The story really has a happy ending for everyone. Joshua has his work cut out for him in his conquests of the land. From the sounds of it, his neighbors are less than thrilled to have the Israelites in their midst. “These kings combined their armies to fight as one against Joshua and the Israelites.”
But before Joshua has to contend with them, the Gibeonites showed up seeking mercy. They certainly didn’t come right out and ask. They feared the Lord and felt like they had to hide their intentions in deception. I have to admit that had they waltzed into Joshua’s presence with a plea of safety, they would probably have been laughed at! Joshua knew what his role was, and befriending close neighbors was not part of it.
There are a couple of background details I’d like to share from a commentary I was reading on the Book of Matthew. Suffice it to say that the Pharisees and Sadducees were not in the same camp when it came to religion. There were significant differences between the two, and bringing them together doesn’t necessarily mean they are on the same page. But they both seem intent on discrediting Jesus.
While it is in the law to question a prophet to make sure they are “real” and trustworthy, the way these folks went about it overstepped the boundaries of the law. To question Jesus is one thing, but to ask for a sign from Heaven thus includes God the Father. That is not what the law suggests. At all. You may recall some scribes of the Pharisees came to Jesus several passages ago, and Jesus dismissed them, too.