The corresponding letter to this chapter is Tet – serpent; objective good – that which appears evil but is for our improvement.
Y’hoshua 9:1-2 Now it came about when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan, in the hill country and in the lowland and on all the coast of the Great Sea toward L’vanon (Lebanon), the Hitti (Hittite) and the Emori (Amorite), the Kena’ani (Canaanite), the P’rizi (Perizzite), the Hivi (Hivite) and the Y’vusi (Jebusite), heard of it, that they gathered themselves together with one accord to fight with Y’hoshua and with Israel.
These tribal people knew that they would have to join together to fight Israel if they were to have any chance of defeating Israel.
Y’hoshua 9:3-15 When the inhabitants of Giv’ah (Gibeon) heard what Y’hoshua had done to Yericho (Jericho) and to Ai, they also acted craftily and set out as envoys, and took worn-out sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, and worn-out and patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and had become crumbled. And they went to Y’hoshua to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us." And the men of Israel said to the Hivi, "Perhaps you are living within our land; how then shall we make a covenant with you?" But they said to Y’hoshua, "We are your servants." Then Y’hoshua said to them, "Who are you, and where do you come from?" And they said to him, "Your servants have come from a very far country because of the fame of the L-RD your G-d; for we have heard the report of Him and all that He did in Egypt, and all that He did to the two kings of the Emori (Amorites) who were beyond the Yarden (Jordan), to Sichon (Sihon) king of Heshbon and to Og king of Bashan who was at Ashtarot (Ashtaroth). So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, 'Take provisions in your hand for the journey, and go to meet them and say to them," We are your servants; now then, make a covenant with us. "' "This our bread was warm when we took it for our provisions out of our houses on the day that we left to come to you; but now look, it is dry and has become crumbled. And these wineskins which we filled were new, and look, they are torn; and these our clothes and our sandals are worn out because of the very long journey." So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the L-RD. And Y’hoshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them.
The people from Giv’ah lived so close by that they were going to be in the path of Israel’s army soon. They were a clever bunch and Israel fell for their deception. Why?
And did not ask for the counsel of the L-RD – Instead of praying and seeking G-d’s guidance, they rushed ahead and took their enemies at their word. It was not until later that they discovered they had been deceived.
Y’hoshua 9:16-21 And it came about at the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were neighbors and that they were living within their land. Then the sons of Israel set out and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Giv’on (Gibeon) and K’firah (Chephirah) and Be’erot (Beeroth) and Kiryat-Ye’arim (Kiriath-jearim). And the sons of Israel did not strike them because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the L-RD the G-d of Israel. And the whole congregation grumbled against the leaders. But all the leaders said to the whole congregation, "We have sworn to them by the L-RD, the G-d of Israel, and now we cannot touch them. This we will do to them, even let them live, lest wrath be upon us for the oath which we swore to them." And the leaders said to them, "Let them live." So they became hewers of wood and drawers of water for the whole congregation, just as the leaders had spoken to them.
G-d had instructed Israel to destroy all the inhabitants; however, Israel did not.
D’varim (Deuteronomy) 7:1-2 "When the L-RD your G-d shall bring you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and shall clear away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashi (Girgashites) and the Emori (Amorites) and the Kena’ani (Canaanites) and the P’rizi (Perizzites) and the Hivi (Hivites) and the Y’vusi (Jebusites), seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the L-RD your G-d shall deliver them before you, and you shall defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.
The L-rd G-d in His mercy allowed it to happen. Israel was still a light to the other nations pointing them to the one true G-d. This is similar to a believer who marries an unbeliever and they are unequally yoked. It is forbidden but it does sometimes happen. The believer can be a witness of the One True G-d to the unbeliever and may turn him or her to believe in Yeshua. It may still cause problems but the believer sanctifies the unbeliever.
1 Corinthians 7:12-16 But to the rest I say, not the L-rd, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, let him not send her away. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, let her not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but G-d has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
Y’hoshua 9:22-27 Then Y’hoshua called for them and spoke to them, saying, "Why have you deceived us, saying, 'We are very far from you,' when you are living within our land? "Now therefore, you are cursed, and you shall never cease being slaves, both hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my G-d." So they answered Y’hoshua and said, "Because it was certainly told your servants that the L-RD your G-d had commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land before you; therefore we feared greatly for our lives because of you, and have done this thing. And now look, we are in your hands; do as it seems good and right in your sight to do to us." Thus he did to them, and delivered them from the hands of the sons of Israel, and they did not kill them. But Y’hoshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the L-RD, to this day, in the place which He would choose.
According to the law they deserved death but received mercy. Because of their lie they became the servants of Israel. They received their life for a price. I wonder what would have happened if they had honestly asked for mercy in the beginning.
Tehillim (Psalms) 145:8-9 The L-RD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in loving kindness. The L-RD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.
Y’hoshua choose mercy over judgment. Who does this remind you of?
Yochanan (John) 12:46-47 "I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. "And if anyone hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.