Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Gibeonite Deception

Joshua 9:1-27 NIV

The Gibeonite Deception

1Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things—the kings in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea as far as Lebanon (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites)— 2they came together to wage war against Joshua and Israel.

3However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loadeda with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. 5They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. 6Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.”

7The Israelites said to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?”

8“We are your servants,” they said to Joshua.

But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

9They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the Fame of The LORD your GOD. For we have heard reports of Him: all that HE Did in Egypt, 10and all that HE Did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. 11And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.” ’ 12This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.”

14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of The LORD. 

15Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.

16Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. 17So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18But 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, 19but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by The LORD, The GOD of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20This 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.” 21They continued, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers in the service of the whole assembly.” So the leaders’ promise to them was kept.

22Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, “Why did you deceive us by saying, ‘We live a long way from you,’ while actually you live near us? 23You are now under a curse: You will never be released from service as woodcutters and water carriers for the House of my GOD.

24They answered Joshua, “Your servants were clearly told how The LORD your GOD Had Commanded His servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this. 25We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you.”

26So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them. 27That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the assembly, to provide for the needs of the altar of The LORD at the place The Lord Would Choose.

And that is what they are to this day.

Chapter 9

Here is in this chapter,

I. The impolite confederacy of the kings of Canaan against Israel (v. 1, 2).

II. The polite confederacy of the inhabitants of Gibeon with Israel,

1. How it was subtly proposed and petitioned for by the Gibeonites pretending to come from a far country (v. 3-13).

2. How it was consented to by Joshua and the Israelites, to the disgust of the congregation when the fraud was discovered (v. 14-18).

3. How the matter was adjusted to the satisfaction of all sides, by giving these Gibeonites their lives because they had covenanted with them, yet depriving them of their liberties because the covenant was not fairly obtained (v. 19-27).

The Covenant Renewed At Mount Ebal

Joshua 8:1-35 NIV

Ai Destroyed

1Then The LORD Said To Joshua,

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I Have Delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. 2You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”

3So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night 4with these orders: “Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from it. All of you be on the alert. 5I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them. 6They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are running away from us as they did before.’ So when we flee from them, 7you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The LORD your GOD Will Give it into your hand. 8When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do What The LORD Has Commanded. See to it; you have my orders.”

9Then Joshua sent them off, and they went to the place of ambush and lay in wait between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai—but Joshua spent that night with the people.

10Early the next morning Joshua mustered his army, and he and the leaders of Israel marched before them to Ai. 11The entire force that was with him marched up and approached the city and arrived in front of it. They set up camp north of Ai, with the valley between them and the city. 12Joshua had taken about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city.13So the soldiers took up their positions—with the main camp to the north of the city and the ambush to the west of it. That night Joshua went into the valley.

14When the king of Ai saw this, he and all the men of the city hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle at a certain place overlooking the Arabah. But he did not know that an ambush had been set against him behind the city. 15Joshua and all Israel let themselves be driven back before them, and they fled toward the wilderness. 16All the men of Ai were called to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were lured away from the city. 17Not a man remained in Ai or Bethel who did not go after Israel. They left the city open and went in pursuit of Israel.

18Then The LORD Said To Joshua, 

“Hold out toward Ai the javelin that is in your hand, for into your hand I Will Deliver the city.” 

So Joshua held out toward the city the javelin that was in his hand. 19As soon as he did this, the men in the ambush rose quickly from their position and rushed forward. They entered the city and captured it and quickly set it on fire.

20The men of Ai looked back and saw the smoke of the city rising up into the sky, but they had no chance to escape in any direction; the Israelites who had been fleeing toward the wilderness had turned back against their pursuers. 

21For when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that smoke was going up from it, they turned around and attacked the men of Ai. 

22Those in the ambush also came out of the city against them, so that they were caught in the middle, with Israelites on both sides. Israel cut them down, leaving them neither survivors nor fugitives. 23But they took the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.

24When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the wilderness where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. 25Twelve thousand men and women fell that day—all the people of Ai. 26For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyeda all who lived in Ai. 27But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, As The LORD Had Instructed Joshua.

28So Joshua burned Aib and made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day. 29He impaled the body of the king of Ai on a pole and left it there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take the body from the pole and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate. And they raised a large pile of rocks over it, which remains to this day.

The Covenant Renewed at Mount Ebal

30Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar To The LORD, The GOD of Israel,  31as Moses the servant of The LORD had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses—an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used.

 On it they offered To The LORD burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings. 

32There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on stones a copy of the Law of Moses

33All the Israelites, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the Ark of the Covenant of The LORD, facing the Levitical priests who carried it. Both the foreigners living among them and the native-born were there. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of The LORD had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel.

34Afterward, Joshua read all the WORDS of the Law—the blessings and the curses—just as it is written in the Book of the Law35There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the foreigners who lived among them.

The LORD Encourages Joshua, and Promises To Deliver Ai into his hands, and Instructs him how he is to proceed against it, Joshua 8:1,Joshua 8:2. Joshua takes thirty thousand of his best troops, and gives them instructions concerning his intention of taking Ai by trick, Joshua 8:3-8. The men dispose themselves according to these directions, Joshua 8:9-13. The king of Ai attacks the Israelites, who, feigning to be beaten, fly before him, in consequence of which all the troops of Ai issue out, and pursue the Israelites, Joshua 8:14-17. Joshua, at the Command of GOD, stretches out his spear towards Ai, and then five thousand men that he had placed in ambush in the valley rise up, enter the city, and set it on fire, Joshua 8:18Joshua 8:19. Then Joshua and his men turned against the men of Ai, and, at the same time, those who had taken the city attacked them in the rear; thus the men of Ai were defeated, their king taken prisoner, the city sacked, and twelve thousand persons slain, Joshua 8:20-26. The Israelites take the spoils, and hang the king of Ai, Joshua 8:27-29. Joshua builds an altar To GOD on Mount Ebal, and writes on it a copy of the Law of Moses, Joshua 8:30-32

The elders, officers, and judges, stand on each side of the Ark, one half over against Mount Gerizim, and the other against Mount Ebal, and read all the blessings and curses of the law, according to the command of Moses, Joshua 8:33-35.

The Valley Of Achor Becomes The Door Of Hope In CHRIST JESUS

Joshua 7:1-26 NIV

Achan’s Sin

1 But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things ;
Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri,b the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them.

So The LORD'S Anger Burned Against Israel.

2Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and spy out the region.” So the men went up and spied out Ai.

3When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.” 4So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.

6Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the Ark of The LORD, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads.  

7And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8Pardon your servant, LORD. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then Will YOU Do For Your Own Great Name?”

10The LORD Said To Joshua,

“Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11Israel has sinned; they have violated My Covenant, Which I Commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I Will Not Be With you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.

13“Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; For This Is What The LORD, The GOD of Israel, Says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.

14“ ‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe The LORD Chooses shall come forward clan by clan; the clan The LORD Chooses shall come forward family by family; and the family The LORD Chooses shall come forward man by man. 15Whoever is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the Covenant of The LORD and has done an outrageous thing in Israel!’ ”

16Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was chosen. 17The clans of Judah came forward, and the Zerahites were chosen. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was chosen. 18Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was chosen.

19Then Joshua said to Achan,

“My son, give Glory To The LORD, The GOD of Israel, and honor HIM. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

20Achan replied,

“It is true! I have sinned Against The LORD, The GOD of Israel. This is what I have done: 21When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia,c two hundred shekelsd of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels,e I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

22So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. 

23They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out Before The LORD.

24Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD Will Bring trouble on you today.”

Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 

26Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day.

Then The LORD Turned From His Fierce Anger.

Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.

What is the Sin of Achan?

Committed a trespass - "acted treacherously and committed a breach of faith." This suitably describes the sin of Achan, who had stolen and hidden away that which had been dedicated To GOD.  Joshua 6:19  The "trespass" was the act of one man, yet is imputed to all Israel, who also share in the penalty of it. Joshua 7:5

This is not to be explained as though all the people participated in the covetousness which led to Achan's sin. Joshua 7:21  Israel as a nation was in covenant With GOD, and is treated By HIM not merely as a number of individuals living together for their own purposes under common institutions, but as a Divinely-Constituted organic whole.

Hence, the sin of Achan defiled the other members of the community as well as himself. and robbed the people collectively of holiness Before GOD and acceptableness with HIM. Israel had in the person of Achan broken the Covenant. Joshua 7:11; GOD therefore Would no more Drive out the Canaanites before them.

The accursed thing - "in that which had been devoted or dedicated." Achan in diverting any of these devoted things to his own purposes, committed the sin of sacrilege, that of Ananias and Sapphira. 

Acts 5:1-4

 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,  and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie To The HOLY SPIRIT and to keep back some of the price of the land?  “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but To GOD.”

Are You in the Valley of Achor now?

The Most Merciful FATHER JEHOVAH Makes the Valley of Achor the Door of Hope in HIS SON JESUS CHRIST our LORD and SAVIOR.

There I Will Give her back her vineyards, and Will Make the Valley of Achor a door of hope…  (Hosea 2:15)

The prophet Hosea delivered his message to a nation that had been unfaithful To GOD, and as such was headed for certain disaster. Hosea warned the people of their condition both with his words and his life. Yet, in the middle of his oracle of judgment, there is a surprising glimmer of hope. The LORD Speaks through the prophet and says, 

There I Will Give her back her vineyards, and Will Make the Valley of Achor a door of hope…(Hosea 2:15, NIV).

The Valley of Achor was the place of Achan’s notorious failure. A monument was raised there to remind the nation of the high cost of disobedience. Achor literally means “Trouble” – and the Valley of Achor was the symbol of the kind of trouble, pain, loss, and destruction that results from disobedience. Just like Achan had broken covenant and brought trouble on himself, his family and his nation—so also, unfaithful Israel had broken covenant and was headed for devastating trouble. Like a marriage gone bad, there was pain, and loss, and destruction in their future… They were going back to the Valley of Achor to re-live the dark days of disobedience.

And yet, even there in that dark place, GOD Promised a “door of hope!” The nation’s disobedience landed them back in the Valley of Achor, but GOD’s Love Is Steadfast and His Mercy Endures forever. In spite of all that they had done in forgetting GOD, HE Stood Ready To Transform their repetition of Achan’s sin into a door of hope.

We’ve all had our experiences in the Valley of Achor. We’ve all had our failures, and we’ve all made mistakes. We know what it’s like to disappoint ourselves and others; to make wrong choices and bring trouble on ourselves and on those we love. We’ve felt the sting of guilt and we know the pain of disappointment. We’re familiar with the darkness of the Valley of Achor. We’ve been there… perhaps more than once.

But in the midst of our struggles; at the point of our deepest wounds and worst failures… In our Valley of Achor, GOD Promises a door of hope!

Even in Judgment, HE Remembers Mercy. HE Transforms a monument of failure into a door of hope. His Compassion Never Fails. His Mercy Endures forever, and It Triumphs over Judgment. HE Makes the Valley of Achor into a door of hope!