According to the story in Joshua 9 the people of Gibeon and three other cities tricked the Israelites into thinking they were representatives of a distant people. Because of this the Israelites made a treaty with them. However when the trick became known, the treaty could not honorably be broken.
Their earlier formal words "We are your slaves" were taken literally and they became perpetual slaves, obliged to chop wood and draw water for the altar.
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
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