And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,…
What an ominous sound there is in those words! They portend disaster, and it befell. Up to this moment the initiative had always been taken by the Lord. Now for the first time it is taken by Joshua and the people. In all the previous chapters the words run thus: "And the Lord said unto Joshua"; but there is no such phrase in this. Israel through her chosen leaders acted for herself, and easily fell into the trap. If only they had inquired of the Lord the dimming light in the sacred, stone would have betrayed the fatal secret and arrested the formation of the league. Let us lay the moral to our heart. Earth's sombre tints and cross-lights are very perplexing; and it is often extremely hard to detect the truth. The foolish virgins are so much like the wise; the tares so resemble the wheat; the hireling imitates so precisely the Shepherd's voice; the devil's mimicry of an angel of light is so exact; bye-path meadow is parted from the King's highway by so narrow a boundary. We urgently need, as the apostle prayed for his Philippian converts, that we may have, not only all knowledge, but all discernment, so that we may prove the things that differ (Philippians 1:10, R.V. margin). In one place this power to discriminate is said to result from use (Hebrews 5:14); whilst in the passage already quoted it is attributed to an abounding love. But following the suggestion of the narrative before us, we may say that it will follow naturally on the careful cultivation of the blessed habit of asking counsel at the mouth of the Lord. Never trust your own judgment. When voices within or without would hasten you to decide on the strength of your own conclusions, then be careful to refer the whole matter from the lower court of your own judgment to the supreme tribunal of God's. If there is any doubt or hesitation left after such reference, be sure that as yet the time has not come for you to under stand all God's will. Under such circumstances wait. Throw the responsibility of the pause and all it may involve on God, and dare still to wait. As a traveller over the hills, when the mist has come down, elects to stand or lie where it overtakes him, rather than wander on, perhaps to the brink of a precipice, so wait. If you trust God absolutely it is for Him to give you clear directions as to what you should do. And when the time for action arrives He will have given you such unmistakable indications of His will that, though a fool, you will not be able to mistake them or err therein.
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,