Now therefore ye [are] cursed
Appear to be the posterity of cursed Canaan, and, notwithstanding the artifice used, should not be exempted from the curse denounced on Canaan: "a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren", ( Genesis 9:25 ) ; as these Gibeonites were; they became the servants of the Levites, who were servants to the priests; and they seemed to be spared in Providence, that that part of the curse on Canaan might be fulfilled: "and Canaan shall be his servant"; the servant of Shem, from whom the Israelites sprang, ( Genesis 9:25 Genesis 9:26 ) ; though the curse was turned into a blessing to the Gibeonites, since though their post and office was mean, yet they had a place in the sanctuary of the Lord, and opportunity of learning the law of God, and understanding the true religion, worship, and knowledge of God, and were an emblem and pledge of the reception of the Gentiles into the church of God:
and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen;
which the oath taken did not oblige Joshua, and the princes, to exempt them from, only to let them live, ( Joshua 9:15 ) ;
and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God;
which explains what is meant by the "congregation", and who might purposely choose that phrase, to make the people more easy; but their work, as assigned them by Joshua, was not to hew wood and draw water for every one's private use, only for the service of the sanctuary, which in some sense was the service of the congregation; and a great deal of work there was to be done of this kind, much wood to hew for keeping the fire of the altar continually burning, and for boiling the flesh of the peace offerings, and the like, and much water to draw for various uses, for the washing of the priests and the sacrifices, and various other things.