Joshua 9:21

21 They continued, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers in the service of the whole assembly.” So the leaders’ promise to them was kept.

Joshua 9:21 in Other Translations

KJV
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.
ESV
21 And the leaders said to them, "Let them live." So they became cutters of wood and drawers of water for all the congregation, just as the leaders had said of them.
NLT
21 Let them live.” So they made them woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community, as the Israelite leaders directed.
MSG
21 Then the leaders continued, "We'll let them live, but they will be woodcutters and water carriers for the entire congregation." And that's what happened; the leaders' promise was kept.
CSB
21 They also said, "Let them live." So the Gibeonites became woodcutters and water carriers for the whole community, as the leaders had promised them.

Joshua 9:21 Meaning and Commentary

Joshua 9:21

And the princes said to them, let them live
They were very pressing upon them, and importunate with them, to save their lives, because of the oath they had taken:

(but let them be hewers of wood, and drawers of water, unto all the
congregation):
which was a very low and mean employment, ( Deuteronomy 29:11 ) ; as well as wearisome; and this being a yoke of servitude on the Gibeonites, and a punishment of them for their fraud, and of service, profit, and advantage to the people of Israel, the princess proposed it in hopes of pacifying them, and that they would yield to spare the lives of the Gibeonites; what they proposed was, not that they should hew wood and draw water for all the Israelites for their private use, but what was necessary for the service of the sanctuary, which the congregation was obliged to furnish them with; and now these men should do that work for them, which before was incumbent on them; for Joshua afterwards imposed this upon them, to be hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of God, ( Joshua 9:23 ) ; though Kimchi thinks that while the people of Israel were in camp, and before the land was divided, they were hewers of wood and drawers of water to the congregation; but after the land was divided, and they were settled in their cities and inheritances, then they only hewed wood and drew water for the sanctuary at Gilgal, Shiloh, Nob, Gibeon, and the temple; the Jewish writers say F19, the Nethinim and the Gibeonites were the same, who became proselytes in the times of Joshua, see ( 1 Chronicles 9:2 ) ;

as the princes promised them;
which is to be connected, not with their being hewers of wood and drawers of water, this the princes had said nothing of before, and which is rightly included in a parenthesis, but with their being let to live; this they had promised and sworn to, even all the princes, not only all that were now at Gibeon, and were persuading the people to let the Gibeonites live, but all the princes, even those that were not present, but in the camp at Gilgal.


FOOTNOTES:

F19 Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Kiddushin, c. 4. sect. 1.

Joshua 9:21 In-Context

19 but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now.
20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that God’s wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.”
21 They continued, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers in the service of the whole assembly.” So the leaders’ promise to them was kept.
22 Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, “Why did you deceive us by saying, ‘We live a long way from you,’ while actually you live near us?
23 You are now under a curse: You will never be released from service as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”

Cross References 2