Joshua Continues the Conquest of Canaan
All the kings gathered together with one accord to make war on Joshua. The inhabitants of Gibeon, however, did not wish to make war but wanted to make a treaty of peace. Therefore, they sent messengers to Joshua, who took old sacks upon the backs of their asses, and old wine bottles, and old shoes on their feet, and worn out clothes, and all the bread they brought was dry and mouldy.
When they came to Joshua they said to him: "We are come from a far country, for we have heard of your God, and all the things He has done for you. When we left our country our bread was good, and our clothes were new and our shoes were not worn, but now the bread is dry and our clothes and shoes are worn and the wine bottles are broken because of the long journey. We beseech you to make a covenant with us and our people."
Then Joshua made a league with them to let them live, and the princes of the people also swore to keep the league. After three days they heard that these men had not come from a long distance, but were from Gibeon and belonged to those wicked tribes that Joshua had been commanded to destroy.
Joshua would not break the league he had made with the men of Gibeon and destroy them, but he said that when this city was overcome, they should be bondsmen or slaves and should work for the priests in carrying water and cutting wood and doing other things for the tabernacle.
When the king of Jerusalem heard of all that had happened he called four other kings and went with their soldiers to the city of Gibeon, resolved to capture that city and destroy all the people. The men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua: "Come to us quickly and save us and help us for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us."
Joshua hastened to Gibeon to help the people with whom he had made a league of peace. A great battle was fought in which five kings and their soldiers were put to flight. As they fled great hail-stones fell from the heavens and killed more men than were slain by the swords of the people of Israel.
While the soldiers of Joshua were pursuing the enemy, the sun was going down and darkness was coming on. It seemed that the Amorites would escape the men of Israel. Therefore, Joshua raised his hand towards the heavens and cried out: "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon." And the sun stood still and the moon stayed until the people avenged themselves upon their enemies. Then Joshua returned to the camp at Gilgal, while the five kings fled and hid in a cave at Makkedah.
It was told Joshua: "The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah." And Joshua replied: "Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave and set men by it to keep them." And so it was done.
After all the people of Israel had returned from the slaughter of their enemies, Joshua said: "Open the mouth of the cave and bring out those five kings unto me." And his men opened the cave and brought forth the five kings. Joshua then ordered his captains to put their feet upon the necks of the kings, and the captains came and did as Joshua told them. Then Joshua said in the hearing of all the people: "Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage, for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom you fight."
Then Joshua smote the five kings, and slew them and hanged their bodies on five trees and let them stay there until the evening. When the sun went down the bodies of the five kings were taken down and cast into the cave where they had hid, and great stones were placed before the mouth so that the people might not even give their kings any other place of burial.
Joshua fought other battles against the kings of Canaan for there was much land and many cities to conquer. Each king ruled over a single city or else a small portion of land.
At last the people came to Shiloh and set up the tabernacle there. They had carried it all the way from Sinai, taking it down when they moved and putting it up again when they stopped. But now they were in Canaan and their long wanderings were over. So the tabernacle was set up in Shiloh to stay, for the Lord had chosen that place for it.
Joshua now asked the people to choose three men from each tribe that was to live in the land of Canaan. When the men were chosen he sent them as spies throughout all the land that had not yet been taken. He ordered them to write down in a book all that that they saw and afterwards to return to him in Shiloh.
The men went on their mission as Joshua ordered them, and explored every part of the land, and wrote down in a book a description of it. They then brought the book to Joshua. After this Joshua divided the land into parts and each tribe drew by lot the portion which it was to have.
The Levites were given forty-eight cities for themselves and their families. Six cities were also chosen to be cities of refuge where any person might fly for safety in case he had killed another by accident. Then Joshua told the people to drive the heathen out of their lands and go up and possess it, for the Lord had promised it to them and would help them conquer their enemies.
The time had now come for Joshua to die. He called all the elders and leaders of the people of Israel to him and exhorted them again to live in the fear and obedience of the Lord. He reminded them of how the Lord had driven their enemies before them, and given them cities and fields and vineyards for their own. He told them the heathen worshiped idols and that they must not be led astray into the worship of these false gods, for if they did the Lord would surely punish them.
He said to the people: "Choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Ammonites in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
All the people answered with a loud voice: "God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods." Then Joshua took a great stone and set it by an oak that stood near the tabernacle, and told the people it should be a witness to remind them of the promise they had made to serve the Lord. Then the people departed every man to his own home.
Joshua was a hundred and ten years old, and he died. They buried him on the borders of his own inheritance, the land that had been given him, on the north side of the hill of Gaash. The bones of Joseph which the people had brought out of Egypt were buried in Shechem, in the very land where Joseph when a boy, and wearing his coat of many colors, had gone to find his brethren.