The Men Who Tricked Joshua
Joshua 8-10 Review
Activities for this Lesson
You remember before Moses died, he read the law to the people
and helped them renew their covenant with God. Since Moses knew how quickly they
would forget the Lord, he commanded them to read it again after they crossed the
Jordan River into Canaan. Moses even gave instructions about how to do this.
First they should make a special altar on Mt. Ebal and offer a sacrifice of
rejoicing - - rejoicing because they were in Canaan at last! Afterward, some of
the tribes would stand by Mt. Ebal and the rest would stand by Mt. Gerizim for
the reading of the law. The Levites would be in between with the ark of the
Lord. As each blessing and each curse was read, the people would all shout
Think what a wonderful time that must have been! The first curse warned against
making idols to worship: “Cursed is the one who makes any carved or molded
image, an abomination to the Lord, the word of the hands of the craftsman, and
sets it up in secret.” The thunderous “Amen” of so many voices must have echoed
mightily throughout those mountains. Hearing God’s laws like that one by one
should have helped Israel remember them all of their lives.
To protect their countries, some of the kings of Canaan decided to bring all
their armies together to fight the Israelites. After seeing God’s power, they
were afraid to fight alone. But the people in nearby Gibeon would not join them.
Perhaps they knew God of Israel would help his people win even if all of the
kings in the world came together. The Gibeonites thought it would be better to
make a treaty (or agreement) with the Israelites.
You remember the Lord had forbidden His people to make any kind of agreement
with the nations of Canaan. Instead, they were to drive them all out of the
land. If they were left there, sons and daughters of Israel might marry those of
Canaan. Then God’s own people would start worshipping idols.
But the Gibeonites tricked Israel into thinking they came from a faraway country
instead of Canaan. So they put on shabby, ragged clothes with patched sandals,
threw worn sacks on their donkeys and got some bread so old that it had dried
out and molded. When they came to the camp in Gilgal, they said, “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.”
At first Joshua and the men of Israel did not believe them and said, “Perhaps
you dwell among us. How can we make a covenant with you?” But the Gibeonites
lied again. To try to prove their journey to Gilgal had taken a long time, they
said they had started out with new clothes and sandals and fresh bread - -
anyone could see how old everything was now! Joshua and the men listened and had
to admit that everything looked worn out. Then they tasted the Gibeonites’
bread, and decided the wicked men were telling the truth.
But Joshua forgot to ask God what to do. He must have been mad at himself three
days later when he found out Gibeon was a city nearby. What should they do now?
They had made a treaty to help one another and now Israel had to keep their side
of the agreement. When they came to Gibeon, they did not attack the city but
made the people their servants instead.
The Canaanite kings were furious with the Gibeonites and brought their great
army against them to teach them a lesson. The Gibeonites were so frightened they
sent for Joshua. Because of their treaty, Joshua marched his men all night to
help them. The shocked enemy soldiers ran away and Israel chased them down - -
finishing them off with swords.
God did not leave his people to fight alone. He showed his great power that day
by sending huge hailstones that killed even more than His army did. And He kept
the sun up in the sky until Israel was sure of the victory.
Talking it Over:
1. Why do teachers at school help children review what they have studied? How as
the reading of the law at Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim like a review? Why do we need
to keep God’s law before us today?
2. What can we learn from God’s warning about His people mixing with those who
worshipped idols? Talk about some ways boys and girls can be influenced by their
3. Imagine the sun “standing still” long enough for the Israelites to win their
battle against the Canaanites. Why would we call that a miracle? Is the rising
of the sun each day a miracle? Why or why not?
“So the sun stood still and the moon stopped till the people had revenge on
their enemies.” Joshua 10:13
How would other Canaanites feel after this great battle?
Text by Betty Belue Haynes, originally published in Bible Talk Times.
Used here with the kind permission of the author. Users are free to reproduce
for use, but not for publication.