Josué (NAB) 1

Book of


God's Commission to Joshua

1 1 After Moses, the servant of the LORD, had died, the LORD said to Moses' aide Joshua, son of Nun:2 "My servant Moses is dead. So prepare to cross the Jordan here, with all the people into the land I will give the Israelites.3 As I promised Moses, I will deliver to you every place where you set foot.4 Your domain is to be all the land of the Hittites, from the desert and from Lebanon east to the great river Euphrates and west to the Great Sea. 5 No one can withstand you while you live. I will be with you as I was with Moses: I will not leave you nor forsake you.6 Be firm and steadfast, so that you may give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers I would give them.7 Above all, be firm and steadfast, taking care to observe the entire law which my servant Moses enjoined on you. Do not swerve from it either to the right or to the left, that you may succeed wherever you go.8 Keep this book of the law on your lips. Recite it by day and by night, that you may observe carefully all that is written in it; then you will successfully attain your goal.9 I command you: be firm and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go."

Preparations for the Invasion

10 So Joshua commanded the officers of the people:11 "Go through the camp and instruct the people, 'Prepare your provisions, for three days from now you shall cross the Jordan here, to march in and take possession of the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you.'"12 Joshua reminded the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh:13 "Remember what Moses, the servant of the LORD, commanded you when he said, 'The LORD, your God, will permit you to settle in this land.'14 Your wives, your children, and your livestock shall remain in the land Moses gave you here beyond the Jordan. But all the warriors among you must cross over armed ahead of your kinsmen and you must help them15 until the LORD has settled your kinsmen, and they like you possess the land which the LORD, your God, is giving them. Afterward you may return and occupy your own land, which Moses, the servant of the LORD, has given you east of the Jordan."
"We will do all you have commanded us," they answered Joshua, "and we will go wherever you send us. We will obey you as completely as we obeyed Moses.17 But may the LORD, your God, be with you as he was with Moses.18 If anyone rebels against your orders and does not obey every command you give him, he shall be put to death. But be firm and steadfast."

Spies Sent to Jericho

2 1 Then Joshua, son of Nun, secretly sent out two spies from Shittim, saying, "Go, reconnoiter the land and Jericho." When the two reached Jericho, they went into the house of a harlot named Rahab, where they lodged. 2 But a report was brought to the king of Jericho that some Israelites had come there that night to spy out the land.3 So the king of Jericho sent Rahab the order, "Put out the visitors who have entered your house, for they have come to spy out the entire land."4 The woman had taken the two men and hidden them, so she said, "True, the men you speak of came to me, but I did not know where they came from.5 At dark, when it was time for the gate to be shut, they left, and I do not know where they went. You will have to pursue them immediately to overtake them."6 Now, she had led them to the roof, and hidden them among her stalks of flax spread out there. 7 But the pursuers set out along the way to the fords of the Jordan, and once they had left, the gate was shut.
Before the spies fell asleep, Rahab came to them on the roof 9 and said: "I know that the LORD has given you the land, that a dread of you has come upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are overcome with fear of you.10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and how you dealt with Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites beyond the Jordan, whom you doomed to destruction.11 At these reports, we are disheartened; everyone is discouraged because of you, since the LORD, your God, is God in heaven above and on earth below.12 Now then, swear to me by the LORD that, since I am showing kindness to you, you in turn will show kindness to my family; and give me an unmistakable token13 that you are to spare my father and mother, brothers and sisters, and all their kin, and save us from death."14 "We pledge our lives for yours," the men answered her. "If you do not betray this errand of ours, we will be faithful in showing kindness to you when the LORD gives us the land."15 Then she let them down through the window with a rope; for she lived in a house built into the city wall. 16 "Go up into the hill country," she suggested to them, "that your pursuers may not find you. Hide there for three days, until they return; then you may proceed on your way."17 The men answered her, "This is how we will fulfill the oath you made us take:18 When we come into the land, tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you are letting us down; and gather your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house.19 Should any of them pass outside the doors of your house, he will be responsible for his own death, and we shall be guiltless. But we shall be responsible if anyone in the house with you is harmed.20 If, however, you betray this errand of ours, we shall be quit of the oath you have made us take."21 "Let it be as you say," she replied, and bade them farewell. When they were gone, she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
They went up into the hills, where they stayed three days until their pursuers, who had sought them all along the road without finding them, returned.23 Then the two came back down from the hills, crossed the Jordan to Joshua, son of Nun, and reported all that had befallen them.24 They assured Joshua, "The LORD has delivered all this land into our power; indeed, all the inhabitants of the land are overcome with fear of us."

Israel Crosses the Jordan

3 1 Early the next morning, Joshua moved with all the Israelites from Shittim to the Jordan, where they lodged before crossing over.2 Three days later the officers went through the camp3 and issued these instructions to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD, your God, which the levitical priests will carry, you must also break camp and follow it,4 that you may know the way to take, for you have not gone over this road before. But let there be a space of two thousand cubits between you and the ark. Do not come nearer to it."5 Joshua also said to the people, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will perform wonders among you."6 And he directed the priests to take up the ark of the covenant and go on ahead of the people; and they did so.
Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know I am with you, as I was with Moses.8 Now command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant to come to a halt in the Jordan when they reach the edge of the waters."9 So Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD, your God."10 He continued: "This is how you will know that there is a living God in your midst, who at your approach will dispossess the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.11 The ark of the covenant of the LORD of the whole earth will precede you into the Jordan.12 (Now choose twelve men, one from each of the tribes of Israel.)13 When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the ark of the LORD, the Lord of the whole earth, touch the water of the Jordan, it will cease to flow; for the water flowing down from upstream will halt in a solid bank."
The people struck their tents to cross the Jordan, with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant ahead of them.15 No sooner had these priestly bearers of the ark waded into the waters at the edge of the Jordan, which overflows all its banks during the entire season of the harvest, 16 than the waters flowing from upstream halted, backing up in a solid mass for a very great distance indeed, from Adam, a city in the direction of Zarethan; while those flowing downstream toward the Salt Sea of the Arabah disappeared entirely. Thus the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 While all Israel crossed over on dry ground, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD remained motionless on dry ground in the bed of the Jordan until the whole nation had completed the passage.

Twelve Stones Set Up at Gilgal

4 1 After the entire nation had crossed the Jordan,2 the LORD said to Joshua, "Choose twelve men from the people, one from each tribe,3 and instruct them to take up twelve stones from this spot in the bed of the Jordan where the priests have been standing motionless. Carry them over with you, and place them where you are to stay tonight."4 Summoning the twelve men whom he had selected from among the Israelites, one from each tribe,5 Joshua said to them: "Go to the bed of the Jordan in front of the ark of the LORD, your God; lift to your shoulders one stone apiece, so that they will equal in number the tribes of the Israelites.6 In the future, these are to be a sign among you. When your children ask you what these stones mean to you,7 you shall answer them, 'The waters of the Jordan ceased to flow before the ark of the covenant of the LORD when it crossed the Jordan.' Thus these stones are to serve as a perpetual memorial to the Israelites."8 The twelve Israelites did as Joshua had commanded: they took up as many stones from the bed of the Jordan as there were tribes of the Israelites, and carried them along to the camp site, where they placed them, according to the LORD'S direction.9 Joshua also had twelve stones set up in the bed of the Jordan on the spot where the priests stood who were carrying the ark of the covenant. They are there to this day.
The priests carrying the ark remained in the bed of the Jordan until everything had been done that the LORD had commanded Joshua to tell the people. The people crossed over quickly, 11 and when all had reached the other side, the ark of the LORD, borne by the priests, also crossed to its place in front of them.12 The Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh, armed, marched in the vanguard of the Israelites, as Moses had ordered.13 About forty thousand troops equipped for battle passed over before the LORD to the plains of Jericho.14 That day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and thenceforth during his whole life they respected him as they had respected Moses.15 Then the LORD said to Joshua,16 "Command the priests carrying the ark of the commandments to come up from the Jordan."17 Joshua did so,18 and when the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD had come up from the bed of the Jordan, as the soles of their feet regained the dry ground, the waters of the Jordan resumed their course and as before overflowed all its banks.
The people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and camped in Gilgal on the eastern limits of Jericho.
At Gilgal Joshua set up the twelve stones which had been taken from the Jordan,21 saying to the Israelites, "In the future, when the children among you ask their fathers what these stones mean,22 you shall inform them, 'Israel crossed the Jordan here on dry ground.'23 For the LORD, your God, dried up the waters of the Jordan in front of you until you crossed over, just as the LORD, your God, had done at the Red Sea, which he dried up in front of us until we crossed over;24 in order that all the peoples of the earth may learn that the hand of the LORD is mighty, and that you may fear the LORD, your God, forever."

The New Generation Circumcised

5 1 When all the kings of the Amorites to the west of the Jordan and all the kings of the Canaanites by the sea heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the Israelites until they crossed over, they were disheartened and lost courage at their approach.
On this occasion the LORD said to Joshua, "Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelite nation for the second time."3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath-haaraloth,
under these circumstances: Of all the people who came out of Egypt, every man of military age had died in the desert during the journey after they left Egypt.5 Though all the men who came out were circumcised, none of those born in the desert during the journey after the departure from Egypt were circumcised.6 Now the Israelites had wandered forty years in the desert, until all the warriors among the people that came forth from Egypt died off because they had not obeyed the command of the LORD. For the LORD swore that he would not let them see the land flowing with milk and honey which he had promised their fathers he would give us.7 It was the children whom he raised up in their stead whom Joshua circumcised, for these were yet with foreskins, not having been circumcised on the journey.8 When the rite had been performed, the whole nation remained in camp where they were, until they recovered.9 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you." Therefore the place is called Gilgal to the present day.

The Passover at Gilgal

10 While the Israelites were encamped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they celebrated the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth of the month. 11 On the day after the Passover they ate of the produce of the land in the form of unleavened cakes and parched grain. On that same day12 after the Passover on which they ate of the produce of the land, the manna ceased. No longer was there manna for the Israelites, who that year ate of the yield of the land of Canaan.

Joshua's Vision

13 While Joshua was near Jericho, he raised his eyes and saw one who stood facing him, drawn sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you one of us or of our enemies?" 14 He replied, "Neither. I am the captain of the host of the LORD and I have just arrived." Then Joshua fell prostrate to the ground in worship, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?"15 The captain of the host of the LORD replied to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy." And Joshua obeyed.

Jericho Taken and Destroyed

6 1 Now Jericho was in a state of siege because of the presence of the Israelites, so that no one left or entered.2 And to Joshua the LORD said, "I have delivered Jericho and its king into your power.3 Have all the soldiers circle the city, marching once around it. Do this for six days,4 with seven priests carrying ram's horns ahead of the ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, and have the priests blow the horns.5 When they give a long blast on the ram's horns and you hear that signal, all the people shall shout aloud. The wall of the city will collapse, and they will be able to make a frontal attack."
Summoning the priests, Joshua, son of Nun, then ordered them to take up the ark of the covenant with seven of the priests carrying ram's horns in front of the ark of the LORD.7 And he ordered the people to proceed in a circle around the city, with the picked troops marching ahead of the ark of the LORD.8 At this order they proceeded, with the seven priests who carried the ram's horns before the LORD blowing their horns, and the ark of the covenant of the LORD following them.9 In front of the priests with the horns marched the picked troops; the rear guard followed the ark, and the blowing of horns was kept up continually as they marched.10 But the people had been commanded by Joshua not to shout or make any noise or outcry until he gave the word: only then were they to shout.11 So he had the ark of the LORD circle the city, going once around it, after which they returned to camp for the night.12 Early the next morning, Joshua had the priests take up the ark of the LORD.13 The seven priests bearing the ram's horns marched in front of the ark of the LORD, blowing their horns. Ahead of these marched the picked troops, while the rear guard followed the ark of the LORD, and the blowing of horns was kept up continually.14 On this second day they again marched around the city once before returning to camp; and for six days in all they did the same.15 On the seventh day, beginning at daybreak, they marched around the city seven times in the same manner; on that day only did they march around the city seven times.16 The seventh time around, the priests blew the horns and Joshua said to the people, "Now shout, for the LORD has given you the city
and everything in it. It is under the LORD'S ban. Only the harlot Rahab and all who are in the house with her are to be spared, because she hid the messengers we sent.18 But be careful not to take, in your greed, anything that is under the ban; else you will bring upon the camp of Israel this ban and the misery of it. 19 All silver and gold, and the articles of bronze or iron, are sacred to the LORD. They shall be put in the treasury of the LORD."20 As the horns blew, the people began to shout. When they heard the signal horn, they raised a tremendous shout. The wall collapsed, and the people stormed the city in a frontal attack and took it. 21 They observed the ban by putting to the sword all living creatures in the city: men and women, young and old, as well as oxen, sheep and asses.22 Joshua directed the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the harlot's house and bring out the woman with all her kin, as you swore to her you would do."23 The spies entered and brought out Rahab, with her father, mother, brothers, and all her kin. Her entire family they led forth and placed them outside the camp of Israel.24 The city itself they burned with all that was in it, except the silver, gold, and articles of bronze and iron, which were placed in the treasury of the house of the LORD.25 Because Rahab the harlot had hidden the messengers whom Joshua had sent to reconnoiter Jericho, Joshua spared her with her family and all her kin, who continue in the midst of Israel to this day. 26 On that occasion Joshua imposed the oath: Cursed before the LORD be the man who attempts to rebuild this city, Jericho. He shall lose his first-born when he lays its foundation, and he shall lose his youngest son when he sets up its gates. 27 Thus the LORD was with Joshua so that his fame spread throughout the land.

The Sin of Achan and Its Punishment

7 1 But the Israelites violated the ban; Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zerah, son of Zara of the tribe of Judah, took goods that were under the ban, and the anger of the LORD flared up against the Israelites.
Joshua next sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Bethel on its eastern side, with instructions to go up and reconnoiter the land. When they had explored Ai,3 they returned to Joshua and advised, "Do not send all the people up; if only about two or three thousand go up, they can overcome Ai. The enemy there are few; you need not call for an effort from all the people."4 About three thousand of the people made the attack, but they were defeated by those at Ai,5 who killed some thirty-six of them. They pressed them back across the clearing in front of the city gate till they broke ranks, and defeated them finally on the descent, so that the confidence of the people melted away like water.
Joshua, together with the elders of Israel, rent his garments and lay prostrate before the ark of the LORD until evening; and they threw dust on their heads.7 "Alas, O Lord GOD," Joshua prayed, "why did you ever allow this people to pass over the Jordan, delivering us into the power of the Amorites, that they might destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell on the other side of the Jordan.8 Pray, Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has turned its back to its enemies?9 When the Canaanites and the other inhabitants of the land hear of it, they will close in around us and efface our name from the earth. What will you do for your great name?"
The LORD replied to Joshua: "Stand up. Why are you lying prostrate?11 Israel has sinned: they have violated the covenant which I enjoined on them. They have stealthily taken goods subject to the ban, and have deceitfully put them in their baggage.12 If the Israelites cannot stand up to their enemies, but must turn their back to them, it is because they are under the ban. I will not remain with you unless you remove from among you whoever has incurred the ban.13 Rise, sanctify the people. Tell them to sanctify themselves before tomorrow, for the LORD, the God of Israel, says: You are under the ban, O Israel. You cannot stand up to your enemies until you remove from among you whoever has incurred the ban.14 In the morning you must present yourselves by tribes. The tribe which the LORD designates shall come forward by clans; the clan which the LORD designates shall come forward by families; the family which the LORD designates shall come forward one by one.15 He who is designated as having incurred the ban shall be destroyed by fire, with all that is his, because he has violated the covenant of the LORD and has committed a shameful crime in Israel."
Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and the tribe of Judah was designated. 17 Then he had the clans of Judah come forward, and the clan of Zerah was designated. He had the clan of Zerah come forward by families, and Zabdi was designated.18 Finally he had that family come forward one by one, and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah, was designated.19 Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give to the LORD, the God of Israel, glory and honor by telling me what you have done; do not hide it from me."20 Achan answered Joshua, "I have indeed sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done:21 Among the spoils, I saw a beautiful Babylonian mantle, two hundred shekels of silver, and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight; in my greed I took them. They are now hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath."22 The messengers whom Joshua sent hastened to the tent and found them hidden there, with the silver underneath.23 They took them from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites, and spread them out before the LORD.24 Then Joshua and all Israel took Achan, son of Zerah, with the silver, the mantle, and the bar of gold, and with his sons and daughters, his ox, his ass and his sheep, his tent, and all his possessions, and led them off to the Valley of Achor.25 Joshua said, "The LORD bring upon you today the misery with which you have afflicted us!" And all Israel stoned him to death26 and piled a great heap of stones over him, which remains to the present day. Then the anger of the LORD relented. That is why the place is called the Valley of Achor to this day.

Ai Captured by a Stratagem and Destroyed

8 1 The LORD then said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid or dismayed. Take all the army with you and prepare to attack Ai. I have delivered the king of Ai into your power, with his people, city, and land.2 Do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king; except that you may take its spoil and livestock as booty. Set an ambush behind the city."
So Joshua and all the soldiers prepared to attack Ai. Picking out thirty thousand warriors, Joshua sent them off by night 4 with these orders: "See that you ambush the city from the rear, at no great distance; then all of you be on the watch.5 The rest of the people and I will come up to the city, and when they make a sortie against us as they did the last time, we will flee from them.6 They will keep coming out after us until we have drawn them away from the city, for they will think we are fleeing from them as we did the last time. When this occurs,7 rise from ambush and take possession of the city, which the LORD, your God, will deliver into your power.8 When you have taken the city, set it afire in obedience to the LORD'S command. These are my orders to you."9 Then Joshua sent them away. They went to the place of ambush, taking up their position to the west of Ai, toward Bethel. Joshua, however, spent that night in the plain.10 Early the next morning Joshua mustered the army and went up to Ai at its head, with the elders of Israel.11 When all the troops he led were drawn up in position before the city, they pitched camp north of Ai, on the other side of the ravine.12 (He took about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, west of the city.)13 Thus the people took up their stations, with the main body north of the city and the ambush west of it, and Joshua waited overnight among his troops.14 The king of Ai saw this, and he and all his army came out very early in the morning to engage Israel in battle at the descent toward the Arabah, not knowing that there was an ambush behind the city.
Joshua and the main body of the Israelites fled in seeming defeat toward the desert,16 till the last of the soldiers in the city had been called out to pursue them.17 Since they were drawn away from the city, with every man engaged in this pursuit of Joshua and the Israelites, not a soldier remained in Ai (or Bethel), and the city was open and unprotected.18 Then the LORD directed Joshua, "Stretch out the javelin in your hand toward Ai, for I will deliver it into your power." Joshua stretched out the javelin in his hand toward the city,19 and as soon as he did so, the men in ambush rose from their post, rushed in, captured the city, and immediately set it on fire.20 By the time the men of Ai looked back, the smoke from the city was already sky-high. Escape in any direction was impossible, because the Israelites retreating toward the desert now turned on their pursuers;21 for when Joshua and the main body of Israelites saw that the city had been taken from ambush and was going up in smoke, they struck back at the men of Ai.22 Since those in the city came out to intercept them, the men of Ai were hemmed in by Israelites on either side, who cut them down without any fugitives or survivors23 except the king, whom they took alive and brought to Joshua.
All the inhabitants of Ai who had pursued the Israelites into the desert were slain by the sword there in the open, down to the last man. Then all Israel returned and put to the sword those inside the city.25 There fell that day a total of twelve thousand men and women, the entire population of Ai.26 Joshua kept the javelin in his hand stretched out until he had fulfilled the doom on all the inhabitants of Ai.27 However, the Israelites took for themselves as booty the livestock and the spoil of that city, according to the command of the LORD issued to Joshua.28 Then Joshua destroyed the place by fire, reducing it to an everlasting mound of ruins, as it remains today.29 He had the king of Ai hanged on a tree until evening; then at sunset Joshua ordered the body removed from the tree and cast at the entrance of the city gate, where a great heap of stones was piled up over it, which remains to the present day.

Joshua Renews the Covenant

30 Later Joshua built an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, 31 of unhewn stones on which no iron tool had been used, in keeping with the command to the Israelites of Moses, the servant of the LORD, as recorded in the book of the law. On this altar they offered holocausts and peace offerings to the LORD.32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua inscribed upon the stones a copy of the law written by Moses.33 And all Israel, stranger and native alike, with their elders, officers and judges, stood on either side of the ark facing the levitical priests who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD. Half of them were facing Mount Gerizim and half Mount Ebal, thus carrying out the instructions of Moses, the servant of the LORD, for the blessing of the people of Israel on this first occasion.34 Then were read aloud all the words of the law, the blessings and the curses, exactly as written in the book of the law.35 Every single word that Moses had commanded, Joshua read aloud to the entire community, including the women and children, and the strangers who had accompanied Israel.

The Gibeonites Save Themselves by Trickery

9 1 When the news reached the kings west of the Jordan, in the mountain regions and in the foothills, and all along the coast of the Great Sea as far as Lebanon: Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites,2 they all formed an alliance to launch a common attack against Joshua and Israel.
On learning what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, the inhabitants of Gibeon4 put into effect a device of their own. They chose provisions for a journey, making use of old sacks for their asses, and old wineskins, torn and mended.5 They wore old, patched sandals and shabby garments; and all the bread they took was dry and crumbly.6 Thus they journeyed to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, where they said to him and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a distant land to propose that you make an alliance with us."7 But the men of Israel replied to the Hivites, "You may be living in land that is ours. How, then, can we make an alliance with you?" 8 But they answered Joshua, "We are your servants." Then Joshua asked them, "Who are you? Where do you come from?"9 They answered him, "Your servants have come from a far-off land, because of the fame of the LORD, your God. For we have heard reports of all that he did in Egypt10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites beyond the Jordan, Sihon, king of Heshbon, and Og, king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth.11 So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, 'Take along provisions for the journey and go to meet them. Say to them: We are your servants; we propose that you make an alliance with us.'12 This bread of ours was still warm when we brought it from home as provisions the day we left to come to you, but now it is dry and crumbled.13 Here are our wineskins, which were new when we filled them, but now they are torn. Look at our garments and sandals, which are worn out from the very long journey."14 Then the Israelite princes partook of their provisions, without seeking the advice of the LORD.
So Joshua made an alliance with them and entered into an agreement to spare them, which the princes of the community sealed with an oath.16 Three days after the agreement was entered into, the Israelites learned that these people were from nearby, and would be living in Israel.17 The third day on the road, the Israelites came to their cities of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath-jearim,18 but did not attack them, because the princes of the community had sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. When the entire community grumbled against the princes,19 these all remonstrated with the people, "We have sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel, and so we cannot harm them.20 Let us therefore spare their lives and so deal with them that we shall not be punished for the oath we have sworn to them."21 Thus the princes recommended that they be let live, as hewers of wood and drawers of water for the entire community; and the community did as the princes advised them.
Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said to them, "Why did you lie to us and say that you lived at a great distance from us, when you will be living in our very midst?23 For this are you accursed: every one of you shall always be a slave (hewers of wood and drawers of water) for the house of my God."24 They answered Joshua, "Your servants were fully informed of how the LORD, your God, commanded his servant Moses that you be given the entire land and that all its inhabitants be destroyed before you. Since, therefore, at your advance, we were in great fear for our lives, we acted as we did.25 And now that we are in your power, do with us what you think fit and right."26 Joshua did what he had decided: while he saved them from being killed by the Israelites, 27 at the same time he made them, as they still are, hewers of wood and drawers of water for the community and for the altar of the LORD, in the place of the LORD'S choice.

Josué (NAB) 1