Notes: May 26, 2008 – Joshua 8 & 9

These chapters, and several that follow, describe the widening conquest of Canaan.

I. The fall of Ai (8:1-29)

  • Israel confidently sent 3,000 soldiers against the city, but was handily routed by Ai before (chapter 7). This time they send 35,000 troops (Joshua 8:3, 12).
  • Previously Israel conducted a one-front attack on the city; this time they pretended the same tactic in order to draw Ai out into the fields to fight.

II. The law of God (8:30-35)

  • After the battle, Joshua erected a stone memorial altar; and he had the law of God written thereon (Joshua 8:32-35).
  • Then the word of God was read publicly.
  • Separation of church and state was not an issue.

III. The Gibeonite ruse (9:1-27)

  • The inhabitants of Gibeon, a large and powerful, royal city (Joshua 10:2), desired peace with Israel.
  • But had forbad covenants with the Canaanites (Deuteronomy 20:16-20).
  • The Gibeonite ambassadors pretended, quite believably, to be from a distant land.
  • Joshua and the elders of Israel, depending upon their own intuition, accepted the actors, and made a peace treaty with them.
  • Upon discovering the charade, Joshua ordered that the Gibeonites be allowed to live, in keeping with the terms of the treaty; but they would become servants to Israel.
  • The Gibeonites, pleased to be alive, accepted servitude.

Meditation Points:

  1. Sometimes what appears to be a small problem can be very difficult to solve, and may even require our full strength to overcome.
  2. When God has given us victory over our enemies we should rededicate ourselves to His service.
  3. Joshua entered into a covenant with the Gibeonites in much the same way that Isaac blessed Jacob instead of Esau–living by sight rather than by faith and obedience to the word of God.