Last updated on February 6, 2024

“But all the leaders said to all the congregation, ‘We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we may not touch them.’” (Joshua 9:19)

The people groups living in Canaan were afraid of the Israelites coming to conquer their territory. They explained to Joshua: “Your servants were clearly told how the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you—so we feared greatly for our lives because of you” (Joshua 9:24).
At the capture of Jericho, it had become clear that ordinary military defense against the Israelites was not working. The inhabitants of the city of Gibeon therefore devised a trick. They pretended to be delegates from a distant nation who wanted to make a peace agreement with Israel. Through this deception, they wanted to force Israel to allow them to live. Their scheme succeeded.

How could Joshua be so fooled? Verse 14 gives us the explanation: they “did not ask counsel from the Lord.” Joshua had neglected to ask the Lord what he should do, and now he was bound by his promise.
The Lord God says we must not change our promises. If we have promised or even sworn to something, we must keep it. Even if that promise turns out to be detrimental to ourselves (see, for example, Psalm 15:1-4).
Have you ever made a promise that you later regretted? How did you resolve that situation? What did it teach you?

Share post