The Woodcutter Song

Joshua 9: 1-27

The Gibeonite Deception.
So, word gets out to all the tribes in the land that Joshua and his armies are coming. Some try to stand and fight, but the Gibeonites try another strategy.
They fake that they come from far away, so as not to be a threat to Joshua in the Promised Land. They wear old, beaten up clothes and bring moldy, dried up food, and manage to persuade Joshua into forming a treaty with them. However, Joshua discovers he has been deceived. He has promised the Gibeonites protection, so he cannot break his word, but he makes them slaves to Isreal: they are under a curse and will forever be the wood choppers and water carriers, ‘to provide the needs for the alter of the Lord’ (Josh 9:27). I love this story, tucked in the middle of the book of Joshua. I’m not 100% sure what we can learn from it, except to say that there is mercy for all, no matter where we come from, or what we have done, but the truth will out when we step into the light. It has to be that way.

I’m not the man,
I’m not the man that I said I was (x2)
I don’t come from a land that is far away
I come to make my peace with you today
You lied to me, You lied to me
took Three long days for my eyes to see
But I’ve given my word, or haven’t you heard
And it’s not for breaking if it falls to me
So carry the water, up to the alter
Carry the water as the day is long
You’re under a curse, that you can’t reverse
All your life you’ll be singing the wood cutter’s song

See how my skin,
See how my skin is cracked and dry (x2)
And the soles of my shoes are worn away
I come to make my peace with you today

See how the land, See how the land
See how the land it falls to you
All  in your hands, All In your hands
Do whatever seems right to do
You ask me why I played this game
Well I don’t want to die if it’s all the same


R Packham, 2019