Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 9:6

They went to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Confidence;   Contracts;   Craftiness;   Deception;   Diplomacy;   Gilgal;   Joshua;   Kirjath-Jearim;   Magnanimity;   Oath;   Treaty;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Amorites, the;   Gibeonites;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gilgal;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - All-Sufficiency of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Covenant;   Gibeon;   Gilgal;   Slave;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Gilgal;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Covenant;   Gibeon;   Israel;   Joshua;   Stranger;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Gibeon ;   Gilgal;   Tabernacle, the;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Covenant;   Gibeon;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Nethinim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Covenant;   Gib'eon;   Tabernacle;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Covenant, in the Old Testament;   Gilgal;   Tabernacle;   Tears;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Alliances;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gibeon and Gibeonites;   Hivites;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Make ye a league with us - ברית לנו כרתו kirethu lanu berith, cut, or divide, the covenant sacrifice with us. From this it appears that heathenism at this time had its sacrifices, and covenants were ratified by sacrificing to and invoking the objects of their adoration.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 9:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-9.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Camp at Gilgal - While Joshua was engaged in more distant enterprises, the women, children, and property of the Israelites were left with a sufficient guard at this place, where they had been established immediately after crossing the Jordan Joshua 5:9.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 9:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-9.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And they went to Joshua, unto the camp at Gilgal,.... From whence it appears, that after Jericho and Ai were destroyed, the army of Israel returned to their encampment at Gilgal, Joshua 5:10; and here they were when the Gibeonites applied to them:

and said unto him, and to the men of Israel; not to the whole body of the people, but either to the seventy elders, the great council, who were with Joshua, or the princes of the congregation, after mentioned, who are said to swear to them; and so some render the words, "to the chief men of Israel"F12אל איש ישראל "primoribus viris Israelis", Junius & Tremellius; so Piscator. ; the word "Ish" here used sometimes denotes an eminent person or persons, see Isaiah 2:9,

we be come from a far country; this lie they told, that they might not be thought to be inhabitants of Canaan, and be destroyed as those of Jericho and Ai were; and as the rest of the inhabitants would be, of which they had intelligence, as the design of the Israelites, and what their orders were; according to JeromF13De loc. Heb. fol. 92. A. , Gibeon was but four miles from Bethel, unless he means Gibeah; however, it could not be at a much greater distance; and as Gilgal was a mile and a quarter from Jericho, where the Gibeonites now were, and Ai but three miles from Jericho, and Bethel a mile from thence, and Gibeon four miles from Bethel, they were come but little more than nine miles. BuntingF14Travels, p. 96. makes it twelve miles from Gilgal to Gibeon:

now therefore make yea league with us; offensive and defensive, to help and assist each other against a common enemy.

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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 9:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-9.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.

The camp at Gilgal — The place of their head-quarters.

Men of Israel — To those who used to meet in council with Joshua, to whom it belonged to make leagues, even the princes of the congregation.

Now therefore — Because we are not of this people, whom, as we are informed, you are obliged utterly to destroy.

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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 9:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-9.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 9:6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.

Ver. 6. We be come from a far country.] And therefore you may safely make a league with us. [Deuteronomy 20:11] Here was fair tale, but not a word of truth, Nusquam tuta fides.

Sit licit in partes circumspectissimus omnes,

Nemo tamen vulpes nemo cavere potest. ”

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 6. And they went to Joshua—and said, &c.— Some interpreters are of opinion, that the deputies from the Gibeonites addressed themselves to the first they met in the camp of Gilgal; but it seems more conformable to the text to suppose, that they did not signify their business to any but Joshua, in the presence of the chief men of Israel; i.e. to the heads of the tribes, who formed his council. 'Tis true, we read in the Hebrew, to Joshua,—and to the men of Israel; but the original expression often signifies in Scripture, men of note, people of distinction; and we need only look at verses 15. 18, 19. 21 to perceive that it should be so understood in this place.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 9:6". 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

Gilgal; the place of their head-quarters. To the men of Israel, to wit, those who used to meet in council with Joshua, to whom it belonged to make leagues, as it here follows, even the princes of the congregation; not the common people, as appears both from Joshua 9:15,18,19,21, and from common usage of all ambassadors, who generally deliver their message to and treat with princes, not people. And the Hebrew word iseh, here used, sometimes notes men of eminency and dignity.

Now therefore, because we are not of this people, whom, as we are informed, you are obliged utterly to destroy; that which appeared sufficiently, by the Israelites’ practice in destroying the Amorites beyond Jordan, and the people of Jericho and At, without any allowance for sex or age; and by common rumour, and the report of the Israelites and other persons who dwelt among them, or had converse with them, as Rahab and all her kindred; and by the nature of the thing, because they were to possess that whole land, and were not to mix themselves with the people of it.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 9:6". 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

[6.

The camp at Gilgal — In the absence of any hint that this was altogether a different place from the Gilgal near Jericho, where Joshua first pitched his camp, it seems rather arbitrary and unnecessary, with Keil and Van de Velde, to maintain that this Gilgal must be identified with the modern Jiljilia, in the mountains of Ephraim. If, after the capture of Ai, or after the memorial service at Mount Ebal, Joshua had pitched his camp in a new spot, and especially at another place bearing the name Gilgal, it is inexplicably strange that no mention is anywhere made of a fact so noticeable and important. Further, the expressions in Joshua 10:7; Joshua 10:9 — Joshua ascended and went up from Gilgal — most naturally indicate the ascent from the Jordan valley to the interior of Palestine, (see note on Joshua 8:10,) and show that the writer still had in mind the Gilgal near Jericho; for to understand the expressions in a military sense is hardly admissible. Keil’s only weighty argument is, that it would have been folly in Joshua, after having penetrated into the heart of the country, to go back again to the eastern border, and leave the Canaanites at liberty to move at pleasure through the conquered territory. But this whole argument rests on the assumption that Joshua would, of course, endeavour to keep the conquered Canaanites in subjection by the presence of his camp and army in the centre of the land, or else by establishing garrisons in the conquered districts — a thing which we have no evidence was ever done during the wars of the conquest. Keil’s argument is therefore altogether insufficient, and rests solely on a critic’s assumption of what Joshua ought to have done. ]

From a far country — They had heard that all the Canaanites had been doomed to extermination. See Joshua 9:24. To avoid such a fate they represented that they dwelt beyond the limits of Canaan. By this means they hoped to negotiate a treaty of peace, and even an alliance with the invincible invader. That such a treaty with nations beyond the limits of Canaan was lawful, see Deuteronomy 20:10-11.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 9:6". "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 9:6. Unto the camp to Gilgal — Joshua’s headquarters. And said to the men of Israel — To those that used to meet in council with Joshua, to whom it belonged to make leagues, namely, the princes of the congregation. Now therefore make a league with us — Because we are not of this people, whom, as we are informed, you are obliged utterly to destroy.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 9:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-9.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

men. Heb, "ish. App-14.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 9:6". "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 they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.

They went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal. Arrived at the Israelite headquarters, the strangers obtained an interview with Joshua and the elders, or princes, to whom they opened their business.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 9:6". "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 they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.
the camp
5:10; 10:43
We be
9; Deuteronomy 20:11-15; 1 Kings 8:41; 2 Kings 20:14
make ye
Kirthoo lanoo berith, "cut or divide with us a covenant," or rather the covenant sacrifice offered on these occasions. (See Note on De 29:12.)
Reciprocal: Joshua 9:22 - We are;  Joshua 10:6 - to the camp;  Ezra 10:3 - let us make;  Isaiah 39:3 - They are;  Ezekiel 16:14 - thy renown;  Hebrews 9:20 - testament

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 9:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-9.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

6.And they went to Joshua, etc. I have said that in strict law, a covenant of this description was null and void. For when they obtain their prayer, what is stipulated but just that they should be kept safe, provided they come from a distant and remote region of the globe? And the oftener they reiterate the same falsehood, the more do they annul a compact elicited by fraud, since its true meaning only amounts to this, that the Israelites will offer no molestation to a foreign people, living at a remote distance. This is shown to be more especially the meaning, from the fact, that the Israelites expressly exclude all the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. They could not, therefore, gain anything by the fraud. Nor are they more assisted by making a fallacious pretext of the name of God, and thus throwing a kind of mist over the mind of Joshua. They pretend that they had come in the name of God; as if they were professing to give glory to God, even the God of Israel; inasmuch as there is a tacit rejection of the superstitions to which they had been accustomed. For if it is true, that they had come, moved by the faith of the miracles which had been performed in Egypt, they concede supreme power to the God of Israel, though to them a God unknown.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 9:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-9.html. 1840-57.