Joshua 9
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1  When all the kings west of the Yarden—in the hill country, in the Shephelah, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea up to the vicinity of Lebanon, the [land of the] Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—learned of this,

א  וַיְהִי כִשְׁמֹעַ כָּל־הַמְּלָכִים אֲשֶׁר בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן בָּהָר וּבַשְּׁפֵלָה וּבְכֹל חוֹף הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל אֶל־מוּל הַלְּבָנוֹן הַחִתִּי וְהָאֱמֹרִי הַכְּנַעֲנִי הַפְּרִזִּי הַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי׃

2  they gathered with one accord to fight against Yehoshua and Yisrael.

ב  וַיִּתְקַבְּצוּ יַחְדָּו לְהִלָּחֵם עִם־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְעִם־יִשְׂרָאֵל פֶּה אֶחָד׃

3  But when the inhabitants of Givon learned how Yehoshua had treated Yericho and Ai,

ג  וְיֹשְׁבֵי גִבְעוֹן שָׁמְעוּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יְהוֹשֻׁעַ לִירִיחוֹ וְלָעָי׃

4  they for their part resorted to cunning. They set out in disguise: they took worn-out sacks for their asses, and worn-out waterskins that were cracked and patched;

ד  וַיַּעֲשׂוּ גַם־הֵמָּה בְּעָרְמָה וַיֵּלְכוּ וַיִּצְטַיָּרוּ וַיִּקְחוּ שַׂקִּים בָּלִים לַחֲמוֹרֵיהֶם וְנֹאדוֹת יַיִן בָּלִים וּמְבֻקָּעִים וּמְצֹרָרִים׃

5  they had worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and threadbare clothes on their bodies; and all the bread they took as provision was dry and crumbly.

ה  וּנְעָלוֹת בָּלוֹת וּמְטֻלָּאוֹת בְּרַגְלֵיהֶם וּשְׂלָמוֹת בָּלוֹת עֲלֵיהֶם וְכֹל לֶחֶם צֵידָם יָבֵשׁ הָיָה נִקֻּדִים׃

6  And so they went to Yehoshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Yisrael, “We come from a distant land; we propose that you make a pact with us.”

ו  וַיֵּלְכוּ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה הַגִּלְגָּל וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו וְאֶל־אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ רְחוֹקָה בָּאנוּ וְעַתָּה כִּרְתוּ־לָנוּ בְרִית׃

7  The men of Yisrael replied to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live among us; how then can we make a pact with you?”

ז  ויאמרו [וַיֹּאמֶר] אִישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־הַחִוִּי אוּלַי בְּקִרְבִּי אַתָּה יוֹשֵׁב וְאֵיךְ אכרות־[אֶכְרָת־] לְךָ בְרִית׃

8  They said to Yehoshua, “We will be your subjects.” But Yehoshua asked them, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

ח  וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ עֲבָדֶיךָ אֲנָחְנוּ וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם יְהוֹשֻׁעַ מִי אַתֶּם וּמֵאַיִן תָּבֹאוּ׃

9  They replied, “Your servants have come from a very distant country, because of the fame of Hashem your God. For we heard the report of Him: of all that He did in Egypt,

ט  וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו מֵאֶרֶץ רְחוֹקָה מְאֹד בָּאוּ עֲבָדֶיךָ לְשֵׁם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כִּי־שָׁמַעְנוּ שָׁמְעוֹ וְאֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה בְּמִצְרָיִם׃

10  and of all that He did to the two Amorite kings on the other side of the Yarden, King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan who lived in Ashtaroth.

י  וְאֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לִשְׁנֵי מַלְכֵי הָאֱמֹרִי אֲשֶׁר בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן לְסִיחוֹן מֶלֶךְ חֶשְׁבּוֹן וּלְעוֹג מֶלֶךְ־הַבָּשָׁן אֲשֶׁר בְּעַשְׁתָּרוֹת׃

11  So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country instructed us as follows, ‘Take along provisions for a trip, and go to them and say: We will be your subjects; come make a pact with us.’

יא  וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלֵינוּ זְקֵינֵינוּ וְכָל־יֹשְׁבֵי אַרְצֵנוּ לֵאמֹר קְחוּ בְיֶדְכֶם צֵידָה לַדֶּרֶךְ וּלְכוּ לִקְרָאתָם וַאֲמַרְתֶּם אֲלֵיהֶם עַבְדֵיכֶם אֲנַחְנוּ וְעַתָּה כִּרְתוּ־לָנוּ בְרִית׃

12  This bread of ours, which we took from our houses as provision, was still hot when we set out to come to you; and see how dry and crumbly it has become.

יב  זֶה לַחְמֵנוּ חָם הִצְטַיַּדְנוּ אֹתוֹ מִבָּתֵּינוּ בְּיוֹם צֵאתֵנוּ לָלֶכֶת אֲלֵיכֶם וְעַתָּה הִנֵּה יָבֵשׁ וְהָיָה נִקֻּדִים׃

13  These wineskins were new when we filled them, and see how they have cracked. These clothes and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.”

יג  וְאֵלֶּה נֹאדוֹת הַיַּיִן אֲשֶׁר מִלֵּאנוּ חֲדָשִׁים וְהִנֵּה הִתְבַּקָּעוּ וְאֵלֶּה שַׂלְמוֹתֵינוּ וּנְעָלֵינוּ בָּלוּ מֵרֹב הַדֶּרֶךְ מְאֹד׃

14  The men took [their word] because of their provisions, and did not inquire of Hashem.

יד  וַיִּקְחוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים מִצֵּידָם וְאֶת־פִּי יְהוָה לֹא שָׁאָלוּ׃

15  Yehoshua established friendship with them; he made a pact with them to spare their lives, and the chieftains of the community gave them their oath.

טו  וַיַּעַשׂ לָהֶם יְהוֹשֻׁעַ שָׁלוֹם וַיִּכְרֹת לָהֶם בְּרִית לְחַיּוֹתָם וַיִּשָּׁבְעוּ לָהֶם נְשִׂיאֵי הָעֵדָה׃

16  But when three days had passed after they made this pact with them, they learned that they were neighbors, living among them.

טז  וַיְהִי מִקְצֵה שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר־כָּרְתוּ לָהֶם בְּרִית וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ כִּי־קְרֹבִים הֵם אֵלָיו וּבְקִרְבּוֹ הֵם יֹשְׁבִים׃

17  So the Israelites set out, and on the third day they came to their towns; these towns were Givon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiryat Ye’arim.

יז  וַיִּסְעוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל־עָרֵיהֶם בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וְעָרֵיהֶם גִּבְעוֹן וְהַכְּפִירָה וּבְאֵרוֹת וְקִרְיַת יְעָרִים׃

18  But the Israelites did not attack them, since the chieftains of the community had sworn to them by Hashem, the God of Yisrael. The whole community muttered against the chieftains,

יח  וְלֹא הִכּוּם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי־נִשְׁבְּעוּ לָהֶם נְשִׂיאֵי הָעֵדָה בַּיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּלֹּנוּ כָל־הָעֵדָה עַל־הַנְּשִׂיאִים׃

19  but all the chieftains answered the whole community, “We swore to them by Hashem, the God of Yisrael; therefore we cannot touch them.

יט  וַיֹּאמְרוּ כָל־הַנְּשִׂיאִים אֶל־כָּל־הָעֵדָה אֲנַחְנוּ נִשְׁבַּעְנוּ לָהֶם בַּיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַתָּה לֹא נוּכַל לִנְגֹּעַ בָּהֶם׃

20  This is what we will do to them: We will spare their lives, so that there may be no wrath against us because of the oath that we swore to them.”

כ  זֹאת נַעֲשֶׂה לָהֶם וְהַחֲיֵה אוֹתָם וְלֹא־יִהְיֶה עָלֵינוּ קֶצֶף עַל־הַשְּׁבוּעָה אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּעְנוּ לָהֶם׃

21  And the chieftains declared concerning them, “They shall live!” And they became hewers of wood and drawers of water for the whole community, as the chieftains had decreed concerning them.

כא  וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֲלֵיהֶם הַנְּשִׂיאִים יִחְיוּ וַיִּהְיוּ חֹטְבֵי עֵצִים וְשֹׁאֲבֵי־מַיִם לְכָל־הָעֵדָה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבְּרוּ לָהֶם הַנְּשִׂיאִים׃

22  Yehoshua summoned them and spoke to them thus: “Why did you deceive us and tell us you lived very far from us, when in fact you live among us?

כב  וַיִּקְרָא לָהֶם יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וַיְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם לֵאמֹר לָמָּה רִמִּיתֶם אֹתָנוּ לֵאמֹר רְחוֹקִים אֲנַחְנוּ מִכֶּם מְאֹד וְאַתֶּם בְּקִרְבֵּנוּ יֹשְׁבִים׃

23  Therefore, be accursed! Never shall your descendants cease to be slaves, hewers of wood and drawers of water for the House of my God.”

כג  וְעַתָּה אֲרוּרִים אַתֶּם וְלֹא־יִכָּרֵת מִכֶּם עֶבֶד וְחֹטְבֵי עֵצִים וְשֹׁאֲבֵי־מַיִם לְבֵית אֱלֹהָי׃

24  But they replied to Yehoshua, “You see, your servants had heard that Hashem your God had promised His servant Moshe to give you the whole land and to wipe out all the inhabitants of the country on your account; so we were in great fear for our lives on your account. That is why we did this thing.

כד  וַיַּעֲנוּ אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וַיֹּאמְרוּ כִּי הֻגֵּד הֻגַּד לַעֲבָדֶיךָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת־מֹשֶׁה עַבְדּוֹ לָתֵת לָכֶם אֶת־כָּל־הָאָרֶץ וּלְהַשְׁמִיד אֶת־כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ מִפְּנֵיכֶם וַנִּירָא מְאֹד לְנַפְשֹׁתֵינוּ מִפְּנֵיכֶם וַנַּעֲשֵׂה אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה׃

25  And now we are at your mercy; do with us what you consider right and proper.”

כה  וְעַתָּה הִנְנוּ בְיָדֶךָ כַּטּוֹב וְכַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינֶיךָ לַעֲשׂוֹת לָנוּ עֲשֵׂה׃

26  And he did so; he saved them from being killed by the Israelites.

כו  וַיַּעַשׂ לָהֶם כֵּן וַיַּצֵּל אוֹתָם מִיַּד בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא הֲרָגוּם׃

27  That day Yehoshua made them hewers of wood and drawers of water—as they still are—for the community and for the mizbayach of Hashem, in the place that He would choose.

va-yi-t’-NAYM y’-ho-SHU-a ba-YOM ha-HU kho-t’-VAY ay-TZEEM v’-SHO-a-vay MA-yim la-ay-DAH ul-miz-BAKH a-do-NAI ad ha-YOM ha-ZEH el ha-ma-KOM a-SHER yiv-KHAR

כז  וַיִּתְּנֵם יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא חֹטְבֵי עֵצִים וְשֹׁאֲבֵי מַיִם לָעֵדָה וּלְמִזְבַּח יְהוָה עַד־הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחָר׃

 9:27   That day Yehoshua made them hewers of wood and drawers of water

The Gibeonites trick Yehoshua into believing they are not Canaanites. Therefore, Yehoshua makes a treaty with them. Even after learning the truth, the Children of Israel do not violate their word. However, the Gibeonites are required to serve them and Hashem’s altar. The Metzudat David, a classic commentary on the books of the Prophets and Writings written in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, explains that this means they are to support the soldiers of Israel during war and to labor in the Mishkan in Shilo, and later in the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim. Their service in the Beit Hamikdash  would be important, as it would become a focal point for both Jews and non-Jews in their service of the one God.Comment

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Joshua 9

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