Yoshuwa 9

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1 Kwathi, bakuva bonke ookumkani abanganeno kweYordan ezintabeni, nasezihlanjeni, nangaselwandle lonke olukhulu, kwasingisa eLebhanon, amaHeti, nama-Amori, namaKanan, namaPerizi, namaHivi, namaYebhusi,

2 babuthelana ndawonye, ukuba balwe ngamxhelo mnye noYoshuwa namaSirayeli.

3 Ke abemi baseGibheyon beva oko akwenzileyo uYoshuwa kwiYeriko, nakwiAyi,

4 benza nabo ngobuqhophololo. Baya bazenza izigidimi, babeka iingxowa ezonakeleyo emaesileni abo, neentsuba zewayini ezonakeleyo, ezikrazukileyo, ezibotshiweyo,

5 neembadada ezonakeleyo, ezixoliweyo, ezinyaweni zabo; bambatha neengubo ezonakeleyo; nesonka sonke somphako wabo besomile, besingundile kunene.

6 Beza kuYoshuwa emkhosini eGiligali, bathi kuye nakumadoda akwaSirayeli, Sivela ezweni elikude; simiseleni ngoko umnqophiso.

7 Athi amadoda akwaSirayeli kumaHivi lawo, Hi, kanti nikwahleli phakathi kwethu; sothini na ukunimisela umnqophisi?

8 Bathi kuYoshuwa, Singabakhonzi bakho. Wathi uYoshuwa kubo, Ningoobani na, nivela phi na?

9 Bathi kuye, Bavela kwelikude kakhulu ilizwe abakhonzi bakho, ngenxa yegama likaYehova uThixo wakho; kuba siluvile udumo lwakhe, nento yonke awayenzayo eYiputa;

10 nento yonke awayenzayo kookumkani bobabini bama-Amori, ababephesheya kweYordan, kuSihon ukumkani waseHeshbhon, nakuOgi ukumkani waseBhashan obeseAshtaroti.

11 Atsho kuthi amadoda amakhulu, nabemi bonke belizwe lakowethu, ukuthi, Phathani ezandleni zenu umphako wendlela, niye kuwakhawulela, nithi kuwo, Singabakhonzi benu; simiseleni ngoko umnqophiso.

12 Esi sisonka sethu sasenza umphako wethu sishushu ezindlwini zethu, ngomhla wokuphuma kwethu ekhaya ukuza kuni; ngoku nasi somile, singundile;

13 iintsuba ezi zewayini sazizalisa zisentsha; nanzi zikrazukile; nanzi neengubo zethu, neembadada zethu, zonakele ngobude bendlela.

14 Acaphula ke amadoda emphakweni wabo, akabuza cebo emlonyeni kaYehova.

15 Wenza uxolo nabo uYoshuwa, wabamisela umnqophiso wokubasindisa; zabafungela nezikhulu zalo ibandla.

16 Kwathi, ekupheleni kwemihla emithathu emveni kokuba bebamisele umnqophiso, beva ukuba bakufuphi kubo, nokuba bahleli kwaphakathi kwabo.

17 Banduluka oonyana bakaSirayeli, bafika emizini yabo ngomhla wesithathu. Imizi yabo yiGibheyon, neKefira, neBheroti, neKiriyati-yeharim.

18 Oonyana bakaSirayeli abababulala, ngokuba izikhulu zebandla zibe zifunge uYehova uThixo kaSirayeli kubo. Lazikrokrela izikhulu lonke ibandla.

19 Zathi zonke izikhulu kwibandla lonke, Thina sifunge uYehova uThixo kaSirayeli kubo, ke ngoko asinakubachukumisa.

20 Masenjenje kubo: masibasindise, kungabikho burhalarhume phezu kwethu ngenxa yesifungo esabafungela sona.

21 Zathi izikhulu kubo, Mabadle ubomi; mababe ngabathezi beenkuni nabakhi bamanzi bebandla lonke; njengoko zathethayo izikhulu kubo.

22 Wababiza ke uYoshuwa, wathetha kubo, esithi, Nisikhohliseleni na, nisithi, Simgama kakhulu kuni; kanti nihleli kwaphakathi kwethu?

23 Niqalekisiwe ngoko; kuni akuyi kunqumka bakhonzi, bathezi beenkuni, bakhi bamanzi bendlu kaThixo wam.

24 Baphendula bathi kuYoshuwa, Baxelelwa ngokuqinisekileyo abakhonzi bakho. okokuba uYehova uThixo wakho wamwisela uMoses umkhonzi wakhe umthetho, ukuba uya kuninika lonke ilizwe, nokuba uya kubatshabalalisa bonke abemi belizwe ebusweni benu; sayoyikela kunene ke imiphefumlo yethu ebusweni benu, senza le nto ke.

25 Kalokunje nanku sisesandleni sakho; yenza njengoko kulungileyo, njengoko kuthe tye emehlweni akho ukwenza kuthi.

26 Wenjenjalo ke kubo, wabahlangula esandleni soonyana bakaSirayeli, abababulala.

27 UYoshuwa wabenza ngaloo mini abathezi beenkuni nabakhi bamanzi, ebandleni nasesibingelelweni sikaYehova, unanamhla, kuloo ndawo athe wayinyula.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Yoshuwa 9      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth and New Christian Bible Study Staff

Joshua 9: The Gibeonites deceive Israel.

After Israel conquered Jericho and then Ai, the news about the strength of the Children of Israel - and their mighty God, Jehovah - spread quickly among the people of Canaan. In this chapter, the people of Gibeon came up with a plan to trick Joshua and the Israelites into granting them safety.

To preserve themselves, the Gibeonites cooked up a story that they had come from far away. They dressed in old clothing and worn-out sandals, and brought shabby wine-skins and moldy bread as proof of their long journey. After questioning these travelers, Joshua agreed to guarantee their safety, and the Israelites made a covenant to let them live. Note that the Israelites did not consult the Lord.

In the end, the Gibeonites admitted that they lived close by and were neighbors of Israel, just as the Hivites (the Gibeonites' ancestors) had been with Abraham. Joshua, unable to revoke his promise to them, made them wood-cutters and water-carriers for the altars of the Lord.

This chapter offers us several spiritual lessons. The main one is that there is a place for simple, well-intentioned goodness in our spiritual life, along with our love of God and our love for other people (See Swedenborg's exegetical work, Arcana Caelestia 3436, for details). This is what the Gibeonites stand for; they were not warlike but peaceful, content to live usefully day after day. This is an illustration of natural good, which is an important part of life in this world and in heaven (Arcana Caelestia 3167).

On a spiritual level, their story about living in a country far-away means that when we live good, well-intentioned lives, we are ‘far away’ from the evils of the Canaanites. Although the Gibeonites lived among the Canaanites, their higher values were entirely different. So while the Gibeonites deceived Israel to save themselves, they spoke truthfully when they said: “we come from a place a very long way away” (See Swedenborg's work, Heaven and Hell 481).

Their tattered and torn appearance is meant to illustrate the hard work of doing good. It can be quite wearing to continue doing good things, especially when we feel it is all up to us. Acknowledging that all good is from the Lord renews us, and keeps us from the burden of merit.

In the same vein, their worn-out appearance is also about our relationship with the Word. Little children love and delight in the stories of the Word, but as they grow up, this love dwindles (Arcana Caelestia 3690). But as adults, we have the choice to find those guiding principles from the Word, helping us to keep leading good lives.

The fact that Joshua commanded the Gibeonites to cut wood and draw water also holds spiritual significance. The beauty of wood is that it comes from living trees, and can be turned into many, many useful things. It stands for the steady, humble wish to do good each day (See Swedenborg's work, True Christian Religion 374). This must be present in our worship at the altars of the Lord.

Drawing water provides essential, life-giving refreshment for others. Water stands for truth, and our better actions draw the water of life for the sake of others. Truly, acknowledging the goodness in other people is part of our faith in God. This story shows us that we must allow others to live and to serve everything of God, just as Joshua showed mercy toward the Gibeonites.


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