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READING: Judges 10-12


Following the death of Gideon, Abimelech Gideon’s son by a concubine attempted to set himself up as a king and did rule over the city of Shechem for a brief time. God did not call him to judge Israel; he killed all his brothers but the youngest, who told a parable of the trees wanting a king. The olive, fig, and grapevine declined. The bramble accepted. This gave Abimelech the name among some as the bramble king. After him came two minor judges,  

Tola and Jair, each have two verses in chapter ten. Jephthah is the next judge of note. He follows a period of relative peace, during which Israel sinned greatly. They worshiped all the gods of all the nations remaining in Canaan. The only God they did not worship was the LORD God of Israel. The LORD had two nations attack them at once, the Philistines in the west and the Ammonites in the east.  

The Gilalidtes east of Jordan were in the direct line of attack, but Ammon penetrated over the Jordan into Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. They cried for deliverance but were told by a prophet (see 6:8) to cry to the gods they were worshiping and let them save them. They confessed they had sinned and put away the foreign gods from among them (10:16), and the LORD became impatient over the misery of Israel” (10:16). The Giladlites raised an army but needed a leader. They asked Jephthah, son of a prostitute, who had been driven away from his father’s house by his brothers. He had gained notoriety as a fighter leading a group of “worthless fellows.” He agreed to lead the army if he would be made ruler of all of Gilead and swear with an oath to confirm him. They agreed.  

He first negotiated with the King of Ammon. He said to the King, Will you not have what Chemosh your god gives you? And all that the LORD our God has dispossessed before us, we will have.” (11:24) Israel had all the lands in question for three hundred years (11:26), given to them by the LORD when he dispossessed the Kingdoms of Og and Sihon, two Amorite kings.  

Jephtha attacked the Ammonites and prevailed. Before he had left home, he “made a vow to the LORD and said, If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return shall be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” (11:31). When he returned, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and dances. She was his only child. 

Did he not know that his daughter would rush to meet him? Or did he just not think? Foolish men make foolish vows. She asked for two months to weep for her virginity with her companions. He said go. She returned and he did as he vowed. 

Even in victory, there was grief and wickedness. 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF 

Father, I know how easy it is to be caught up in the sins of those in this dark world. I pray that You and Your Holy Spirit will keep me in the straight and narrow way of walking in the steps of Jesus and not be like Israel of old. In Jesus’ Holy Name, AMEN. 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)  

Father, l pray that each of us will think before we take any vow, or even make a promise, for our word is to be our bond. When we make promises, let us keep them; let us qualify our promises by saying, “If the LORD wills, we will do” this or that.” In the Holy Name of Jesus, AMEN. 

READING: Judges 7-8 – TOO MANY MEN!


The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men, least Israel boasts, ‘My own hand saved me.’ Tell the people, ‘Whoever is afraid, return home.’ Twenty-two thousand returned; ten thousand stayed. The LORD said, ‘There are still too many.’

Judges 7:2-4

The LORD told Gideon to take the 10,000 to water and watch them drink. All who lapped like a dog, scooping it in his hand to lap, was to be set aside; those who kneeled to drink were sent home. Three hundred brave, alert men lapped. The LORD said, With the 300 who lapped I will save you.” (7:5-7). 

That night God told Gideon to go into the Midianite camp and listen; he would get the strength to face the Midianites. He heard a man telling a dream,I dreamed a cake of barley bread tumbled into camp and struck a tent, so it turned upside down.” His companion said, ”This is the sword of Gideon; God has given Midian into his hand.” (7:9-14) 

Gideon returned to the 300, and gave them each a trumpet, lamp, and a clay pitcher to hide the lamp. He divided them into three groups of a hundred. When he gave the signal, each man was to break the pitcher, blow his trumpet, and shout,For the LORD and for Gideon!” (7:15-18) 

They surrounded the Midianites in the middle watch. Gideon gave the signal, pitchers were smashed, trumpets sounded, and all shouted. The Midianites woke in a panic. They began to kill one another. They fled from the scene. Gideon called out Israel from Naphtali, Asher, Ephraim, and all Manasseh (both sides of Jordan). They joined the pursuit 

The Ephraimites captured and slew two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, as they tried to cross the Jordan. They were angry with Gideon because he had not called them earlier to help. Gideon tactfully said, “God gave Oreb and Zeeb into your hands. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?” That mollified the Ephraimites. 

However, he did not fare as well with the cities of Succoth and Penuel. He crossed the Jordan, weary and hungry. He asked for food for his 300 with him; they refused because he did not have Zeba and Zalmunna in his hands, each of those towns answering the same way. Gideon pressed on, captured those two Kings of Midian. 

Gideon went back to Penuel and Succoth. He killed the men of Penuel, destroyed the tower of Succoth, and beat their elders with thorns from the wilderness.  

Israel asked Gideon to rule over them; he said, The LORD will rule over you,” (8:33) but he began acting like a king. He asked for earrings they took as plunder. Then he made an ephod, and all Israel whored after it. 

Despite the way the LORD delivered Israel by His hand, Gideon went back to his idolatry. 

How like Gideon we are! We see these stories; we say I would never do that – and go on sinning. 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF 

Father, I do not give you the glory when you accomplish something through me. I am like the flea who shouted in the ear of an elephant who smashed a bridge to bits as he crossed it, “Look what we did!” Except, I say, “Look what I did.” Please forgive me, in His Holy Name, AMEN. 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself) 

Father, l pray that each of us will think about how Gideon worked with You in defeating the Midianites, but then went back to making an idol to replace the one he destroyed in chapter six. Help us to be more consistent in our service to You. In the Holy Name of Jesus, AMEN. 

READING: Joshua 6 – One More Fleece?


Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me, but let me test You once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece and dew on all the ground.” God did so that night; it was dry on the fleece and the ground was full of dew.

Joshua 6:39-40

Israel sinned against God again, worshiping the Baals. The LORD gave them over to the Midianites and Amalekites for seven years. They came from the eastern desert and went as far west as Gaza by the Great Sea to take the crops. They were like locusts in number and action, devouring everything. The Israelites tried to hide their crops so these desert tribes would not steal them but failed. They asked the LORD for deliverance. 

A prophet of the LORD said, Thus says the LORD, I am the LORD; you shall not fear gods of the Amorites. You have not obeyed my voice.’” (6:10)  

Joshua 6:7-10

“The Angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and said, ‘The LORD is with you, Oh mighty man of valor.” Gideon said, ‘If He is with us, why is this happening to us? Where are all the wonders our fathers told us?” (6:11-13). Gideon said the LORD had forsaken Israel. 

The Angel of the LORD said to him, Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; I am sending you!” (6:14) Gideon asked the Angel to stay while he brought an offering. He brought flour, a kid, and unleavened loaves. Gideon put these things on the rock. The Angel touched the meat and cakes with the tip of his rod, fire came from the rock, devoured the offering, and the Angel disappeared. 

Then, for the first time, Gideon showed fear of the Angel. He said, Alas, O Lord GOD, I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face.” But the LORD said to him, “Peace be unto you; do not fear; you shall not die. Then Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD Is Peace. (6:22-24)  

At God’s direction, that night Gideon used his father’s oxen to pull down Baal’s altar, removing the Ashera pole by the altar. He built another altar to the Lord where Baal’s altar was and sacrificed an ox with the wood of the Ashera pole. 

That morning, all the village saw Baal’s altar was gone, replaced by an altar to the LORD. They found Gideon had done this and wanted to kill him. Gideon’s father said, “If Baal is a god, let him contend for himself.” (6:28-32) 

The Midianites returned. Gideon raised an army, and said to the LORD, “If You will save Israel by my hand, as you said, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know.” That was Gideon’s first fleece. He asked for one more fleece that would be dry while all else was wet. (6:36-40) 

Gideon was as reluctant as Moses was at the burning bush. 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF 

Father, Like Moses and Gideon, I am often reluctant to step up when you call me to step out of my comfort zone to do what you are calling me to do. Give me the grace of boldness with sincere love and faith in your holiness. Give me strength in my weakness is my prayer, in His Holy Name, AMEN. 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself) 

Father, l pray that each of us will think deeply about putting you to the test by arbitrarily putting out a fleece to determine if it is You behind the thoughts, we have about actions we are contemplating. Do we dare tempt You by proposing a test by which we will know? Or do we search the Scriptures and pray individually and with others? How do we come to know? I pray for guidance, in the Holy Name of Jesus, AMEN. 

READING: Judges 3-5 – Deborah, the Woman Judge


Judges 3 tells of the first three judges. OTHNIEL defeated the king of Mesopotamia after Israel served him for eight years. The king of Moab, Eglon, made Israel pay tribute for eighteen years. EHUD took the tribute, and said to the king, “I have a secret message for you.” Alone with the king, he took an 18-inch sword and buried it in the king’s fat belly. In Israel, he raised an army and defeated Moab. The third judge, SHAMGAR, killed 600 Philistines. (3:7-30) 

That brings us to Deborah. Israel had again done what was evil. “The LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor,” in the northeastern part of Galilee, a Canaanite city that had not been driven out of the land. Jabin and his commander Sisera, “had 900 chariots of iron and oppressed the people of Israel cruelly twenty years.”  

Deborah was a prophet. She judged Israel from under a palm tree. People came to her for judgment. She summoned Barak to come to her and said to him, “Has not the LORD commanded you to gather 10,000 men from Naphtali and Zebulon (in Galilee). And the LORD will draw out Sisera to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and troops, and He will give him into your hand?” (4:4-7) 

“Barak said to her, ‘If you go with me, I will go, but if you do not go with me, I will not go.” She said she would go, but Barak would get no glory from defeating Sisera because he would be delivered into the hands of a woman. 

Barak and Deborah went to Mount Tabor with 10,000 men. Sisera brought 900 chariots and his army. They faced off; the LORD routed Sisera who fled on foot. He came to the tent of Jael, wife of Heber, a friend of King Jabin. She invited him into her tent. He asked for water, and she brought him milk. He slept in her tent with her at the door. When she saw he was asleep, she took a tent peg and mallet and crushed his skull. Barak came by in pursuit, and she said, “See the man you want.” Sisera was dead inside the tent. 

Chapter five is a victory song, sung by Deborah and Barak. That the leaders in Israel took the lead, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the LORD!” (5:1) “Curse Meroz, says the Angel of the LORD because they did not come to the help of the LORD!” (5:23) “Most blessed of women be Jael! She sent her hand to the tent peg and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet; She struck Sisera; she crushed his head; Between her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still – dead.” (5:24-27). 

This covers more than a hundred years of Israel’s neglect of God. Why did Barak not act until Deborah summoned him and then only if she went with him? 

Do we discern God’s activity any better? 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF 

Father, I see in Scripture how Your people behaved badly, and I think I know better. But then I look deeper into my heart of hearts and realize that I behave the same way, just transferred into my Western way of thinking. Help me to find the way out of Western certainties into Him who IS the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In His Holy Name, AMEN. 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself) 

Father, l pray that each of us, individually and together, may explore more deeply the way You want us to grow to be more like Jesus. It is not more knowledge we need, but more practice of the virtues of Jesus, in Whose Holy Name I pray, AMEN. 

READING: Judges 1-2 – Cycle of Rebellion


When Joshua dismissed the people of Israel, each went to his inheritance to take possession of the land. The people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all that the LORD had done. Joshua died and they buried him on his inheritance. All that generation also were gathered to their fathers. There arose another generation who did not know the LORD or what He had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:6-10)  

Soon after the death of Joshua, some of the tribes began to do as he had told them and push the remaining people of Canaan out of the land. Judah and Simeon worked together to take the cities and villages of the Canaanite people. They also captured Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron, three cities of the Philistines. Caleb drove the Canaanites out of Hebron along with three “sons of Anak” (that is, the giants). 

Ephraim also went up against Bethel and took it but did not continue to drive out others. Manasseh, Zebulon, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan “did not drive out the inhabitants of the land.” (1:27-36). They did make the Canaanites do forced labor for them. 

The Angel of the LORD said, ‘I brought you up from Egypt into the land I swore to give to your fathers. I said I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars. But you have not obeyed my voice. I will not drive them out before you.” (2:1-3) When the people heard this, they wept. They sacrificed there to the LORD and were in terrible distress. But they continued to do what was evil in the sight of the LORD and worshiped the Baals. They abandoned the LORD, provoked Him to anger, and He sold them into the hand of their enemies. 

A pattern developed. They would sin, the LORD would let their enemies oppress them, then they would cry out to the LORD for deliverance, and He would raise up a deliverer to chase their enemies away. This cycle repeated itself over and over for the next 300-350 years. Sin, suffering, sorrow, and salvation. Relapse, retribution, repentance, and rescue. The people were in terrible distress (2:11-16).Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them.” (2:17). 

These judges were in various parts of the land, sometimes overlapping each other in the years they served. The tribes were very loosely connected by their pilgrimages to the Tabernacal at Shechem.  

The last verse of the book of Judges says, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (21:26). 

There can be no stability in the family, church, community, or nation when everyone does what is right in his own eyes. How can we do better than Israel did? 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF

Father, I know that there are laws to regulate our lives together. I see these laws being broken every day, and I also am guilty. Help me to be more law-abiding with man’s laws and Your laws. And, help me learn how better to influence others on the same path. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (AND FOR MYSELF

Father, I pray that each of us may examine ourselves and find ways in which we can be more in line with Your laws and also be more diligent in keeping the laws of man where they do not require us to disobey your law. Help us to be an influence for good in all of our relations with others. In the Precious Name of Jesus, AMEN.

READING: Joshua 23-24 – Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve


Before his death at age 110, Joshua twice spoke to the people of Israel, likely at two feast days when all were to come. 

His first speech charges them to continue to push the Canaanites out of the land. “I allotted to you as an inheritance those nations that remain, with the nations that I have already destroyed, from the Jordan to the Great Sea in the west. The LORD will drive them out of your sight. You shall have their land.” (23:2-5) 

He continued by charging them to be faithful to the Law that Moses had left them. Continue to love the LORD your God, for it is He who has driven all these nations that fled before you. Do not intermarry with those that remain. Joshua said if you do not do this, “I know the LORD will no longer drive these nations before you, but they shall be a snare for you until you perish from this ground the LORD has given you.” (23:6-13) 

In his second speech to the nation Joshua recounted the history of Israel thus far.The LORD said, ‘Long ago your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham, and they served other gods. I took Abraham and led him through Canaan and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob to Isaac; Jacob and his children went to Egypt. I sent Moses and Aaron; I brought you out to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued your fathers. Whey they cried to the LORD, He put darkness between you and them; I made the sea come upon them and cover them; you saw what I did in Egypt. You lived in the wilderness a long time. I brought you to the Amorites’ land on East of the Jordan. I gave them to you, and you destroyed them. You went over the Jordan and came to Jericho, and the leaders of Jericho fought you, and the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites. I gave them into your hand. I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities you had not built. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards you did not plant.’” (24:2-13) 

Then Joshua put a choice before them. Now fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully. Put away the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates and Egypt and serve the LORD. If it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the land where you dwell. BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.” (24:14-15). 

The people cried out, “WE WILL SERVE THE LORD!” Sadly, they did not. 

It was not until David was king 400 years later that Israel had all the land God promised them. 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF 

Father, I am tempted by the gods of our land – pleasure, money, and power. Give me strength to resist the lure of these temptations that push You out of my heart. In Jesus’ Holy Name, AMEN. 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself) 

Father, l pray that each of us, individually and with one another, accept the challenge Joshua gave to Israel, and make a full commitment to Serve Our Precious LORD, Jesus our Savior! In His Holy name, AMEN. 

READING: Joshua 22 – Rest from the Wars???


For seven years the armed men of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh have been with Joshua helping the rest of Israel gain their inheritance west of the Jordan River. They have fulfilled their commitment, and it is time to go back across Jordan to the pasturelands they left behind.  

Joshua said, Now the LORD your God has given rest to your brothers. Turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, which Moses gave you on the other side of the Jordan. Be careful to observe the commandments and the Law that Moses commanded yu, to love the LORD and to in His ways.” (22:1-6) When the two and a half tribes crossed the Jordan, they built a large altar East of the Jordan River. The people of Israel heard about it and gathered at Shiloh where the Tabernacle was, ready to make war against them. 

But before beginning war, they sent Phinehas with a chief from each of the ten tribes West of the Jordan to find what they meant. They said, What is this breach of faith you are committing against God by building this altar in rebellion against the LORD? Have we not had enough of the sin at Peor? If you rebel against the LORD today, tomorrow He will be angry with us. If the land of your possession is unclean, pass over into the LORD’s land where the LORD’s tabernacle stands, and take a possession among us. Do not rebel against the LORD or make us rebels by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the LORD our God.” (22:13-20) 

The two and a half tribes replied,God knows; and let Israel know. It was not in rebellion against the LORD that we built this altar. No, we did it from fear that your children might say to our children, ‘What have you to do with the LORD? The LORD made the Jordan a boundary between us. You have no portion in the Lord,’ So your children might make our children cease to worship the LORD. We said, ‘Let us now build an altar to be a witness between us and you, and our generations after us, that we perform the service of the LORD in His presence.’ And we thought if your children say, ‘You have no portion in the LORD’ we would say, “Behold, the copy of the altar of the LORD, which our fathers made to be a witness between us.’” (22:21-29) 

When Phinehas and those with him heard this, it was good in their eyes, and it was also good in the eyes of those ready to fight against their brothers across the Jordan. 

Communication could have prevented this misunderstanding. A pile of rocks as witness normally would mean a covenant between two parties. 

Why did the two and a half tribes just take all of this on themselves and not think of how the others might react. 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF 

Father, I often jump to conclusions and judge my brothers and sisters falsely. I pray that your Spirit in me may keep me from such judgments without knowing what or why they do what they do. In Jesus’ Holy Name, AMEN. 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU 

Father, l pray that we learn from this chapter not to be hasty in our actions and judgments. Seek the truth of what is happening and what Your will is in the matter. Help us all to be quick to listen and slow to speak and judge our brothers and sisters as we consider these things in Jesus’ name, AMEN. 

READING: Joshua 22 – Rest from the Wars???


READING: Joshua 11 – I Will Send Hornets Before You


I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and the Hittites.” (Exodus 23:28) 

The LORD your God will send hornets among them until those who remain and hide from you are gone. Do not be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is in your midst, a great, awesome God. The LORD will clear those nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too many for you. But the LORD will give them over to you and throw them into great confusion, until they are gone. (Deuteronomy 7:20-23) 

You went over the Jordan and came to Jericho, and Jericho fought against you, and the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hitites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites. And I gave them into your hand I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out before you, the two kings of the Amorites; it was not by your sword or bow. I gave you land on which you had not labored and cities you had not built, and you dwell in them.” (Joshua 24:10-13) 

God said to Moses at Sinai He would send hornets before Israel. Moses said to the people when they were beside Moab before they crossed the Jordan that the LORD would send hornets before them to drive the people of Canaan into great confusion until they are gone. Then, in his valedictory speech to the people of Israel, Joshua said that God had sent the hornet ahead of Israel when they took the two kings of the Amorites, Sihon and Og. 

Those are the only mentions of hornets in the Bible. Nothing in the description of the battles Israel fought included a mention of hornets. Yet, God said he would send them, Moses said do not dread the Canaanites, and Joshua said God had sent the hornet ahead of them. When and how are not important; what is important is that God removed the people from the land so He could give it to Israel. 

The cities and kings of Galilee all the way down the Jordan to the Judean hill country and along the Great Sea coast to the land of the Philistines all came together to fight against Israel. Joshua and his army fell onto this great horde, in number like the sand on the seashore, with many horses and chariots,” which God told Joshua ahead of time “to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” He attacked them at the “waters of Merom,” mentioned only in this chapter. Joshua burned Hazor, the capital city of the region; he left the other cities standing for Israel to have. Cities were not destroyed; people were, and Israel took their stuff. Joshua killed the giants, except for a few in Philistia. 

Then the land had rest from war. It had been seven years from crossing the Jordan to this point. 

Would that Ukraine have rest from Russia’s war on them! 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF 

Father, I am often fearful, and I know it is because I do not trust You enough. Strengthen my faith so I do trust You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN. 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU 

Father, let each of us carefully consider and meditate on how you took Canaan from its original peoples and gave it to Israel. Now let us apply this to our nation today. If God wanted to take down America, could He? How long would it take Him? We consider these things in Jesus’ name, AMEN. 

READING: Joshua 9 – Leaving God Out


The Israelite men questioned the Gibeonites but did not ask counsel from the LORD. And Joshua made a peace covenant with them, to let them live; the leaders of the congregation swore to them.” (9:14-15,) 

All but one confederation of cities, of all the cities of southern Canaan, came together to fight against Israel. The sole exception was Gibeon and its cities. “When the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they acted with cunning.” (9:3) Instead of gathering to fight Israel, they decided they would deceive them and live. 

They took crumbly, stale bread and worn-out bags for their donkeys. They had wineskins, worn-out, torn, and mended. They wore worn-out clothes and worn-out sandals. They came to Joshua and said, “We come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.” But the men of Israel said, “Perhaps you live among us; then how can we make a covenant with you?” They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” They said again, “Wme come from a very distant country, because of the name of the LORD your God. We heard of Him, and all He did in Egypt, and all He did to Sihon king of Heshbon and to Og king of Bashan who lived in Ashtaroth.”  

They seemed to know a lot about recent happenings on the east bank of the Jordan and to know how to find Israel on the west bank. However, they answered none of Joshua’s questions about just where they come from except to say it is a very distant country and we are your servants. Oh! They also pulled the dry, crumbly bread from their bags and said, “It was warm when we left our home to come here.” They also showed the wineskins saying they were new when we left, but they burst. They drew attention to their worn-out clothes (new when they left their distant country) and the same for their worn-out sandals. 

With all their words, they ‘snookered’ the Israelites who took their provisions “But did not ask counsel from the LORD. And Joshua made a peace covenant with them, to let them live. And the leaders of the congregation swore to them.” (9:11-15) 

Three days later, they learned that these men were their neighbors who lived near them in Canaan, among the Hivite cities of Canaan. “People of Israel set out and reached their city on the third day. Their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. But the people of Israel did not attack them because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel.” (9:16-19). 

Because of the oath, they let them live. However, they made slaves of them to chop wood and draw water – for all Israel and the altar of the LORD. 

Be careful of what you swear to in the LORD’s name. 

PRAY FOR YOURSELF 

Father, make me at least wise enough to see through the Gibonite’s plan to deceive Israel. Maybe being in the wilderness forty years and slave before that meant they were not as sharp as they could have been, but I pray I may be wiser than they were in this negotiation! Teach me to always pray for wisdom when I have an important decision to make. In Jesus’ name, AMEN. 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU 

Father, may this episode in Israels be a lesson to all of us; Here we learn why not to swear at all, but even letting our yes mean year and our no mean no should suffice for Your people. Give us wisdom in all of our decisions of life that we may choose as you would have us choose. In the name of our Savior, Jesus who loves us and gave Himself up for us, AMEN. 

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