Joshua And The Hivites
AND God said to Joshua: "Fear not, and be not dismayed.
Take all the people of war with you and go up to the city of Ai.
I have given to you the king of Ai and his people and his city and his land,
and you shall do to Ai and her king as you did to Jericho and her king."
So Joshua did as the Lord had told him.
He ambushed the city of Ai and destroyed it utterly.
And the possessions
and the cattle of the people of Ai were given as booty to the children of Israel.
All the cities of Jordan were afraid of Joshua when they heard what had happened to Jericho and Ai.
And they gathered themselves together with one accord to fight with Joshua and Israel.
The people of Gibeon, who were rich and wily, wanted to make a treaty with him.
They sent messengers, dressed in tattered clothing,
with mouldy bread in their packs and with patched and leaking wineskins.
These messengers came to Joshua in his camp at Gilgal,
saying that they had come from a far country.
And Joshua said: "Who are you? And where do you come from?"
The men of Gibeon answered: "We have come from a very distant country.
This bread of ours was taken hot and fresh from the oven when we started out,
and now, behold, it is dry and mouldy.
These skins which we filled with wine were then new, and, behold, they are split.
And our garments and shoes have become old because of the length of our journey."
The men of Israel looked at the food and the wineskins and the clothes
and did not ask counsel from the mouth of the Lord.
Joshua drew up a peace treaty and swore a solemn cath that the
Israelites would keep it.
But three days later they learned that these were their neighbours, the Hivites.
The children of Israel reached the rich city of Gibeon,
but they could not fight, because of the solemn peace treaty.
Then Joshua sent for the Hivites and asked: "Why have you cheated us,
saying you live very far from us, when you dwell among us?
Now you are cursed, and none of you shall be freed from being bondsmen and hewers
of wood and drawers of water for the house of God."
And the people of Gibeon said: "We were told that the Lord your God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land. Therefore we were afraid of our lives, because of you, and that is why we did this thing. But now we are in your hands and we shall do as you say."
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