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GIBEON   5'1m*f RT: Joshua and the deception by the Gibeonites

(RT == Readers' Theater: requires little or no memorization,
little or no rehearsal. An indefinite number of reporters are
salted throughout the audience)

JOSHUA -- (enters wearing tunic and sandals with sword in belt,
crosses to podium) Good morning. My name is Joshua Son of Nun. I
am the commander of the army of Israel. I originally scheduled
this press conference to update the public on the progress of
our army in conquering the promised land of Canaan,
specifically, the battle for the cities of Gibeon. However,
yesterday, as we were preparing to attack Gibeon, some
representatives of the cities of Gibeon sent a delegation to
make peace with us, rather than face certain defeat. As a
result, our nation and the cities of Gibeon signed a peace
treaty.

REPORTER -- What concessions did the Gibeonites have to make in
order to avoid being annihilated by the army of Israel?

JOSHUA -- In exchange for peace with us, the Gibeonites have
agreed to be the wood cutters and water carriers for the
tabernacle of God and after the permanent temple is built, they
will carry water and cut wood for the temple.

REPORTER -- So, the people of Gibeon are appreciably slaves for
the people of Israel.

JOSHUA -- They apparently thought it was better than being dead.

REPORTER -- (pages through notebook) Commander Joshua, I have a
vague recollection that God instructed Moses not to make any
treaties with ANY of the people of Canaan. (points to notebook)
Yes, here it is. According to my notes, God's clear instructions
to Moses was to "WIPE THEM OUT". Do I have my facts correct?

JOSHUA -- You have your facts correct.

REPORTER -- Then why did you make a treaty with the Gibeonites,
rather than WIPE THEM OUT?

JOSHUA -- I'm embarrassed to report that the people of Gibeon
deceived us. They claimed that their homeland was way out in
Babylon somewhere. But after we signed the treaty with their
representatives, we discovered that they were from Gibeon, just
a few miles down the road. They would have been our next
conquest.

REPORTER -- May I ask why you didn't investigate their claims to
be from beyond the land of Canaan?

JOSHUA -- Well, their representatives arrived in our camp
completely covered in dust as if they had traveled for many
weeks. Their sandals were worn and tattered; they had donkeys to
carry their provisions. People don't need donkeys to carry their
provisions unless they're traveling long distances. And their
provision sacks were almost empty. What few provisions they had
leftover were dry and moldy. We had no reason to doubt that they
came from a great distance. We were completely deceived. And we
didn't discover the deception until after we made the treaty
with them.

REPORTER -- Couldn't you back out of the treaty since it was
made under false pretenses?

JOSHUA -- The people of Israel were chosen as God's own people.
What we say represents what God says. If we give our word to
spare their lives and then kill them, the surrounding nations
will think that God himself can't be trusted to keep his word.
We must keep our word even though it hurts.

REPORTER -- If, as you say, you are speaking for God, did you
inquire of God whether the Gibeonites were telling the truth?

JOSHUA -- This was our biggest failing in the matter. Starting
with Moses, our nation regularly inquired of God before we made
our next move. Moses was meticulous about this. I'm sure that if
Moses was still alive he would have inquired of God and this
news conference would have been to announce the defeat of the
Gibeonites. Unfortunately, Moses is not here. I am. But I have
learned a valuable lesson here. I can assure you that, from now
on, my first reaction will be to inquire of God before I move a
muscle. If our nation is God's representative on Earth, we
cannot do otherwise.

REPORTER -- Have you inquired of God about your next military
conquest?

JOSHUA -- Unfortunately, our next military action will be
defensive rather than offensive. When the kings surrounding the
cities of Gibeon heard that the Gibeonites had made a treaty
with us, they banded together to attack the cities of Gibeon.
And, because we've made a treaty with Gibeon, like it or not, we
are obligated to defend them.

REPORTER -- How many kingdoms are involved?

JOSHUA -- We have rumors that five kingdoms have banded together
to wipe out the Gibeonites.

REPORTER -- What did the Lord God tell you when you inquired of
him about the five kings?

JOSHUA -- He said, "Do not be afraid of them; I have given them
into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you."

REPORTER -- What exactly does it mean when God promises to "have
given them into your hands"?

JOSHUA -- Well, after forty years of leading the army of Israel,
I can tell you what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean that we can
leave our swords at home. We will have to fight. But if the
battle against these kings is like past battles, the Lord will
kill more people through supernatural means than our swords
will. Israel is God's own nation and when the battle is
finished, everyone will know that it was God's own victory.
(exits)

REPORTER -- Thank you, commander Joshua.

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