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From Eternity Past

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    How the Gibeonites Made Themselves to Be Slaves

    The Gibeonites were permitted to live, but were attached as bondmen to the sanctuary to perform menial services. “Joshua made them that day hewers of the wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the Lord.” These conditions they gratefully accepted, glad to purchase life on any terms. “Behold, we are in thine hand,” they said to Joshua; “as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do.”EP 359.2

    Gibeon, the most important of their towns, “was a great city, as one of the royal cities, ... and all the men thereof were mighty.” It is a striking evidence of the terror with which the Israelites had inspired the inhabitants of Canaan, that the people of such a city should have resorted to so humiliating an expedient to save their lives.EP 359.3

    But it would have fared better with the Gibeonites had they dealt honestly with Israel. Their deception brought them only disgrace and servitude. God had made provision that all who would renounce heathenism and connect with Israel should share the blessings of the covenant. With few exceptions this class were to enjoy equal favors and privileges with Israel.EP 360.1

    Such was the footing on which the Gibeonites might have been received. It was no light humiliation to those citizens of a royal city, “all the men whereof were mighty,” to be made hewers of wood and drawers of water. Thus through all their generations, their servile condition would testify to God's hatred of falsehood.EP 360.2

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