1. Hearing these things, all the kings on this side of the Jordan, in the highlands and in the lowlands, all along the coast of the Great Sea towards the Lebanon, Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, with one consent
2. formed a fighting alliance against Joshua and Israel.
3. When the inhabitants of Gibeon learned how Joshua had treated Jericho and Ai, for their part,
4. they had recourse to a ruse. They provided themselves with supplies, and loaded their donkeys with old sacks and with old wineskins which had burst and been sewn up again.
5. They put on patched old sandals and worn-out clothes. The only bread they took with them to eat was dried up and crumbling.
6. They came to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, and to him and the men of Israel they said, 'We come from a distant country, so make a treaty with us.'
7. The Israelites answered these Hivites, 'For all we know, you may live right among us. How then could we make a treaty with you?'
8. They said to Joshua, 'We are your servants.' 'But who are you?' Joshua asked them, 'and where do you come from?'
9. They said, 'Your servants have come from a country very far away, because of the fame of Yahweh your God; for we have heard of him and of all that he did in Egypt,
10. and of all that he did to the two Amorite kings who used to live on the other side of the Jordan: Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who used to live at Ashtaroth.
11. Because of which, our elders and all the people of our country said to us, "Take provisions with you for the journey; go and meet them and say to them: We are your servants; so make a treaty with us."
12. Here is our bread; it was warm when we took it from home to provide for our journey the day we set out to come to you, and now, you can see, it is dried up and crumbling.
13. These wineskins were new when we filled them; you can see, they have burst; and these clothes and sandals of ours are worn out from travelling such a long way.'
14. The leaders sampled some of the food they offered, but they did not ask Yahweh's orders.
15. Joshua made peace with them, and struck a treaty with them guaranteeing their lives, and the leaders of the community ratified it by oath.
16. Now it so happened that three days after the treaty had been made, it became known that they were a neighbouring people, living in Israel's region.
17. The Israelites set out from camp, arriving in their towns three days later. Their towns were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath-Jearim.
18. The Israelites did not attack them, since the leaders of the community had sworn to them by Yahweh, God of Israel, but the whole community muttered against the leaders.
19. The leaders, however, all said to the whole community, 'Since we have sworn an oath to them by Yahweh, God of Israel, we cannot touch them now.
20. This is what we shall do with them: let them live, rather than bring retribution down on ourselves on account of the oath which we have sworn to them.'
21. And the leaders went on, 'Let them live, but let them be wood-cutters and water-carriers for the whole community.' Thus spoke the leaders.
22. Joshua sent for the Gibeonites and asked them, 'Why did you deceive us by saying, "We live very far away," when in fact you live right among us?
23. From now on, you are accursed and will for ever be serfs, as wood-cutters and water-carriers in the house of my God.'
24. Their answer to Joshua was, 'We did it because your servants had been rightly told that Yahweh your God had ordered his servant Moses to give you the whole of this country and destroy all its inhabitants before you; also because, as you advanced on us, we feared very greatly for our lives. That was why we did this.
25. Now, as you see, we are at your mercy; do to us whatever you think good and right.'
26. What he did with them was this: he saved them from the hand of the Israelites, who did not kill them.
27. But that very day Joshua made them wood-cutters and water-carriers for the community and for the altar of Yahweh, at the place which he would eventually choose; and so they are today.