Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 9:9

They said to him, "Your servants have come from a very far country because of the fame of the Lord your God; for we have heard the report of Him and all that He did in Egypt,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Confidence;   Contracts;   Craftiness;   Deception;   Diplomacy;   Joshua;   Kirjath-Jearim;   Magnanimity;   Oath;   Treaty;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Amorites, the;   Gibeonites;   Lying;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - All-Sufficiency of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Gibeon;   Slave;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Nethinim;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gibeon;   Israel;   Joshua;   Stranger;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Alliance;   Gibeon ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Gibeon;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Nethinim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Gib'eon;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Fame;   Joshua (2);   Name;   Tears;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Alliances;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gibeon and Gibeonites;   Hivites;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Because of the name of the Lord thy God - They pretend that they had undertaken this journey on a religious account; and seem to intimate that they had the highest respect for Jehovah, the object of the Israelites' worship; this was hypocrisy.

We have heard the fame of him - This was true: the wonders which God did in Egypt, and the discomfiture of Sihon and Og, had reached the whole land of Canaan, and it was on this account that the inhabitants of it were panic-struck. The Gibeonites, knowing that they could not stand where such mighty forces had fallen, wished to make the Israelites their friends. This part of their relation was strictly true.

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

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of Jehovah thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashteroth. And our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us saying. Take provisions in your hand for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants, and now make yea covenant with us. This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and is become mouldy: and these wine-skins, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they are rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. And the men took of their provision, and asked not counsel at the mouth of Jehovah. And Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them."

"We are come because of the name of Jehovah your God ..." This was a falsehood, because it implied their willingness to worship Jehovah. "We have heard of the fame of Jehovah, what he did in Egypt. etc ..." This, of course, was true, but by no means was it the "whole truth." They had also heard of what Jehovah had done to Jericho and Ai, but, as pretended citizens of a very distant place, they lived so far away that the news of Jericho and Ai had not yet reached them! This was skillful lying at its very most efficient level. They mentioned here only what they would have heard about if indeed that had lived "very far away."[16] Their presenting themselves as ambassadors, that is, representatives of other peoples, was true. Gibeon was the leader of a league of cities. The three elements of their deception: (1) the truth, that they had indeed heard of Jehovah and of his works; (2) hypocrisy by pretending that they intended to worship Jehovah; and (3) outright falsehood, that they came from a very far off, that the worn state of their clothes was due to the length of their journey, etc. Their clothing, their shoes, the wineskins, and the hot bread, all of which they said were fresh and new when they left home - all of that was an outright falsehood! Israel allowed themselves to be deceived by the artful presentation of the Gibeonites.

The mention of "Ashteroth" (Joshua 9:10) appears to be another contribution to the deception. Ashteroth was some 20 miles east of Galilee;[17] and their mention of it was probably intended to show their familiarity with places and events far removed from Palestine. As Plummer said, "This entire deception was carried on "with consummate astuteness."[18] Of course, such a skilled and artful deception could not have been conceived and executed except under the urgency of the most critical necessity. "The kind of necessity that precipitated this deception could never have existed in a forger or a interpolator, thus giving us a sign of the genuineness of this narrative."[19]

Textual criticism reaches some kind of a climax of blindness in the complaint of Longacre that there must be two "different versions" of this story woven together here, since "two different reasons" are given for Israel's making a covenant with the Gibeonites![20] Lindsay identified these as: (1) Israel was deceived; and (2) they did not ask counsel of Jehovah! Anyone should be able to discern that these are not two different reasons but one. Israel was deceived, and the reason they were deceived is that they did not ask counsel of Jehovah.

"And the men took of their provision ..." (Joshua 9:14). This means that Israel was completely deceived and that they ate a covenant meal with the Gibeonites, thus making a treaty with them. "The men," mentioned here, were the princes of Israel, the leaders of the people. Their eating of the provisions of the Gibeonites was not a casual thing at all, because, "This seems to refer to the meal that was a part of the treaty-making process in those days."[21] After the princes of Israel had made a treaty and sealed it with a covenant meal, it was too late to back out of the agreement when they later discovered the deception.

We must not try to excuse Israel's failure here. "They were guilty of excessive credulity and culpable negligence in not asking the will of God through the High Priest and the Urim and Thummin, before making any such agreement.[22] God's children are instructed to be "wise as serpents ... harmless as doves." "The child of God is no less in danger today, and needs to be aware of our arch-deceiver who is Satan."[23] "This may have been a full vassal treaty of the pattern of those times, because it certainly included, as events showed, the protection of the vassals against their enemies."[24]

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 9:9". "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 they said unto him, from a very far country thy servants are come,.... Which they magnified and expressed in stronger terms than before, but were careful not to mention any country, lest such questions should be asked about it, their answers to which would betray them, but put it off by saying they were come:

because of the name of the Lord thy God; because of what they had heard of his name, his power and goodness; or "unto the name of the Lord thy God"F15לשם יהוה "ad nomen Domini", Masius; "ad nomen Jehovae": Junius & Tremellius. ; that is, they were come to profess it, and to embrace the religion of the Israelites, and be proselytes to it; which they knew would be very agreeable to them, and engage them to show them favour; and so the Samaritan ChronicleF16Apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. l. 1. c. 8. p. 507. represents them as promising to do this, saying,"we will believe in thy Lord, nor will we contradict him in what ye shall mark out for us, be it small or great;'which seems to be, confirmed by what follows, unless it be considered as an explanation of the preceding clause:

for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt; the miracles wrought there, the plagues he inflicted on the Egyptians, and the wonderful deliverance of the children of Israel from their slavery.

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

Geneva Study Bible

And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of e the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,

(e) Even the idolaters for fear of death will pretend to honour the true God, and receive his religion.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 9:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-9.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the Lord thy God — They pretended to be actuated by religious motives in seeking to be allied with His people. But their studied address is worthy of notice in appealing to instances of God‘s miraculous doings at a distance, while they pass by those done in Canaan, as if the report of these had not yet reached their ears.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 9:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-9.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,

Name of the Lord — Being moved thereunto by the report of his great and glorious nature and works; so they gave them hopes that they would embrace their religion.

In Egypt — They cunningly mention those things only which were done some time ago, and say nothing of dividing Jordan, or the destruction of Jericho and Ai, as if they lived so far off that the fame of those things had not yet reached them.

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

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 9:9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,

Ver. 9. From a very far country, &c.] Thus mendacium mendacio assunt, they lay lie upon lie, as those in Psalms 119:69. They had taught their tongues to speak lies, and were artists at it. [Jeremiah 9:5] They had taken fast hold of deceit. [Jeremiah 8:5]

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

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Because of the name of the Lord; being moved thereunto by the report of his great and glorious nature and works; so they gave them hopes that they would embrace their religion.

All that he did in Egypt: they cunningly mention those things only which were done some time since, and say nothing of the dividing of Jordan, nor of the destruction of Jericho and Ai, as if they lived so far off that the fame of those things had not yet reached them.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 9:9". 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

9.Because of the name of the Lord thy God — {The word LORD, in capitals, here as elsewhere in the Old Testament, is the Hebrew Jehovah, the proper name of the God of Israel, as Baal was the god of the Canaanites. These Canaanite-Gibeonites, assuming that Baal and Jehovah are two rival national deities, are proposing to make submission, and even, if needs be, to transfer their allegiance to the latter, who has shown himself by his victories to be the mightier god of the two.}

And all that he did in Egypt — They are too cunning to say that they have heard of the miraculous crossing of the Jordan, of Jericho’s downfall, and the capture of Ai. This would intimate that they were so near as to become cognizant of these recent events. So they speak of events forty years ago in Egypt, and many months ago beyond the Jordan. {Thereby fulfilling God’s words to Pharaoh, that he had raised him up to make his name declared throughout all the earth. Exodus 9:16. And wonderfully have these words been fulfilled.}

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 9:9". "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 9:9. Because of the Lord thy God — Being moved thereunto by the report of his great and glorious nature and works. Thus they gave them hopes that they would embrace their religion. In Egypt — They cunningly mention those things only which were done some time ago, and say nothing of dividing Jordan, or the destruction of Jericho and Ai, as if they lived so far off that the fame of those things had not yet reached them.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 9:9". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-9.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

God. So the queen Saba came to Solomon, 3 Kings x. The people of Gabaon being convinced that the God of Israel was the only true God, came to join themselves to his people, and to worship him. (Serarius)

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

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

God. Hebrew Elobim. App-4.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 9:9". "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 said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,

From a very far country ... because of the name of the Lord thy God. They pretended to be actuated by religious motives in seeking to be allied with His people. But their studied address is worthy of notice in appealing to instances of God's miraculous doings at a distance, while they pass by those done in Canaan, as if the report of these had not yet reached their ears. It has been supposed that they had a deep impelling motive for taking a course which they alone of all the Canaanite tribes adopted, and to which they would not, but for a very powerful reason, have resorted. That reason was, that having been expelled from mount Seir, to make way for the tribe of Esau, and having obtained a settlement in the four cities of Canaan, they foresaw the certainty of their being again dispossessed by the descendants of Jacob, Esau's brother.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 9:9". "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 said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,
From a
Deuteronomy 20:15
because
1 Kings 8:41; 2 Chronicles 6:32,33; Nehemiah 9:5; Psalms 72:19; 83:18; 148:13; Isaiah 55:5; Acts 8:7
we have
24; 2:9,10; Exodus 9:16; 15:14; Numbers 14:15; Isaiah 66:19
Reciprocal: Exodus 18:1 - done;  Joshua 6:27 - his fame;  Joshua 9:6 - We be;  Joshua 9:22 - We are;  1 Kings 8:42 - For they shall;  2 Kings 5:15 - now 1know;  2 Kings 20:14 - a far country;  1 Chronicles 19:19 - the servants;  2 Chronicles 20:29 - they had heard;  Psalm 77:14 - thou hast;  Psalm 126:2 - then said;  Psalm 145:6 - And men;  Isaiah 33:13 - Hear;  Isaiah 39:3 - They are;  Isaiah 60:9 - unto;  Ezekiel 20:9 - in whose;  Romans 9:17 - that

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