Who disguised themselves in order to deceive the Israelites? What good outcome did they achieve? What bad result did they receive? How was Israel so easily tricked?
Answer: In Joshua chapter 9, the people of Gibeon in the land of Canaan saw how the Israelites were conquering the land and destroying the inhabitants. They were afraid of their own annihilation so they disguised themselves as ambassadors from a faraway country. They wore old clothes and worn out sandals. They loaded their donkeys with old sacks and old wineskins and put moldy bread in their pouches. They approached Joshua and told him they had been on a long journey. They asked to make a covenant with the people of Israel. God had commanded Joshua and the Israelites to utterly destroy the Canaanite people as they conquered the land. They were not to make any treaties or covenants with them. However, the Israelites made the mistake of not asking the Lord’s counsel on this matter (v. 14) and thus entered into a covenant with the Gibeonites. As a result, the Gibeonites were allowed to be kept alive. When the Israelites discovered who they really were, they had to honor the covenant with them although they did put the Gibeonites to forced labor as their woodcutters and water carriers. (v. 21)