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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 together,
“Amen!”

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
friends.
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?

Memory Verse:
“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?

Credits
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.