Another violation of their agreement to kill everyone in Canaan, another justification for why non-Israelites were totally living in Israel. The chapter blames it on Joshua and the elders not consulting God before they made their treaty (v 14). But God doesn’t lash out at them for ignoring the rules. In fact, the Gibeonites become slaves serving the temple (which of course hasn’t been built yet, but the author, living in a period when it had, makes a note of this).
That also means this story is justifying why they kept an entire nationality as servants. They were tricky little liars, you see. An argument that has never been used in negative ways to hurt minority ethnic groups, no siree.
I kind of like the Gibeonites, actually. They called “cunning” in the NRSV, but kashikoi in the NCT, which has a positive connotation of “wise” or “clever.” Maybe God doesn’t punish the Israelites for their treaty with the Gibeonites because he actually likes that they figured out a way to save their own people. Another Japanese word that appears here is azamuku, “to trick,” a word I hadn’t seen much of since the story of Jacob, where it’s used all the time. God likes tricksters, especially when they use their trickery for something good.
Apparently the Gibeonites show up in 2 Samuel, which I hope I can get to by April.
The Japanese: shuuketsu suru “to gather, to amass,” icchi suru “to get together” (v 2), tachimawaru “to conduct oneself,” yosooi “livery,” furubita “old, worn-out,” tsukurou “to mend” (v 4), kifurushita “worn-out, shabby,” gaitou “overcoat,” hikarabita “dried-up,” boroboro “ragged, tattered” (v 5), shitau “to yearn for, to adore,” issai “all, everything” (v 9), shiji “instruction, order” (v 14), wa o koujiru “to work out a peace plan,” hoshou suru “to guarantee” (v 15), mizukumi “drawing water” (v 21), azamuku “to trick” (v 22).