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Joshua Chapter 9 | Parsha:

1When all the kings west of the Jordan—in the hill country, in the Shephelah, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea up to the vicinity of Lebanon, the [land of the] Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—learned of this, 2they gathered with one accord to fight against Joshua and Israel.

3But when the inhabitants of Gibeon learned how Joshua had treated Jericho and Ai, 4they for their part resorted to cunning. They set out in disguise: they took worn-out sacks for their asses, and worn-out waterskins that were cracked and patched; 5they had worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and threadbare clothes on their bodies; and all the bread they took as provision was dry and crumbly. 6And so they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We come from a distant land; we propose that you make a pact with us.” 7The men of Israel replied to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live among us; how then can we make a pact with you?”

8They said to Joshua, “We will be your subjects.” But Joshua asked them, “Who are you and where do you come from?” 9They replied, “Your servants have come from a very distant country, because of the fame of the Lord your God. For we heard the report of Him: of all that He did in Egypt, 10and of all that He did to the two Amorite kings on the other side of the Jordan, King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan who lived in Ashtaroth. 11So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country instructed us as follows, ‘Take along provisions for a trip, and go to them and say: We will be your subjects; come make a pact with us.’ 12This bread of ours, which we took from our houses as provision, was still hot when we set out to come to you; and see how dry and crumbly it has become. 13These wineskins were new when we filled them, and see how they have cracked. These clothes and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.” 14The men took [their word] because of their provisions, and did not inquire of the Lord. 15Joshua established friendship with them; he made a pact with them to spare their lives, and the chieftains of the community gave them their oath.

16But when three days had passed after they made this pact with them, they learned that they were neighbors, living among them. 17So the Israelites set out, and on the third day they came to their towns; these towns were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18But the Israelites did not attack them, since the chieftains of the community had sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel. The whole community muttered against the chieftains, 19but all the chieftains answered the whole community, “We swore to them by the Lord, the God of Israel; therefore we cannot touch them. 20This is what we will do to them: We will spare their lives, so that there may be no wrath against us because of the oath that we swore to them.” 21And the chieftains declared concerning them, “They shall live!” And they became hewers of wood and drawers of water for the whole community, as the chieftains had decreed concerning them.

22Joshua summoned them and spoke to them thus: “Why did you deceive us and tell us you lived very far from us, when in fact you live among us? 23Therefore, be accursed! Never shall your descendants cease to be slaves, hewers of wood and drawers of water for the House of my God.” 24But they replied to Joshua, “You see, your servants had heard that the Lord your God had promised His servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all the inhabitants of the country on your account; so we were in great fear for our lives on your account. That is why we did this thing. 25And now we are at your mercy; do with us what you consider right and proper.” 26And he did so; he saved them from being killed by the Israelites. 27That day Joshua made them hewers of wood and drawers of water—as they still are—for the community and for the altar of the Lord, in the place that He would choose.

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