The Gibeonite Deception

This is a simplified version of the Bible story found in Joshua 9, written for children to understand. For the original version, please refer to the Bible passage.

Once upon a time, a man named Joshua led the people of Israel into a new land. There were many people who lived in this land, and they didn’t like the Israelites. They decided to all join together to fight against Joshua and his people.

But then, one group of people, who lived in a city called Gibeon, came up with a sneaky plan. They gathered some old clothes and shoes, and took some old and dry food and wine. Then they went to Joshua and said, “We’re from a faraway land. Can we make a treaty with you?” Joshua and the Israelites didn’t know that the Gibeonites were actually their neighbors, so they made a treaty with them and promised not to hurt them.

The Israelites didn’t realize that the Gibeonites were lying to them until three days later, when they found out that the Gibeonites actually lived nearby! The Israelites were angry and wanted to punish them, but Joshua reminded them that they had made a promise to the Gibeonites, and breaking a promise is wrong. So instead of hurting them, Joshua made the Gibeonites work for the Israelites, cutting wood and carrying water.

However, the Israelites made a mistake. They didn’t ask for guidance from the Lord before making a treaty with the Gibeonites. They just looked at the old clothes, shoes, and dry food, and thought that they must be from a faraway land. They didn’t stop to ask God what He thought about it.

When Joshua found out that the Gibeonites had tricked them, he called them together and said, “Why did you lie to us? You live nearby!” The Gibeonites were scared that the Israelites would hurt them, but they made a plan to save themselves by being sneaky. They answered, “Because we heard about all the great things your God did for you, and we were afraid. We thought that if we made friends with you, we would be safe.”

Even though they tricked the Israelites, Joshua knew that it was important to keep his promises, even if it was hard. In the end, the Gibeonites became servants, but they were alive and safe.

Biblical Lessons

  • It is important to be discerning and not believe everything we see or hear, but to test everything and hold on to what is true
  • God’s people should trust Him and ask for His guidance before making decisions.
  • God’s mercy and forgiveness are available to all who turn to Him and seek His grace.

Related Stories

The Fall of Jericho

Rahab Hides the Spies

Spies Sent into Canaan

Israel Crosses the Jordan

The Sun Stands Still