The Gibeonite Deception
14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath. 16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them.
18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, 19 but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that God’s wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.”
Gibeon is the major city of a minority people in Canaan, the Hivites. The other peoples unite to resist Israel, but the Gibeonites are convenced resistance if futile: they have been told “how the Lord… commanded his servant Moses to give Israel the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants.” Now they send a delegation to Joshua dressed in worn clothes and carrying molded bread. They they are only a day’s march from Gilgal, they pretend to have come a great distance, and urge a quick treaty. The leaders fail to inquire of the Lord, and hurriedly swear an oath of peace. When the deception is discovered, Joshua feels committed by the oath Israel has sworn in God’s name.
–> Ignore appearances. Remember what God has done. Fear disobedience. When in doubt, ask God. Obedience brings victory.