I moved the Israelite camp back near Jericho after the battle of Ai. We settled into the area while working on new plans.
One day, late in the afternoon, a guard pointed out a small group of men walking in our direction. Their feet dragged through the sandy soil as if they'd walked many miles. I didn't expect, nor did I want any visitors.
"Guard, if they come to the gate, ask them the usual questions. I'll be in my tent."
He saluted me then rushed back to his post.
I returned to my work and found I needed to meet with the elders for some important questions. I sent messengers to bring them to my tent. Not long after we started our meeting a guard came to the door. "Excuse me, commander, the men you saw request to speak with you."
I had trusted my guard to bring only important matters to my attention during meetings with the elders. "Very well, show them in."
About five men stepped inside the tent. Their clothes had dirt and worn spots and their sandals had been patched together. I wondered why my guard would allow these poor wanderers to speak with me. Couldn't he give them food and send them on their way?
I stood. "Why are you here?"
The men knelt and lowered their heads. One sighed. "My lord, We have come from a far country seeking a treaty with your people."
A treaty? I didn't give treaties and I did't know these men. I sat again and whispered to the elders. "What advice will you give?"
One of the older men turned to the visitors. "Perhaps you live in the land of Canaan and want to trick us. I don't know all the people from this land. You dress like men who have traveled a far distance, but maybe you've only walked a day's journey. How can you expect us to make a treaty with people we don't know?"
The same man nodded. "I understand your concern." He lowered his head more. "We are your servants." He pointed to the other men with him.
He seemed to speak the truth, yet I still wasn't sure. I walked closer to the man. "Who are you, and where do you come from?"
One of the other men set his hand on the first man's shoulders. "I will answer his question." He raised his eyes a little and looked in my direction. "My lord, we are from a far country. We have heard about your God and all He did in Egypt, to the two kings of Bashan and Hesbon."
He lowered his head and pressed his hand together. "The elders and all the people from our country sent us to make a treaty with you."
He reached into his satchel. "This bread had been hot when I left on this journey to see you. But now look, it is dry and moldy. And these worn and mended wine skins were new when I left. My clothes and sandals have become old because of the long journey."
He seemed to tell the truth. "Wait outside the tent while the elders and I speak."
Once they left I turned to the elders and shook my head. "I need your advice."
Each elder sat and thought for a few minutes then spoke. "Their clothes and sandals show proof of their long journey." Another said, "And did you see the mold on the bread?" Yet another answered, "What of the wineskin? It could barely serve its purpose."
I stroke my beard and nodded. "Perhaps they've come from a far country. Who am I to refuse to make a treaty with them?" I stood. "Guard, call the visitors."
The men stepped into the tent and bowed to their knees. They lowered their heads and waited for my answer.
"Very well, we shall make a treaty with your country."
The men looked at each other and smiled. "We are your servants, my lord."
1. What did the visitors want?
2. Where did they come from?
Do you know where they really came from? click here for the answer: click here
3. The Lord told Joshua He would give them the Promised Land. Why didn't Joshua or the elders want to make a treaty with anyone from Canaan?
4. As the leader of the Israelites, Joshua should have asked ________ what to do.
5. What did Joshua do wrong?
6. What do you think will happen next?
The story will continue next time.
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