Day 83: The gibeonite trickery

Joshua 8:1-29 God handed Ai over to the Israelites, and Joshua accomplished the victory by way of a decoy. His act of stretching out his javelin while the battle raged recalls the episode in which Moses stretched forth his arms so Israel might defeat the Amalekites (cf. Ex 17:11-13). In both cases, the raised arms and hands signified a prayer of petition for God’s assistance.


Ch 8:30-35 Like Moses before him, Joshua celebrated the victory by building an altar and offering a sacrifice to God. He then wrote out a copy of the Mosaic Law and read it to all the people. The message was that Israel was the beneficiary of God’s promise by keeping his Law. (CCC 709-710)


Ch 9:17-21 As neighboring nations of the central and southern region formed a coalition to fight Israel, the Gibeonites, sensing the futility of such a battle, instead carried out a ruse to win protection from Joshua. Israel kept its promise to the Gibeonites even after their trickery was made known, living in peace with these neighbors and employing them as servants and woodworkers. Although they were not yet ready to embrace the religion and the Law of Israel, the Gibeonites acknowledged God’s presence and power amidst the Israelites. (CCC 201)


Psalm 126 The final stanza of this psalm encapsulates the mystery of the great fruitfulness of suffering. What is sown in pain and sorrow is reaped in peace and joy. As Christ taught in the Parable of the Seed, a thing must die and be buried in order to grow and produce an abundance of fruit. Struggling against hardships and acceptance of suffering eventually redounds in happiness here on earth AND IN THE NEXT LIFE. (Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, August 17, 2005)


The Lord has done great things for us: This verse evokes the Magnificat, Mary’s canticle of praise and joy at the Visitation (cf. Lk 1:49). (CCC 2097, 2619)

Key Event 32: Covenant Renewal (Joshua 8:30-35)
After conquering Jericho and Ai, Joshua leads the people to Mount Ebal to renew the covenant, as Moses had prescribed (Duet 27:1-26). This covenant renewal includes sacrifice as well as the engraving of a copy of the Law of Moses on stone (Josh 8:32; Ex 34:29).

Gibeon: Covenant by Craftiness

  • The report of Israel’s victories quickly spreads throughout the land.

  • The Jebusite king of Jerusalem, Adonizedek, and the other kings of the southern half of the Promised Land, including much of the coastland, decide to unite and fight Israel.

  • The people of Gibeon, however, devise a plan to join themselves to God’s people rather than fight them.

  • The Gibeonites pretend that they have made a long journey from a faraway land.

  • Declaring to Joshua that they have heard reports of the Lord’s wonders against all who opposed Israel, they ask to enter into a covenant with Israel and its God.

  • The deception works and a covenant is made.

  • When Joshua finally discovers that these are not foreigners, but actually inhabitants of Canaan, he can do nothing because the covenant is irrevocable.

  • Gibeon’s deliverance is reminiscent of Israel’s own deliverance.

  • Once again, a people doomed to perish, as Israel was after the golden calf, is saved from destruction because of their covenant with Yahweh.

  • Israel stood under judgment because of their apostasy and rebellion but was repeatedly spared because of God’s covenant promises.

  • Covenants can save, and Gibeon is both a reminder and metaphor for Israel.

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)


  • Fun Fact: Fr. Mike records the introduction to the Podcast EVERY SINGLE TIME

  • Joshua 8: The redemption of the Battle of Ai

  • Joshua has a military strategy of having an ambush by drawing the people out of the City of Ai while other troops of Israel goes in the open door after all the citizens of Ai give chase

  • Joshua 9 is a sneaky sneak story of the Gibeonites

  • All of the other kings beyond the Jordan hill country are getting their war council together because they realize the Israelites are powerful and GOD IS WITH THEM

  • These were the kings of the Hittites, Jebusites, Perizites, Amorites, Canaanites, and Hivites

  • BUT, the GIBEONITES understand that rather than be DESTROYED, they are going to TRICK the Israelites into entering a COVENANT with them

  • They disguise themselves as if they have been on a long journey even though they live only a couple days away

  • The ISRAELITES partook of the GIBEONITES’ provisions and DID NOT ASK FOR DIRECTION FROM THE LORD

  • They did NOT ask God, “Hey, is this the right thing to do?”

  • They just believed the Gibeonites who were tricking them and entered into COVENANT with them

  • There is something really powerful about that when it comes to US and our BIG DECISIONS IN OUR LIVES

  • Remember, a COVENANT is establishing a FAMILY BOND

  • I AM YOURS AND YOU ARE MINE

  • Remember, it is NOT A CONTRACT

  • It is a DEEP RELATIONSHIP that is UNBREAKABLE

  • So without asking God if this was a foolish idea, they just do it

  • They soon find out that it is a TRICK

  • Even better, they KEEP THE COVENANT, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE TRICKED INTO IT

  • They HONOR the COVENANT and will NOT destroy the Gibeonites or treat them as FOREIGNERS

  • HOWEVER, because they were tricked there would be CONSEQUENCES

  • The Gibeonites would work as hewers of wood and drawers of water

  • It’s a lot like Rahab

  • Rahab is a harlot living in Jericho

  • She houses the spies of Israel

  • She and her family get preserved and eventually become a PART OF THE ISRAELITES

  • Rahab is noted in the New Testament as being a PART OF THE FAMILY LINE WHEN IT COMES TO JESUS CHRIST

  • Similar to this, the Gibeonites are BROUGHT INTO THE FAMILY STORY OF SALVATION

  • Later on, Gibeon becomes a PRIESTLY CITY

  • It is where the Ark of the Covenant stayed during the days of King David and King Solomon

  • In 1 Chronicles, one of David’s mighty men is a GIBEONITE

  • God spoke to Solomon at GIBEON

  • Gibeonites are BROUGHT INTO THE COVENANT even though they did it in a tricky, sneaky way

  • Joshua and the People of God HONOR THE COVENANT, even though it was deceptively entered into

  • It is a WORD OF HOPE for the Gibeonites

  • BUT THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES

  • They are essentially given a second class citizenship, but the Gibeonites accepted this because it was better than being killed

  • SO OFTEN, THAT IS US

  • When it comes to entering into a relationship with God, too often the reason we say “YES” to Jesus is that IT’S BETTER THAN GOING TO HELL

  • AND YET....

  • What God wants for us, from us, is not simply to spare us from eternal separation from God in HELL

  • God wants us to LIVE AS HIS SONS AND DAUGHTERS

  • God wants us to LIVE AS FAMILY FOREVER IN ETERNITY WITH HIM

  • So often we say “YES” not because we want to be part of GOD’S FAMILY, but because WE WANT TO ESCAPE FROM PAIN (whoaaaaaaa 🤯)

  • WE WANT TO ESCAPE DESTRUCTION

  • WE WANT TO ESCAPE HELL

  • Maybe we are like the Gibeonites who were brought into a covenant relationship because they did not want to be destroyed

  • But, as time passed, there were PROPHETS who came from the Gibeonites

  • There are examples of GREAT THINGS God does with the Gibeonites as they become MORE DEEPLY AND DEEPLY A PART OF HIS FAMILY

  • THE SAME THING IS TRUE FOR US

  • We may say “YES” to God out of a MERCENARY HEART, A DESIRE TO SPARE OURSELVES

  • But, the MORE AND MORE we get to know GOD’S HEART,

  • The MORE AND MORE we get to know WHO GOD IS,

  • THE MORE AND MORE WE ARE DRAWN TO LIVING AS FULL MEMBERS OF GOD’S FAMILY

  • THE MORE AND MORE WE ARE DRAWN TO KNOWING THERE IS A FATHER IN HEAVEN WHO LOVES US

  • THE MORE AND MORE WE ARE DRAWN TO KNOWING THAT THERE IS OUR LORD JESUS WHO IS OUR BROTHER AS WELL

  • THE MORE AND MORE WE ARE DRAWN TO KNOWING THAT YOU AND I ARE BROTHERS AND SISTERS AS WELL

  • And THAT is one of the reasons we can LIVE IN JOY

  • We can continue to PRAY FOR EACH OTHER

  • As brothers and sisters, SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD, we are PART OF THIS FAMILY

  • It doesn’t matter if we came into this family UNWITTINGLY

  • It doesn’t matter if we came into this family because we wanted to AVOID OTHER THINGS LIKE HELL

  • The fact is WE ARE FAMILY (GET UP EVERYBODY AND SING!!!!!)

  • Pray for Fr. Mike

  • Pray for each other


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, we give you praise and glory. We thank you. We just give you thanks, Lord God, because you are good and your deeds are good. That is what we need to be reminded of again and again. Lord God, in the course of our daily lives we seek out your counsel and desire to do only those things that are in your will, only those things that you are calling us to do. And we also desire to live in the freedom of that obedience, live in that freedom of belonging to you and choosing to say “yes” to you with everything we have. Help us to do that with your grace, with your salvation, with your mercy, and with your power. We make this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”