By Mary Vee
Joshua signed a peace agreement with the strangers in ragged clothes and moldy bread.
He didn’t think to ask God if he should make a treaty because the men showed him they came from far away.
Soon after the treaty had been signed, Joshua led the Israelites to their next battle. The strangers traveled with them for three days. Outside the city of Gibeon, Joshua ordered preparation for battle. That night, a messenger knocked on his tent. “My, lord, I bring information.”
Joshua waved the man inside. “Yes?”
“My lord, the visitors traveling with us, whom you signed a peace agreement, have been heard speaking secrets to each other. We have discovered the men are Gibeonites.”
Joshua leaped to his feet. “Gibeonites! Are you sure?”
“My lord, the tribal leader who sent this message could not contain his anger.”
Joshua touched the hilt of his sword. “If I hadn’t promised peace, I’d run them through this very instant.” He balled his fist. “Call the elders and then call a meeting of our people.”
The elders crowded into Joshua’s tent moments later. He stood before them. “I’ve received distressing word. The visitors to whom we granted peace, are, in fact, Gibeonites.”
The men sat in silence a long time, then one shook his head. “We must honor our peace agreement since we promised before the Lord. If we don’t, punishment will come to us.”
Joshua huffed. “I wish I didn’t have to say this, but you’re right. We better tell the people.” He and the elders went to the meeting place.
He raised his hands to silence the crowd. One elder stepped close to him and faced the people. “We have learned, the visitors who said they came from a far country a few days ago are, in truth, from Gibeon.” He pointed to the city they planned to attack.
The people screamed and raised their fists. “They lied? We’ll get them back for deceiving us. Let’s attack the city and leave nothing!”
Joshua shook his head and raised his hands again. “Listen, my brothers. We’re all angry at the Gibeonites for what they’ve done. But a promise has been made. If we break the peace treaty, the Lord’s punishment will come on us instead.”
One elder nodded. “We must let them live. We’ll make them our slaves to do woodcutting and carry water for all our people.”
Joshua called to a guard. “Bring the Gibeonites to me.”
Guards pushed the five me forward and forced them to their knees. Joshua paced in front of the men. “Why did you lie, saying you came from a far country when in truth you lived near us? Because you lied, all your people will be cursed. No Gibeonite will be spared from serving us. You will become our woodcutters and carry water for all Israel.”
The visitors bowed their heads low.”My lord, we heard of your God’s power and His plan to give Israel all this land. We feared your God and His servants, the Israelites. Do what seems right to us.”
Joshua chose to honored the treaty and the Gibeonites willingly became slaves for the Israelites.
1. Have you ever kept a promise, even when you didn’t want to? Maybe you felt like you shouldn’t. The Bible tells us to be careful what we promise.
2.Do you think Joshua was careful when he promised a treaty to the Gibeonites? click here to read what Joshua did.
3. When Joshua realized he made a bad choice by giving a treaty, what did he do?
4. What do you think Joshua learned from the Gibeonites?
5. What did you learn from this story?