New Heart English Bible
1It happened, when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan, in the hill country, and in the lowland, and on all the shore of the great sea in front of Lebanon, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard of it 2that they gathered themselves together to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.
3But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, 4they also resorted to a ruse, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins, old and torn and bound up, 5and old and patched shoes on their feet, and wore old garments. All the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. 6They went to Joshua 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." 7The men of Israel said to the Hivites, "What if you live among us. How could we make a covenant with you?" 8They said to Joshua, "We are your servants." Joshua said to them, "Who are you? Where do you come from?" 9They said to him, "Your servants have come from a very far country because of the name of the LORD your God; for we have heard of his fame, all that he did in Egypt, 10and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon and to Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth. 11Our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, 'Take provision in your hand for the journey, and go to meet them, and tell them, "We are your servants. Now make a covenant with us."' 12This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we went out to go to you; but now, look, it is dry, and has become moldy. 13These wineskins, which we filled, were new; and look, they are torn. These our garments and our shoes have become old because of the very long journey." 14The men sampled their provisions, and did not ask counsel from the mouth of the LORD. 15Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them, to let them live. The leaders of the congregation swore to them.
16It happened at the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors, and that they lived among them. 17The children of Israel traveled and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim. 18The children of Israel did not strike them, because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. And the whole congregation murmured against the leaders. 19But all the leaders said to all the congregation, "We have sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel; and now therefore we may not touch them. 20This we will do to them, and let them live; lest wrath be on us, because of the oath which we swore to them." 21And the leaders said to them, "Let them live." So they became wood cutters and drawers of water for all the congregation, and all the congregation did as the leaders had spoken to them.
22Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them, saying, "Why have you deceived us, saying, 'We are very far from you,' when you live among us? 23Now therefore you are cursed, and some of you will never fail to be bondservants, both wood cutters and drawers of water for the house of my God." 24They answered Joshua, and said, "Because your servants were certainly told how the LORD your God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you. Therefore we were very afraid for our lives because of you, and have done this thing. 25Now, look, we are in your hand. Do to us as it seems good and right to you to do." 26He did so to them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, so that they did not kill them. 27That day Joshua made them wood cutters and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD, to this day, in the place which he should choose.