But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning: they went and prepared provisions, and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes; and all their provisions were dry and moldy. They went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the Israelites, “We have come from a far country; so now make a treaty with us (Joshua 9:3-6).
There’s a fascinating story in Joshua 9 about the Gibeonites who heard about Israel’s campaigns against Ai and Jericho, Og, Bashan, and how God had parted the waters of the Red Sea for Israel so they could cross on dry land. The Gibeonites were so afraid they came up with a clever plan to pose as ragged travelers from a far away country and get Israel to make a vow to never harm them.
The Gibeonites showed Israel their moldy bread, and in a funny turn of events, and perhaps this was some kind of ancient ceremony of treaty making, Israel ate some of their old, crusty, moldy bread.
Read the story about how Israel finds out they have been tricked and what Gibeonites become in relation to Israel.
Study Joshua 9 to understand who the Gibeonites became in relationship to the work of the tabernacle worship.
Jesus you warned against rash vows, and we see many oaths and vows being taken by people in these stories. Help us make our yes be yes and our no be no, to be honest in heart and actions. I don’t know if this story is really about honesty and vows, but help us to have an imagination for how you draw in people from the nations to participate in the life and worship of you, for this is a continuous mystery how you draw people from all nations unto Yourself.
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey: A New Generation Church of Christ. Greg’s wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.