Joshua enslaves the Gibeonites
And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in
the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over
against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite,
the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof;
That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with
Israel, with one accord.
And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho
and to Ai,
They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors,
and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and
And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and
all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.
The Gibeonites heard about the massacres at Jericho
and they wanted to avoid becoming Joshua's next genocide victims.
So they came up with a plan.
They pretended to be travelers from afar by dressing in old clothes, with old bread and wine.
And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to
the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a
league with us.
And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among
us; and how shall we make a league with you?
Then they went to Joshua and said to him,
We are from a faraway country.
Make a treaty with us.
And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them,
Who are ye? and from whence come ye?
Who are you and where are you from?
And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come
because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him,
and all that he did in Egypt,
And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond
Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at
Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us,
saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say
unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.
So our elders said,
Take some food and go meet with the Israelites and say to them,
We are your servants.
Make a treaty with us.
This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day
we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:
So here is some bread that was hot from our ovens, although now it's dry and moldy.
And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be
rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the
very long journey.
And here are some bottles of wine.
They were new when we filled them, but now they're all split.
And our clothes and shoes are worn out from the journey.
And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of
The Israelites looked at their food, but didn't ask for advice from God's mouth.
And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them
live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.
So Joshua made peace with them and agreed to let them live.
And the princes swore to them.
And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league
with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they
dwelt among them.
And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the
third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and
Three days later, the Israelites found out that the Gibeonites were their neighbors.
And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the
congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the
congregation murmured against the princes.
The Israelites didn't smite them, since their princes swore that they wouldn't.
And the people murmured against them.
But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto
them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them.
This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon
us, because of the oath which we sware unto them.
And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood
and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had
The princes said to the people,
We swore to them by God, so now we can't touch them.
We must let them live or God's wrath will be upon us.
So we'll let them live, but make them chop wood and fetch water for us.
And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have
ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us?
Joshua called the Gibeonites and said to them,
Why did you lie to us?
You said you were from a faraway country.
Now therefore ye are
cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and
hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.
So now you are cursed.
You will be slaves and never be free. 
You'll chop our wood and fetch water for God's house.
And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy
servants, how that the LORD thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you
all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before
you, therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have
done this thing.
The Gibeonites answered Joshua,
We heard about how God had given you all the land and commanded you to kill all the inhabitants.
So we were afraid for our lives.
That's why we said we were from a faraway country.
And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto
thee to do unto us, do.
And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the
children of Israel, that they slew them not.
But now we're in your hands.
Do whatever you want to us.
And Joshua made them
that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for
the altar of the LORD, even unto this day, in the place which he should
So Joshua made them choppers of wood and fetchers of water.
They are still doing that to this day.