Study Notes

Joshua 9:1-12:24

9:1-2 A Common Enemy

The kings of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, sworn enemies amongst themselves, formed an alliance to fight against the Israelites. It is always fascinating to see enemies with different ideals, different priorities, different philosophies, align themselves with one another because they are mutual enemies of God.

In Mark 3, we read,

Mark 3:6 And the Pharisees went out and immediately {began} taking counsel with the Herodians against Him, {as} {to} how they might destroy Him.

The Pharisees and the Herodians hated each other. The Herodians were the Jews that welcomed the Roman occupation of the Jews' land. They used that friendship to rule over the people politically. The Pharisees, on the other hand, desired to rule over the people religiously. They were diametrically opposed on every issue. That is, until this time, when they found a common enemy.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees were also bitter enemies. Although both held places in the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees were the fundamentalists - believing the Word of God and the supernatural aspects of the kingdom, while the Sadducees were the liberals, not believing in angels or the resurrection of the dead. Yet once again, Jesus becomes the focal point by which two enemies join together. In Matthew 16, they mutually came to test Jesus and demand a sign from heaven.

Even Herod and Pilate, who had been at enmity with each other, became friends on the day that Jesus was put to death. (Luke 23:12)

One day we will see this on a worldwide level. In Revelation 19, we read that all the kings of the earth and their armies will assemble together to make war against Jesus Christ and His army of saints and angels.

But not every enemy of God and His people use brute force. We see that some are crafty, as we read this next account of the Gibeonites.

9:3-13 Deception By The Gibeonites

The Gibeonites sent undercover agents in disguise to the camp of Israel. They said, "We're from far away - make a covenant with us." The Israelites knew that in God had commanded, "When you are brought into the land,

Deut. 7:2 shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. "

In obedience to God, they would not do this. But they were deceived by the envoys' worn-out sacks, mended wineskins, and patched sandals. Certainly Joshua their leader will have discernment... won't he?

9:14-15 A Lack Of Prayer

Bad move! Joshua takes them at their word and doesn't pray about it. They make a covenant with the Gibeonites. Same mistake as they made before the battle at Ai - they didn't pray for guidance, for direction, for discernment, for counsel. How can we know what to pray about and what not to pray about? The answer is obvious: pray about everything. Maintain a constant attitude of prayer. Do as Paul told the Thessalonians:

1Ths. 5:17 pray without ceasing

You see, if we become men and women that pray about everything, we will never make a mistake like was made at Ai. We will never fall into the trickery of the Gibeonites. We will never again regret a decision that was not prayed about.

9:16-20 Swear To Your Own Hurt

It didn't take long to figure out that the Gibeonites only lived 20 miles away in the land of Canaan. The people wanted to do them in for their trickery, but the leaders said, "No."

Josh. 9:19 ..."We have sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel, and now we cannot touch them."

Why should they honor their word if they were tricked? The Law of Moses addressed this specific issue:

Lev. 5:4 '...If a person swears thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, in whatever matter a man may speak thoughtlessly with an oath, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know {it} , he will be guilty in one of these.

It doesn't matter that you didn't have all the information. It doesn't matter that you were deceived. You gave your word, and must abide by it. God will deal with them, but you be a person of your word. I've had men and women tell me, "Well, I got married when I was backslidden. I was in a bad place, and now I'm stuck in a bad marriage. This isn't the perfect spouse that God had for me." To that, I say, "Okay, maybe that might be true, but you swore an oath before God and man - till death do you part. God will honor your obedience if you stay in the marriage and make it work, but you will be grievously guilty if you go back on your word, if you break your covenant, if you disregard that oath.

David wrote in Psalm 15,

Ps. 15:1-4 O LORD, who may abide in Thy tent? Who may dwell on Thy holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the LORD; He swears to his own hurt, and does not change;

Yes, we despise those who are reprobate, but must honor our word in the fear of God. Swearing to our own hurt. No matter what pretenses there were, if you've given your word, honor it in the fear of the Lord.

9:21-27 The Gibeonites Cursed

Joshua honored the covenant that Israel made with the Gibeonites. God expected this to be honored throughout the generations. In 2Samuel 21, there was a famine that lasted for three years. When David prayed about it,

2Sam. 21:1 ...the LORD said, "It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death."

David made atonement for the broken covenant, and the famine ended.

Of course the Gibeonites were not off scott free. Although the covenant was honored, the Gibeonites were cursed with slavery - cutting wood and drawing water for the house of God. Frankly, I'd rather be a slave in the house of God than a prosperous man in the world. The psalmist wrote,

Ps. 84:10 ...A day in Thy courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

This curse is actually quite a blessing!

10:1-5 An Attack Against Gibeon

Ad-O-nee TSEH-dek, the king of Jerusalem, rallies Ho-HAWM, the king of Kheb-RONE, Pir-AWM king of Yar-MOOTH, Yaw-FEE-ah king of Law-KEESH, and Deb-EER king of Eg-LAWN together to take revenge on the Gibeonites for aligning themselves with Israel.

This is, by the way, the first time that Jerusalem is mentioned by this name in the Scriptures.

10:6-7 Off To The Rescue

Although the Israelites had been deceived by the Gibeonites, they were now allies by covenant. When they get word that the Gibeonites are being attacked, Joshua brings up the armies of Israel to fight.

10:8-11 Hailstones From Heaven

Israel takes them by surprise by acting quickly and marching unceasingly. They slew many of the enemy at Gibeon, and chased them by the way of the ascent of Bayth Kho-RONE, and struck them as far as Az-ay-KAW and Mak-kay-DAW.

God actually joined in this battle visibly, by pelting the enemy with hailstones. He had done this forty years earlier in Egypt (Exodus 9), and will do it again during the Great Tribulation (Rev. 8, 11, 16)

10:12-14 The Sun Stands Still

This account of the sun standing still has come under attack by people trying to discredit the Bible. "The sun doesn't move, it's the earth that rotates around it," they say. "So obviously this proves the Bible isn't true." But through careful research, I was able to discover that many reputable meteorologists made the claim today that Cheyenne's sunrise was at 6:20am and sunset was at 6:04pm! How ridiculously juvenile! Didn't they go to college? Of course they did, and of course they know that the earth rotates around the sun. But funny, isn't it, why these same naysayers aren't writing letters to their local meteorologists saying what morons they are!

Unfortunately, Christians sometimes stoop to lies to defend their faith. There is the story that started almost 30 years ago, now with a few variations, claiming that NASA scientists were running computer simulations checking the position of the sun, moon, and planets, 100 years from now and 1,000 years from now in order to plot space craft trajectories. As they ran their computers up and down the centuries, their machines came to a grinding halt because they showed a day missing.

This has been proven time and again by secular and Christian sources to be pure fiction. Even without asking NASA (and they have been asked LOTS of times), the explanation is obvious: In layman's terms, you can only measure something if you have visible access to both ends of it. We can of course know where the sun and moon will be in the future, and can calculate where they were in the past, but we don't have any accurate records of where things were back then. So there would be no way to see that a day was missing in the ancient past.

While this urban legend is fiction, there is certainly a great amount of historical data to validate the event. Both Chinese and Egyptian histories record a long day, and Aztec and Peruvian histories record a night twice as long as normal. All of these date back to the age of Joshua.

But frankly, the reason I believe it because it's in the Bible, not because of NASA or ancient Egyptian records. Validation or not, God put it in His Word, therefore it is truth.

The Book Of Yaw-SHAWR

Another historical record of the sun standing still was written in the book of Yaw-SHAWR. Although not part of the Bible, this was a historical record of Israel, seemingly written in poetic form, which was being used even to the time of King David:

2Sam. 1:18 and he told {them} to teach the sons of Judah {the song of} the bow; behold, it is written in the book of Jashar.

We no longer have the book - maybe someone checked it out of the Israeli library and never returned it!

10:15-27 Five Kings Hiding In Caves

The five kings had hidden themselves in a cave at Mak-kay-DAW (If that sounds familiar, you could check Revelation 6). They were trapped in the cave by stones, until Joshua had them taken out.

Joshua told the chiefs of the armies that were with him to symbolically place their feet on the kings' necks. The reason?

Josh. 10:25 ..."Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies with whom you fight."

The kings were conquered by the mighty power of God.

(10:28-43) More Victories

The rest of chapter ten describes Joshua's capture of Mak-kay-DAW, as well as the rest of Israel's victories in the Southern part of the promised land. They were being obedient to God's command, utterly destroying every person, leaving no survivors.

(11:1-23) Northern Kings Defeated

Chapter eleven covers the victories won over the kings in the North. Again, they completely defeated and destroyed them.

(12:1-24) List Of Conquered Kings

Chapter twelve lists all of the kings which were conquered from the time of Moses until this point.

Go to next study

Go to previous study