They went to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country. Now therefore, cut a covenant with us.” Bible see other translations

“camp at Gilgal.” Joshua maintained his camp at Gilgal, and returned there. Thus the Gibeonites went down into the Jordan Valley to meet with Joshua (a downhill journey of about 3,400 feet or so).

“a far country.” They had come less than 20 miles from Gibeon to Gilgal. Deuteronomy 20:10-11 gives Israel direction about how to treat people who were “near” versus people who lived far away. Israel could offer peace to a far city. Also, the people of Gibeon offered to be servants, which is also in Deuteronomy. Also, the Gibeonites specifically asked for a covenant, which Israel was not to cut with any of the people of the Promised Land (Deut. 7:1-2). This opens the question, did the Gibeonites somehow know something about what the Torah of Moses said, or did they just assume that since God was making a way for Israel to come into the land that if they said they did not live in the land they would be treated differently.

Commentary for: Joshua 9:6