Joshua 9* The kings combine against Israel. (1,2) The Gibeonites applyfor peace. (3-13) They obtain peace, but are soon detected.(14-21) The Gibeonites are to be bondmen. (22-27)1,2 Hitherto the Canaanites had defended themselves, but herethey consult to attack Israel. Their minds were blinded, andtheir hearts hardened to their destruction. Though often atenmity with each other, yet they united against Israel. Oh thatIsrael would learn of Canaanites, to sacrifice private intereststo the public welfare, and to lay aside all quarrels amongthemselves, that they may unite against the enemies of God'skingdom! 3-13 Other people heard these tidings, and were driven therebyto make war upon Israel; but the Gibeonites were led to makepeace with them. Thus the discovery of the glory and the graceof God in the gospel, is to some a savour of life unto life, butto others a savour of death unto death, #2Co 2:16|. The same sunsoftens wax and hardens clay. The falsehood of the Gibeonitescannot be justified. We must not do evil that good maythemselves to the God of Israel, we have reason to think Joshuawould have been directed by the oracle of God to spare theirlives. But when they had once said, "We are come from a farcountry," they were led to say it made of skins, and theirclothes: one lie brings on another, and that a third, and so on.The way of that sin is especially down-hill. Yet their faith andprudence are to be commended. In submitting to Israel theysubmitted to the God of Israel, which implied forsaking theiridolatries. And how can we do better than cast ourselves uponthe mercy of a God of all goodness? The way to avoid judgment isto meet it by repentance. Let us do like these Gibeonites, seekpeace with God in the rags of abasement, and godly sorrow; soour sin shall not be our ruin. Let us be servants to Jesus, ourblessed Joshua, and we shall live. 14-21 The Israelites, having examined the provisions of theGibeonites, hastily concluded that they confirmed their account.We make more haste than good speed, when we stay not to take Godwith us, and do not consult him by the word and prayer. Thefraud was soon found out. A lying tongue is but for a moment.Had the oath been in itself unlawful, it would not have beenbinding; for no obligation can render it our duty to commit asin. But it was not unlawful to spare the Canaanites whosubmitted, and left idolatry, desiring only that their livesmight be spared. A citizen of Zion swears to his own hurt, andchanges not, #Ps 15:4|. Joshua and the princes, when they foundthat they had been deceived, did not apply to Eleazar the highpriest to be freed from their engagement, much less did theypretend that no faith is to be kept with those to whom they hadsworn. Let this convince us how we ought to keep our promises,and make good our bargains; and what conscience we ought to makeof our words. 22-27 The Gibeonites do not justify their lie, but plead thatthey did it to save their lives. And the fear was not merely ofthe power of man; one might flee from that to the Divineprotection; but of the power of God himself, which they sawengaged against them. Joshua sentences them to perpetualbondage. They must be servants, but any work becomes honourable,when it is done for the house of the Lord, and the officesthereof. Let us, in like manner, submit to our Lord Jesus,saying, We are in thy hand, do unto us as seemeth good and rightunto thee, only save our souls; and we shall not repent it. IfHe appoints us to bear his cross, and serve him, that shall beneither shame nor grief to us, while the meanest office in God'sservice will entitle us to a dwelling in the house of the Lordall the days of our life. And in coming to the Saviour, we donot proceed upon a peradventure. We are invited to draw nigh,and are assured that him that cometh to Him, he will in nowisecast out. Even those things which sound harsh, and are humbling,and form sharp trials of our sincerity, will prove of realadvantage.
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