (Deuteronomy 1:44 note). The Hivites seem to have had a non-monarchical form of government (compare Joshua 9:3, Joshua 9:11), but their city was Joshua 10:2 in size and importance equal to those cities which the kings of the country made their capitals. Gibeon signifies “pertaining to a hill,” i. e. built on a hill (compare Gibeah and Geba, towns in the same neighborhood), and describes the site, which is on two of the rounded hills unique to this district. It is still known as El-Jib, and lies about five miles north of Jerusalem by the most direct route. It stands at the head of the pass of Beth-horon, through which lies the main route from Jerusalem and the lower Jordan valley to Joppa and the sea coast. Thus from its position, no less than from the number and valor of its people Joshua 10:2, it was one of the most important cities of southern Canaan. Gibeon fell within the lot of Benjamin Joshua 18:25, and was one of the cities assigned to the priests Joshua 21:17. In later times it was famous as the scene of various events (2 Samuel 2:12-17; 2 Samuel 20:4-13; 1 Kings 2:28-29, compare with 1 Chronicles 16:39). It was for a long time the spot where the tabernacle of Moses, together with the brass altar of burnt offering 1 Chronicles 21:29 and other portions of the sacred furniture, were placed. It was the scene of the magnificent ceremonial with which Solomon inaugurated his reign 1 Kings 3, but no doubt lost much of its importance after the tabernacle and its accompaniments were removed to the temple of Solomon.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 9:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-9.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, they also did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine-skins, old, and rent, and bound up, and old and patched shoes upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provisions was dry and was become mouldy. And they went to Joshua and the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We are come from a far country: now therefore make ye a covenant with us. And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a covenant with you? And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and whence come ye?"

Here the stratagem of the Gibeonites is explained. Their appeal to Israel appeared to be reasonable, and it was artfully presented, but, even so, the Israelites were suspicious, and Joshua himself took charge of the negotiations.

Gibeon was an important city some "six miles northwest of Jerusalem."[8] This city was the leader of a group of four cities, and, "The Four Cities Alliance led by the Gibeonites lay within a ten-mile radius of Jerusalem."[9] The importance of this union of the Gibeonites and their allies with the Israelites was pointed out by Boling: "Israel then controlled the entire northwest quadrant of the approaches to Jerusalem."[10]

"They also did work wilily ..." (Joshua 9:4). Note the word "also." The Israelites had worked "wilily" in their stratagem that aided their capture of Ai by pretending to flee from them; and, then, when the soldiers of Ai pursued them, the Israelites turned and destroyed them. Cook believed that the word "also," here apparently "connects the stratagem of the Gibeonites with that of the Israelites before Ai."[11]

Certainly, the stratagem of trickery or deceit was one with which Israel should have been very familiar. Such devices were frequently employed by the patriarchs in Israel's early history. Abraham and Isaac both passed their wives off as their sister, resulting in great financial gain to the deceivers. The same device was used by Jacob against his father-in-law, Laban; and Jacob's sons used it on him in the matter of Joseph's alleged death! The sons of Jacob, Levi and Simeon, also brutally deceived and destroyed the men of Shechem following the rape of Dinah.

"Unto the camp at Gilgal ..." (Joshua 9:6). "This was the base of Joshua's operations in the entire southern campaign in Canaan."[12] Alfred Plummer suggested that, "This is another Gilgal to be distinguished from the one previously occupied near Jericho."[13]

The whole paragraph here vividly reflects the restrictions imposed by Exodus 23:32 and Deuteronomy 7:12. Morton stressed this, pointing out that the Gibeonites were careful to pretend that they came from a "far country"; also the Israelites' remark, "peradventure you dwell among us" likewise reflects those same restrictions.[14] This is very significant, for it shows that not merely all Israel but that the total population of Canaan knew of those restrictions laid down through Moses to the effect that the Israelites were NOT to make a covenant with the Canaanites, NOR intermarry with them, NOR to compromise with them in any manner, but they were to drive them out of Palestine.

"Who are ye? and from whence come ye? ..." (Joshua 9:8). Here the Gibeonites were confronted with the crucial question regarding their actual identity. The artful manner of their skillful deception in the answers they gave are truly a marvel. They felt themselves obliged to give a detailed answer, and they did it very artfully with a mixture, of truth, falsehood, and hypocrisy."[15]

Copyright Statement
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 9:3". "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 when the inhabitants of Gibeon,.... A large and royal city, a metropolitan one, which had three others belonging to it, and under it, mentioned Joshua 9:17; see Joshua 10:2; no mention is made of any king over them, perhaps they were governed by elders, Joshua 9:11. Though an Arabic writerF8Patricides, p. 30. apud Hottinger. Smegm. Oriental. l. 1. c. 8. p. 507. says, the king of Gibeon wrote to Joshua, and desired security, and sent him large gifts, whom having preserved in safety, Joshua placed on his throne: when these

heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai; had taken the one in a miraculous way, and the other by a stratagem, and had burnt them both, destroyed the inhabitants, plundered their substance, and slew both their kings, all which struck them with terror.

Copyright Statement
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 9:3". "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

The Gibeonites, as appears by Joshua 9:17, possessed four cities in the country of the Hivites.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 9:3". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-9.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,

Gibeon — A great and royal city of the Hivites.

Copyright Statement
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 9:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-9.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 9:3 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,

Ver. 3. And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard, &c.] The rest of the Canaanites had heard as much, but made not so good a use of it. Some hear and fear; others hear and are hardened. Some of St Paul’s hearers at Athens derided, others doubted, a few only believed. [Acts 17:32; Acts 17:34] Grace maketh the difference.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 3. And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard, &c.— The city of Gibeon, which was much more considerable than Ai, was, according to Eusebius and St. Jerome, the capital of the country of the Hivites. Eusebius adds, that in his time there was a village of this name four miles to the west of Beth-el. Gibeon afterwards fell to the lot of the tribe of Benjamin, and was assigned to the priests. See chap. Joshua 18:25, Joshua 21:17.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 9:3". 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

Or, but when the inhabitants; for he shows that these took another and a wiser course.

Gibeon; a great and royal city of the Hivites, Joshua 10:2 11:19.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 9:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-9.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

THE FRAUD AND PUNISHMENT OF THE GIBEONITES, Joshua 9:3-27.

3.Gibeon — This was called “a great city.” Joshua 10:2. It was the capital of the Hivites, and was situated five miles north by west from Jerusalem, at the head of the pass of Beth-horon. It was the key of central Palestine. Three adjacent cities were leagued with it, (Joshua 9:17,) and seem to have formed with it a kind of republic; at least it was not under a king, but was equal in rank to “one of the royal cities.” Joshua 10:2. “It stands on one of those rounded hills which characterize especially the western formation of Judea.” — Stanley. It is by all travellers identified with the modern village El-Jib — a corruption of Gibeon. “It is a very fair and delicious place,” says Mandeville, “and it is called Mount Joy, because it gives joy to pilgrims’ hearts; for from that place men first see Jerusalem.” Here, where it overlooked the wide domain of Israel, the sacred tabernacle was set up for many years under David and Solomon. 1 Kings 3:3-4.

El-Jib is a moderately sized village of irregularly placed houses, chiefly composed of old mossy ruins.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 9:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-9.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

inhabitants. The Gibeonires were Hivites (Joshua 9:7), condemned to extermination as mixed with the descendants of the Nephilim (App-26). Exodus 23:32; Exodus 34:12-15. Numbers 33:51-56. Deuteronomy 7:1, Deuteronomy 7:2; Deuteronomy 20:16. They were aware of this. Hence their mission; by which they exposed themselves to the enmity of the other nations (Joshua 10:1-4).

Gibeon = High place. About six and a half miles from Beth-el, eight miles north-north-west of Jerusalem.

what. Some codices, with Septuagint and Vulgate, read "all that".

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 9:3". "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 when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,

When the inhabitants of Gibeon heard. This town, as its name imports, was situated on a rocky eminence about six miles northwest from Jerusalem, where the modern village of El-Jib now stands. It was the capital of the Hivites, and a large, important city (Joshua 10:2). It seems to have formed, in union with three other towns in the neighbourhood, a free, independent tetrapolis (Joshua 9:17), and to have enjoyed a republican government (Joshua 9:11). 'The situation and character of Gibeon placed it in an exceptional position. Planted at the head of the pass of Beth-heron, and immediately opposite the opening of the pass of Ai, it would have been the next prey on which the Israelite host would have sprung' (Stanley, 'Lectures on the Jewish Church,'

p. 236).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 9:3". "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

THE GIBEONITES MAKE PEACE WITH JOSHUA (Joshua 9:3-27).

(3) The inhabitants of Gibeon.—Hivites, as appears by Joshua 9:7. Gibeon was one member of a tetrapolis, or community of four cities, as is seen in Joshua 9:17. Their deception of Joshua and the Israelites on this occasion is a curious compensation for what was done by Simeon and Levi to the Hivites long before, when Jacob first came to Shechem from Padan-Aram (see Genesis 34). On that occasion, the inhabitants of a single city of the Hivites were put to the sword by Israel, by means of a stratagem; on this occasion, a stratagem saved four Hivite cities from destruction by Israel’s sword.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,
Gibeon
17; 10:2; 2 Samuel 21:1,2
Jericho
6:1-27; 8:1-35
Reciprocal: Joshua 6:27 - his fame;  Joshua 11:19 - the Hivites;  Joshua 21:17 - Gibeon;  2 Samuel 2:12 - Gibeon;  1 Kings 3:4 - Gibeon;  1 Chronicles 12:4 - Gibeonite;  Nehemiah 3:7 - the Gibeonite

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 9:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-9.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3.And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard, etc. The inhabitants of Gibeon alone rejecting the proposal to make war have recourse to fraud, and endeavor to obtain peace by pretending to live at a great distance. To make such an attempt, was very odious to their neighbors, because it was, in a manner, to make a schism among them, to open a door to the Israelites, and weaken the strength of their allies. And though blame is justly due to the foolish credulity of Joshua and the rulers, who were under no obligation to bargain rashly in regard to a matter not properly investigated, yet the Lord, who is wont to bring light out of darkness, turned it to the advantage of his people; for it procured them an interval of relaxation, while they halted in a tranquil district.

The Gibeonites, indeed, judged rightly and prudently, when they resolved to bear anything sooner than provoke God more against them, by a vain resistance. But the employment of fraud and illicit arts, to circumvent those whose favor and protection they desired to enjoy, was no less absurd and ridiculous than at variance with reason and equity. For what could be the stability of a league which was founded in nothing but gross fraud? They pretend that they are foreigners who had come from a far distant country. Joshua, therefore, is bargaining with mere masks, and contracts no obligation except in accordance with their words. Hence the craft by which they insinuated themselves ought not to have availed them. Still, as a great degree of integrity yet existed among men, they deemed it enough to obtain an oath even extorted by fraud, feeling fully persuaded, that the people of Israel would not violate it.

The expression, that they too acted cunningly, is erroneously supposed by some to contain an allusion to the stratagem which Joshua had employed in deceiving the citizens of Ai no less inaccurately do others make it refer to the time of Jacob, whose sons, Simeon and Levi, (83) had treacherously destroyed the Sichemites. (Genesis 34:0) The antithesis is merely between the hostile preparations of the kings and the secret wiles with which the Gibeonites accosted Joshua. Accordingly, after it is stated, that some had leagued with the intention of trying the result of open war, the trick of the Gibeonites is subjoined, and hence the meaning is, that Joshua had to do not only with professed enemies, who had gathered themselves together to battle, but with the crafty dissimulation of one nation.

It is asked, however, why the Gibeonites labored so anxiously in a matter which was not at all necessary? For we shall see elsewhere that the Israelites were ordered to offer peace to all, that they might thereafter have a just and legitimate cause for declaring war. But as it was everywhere rumored, that they were seeking a permanent settlement in the land of Canaan, (which they could not obtain except by expelling the inhabitants,) the Gibeonites conclude that there is no means of binding them to mercy except by imposing upon them in some way or other; as they would never have spontaneously and knowingly allowed the land which they had invaded to be occupied by others. Nay, as it was known that they had been commanded to destroy all, they had no alternative left but to have recourse to fraud, as all hope of obtaining safety was otherwise taken away. And for this reason they shortly after ask pardon for a fraud wrung from them by necessity.

Here, however, a question arises; as the Israelites object that they are not at liberty to make any paction with the nations of Canaan, but are bound to exterminate them utterly. There is certainly a discrepancy between the two things — to exhort to submission, and at the same time refuse to admit suppliants and volunteers. But although God required that the laws of war should be observed according to use and wont, and that, therefore, peace should be offered on condition of submitting, he merely wished to try the minds of those nations, that they might bring destruction upon themselves by their own obstinacy. At the same time, it was intimated to the Israelitish people, that they must destroy them; and hence the conclusion necessarily followed, that those who dwelt in the land of Canaan could not be tolerated, and that it was unlawful to make a covenant with them.

We shall afterwards find both things distinctly expressed, viz., that all persisted in carrying on war, because it had been the divine intention that their hearts should be hardened, and that they should perish. It was, therefore, a legitimate inference that those who were doomed to death could not be preserved. If any one object that the Gibeonites, who voluntarily applied for peace, were therefore exceptions, I answer, that the Israelites were not at present considering that formal custom which produced no result, but are merely attending to the promise and the command of God. Hence it is, that they allow no hope to remain, because they had been simply and precisely commanded to purge the land by putting every individual to death, and to succeed to the place of those they had slain.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-9.html. 1840-57.