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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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the capital city of the Gibeonites, who took advantage of the oaths of Joshua, and of the elders of Israel, procured by an artful representation of their belonging to a very remote country, Joshua 9. Joshua and the elders had not the precaution to consult God on this affair, but inconsiderately made a league with these people. They soon discovered their mistake, and, without revoking their promise of saving their lives, they condemned them to labour in carrying wood and water for the tabernacle; and to other works, as slaves and captives; in which state of servitude they remained, till the entire dispersion of the Jewish nation, A.M. 2553; B.C. 1451. Three days after the Gibeonites had surrendered to the Hebrews, the kings of Canaan being informed of it, five of them came and besieged the city of Gibeon. The Gibeonites sent to Joshua, and desired speedy help. Joshua attacked the five kings early in the morning, put them to flight, and pursued them to Bethoron, Joshua 10:3 , &c. The Gibeonites were descended from the Hivites, the old inhabitants of the country, and possessed four cities: Cephirah, Beeroth, Kirjath-jearim, and Gibeon, their capital; all afterward given to Benjamin, except Kirjath- jearim, which fell to Judah. The Gibeonites continued subject to those burdens which Joshua imposed on them, and were very faithful to the Israelites. Nevertheless, Saul destroyed a great number of them, 2 Samuel 21:1; but God, in the reign of David, sent a great famine, which lasted three years, A.M. 2983; B.C. 1021; and the prophets told David that this calamity would continue while Saul's cruelty remained un-avenged. David asked the Gibeonites what satisfaction they desired. They answered, "Seven of Saul's sons we will put to death, to avenge the blood of our brethren." The Gibeonites crucified them. From this time there is no mention of the Gibeonites as a distinct people. But they were probably included among the Nethinim, appointed for the service of the temple, 1 Chronicles 9:2 . Afterward, those of the Canaanites who were subdued, and had their lives spared, were added to the Gibeonites. We see in Ezra 8:20; Ezra 2:58; 1 Kings 9:20-21 , that David, Solomon, and the princes of Judah, gave many such to the Lord; these Nethinim being carried into captivity with Judah and the Levites, many of them returned with Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah, and continued, as before, in the service of the temple, under the priests and Levites. We neither know when, nor by whom, nor on what occasion, the tabernacle and altar of burnt sacrifices, made by Moses in the wilderness, were removed to Gibeon; but this we certainly know, that, toward the end of David's reign, and in the beginning of Solomon's, they were there,

1 Chronicles 21:29-30 . David, seeing an angel of the Lord at Araunah's threshing floor, was so terrified that he had not time or strength to go so far as Gibeon to offer sacrifice; but Solomon, being seated on the throne, went to sacrifice at Gibeon, 1 Kings 3:4 .

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Gibeon'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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