Beginning of the End


How the Gibeonites Made Themselves Slaves

The Gibeonites were permitted to live but were assigned to the sanctuary as slaves to perform unskilled services. “That day Joshua made them woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord.” These conditions they gratefully accepted, glad to purchase life on any terms. “Here we are, in your hands,” they said to Joshua; “do with us as it seems good and right to do to us.” BOE 252.1

Gibeon, the most important of their towns, “was a great city, like one of the royal cities, ... and all its men were mighty.” It is a striking evidence of the terror with which the Israelites had filled the inhabitants of Canaan, that the people of a powerful city would resort to such a humiliating way to save their lives. BOE 252.2

But the Gibeonites would have been better off if they had dealt honestly with Israel. Their deception only brought them disgrace and slavery. God had made a way so that everyone who would give up heathenism and connect with Israel would share the blessings of the covenant. With few exceptions such people were to enjoy equal favors and privileges with Israel. BOE 252.3

The Gibeonites could have been received on these terms. It was a major humiliation to those citizens of a royal city, of which “all its men were mighty,” to be made woodcutters and water carriers. And so through all their generations, their servile condition would testify that God hates falsehood. BOE 252.4