PMW 2018-086 by Victor Charles Couture
Dr. Kenneth Gentry has asked me to expand on some observations of mine (which first appeared in varied Facebook groups on February 16, 2017) regarding Joshua 9 and how it pertains to immigration and the associated sojourner classifications and obligations of the Pentateuch. Note that all web-source quote referencing is enclosed using the “pipe” character | throughout this study, and that I’ve used Bible Hub throughout for referencing scripture (for KJ2000, YLT, and word studies).
Let us first consider one of the known scripture passages that contains Yahweh’s pertinent command:
17) “You shall not pervert the justice due the stranger ….. 18) But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you from there: therefore I command you to do this thing.” (Deut. 24:17-18).
God is serious enough about this command that He later has His people swear to keep it (Deut. 27:19).
It should be noted how Leviticus 19:33 offers an additional stipulation concerning compliance. God gave Israel this duty, especially “if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land.” This was intended to be observed after Israel was in the land. Since Joshua is in the process of possessing the land, this passage has obvious importance.
Considering all this, it may now be good to take time to reacquaint ourselves with the ninth chapter of Joshua.
God’s commands concerning sojourners
What all does God’s sojourner command entail? How does Joshua 9 (and the two chapters that bookend this passage) address and answer any concerns of obligation concerning sojourners for us today? What borders and boundaries of compliance are set and explained? What other scriptures speak to this matter, and what do other select commentators have to say? We shall soon see.
At the end of Joshua 8, after crossing the Jordan and destroying both Jericho and Ai and now in actual process of possessing the land, Joshua reads all the Law to native born and stranger/sojourner alike. None were exempt from this recitation. All inhabitants were subject to hearing the Law of God. This occurs inside the borders of the land prior to Joshua’s subsequent encounter with the Gibeonites. Again, this is what Leviticus 19 pointed to.
Please read Joshua 8.
Joshua and Israel have just been blessed in the land, a blessing premised on the people’s obedience, and now come some strangers who claim to be from a “far off country.” It is my contention that Joshua then interacts to vet these people, who are actually some crafty Gibeonites earnestly seeking to escape certain judgment from God. Let’s consider the factors that would support that contention.
Evidence for a vetting protocol in Joshua 9
First, take notice of the Gibeonites’ knowledge of Israel’s stipulations. It was already well known who the nation of Israel was and what they were about. These travelers also knew of Israel’s protocols and of their military successes achieved through God’s might. There were many avenues by which they could have come by this knowledge, such as by intelligence gained through traders, through witnesses of recent campaigns, and by way of the renowned history of Yahweh’s people. These “ambassadors” sought sojourner status, because they knew that to be the surest way of evading annihilation.
Notice that the travelers first introduce themselves, in verse 6: “We are come from a far country: now therefore make you a covenant with us.” This is evidence that they sought accepted status with Israel.
Joshua’s interrogation of these men bears the marks of a vetting protocol:
“And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you? And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, who are ye? And from whence come ye?”
At this point these sly Hivites pander their story of adoration for Israel’s God and His people’s history, and so seek a league of preferred sojourner/dweller status with Israel. Observe that there was an explicit expectation of a covenant to be made. This expectation didn’t take the princes of Israel by surprise: from all appearances they treated this as standard operating procedure. They are readied for the eventuality of a covenant being consummated, treating it as the normative pursuit for such an assembly of travelers. “We are your servants,” the Gibeonites replied. It should also be observed that these desperate, fear-wrought souls likely exhibited a modicum of sincerity here.
After the officers hear of their long, well-intentioned journey and inspect the supporting evidences (worn-out clothes supporting their tale of traveling from afar, etc.), we are then told:
“And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation swore unto them.”
By concluding a league – a covenant – with these men, the Israelites had unwisely omitted to seek God’s counsel on the matter. This challenge posed by these unexpected men approaching their camp was met with a measure of unilateral autonomy on Joshua’s part, who couldn’t walk back his decision the way Nathan could later withdraw permission for David to build the house of God. The covenant was made in God’s Holy Name and was now inviolate. Their error wasn’t in attempting to gain information from these individuals (which was intrinsically prudent to do), it was their failure to consider the suspicious timeframe and peculiar nature of the entire scenario. The entire encounter had a surreal component to it.
After so vetting them, Joshua’s ruling is to let them live and to give them the status as sojourners; however, he and all of Israel eventually realized they were deceived, and the Gibeonites subsequently pay a price for securing an inviolable covenant with Israel under false pretenses (Joshua 9:16-21).
We shall soon read that the Gibeonites, through their deceit, lost some of what they gained; however, keep in mind that they still obtained what amounts to vetted status, and thus were not molested (at least not until Saul tried to subvert the covenant much later). They were not entirely stripped of every preferred-stranger privilege they had gained. We shall learn that they retained a standing as tributes to Israel.
While their crime enslaved them, they yet maintained some hybrid standing of at-large servitude. (Note that Israel’s form of slavery must not be viewed through Southern U.S. pre-Civil War lenses (nor of those most anywhere of that period).
Again, here’s the Joshua 9:16-21 account, of how all this occurs (as was above linked).
“And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors, and that they dwelt among them. 17) And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim. 18) And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes. 19) But all the princes said unto all the congregation, we have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them. 20) This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them. 21) And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them.”
Was not the other option present, to have these pretenders killed? Perhaps the Hivites might have suffered, had Israel sought the Lord’s face (Josh. 9:14); however, we know that the princes did not seek the Lord’s face, even though they would later swear a dutiful oath in His name (Lev 19:12). Why was that? I have an answer.
There were already guidelines, as we shall see, that God gave for “vetting” far-away non-Canaanite cities, which this group claimed to be. Part of that process is asking if that faraway city will submit, and be subjugated to serve, or to be slaughtered – with families being enslaved (Deut. 20:1-15). This was an unconditional relationship toward pagans; though, it did also offer some options.
A patterned approach was to be normally exercised by Israel, while there was no clear command that they had to seek God’s face in such an instance – as presented by the Hivites.
I believe Israel’s failure to seek Yahweh’s face (by appeal to the Urim and Thummim) was mentioned, for the fact that this unusual interaction was not the instructed norm. Israel had to have had pondering doubts about making league with these timely “opportunists.” Remember their doubts led them to inspect and taste the provisions of the “Hivites.”
It should also be asked, why seek God’s face at all if no vetting action was even warranted? They had every good reason to seek God’s face. This leading wisdom from the Holy Spirit, however, was not heeded. It’s an entirely legitimate way to understand the critique given to them for their error.
Let us now quickly consider God’s commands regarding how Israel was to deal with far away pagans, as compared to nearby pagans. The two types of dealing are nearly similar, and there was some peaceful discretion allowed in one of them; however, accountable subjugation (of each individual) was to be the normal outcome. We here contend that sojourners should be seen as those in known/vetted league to and with Israel. Let’s take a closer look
“1) When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses, and chariots, and a people more than you, be not afraid of them: for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. ….. 5) And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, what man is there that has built a new house, and has not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house. ….. 9) And it shall be, when the officers have finished speaking unto the people, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people. 10) When you come near unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. 11) And it shall be, if it makes to you an answer of peace, and opens unto you, then it shall be, that all the people that are found therein shall be subject unto you, and they shall serve you. 12) And if it will make no peace with you, but will make war against you, then you shall besiege it: 13) And when the LORD your God has delivered it into your hands, you shall strike every male in it with the edge of the sword: 14) But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shall you take unto yourself; and you shall eat the spoil of your enemies, which the LORD your God has given you. 15) Thus shall you do unto all the cities which are very far off from you, which are not of the cities of these nations. 16) But of the cities of these people, which the LORD your God does give you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes: 17) But you shall utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD your God has commanded you: 18) That they teach you not to do according to all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so that you should sin against the LORD your God.”
Notice that even the far-off cities are vetted (according to the processes laid about above). Will those cities submit or be destroyed? Are they willing sojourning tributes or will their survivors be slaves?
Also notice the Lord’s expectations of “Officers” (leaders: Princes, Judges). Their presence and responsibility, which includes true sworn oaths, is not minimized. Representative government is the norm and expectation of any godly people of Yahweh. Their role, in this regard, is laid out in the text.
Obviously, there was no heeding of any anarchistic presumption of “non-aggression”. Israel was not an anarchistic libertarian open-armed horde. It is doubtful that such social utopian notions will easily fit the template that Deuteronomy 20 appears to lay down.
Some will say all this merely reflects military posturing and conditions, and not vetting. But assertion is not proof. Needed questions were asked, for the sake of deciding the biblically proper course of action upon peoples. So far as Deuteronomy 20 is concerned, the focus is all about agreeably satisfying divine stipulations.
With respect to the Hivites, or any other peoples, it was paramount that they were likewise approved as being non-hostile. It’s clearly what vetting was for. Protection of Israel’s people was desired by Joshua and his God.
This “far-off” group came in, already openly submissive, and on this hypothesis was most willing to be subjugated. The Gibeonites knew many of the stipulations, just like those south of America’s border also know many of the stipulations for gaining status.
Israel acted on the normalcy of pre-drafted instructions. Even their eating of some of the “spoils” was on their mind, during the vetting (see again Deuteronomy 20:14). Again, this was partly due to checking the veracity of the pretenders’ story.
This event, however, was not entirely in the above-outlined playbook of Deuteronomy 20; consequently, they should have consulted God, while failing to do so. The timing of Israel having just entered the land, and the immediacy of this troupe’s arrival, should have caused some consternation. They were fairly on track; however, they did not listen to their hearts. I believe this is what was key.
In a way, Israel was partly falling prey to a “we’re nicer than Yahweh” syndrome (reflective of modern times).
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It is my opinion that they became vain, with the accolades of attraction from “far off” self-subjugating kingdoms enticing them to move forward without full due process (e.g., neither Joshua nor Israel’s elders ever received a proper answer to the question: where did they – these men – come from?). The main point here is that a covenantal status was achieved and respected by Joshua, the officers (Princes/Judges), and the people (murmuring at first, but agreeable in the end once subjugation terms were laid out in their favor). This is very key.
So it somehow became known three days after consummating the covenant that these ambassadors were indeed Hivites (of Gibeon). Perhaps the “ambassadors” had all returned home and word snuck out, or maybe some had stayed in camp and intentionally leaked the deception. Whichever the case, there was surely an accountability issue that arose, and Joshua and Israel responded en masse.
The Hivites had a great worry, though it was an expected one, when the begrudged Israelites came unto their cities. Joshua and the officers called them forth; the whole city did not come out, only the leaders of the people that came forth. A delegation. It could have been as few as five. They represented the Kingdom.
The Sojourner oath, which Joshua and the officers swore to – in Yahweh’s name – was for all the inhabitants of that kingdom. At least it was effective for all towns, in Israel’s sight. This was a small group of Gibeonites, representing the larger group. Some of the travelling “ambassadors” were likely in this delegation.
So a small representative group had need of being vetted, and they gained their people’s status from that vetting, on the sly. This clever stratagem worked.
Just consider the times, as to why vetting was necessary, when even Caleb and his fellow spies were earlier identified as such in Jericho (where Rahab’s vetted helpfulness found her promised sanctuary). Small groups, back then, obviously did not escape notice.
Influx of cultural influence, which God listed as to why Canaan kingdoms were to be utterly destroyed, is also to be considered for today’s nations that espouse (at least) some remnant of godly ethics. This is especially true if these nations are mainly Protestant/Christian in their founders’ faith. This means Christians of such nations have every right to fight for fostering and maintaining a Christian culture that can bring glory to God (while maintaining a suitable outward missionary effort to draw all nations to Christ).
It should go without saying in the United States that MS13 is a band that any country would have every right to forbid entrance to. How do you determine if a candidate for immigration is MS13 or not? By vetting them. Let’s therefore strive for an honest vetted citizenry.
Rushdoony on immigration and borders
Here is a quote of Dr. R.J. Rushdoony, on this matter, from: “Help save America” |http://helpsaveamerica.us/2016/r-j-rushdoony-on-the-relationship-between-land-and-immigration |:
“Our federal government thinks nothing of allowing in as immigrants an increasing number of people who are religiously and racially hostile to us. They see no relationship between faith and land. As a result, the United States and the Western world have embarked on a suicidal course. They reject the concept of Christendom and embrace instead the humanistic “family of man,” and thus immigration policies in the U.S. and Europe are based on myths and illusions of a destructive nature.”
From this citation it appears that Rushdoony was not an Open Borders proponent, though some have been known to stridently contend otherwise. Nevertheless, one Bojidar Marinov has tried to spin the ‘brotherhood of all peoples” concept, in a manner that opposes to Rushdoony’s position above. At times, he’s hinted that Rushdoony was (by some measure) an advocate of open borders. That theory surely runs against the grain of citations from Rushdoony, such as the one above. We should all require more than innuendo, to set aside Rushdoony’s stated views – when he’s explicitly speaking to this topic – as presented above.
Preservation of Christian culture is what R.J. Rushdoony understood, based upon his family’s urgent need to escape from Armenia and legally immigrate into America | https://chalcedon.edu/magazine/rousas-john-rushdoony-a-brief-history-part-1-i-am-armenian |.
This is definitely a precarious time, in America. It is a time that was planned for (by those who intentionally hope to have created a top heavy baby-boomer population of seniors) by way of 60 million abortions. Workers are needed for social security benefit-payments. It is not too far afield to see this as an intended means of long-range destabilization of our nation. With that in mind, let’s not forget Margret Sanger’s fascist ties and Germany’s pre WWI Reconquista scheme with Mexico. | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimmermann_Telegram |
Though it may seem a bit presumptive to suggest such a covert endeavor, long range planning is not foreign to foreign invaders. Without defaulting to a knee-jerk “Bolshevik under every bed” paradigm, it remains true that history is replete with such campaigns. First Muslim invasions were often preceded through long-term strategic immigration, and current similar strategies are in evidence.
It should be considered that weakening our nation’s political resolve to control the border could allow an increased influx of military grade individuals (some to organize insurgent “disenfranchised” peoples).
Any loss of US sovereignty ought not to be encouraged by American citizens, whether it be overt or covert invasion.
Summary of the vetting argument
Let’s reiterate, then, the view that Joshua 9 demonstrates a true gaining of sojourner status by the Gibeonites, premised on a pre-existing norm of conduct that extended beyond mere military operations. This status was secured when a solemn vow was made by both parties to it. It was not made by a few fanatical well-meaning Open-Border families, who hoped to be living on the outskirts of Israel. It was made by the Officers of the nation, who do represent the nation. They rightly made an oath, in the Lord’s name (again, Lev 19:12). This much is straight forward.
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Deceptive Gibeonites (who were truly not to be welcomed) come to Israel, to be acknowledged as “sojourners,” a covenantal status secured by covenant. This, I argue, was their request. Israel’s peaceful sojourning class had already been established, and vetting was occurring, to allow “accountable peoples of peace-seeking nations” to sojourn among them.
This argument, in all its parts, provides biblical evidence of vetting for entry. It then logically follows that this vetting process was to be replicated and continued throughout the settled land, border to border, year after year. Though the process was (from our vantage point) rushed in Joshua 9, it was no mere cursory or trivial action being taken by Israel’s new leader: swearing an oath in Jehovah’s name was serious business (which is why the oath was inviolate).
Look at the outcome of Joshua’s vetting. The Gibeonites gained protected status. Israel let them live without molestation and God even blessed Israel’s later defense of the Hivites. They treated these Gibeonites as they should an accepted sojourner, as they should a brother, who they yet rightly enslaved for their misrepresentation. Was that enslavement an unjust oppression of the Gibeonites, or justice? It was most definitely justice.
I don’t think some Open Borders proponents realize how their position suggests a ridiculous concept of no contact whatsoever. Being incognito, however, is not how being “unmolested” finds application. Molested means, as we shall see in Deuteronomy 24:17, a perversion of justice (e.g. betrayal of: family, vetted-sojourners, and sworn words-of-promise); therefore, an intelligent application is required.
Cultural protection is what God was wanting Israel to accomplish. Joshua almost succeeded with that vetting, and would have, had he also sought God’s ruling (through Urim and Thummin*). He didn’t follow the heart of the matter. They were rushed in their decision making. |* https://biblehub.com/exodus/28-30.htm |
Israel’s vetting of the Gibeonites was not what scripture judged. It was the rushed process that was judged! Contact actually brings about decisions, based on vetting. This contact is unavoidable, and so also is the associated vetting. For some today, this seems a difficult concept to grasp.
There is no commandment that says the mere vetting-for-passage of another individual, or group, constitutes molestation; remarkably, there are those who claim it is! Consider Israel’s given laws that required lawful discernment, as in this case of failing to discern Gibeon’s false witness.
The realities, seen in this very early event of Israel’s Canaan conquest, point to controlled borders. What happened within Israel’s boundaries was normative, and modern attempts to evacuate meaning from that circumstance have yet to be convincing.
As far as I can see in studying the biblical data, what happened after the fall of Jericho and Ai, with the Hivites, was purely a vet. The Gibeonites disguised themselves, and showed evidence sufficient to pass the vetting process. If they had not disguised themselves, they would have failed the vetting process, and they knew it. This is proof that they knew a vetting process was in store for them. We will see they knew of Israel’s other norms. They were being vetted in respect to a treaty, and a literal rendering of their repeated assertion that they were Israel’s servants puts meat on the bones of that treaty’s content. It is no big stretch, in that light, to argue that the treaty established sojourner status and reciprocal terms thereof. Opponents would have to show that the treaty, especially in its final outworking, did not satisfy these criteria.
If there was no vetting process then why would Joshua say: “Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, we are very far from you; when ye dwell among us? Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.”
The Gibeonites thus lost even a full sojourner status (which was equivalent to a hired servant or contractor). They were to never be freed from being bondmen (an actual enslaved nation); nevertheless they gained an accepted status, in Israel’s mercy.
Gibeon passed and then failed the vetting process (which actually happened); however, their gaining a form of sojourner status paid off, when in Joshua 10 we see Israel defending them from the wrath of “dishonored” Kings, having God’s blessing. They expected this. They knew it would be their lot. Because of this, they pled to Joshua on the grounds of being servants (those in league with Israel), and on the grounds of being those who had received sojourner status (Please do read Deuteronomy 10 in this regard.)
Israel could have just shrugged their shoulder, when the Hivites were besieged by angry armies; however, such would have been a betrayal of a sworn obligation that they fearfully kept. They had Joseph’s remains with them (until reaching Shechem, cf. Josh. 24:32), reminding them of what such betrayal would reap.
Some may be asking: “How could such a chain of events be of any interest to us, here and now”? As far as I know, neither Mexico nor any South American country are provided subjugation/sojourner treaties with the U.S.A. No such treaty is likely, nor perhaps advisable, either. However, similar (colonial-like) treaties have had reciprocal advantages with US commonwealths (e.g. The Federated States of Micronesia, Puerto Rico & many others). Certain ‘friendly’ countries, like Israel, also enjoy a bilateral defense treaty with the US. Such represents the use of vetted-covenants, between sovereign states.
(To be continued in next blog posting)
 A dispute might arise as to whether they were being vetted as immigrants or being vetted as partners in a mutual defense treaty (covenant). Oaths were not to be entered into rashly so vetting at that level isn’t controversial. While the idea of a “mutual” defense treaty has been defended (“The treaty evidently included provisions for mutual defense as well…” Howard, David M. Jr., Joshua (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 1998), p. 219), it must be observed that while there’s evidence that Joshua defended the Gibeonites (Joshua 10:1-27), the evidence is thin going the other direction (perhaps being laid entirely on the shoulders of one single man, Ismaiah the Gibeonite of 1 Chron. 12:4, who led the thirty mighty men of David). The other potential challenge, to the immigration theory -being defended herein, arises from the verb Joshua uses at Joshua 9:8, as Howard notes: “The Gibeonites stated in v. 6 that they had ‘come from a distant country’; the verb form here makes it clear that, in their minds, they had reached their destination, that is, they had “arrived from a distant country.” By contrast, when Joshua questioned them, the verb form he used made it clear that he believed the Gibeonites were merely passing by. We might paraphrase his words as ‘from where are you coming as you pass by here?’ (Joshua perceived that their journey was still in progress),” op. cit., p. 225, a peculiarity that Lange also notes, John Peter: Joshua (Grand Rapids, MI: 1912), p. 89. This author contends that Joshua took their arrival in normal stride, being prepared for anything.
 “The Gibeonites respond by indicating to Joshua, who continues to play a central role, that they are his servants. This expression may be nothing more than a form of common oriental politeness (Gen. 50:18), although with a view to the treaty that is desired the words may express future subservience (see also v. 11).” Woudstra, Marten H, The Book of Joshua (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981) p. 58. Neither does Keil take the phrase at face value: “…the Gibeonites simply said, “We are thy servants,” (ver. 8), i.e., we are at thy service, which, according to the obsequious language common in the East, was nothing more than a phrase intended to secure the favour of Joshua, and by no means implied a readiness on their part to submit to the Israelites and pay them tribute, as Rosenmueller, Knobel, and others suppose; for, as Grotius correctly observes, what they wished for was “a friendly alliance, by which both their territory and also full liberty would be secured to themselves.” Keil. C.F., Commentary on Joshua (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1984 reprint), p. 97. Lange supports that opinion as well: the Gibeonites “say, with true oriental adroitness, apparently submissive and humble: “We are thy servants.” This was no sincere declaration of submission (Serar., C. A. Lap., Rosenm., Knobel), but simply a form of courtesy, as in Gen. 50:18 and 32:4, which was, however, very well designed and cunningly addressed” (Lange, op. cit.) Howard, on the other hand, supports the literal rendering: “The Gibeonites attempted to defuse the situation by depicting themselves as subordinates (‘We are your servants’).” Howard, David M. Jr., Joshua (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 1998), p. 225. Matthew Henry does likewise, asserting that the Gibeonites “make a general submission,” and neither Calvin nor Hengstenberg argue otherwise.
 Hengstenberg, however, deviates from my reading of Deuteronomy 20 thus: “In ver. 15 it is expressly stated that the decree has reference only to foreign enemies; and its false application to Canaanites is expressly contested in verse 16-18 and their complete extermination commanded.” Hengstenberg, Ernest Wilhelm, History of the Kingdom of God in the Old Testament (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2005 ), p. 431. While not a crucial element of my thesis, this point warrants future study and a wider canvassing of the data than is possible here. We (Author & Editor) would however contend that the pattern here would apply more generally; thereby arguing from the lesser to the greater, and the likely distinction is that tribute could be by voluntary covenant from non-hostile nations, and still be compulsory – via involuntary covenant, for foreign enemies.
 It could certainly be urged, on the basis of Joshua 9, that the Israelite leaders were too open-armed with the Gibeonites and learned their lesson thereafter: do your homework with incoming peoples you don’t fully know.
 This article doesn’t specifically deal with other legitimate companion grounds for vetting, such as the contagion question. Quarantine is a purely biblical concept, and the mechanism for enforcement parallels the issue above.
 Whether this was determined by stationing Gibeonite spies at Ebal to hear Israel’s official policy, or extrapolating from the laws and principles of nations with which they were familiar (but spinning it to put Jehovah at the focal point of their motivations), the result would be the same.
 This word “spoils” is not merely in reference to the fact the bread was spotted (moldy) and thus partially spoiled, but to the fact that the victuals functioned as ambassadorial gifts, as was customary in the region. It also reflects the commanded norm of eating the food of those far-off nations who have been subjugated.
 The bulk of commentators believe that they were within a day’s march from the Gilgal location where the covenant was entered into: the covenant likely was struck in the evening, another day was devoted to marching, and the morning of the third day they met the Gibeonites again. This would make Gibeon the next target for Israel’s march through Canaan.
 We should observe here the actual depth of the Hivite motivation: this was a people who knew what refugee status was all about, and weren’t willing to repeat that ordeal with an even worse outcome. As Jamieson notes of the Gibeonites, “having been expelled from mount Seir, to make way for the tribe of Esau, and having obtained a settlement in the four cities of Canaan, they foresaw the certainty of their being again dispossessed by the descendants of Esau’s brother, Jacob.” Jamieson, Fausset & Brown, Commentary on the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1982 reprint), chapter on Joshua, p. 24).
 Rahab being a “known quantity” to Jericho’s leaders meant her word was sufficient to deflect attention away from the spies she hid in her home. This is the essence of being vetted, where an objective basis of trust is established.
 Warfield pointed out that creating a situation you cannot control is an inherently immoral act. He used the example of someone mixing up chemicals in an orphanage, and when the mixture explodes, that man excuses himself on the grounds that he could not control it. If he could not control it, he had no right to manufacture it in the orphanage in the first place. Thus, while vetting is not perfect control, it surely reflects minimal control within the kind of moral framework Warfield was arguing from.
 We note (in passing) Dr. Rushdoony’s refusal to use the term “sovereignty” or “sovereign” except in respect to God Himself; while ‘we’ use the term in a looser, more conventional sense, without intending to step on God’s toes.
 As follows from a literal (versus ceremonial/diplomatic) reading of their assertion, “We are thy servants,” a concept that recurs in this text.
Article by Victor Couture