The Gibeonites Deception

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. And they 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." ...... though Israel was forbidden to make peace with any of the tribes of Canaan (Exodus 23:23-24).

Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites, "Perhaps you dwell among us; so how can we make a covenant with you?" But they said to Joshua "We are your servants." And Joshua said to them, "Who are you, and where do you come from?" So they said to him: "From a very far country your servants have come, because of the name of the LORD your God; for we have heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt, and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan; to Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth. Therefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, 'Take provisions with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say to them, "We are your servants; now therefore, make a covenant with us."' This bread of ours we took hot for our provision from our houses on the day we departed to come to you. But now look, it is dry and moldy. And these wineskins which we filled were new, and see, they are torn; and these our garments and our sandals have become old because of the very long journey."

2. (14-15) Joshua and the leaders of Israel accept the deception of the Gibeonites. ... Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the LORD. So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them. ...... They did not ask counsel of the LORD: The Gibeonite deception was clever, and therefore powerful.  But the real problem was that Joshua and the leaders of Israel never sought the LORD.

So Joshua made peace with them: Because they believed that the Gibeonites were from a distant land, they made the treaty with them God allowed Israel to make treaties with distant nations, but not with the Canaanites. .... (16-20) Joshua and the leaders of Israel discover they have been deceived, yet they abide by their sworn oath to the Gibeonites.

And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them. Then the children of Israel journeyed and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath Jearim. But the children of Israel did not attack them, because the rulers of the congregation had sworn to them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation complained against the rulers. Then all the rulers said to all the congregation, "We have sworn to them by the LORD God of Israel; now therefore, we may not touch them. This we will do to them: We will let them live, lest wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them."

Later, King Saul broke this vow to the Gibeonites and his sin brought famine upon Israel in the days of David (2 Samuel 21:1-9).

The Period of the Judges

The Book of Judges is a history of Israel after the death of Joshua and before Samuel. Israel was a loose confederation of Twelve Tribes settled in a land only partially conquered from the Canaanites. "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit." (Judges 17:6) The cycle of the times -- apostasy, oppression, deliverance by a Judge -- was enacted many times over this period.


 Delivering Judge

 Oppressing Nation

1406 BC



1315 BC



1215 BC

Deborah and Barak


1169 BC


Midianites, Amalakites

1105 BC



1105 BC

Ark captured, Samuel is judge


1065 BC

Saul becomes king


Samuel anoints Saul First King of Israel 1065 B.C.

Samuel, from the Hebrew Shemuel, meaning Name of God or His Name is El, was a Levitical priest who is generally regarded as the last of the judges (1 Samuel 7:6,15-17), and the first of the prophets .... Samuel was the son of Elkanah and Hannah At a very young age his parents took him to Shiloh and consecrated him to The Lord, serving under Eli the priest.

Samuel was eventually chosen by God to succeed Eli because Eli's sons had become corrupt beyond hope. The succession became final after the Israelites temporarily lost The Ark Of The Covenant, which had been carried from The Tabernacle in Shiloh into battle against the Philistines . Eli's sons were killed in the battle, and Eli himself died when he was told the news.

After becoming their leader, Samuel turned the Israelites away from their gross Idolatry, and led them to an overwhelming victory over the Philistines, who had been severely troubling Israel for over 40 years .... The victory over the Philistines was followed by a long period of peace for Israel, during which Samuel served as a "circuit judge," going each year from his home in Ramah, about 20 miles north of Jerusalem, around the neighboring towns of Bethel, Gilgal, Mizpah, and then back to Ramah .

Samuel established regular worship of The Lord at Shiloh, 20 miles north of Jebus (Jerusalem) where he built an altar, and he established a school of the prophets at Ramah, and later also at Gibeah, Bethel, Gilgal, and Jericho .....