Joshua 9-11

M. Now when the kings of the people of the land heard all that Joshua had done, and of his building the altar, and taking possession of the land, they all joined together to fight against Joshua. But the inhabitants of Gibeon thought they would try and make friends with Israel, and they did it in a very cunning way. They put on very old clothes, and tattered shoes, and they took bread which was quite old and moldy, to pretend that they had come a very long journey. And they came to, the camp to Gilgal, and said, We are come from a very far country, will you make friends with us? But the princes of the congregation said, Perhaps you live quite near us. And Joshua asked them who they were, but they said they had come a long way and they showed their food and their clothes, and said, This food was quite fresh when we left home, and our clothes were quite new and now they are worn out by the long journey. So the men looked at their things, but did not ask the Lord.
S. Oh why did they not remember Ai?
M. Even Joshua was deceived by their cunning, for he made peace with them, and the princes swore to them that they should be friends. But after three days they found out that they were their neighbors, and the people were very angry with the princes and they wanted to destroy the Gibeonites. But the princes said, We have sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel so we must not destroy them, we will make them our servants. Then Joshua called the Gibeonites and said to them, Why have you deceived us? Now you are cursed, and you shall always be our bondmen and you shall cut wood and draw water for the house of my God. But they said, We heard all that God had done for you, and we were afraid of our lives and now we are in your hands, do to us whatever you think right. So Joshua made them hewers of wood, and drawers of water to the children of Israel.
S. Was it very wrong to make friends with them?
M. Yes. They were enemies; and we shall read by-and-by that they brought only sorrow and disgrace to Israel. It is often Satan's way; when he cannot overcome the people of God, he tries to deceive them. He likes to get the children of God to keep company with the people of the world, because then he can make them forget God, and be content to go on as the world goes on. God had said, Every spot where your feet shall tread shall be yours; and Satan was very glad that they lost the cities of the Gibeonites. Their feet did not tread there, and their enemies were allowed to live.
S. Did God show Joshua that He was displeased?
M. No. God let them feel what they lost by want of faithfulness to Him, but they were earnest and true, so He went on with them still, and fought for them still. The other people of the land were very angry with the Gibeonites, and five kings and their armies came to fight against Gibeon. But they sent to Joshua to Gilgal and said, Come quickly to save us and help us. And Joshua did so. And the Lord said to him, Fear not: I have delivered them into your hand. So Joshua and the armed men went up from Gilgal all night; and the Lord gave them a great victory. And the Lord rained hailstones from heaven upon them which killed still more than Israel killed. Then Joshua spoke to the Lord that day; and in the sight of Israel He said, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
There never was a day like that day, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man, for the sun shone brightly all day upon Gibeon, and the moon shed its light over Ajalon, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. For the Lord fought for Israel. Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him to the camp to Gilgal.
S. Why did they always go back to Gilgal?
M. Because it was the place of circumcision, and there the camp rested while they were conquering the land. None but circumcised people, that is those who had God's mark on them, could be warriors: warriors are people who have no will of their own, they have only to obey the word of command; and warriors are people who have given up their selfishness, whose fears have been all lost in Jordan: they do not think of suffering, or of danger, they know that God has all power, and they go straight on where His word tells them to go; and after every victory they went back to, Gilgal, and there they saw the, twelve stones which they took out of Jordan, and there they were reminded of how Joshua their captain was magnified to them, on the day when they knew that the living God was among them.
S. Have Christians any Gilgal, mamma?
M. The death and resurrection of Jesus is our Gilgal. When we really learn what that is, we give up our own will, and in His death we get cut off from our selfishness, and we bear the mark of it, that is, we show in our ways that our evil will is gone, and all our pride and boasting. The children of Israel, if they had stayed at Gibeon, might have said, Well, we have had a grand victory to-day! and they might have felt proud of it; but, when they got back to Gilgal, and saw the twelve stones there where God had wiped away the reproach of Egypt, they could not have any proud feelings. They must have felt, God has done wonderful things, we will be glad and rejoice in Him. For Gilgal is a place of praise.
Now it was told Joshua, that the five kings were hidden in a cave; so Joshua went to the cave, and he made the captains of war put their feet upon the necks of the kings, to show that they had conquered them. And Joshua said to them, Fear not, be strong and of good courage, for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom you fight. And Joshua hanged the five kings on five trees, until the evening, and then he commanded their bodies to be taken down and buried in the cave. And Joshua went on from place to place, taking every one, and he took Hebron, which used to be Abraham's burying place, and where Caleb and Joshua found the grapes. And he took Goshen and all the countries round to Gibeon, then they went back as usual to Gilgal.
S. I should like to have been the one who had Hebron in his possession?
M. We shall hear more about Hebron by-and-by. When the other kings heard of Joshua's victories, they joined together in one place, to fight against Israel. But the Lord said He would give them all into the hands of Israel, and that they should destroy all their chariots and horses, and He did so, and Joshua burnt down their capital city. It was all the easier to destroy them because they were gathered together. God let them come together against Israel that He might destroy them all. Joshua made peace with no other country but Gibeon; and he destroyed the Anakims―those were the giants that frightened the spies; but all that the Lord commanded Moses, that Joshua did: and Joshua took the whole land, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel, according to their divisions by their tribes, and the land rested from war.
S. Oh I am so glad! Now you can tell me about bringing the wives and children to live in the beautiful country.