Upon hearing of Israel’s conquest of Jericho and Ai, some of Canaan’s kings sought to fight them (v.1,2), but the Gibeonites tried to fool them into thinking they didn’t live in Canaan (v.3-6). “Clouted” means patched in a makeshift way, as you would have to do while on a journey. This shows that copies of the Bible had been circulated, for they knew the Jews were gunning for them (Num.33:52,53), but they also knew the Jews were told to spare nations that didn’t live in Israel (Deut.20:10-17).
Once the Jews examined their moldy bread (9:14), they made a league with the Gibeonites without asking counsel of God (v.15), choosing to walk “by sight” of that moldy bread, rather than by faith in God’s Word (Rom.10:17 cf. IICor.5: 7). This is a type of how future Jews won’t ask God’s counsel when they go about doing the mop-up battles after Armageddon, and will be deceived by some nation.
Those future Jews will be filled with the Spirit and caused to do God’s will (Ezek.36:27) in such a way they can’t sin (Acts 2:4; IJo.3:9), but they can still make mistakes, like the oversight of Acts 6:1. That’s a type of how saved men in the kingdom will also be sinless, but capable of mistakes— mistakes that will lead to disputes that will require “judging,” so God will give them 12 judges (Mt.19:28).
Those future Jews will have the gifts of the Spirit, so you’d think some Jew with the gift of prophecy would detect it when that future nation tries to fool them (cf. John 4: 16-19). But God ceased giving the gift of prophecy once the Bible was complete (ICor.13:8-10), and won’t start it up again in the Tribulation, for they’ll still have completed Bibles. Joshua instructed his people to honor the league they’d been tricked into making (Josh.9:20), for if they didn’t, they’d be “trucebreakers” (IITim.3:5). The “wrath” that Joshua wanted to avoid (Josh.9:20) was God’s wrath, that later fell on Saul for not honoring the league (IISam.21:1-6).
But the Gibeonites didn’t get away with this subterfuge completely, for Joshua made them Israel’s servants (Joh.9:21). That sounds like a good compromise, but God didn’t allow for compromises like that (Ex.23:31-33). The “snare” there was the trap of falling into worshipping idols themselves (Num.33:55). Of course, Joshua’s Jews were just reaping what they sowed (Gal.6:7). You see, the Gibeonites were Hivites (Josh.11:19), and the Jews deceived the Hivites 300 years earlier (Genesis 34).
So what became of the Gibeonites? Well, just because the Jews couldn’t drive them out of the land doesn’t mean God couldn’t. They were “of the remnant of the Amorites” (IISam.21:1), and God drove them out of the Promised Land with hornets (Josh.24:12).
But now we have another problem. The battles Joshua fought to possess the Promised Land were types of battles that future Jews will fight to possess the kingdom. But conniving your way into getting to stay in the Promised Land back then was one thing. Conniving your way into staying in Israel for the kingdom is another. Will that really happen?
The answer is yes, and no. They’ll get to stay, but they won’t get to stay long. After all those future mop-up battles are done, that deceiving nation will be one of the ones that will have to stand before the Lord in Matthew 25:31-46, where nations that cursed Israel will be cursed to everlasting fire, and deceiving Israel is just another way of cursing her.
The Gibeonite curse was a fate worse than death. Hewing wood for the countless animals the Jews sacrificed on their “altar” (Josh.9:22-27), and drawing water for their 12,000 gallon laver and their many baptisms would have them wishing for death, as men will do in hell, but sadly, in vain.
A video of this sermon is available on YouTube: “The Treaty With The Gibeonites” Joshua 9:1-27