Joshua and the Men of Gibeon: Transmuting the Emotion of Desire

by Joshua Tilghman on July 26, 2013

Desire-700x325In our last post Joshua and the Israelites had just crossed the river Jordan and set up camp at Gilgal. The focus of that post was reincarnation; we learned that the word “Gilgal” not only teaches reincarnation, but shows how it important a role it plays in the spiritual evolution of the soul, especially when studied in the esoteric context of the Biblical narrative. Today’s post will continue with the overall theme of reincarnation, but we will be focusing on a strange mini story in Joshua’s quest to conqueror Canaan that deals with our astral/emotional nature. It takes place in Joshua chapter 9. This story and the ones that follow reveal that the stories are not meant to be literal, but are metaphor for the development of higher consciousness within the individual.

Instead of quoting a lot of scripture, I’ll just give a summary of the important points of this story.

After crossing the Jordan and conquering the inhabitants of Ai, Joshua and the Israelites are approached by men who state they are from a “very far country.” They are lying. It’s all a trick. They are really local inhabitants of Gibeon. They are lying to Joshua because they do not want to be killed; if you remember in some cases the LORD told Joshua to utterly destroy all the Canaanites, even innocent women and children.

Side note: Please realize that an omnipotent being never commanded the Israelites to kill innocent women and children. The command is about killing off the negative thoughts, emotions, and desires of the ego (the Canaanites). The LORD here stands for the natural processes of spiritual development that Israelites go through as they raise consciousness. An Israelite is anyone in a critical juncture of the reincarnation cycle ready to raise consciousness another level.

The men from Gibeon ultimately come to Joshua because they want to make a deal: they’ll be servants of the Israelites as long as they can live peaceably with them. This is just a trick to save their own necks. They are afraid of the Israelites because they heard what God’s chosen people did to the inhabitants of Ai and others on the other side of the Jordan. The trick works. Joshua agrees. But why? How are Joshua and the elders of Israel fooled by their trick?

If you read chapter 9 the author states (through symbolism and metaphor) that the men of Gibeon tricked Joshua with his outward senses. The inhabitants of Gibeon state:

“This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is moldy. And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent; and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey” (Joshua 9:13).

Their plan works; Joshua doesn’t see the need to consult the LORD over this matter because he believes them. Now let’s learn how the author of Joshua uses symbols to teach us an important lesson about higher and lower consciousness. The next verse gives us the clue. It states:

“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD” (Joshua 9:14).

The word victuals means food and drink. Food and drink together in scripture symbolize objects of the external world, where our five senses are captured by desire instead of relying on the spirit and Christ nature within us. This is why Joshua did not see the need to ask God (meditate) about these men. Consider Paul’s statement in the New Testament:

“For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink…” (Romans 14:17).

And Jesus’ statement:

“…the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).

A few verses earlier we learned that the men of Gibeon originally tempted Joshua and the Israelites with food and drink before mentioning anything else. They said to Joshua:

“Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make you a league with us” (Joshua 9: 11).

Because Joshua relied on the lower emotion of desire, he was able to be tricked. Of course this story isn’t literal. If this were a literal story, do you really think someone of Joshua’s character and previous track record would have done something so stupid? Of course not.

All that you have read above is something you might hear in a regular church sermon, right? But the story isn’t over. When Joshua finally finds out that he has been tricked, it is too late. The elders of Israel have already sworn by the LORD not to touch them. So Joshua and Israel have no choice but to live peaceably with the men of Gibeon. So what is Joshua to do? Let’s look at the process of when Joshua finds out he was tricked to learn an esoteric principle of the evolution of our souls and lower emotions.

“And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they (Joshua and the elders of Israel) had heard that they were their neighbors, and they dwelt among them” (Joshua 9:16).

Why three days? A day in scripture is symbolic of a time period of change on the upper planes, and three days symbolizes a period of completion. Therefore the author of Joshua is letting us know that the lower emotion of desire is in the process of being crucified and brought under the subjugation of the higher nature. The rest of the story makes this clear, especially in the punishment that Joshua gives these men of Gibeon for their dishonesty. The scripture states:

“And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, we are very far from you, when ye dwell among us? Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God” (Joshua 9:22-23).

Why do you think Joshua makes them slaves over these specific tasks? To find out I want us to pay attention to three symbols above: wood, water, and the “house of my God.”

Literally, the “house of my God” is speaking of the tabernacle. Esoterically, this is speaking about the human body. I’ll now quote Gaskell’s Dictionary of Scripture and Myth to give you further information on “wood” and “water.”

Wood: A symbol of the astral plane, or the desire – and astral nature. The astral plane is the plane of the growth of the lower qualities…

Water (Lower Aspect): A symbol of the astral planes in which are errors and illusions…

Hopefully it is making sense to you why Joshua made them slaves that worked with water and wood. The transmutation of lower emotions, like desire, happen within the “house of my god,” or the human body temple. The human body is the true temple of the LORD, not some physical building. It is the same with the New Testament church. It is not a building, but the collective and individual human body. Christians are not saved by believing in what a man named Christ did; they become saved by becoming Christ-like, which means living by the Christ nature within us. Part of this long process of salvation (over many life-times), happens through the transmutation of the lower emotional nature into the higher nature.

Let’s sum up what happened again in the story. The men of Gibeon and their actions represent the lower emotion of desire.  They have traveled from a far country (falsely) to make a league with Joshua. In a similar sense, our lower emotions have traveled from a far country (many incarnations) before it is finally ready to be transmuted into higher emotions by becoming subjugated to the Christ within. We know Joshua represents the Old Testament version of the Christ, who lives by the spirit within. This is also what is meant by “the house of my God.” We learn to transmute lower emotions into higher emotions within the life experiences of our own bodies.

Why the Literal Story Makes No Sense Unless We Apply Esoteric Interpretations

Another point aspect of the story which needs to be pointed out is the size of the city and the stature of men of Gibeon.

“…Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were might” (Joshua 10:2).

Why would such a great city as Gibeon with mighty men cower down before Joshua and Israel when no one else did? Not to mention the fact again that a loving, just, omnipotent being would tell Joshua and the Israelites to go to battle with and kill all the inhabitants. Again, it never happened. It’s not a literal story. The entire Journey of Joshua and the Israelites is about the soul’s individual journey to living by the Christ within.

What Are We Supposed to Learn From This Story?

The desire nature is a big part of most of us. Our emotional natures have been developing through many incarnations in the reincarnation cycle just as our mental faculties have, but the tricks on us, especially in young, fairly unconscious souls.

We often think our emotions of desire are good for us. They can be, except when we are led by them instead of the spirit within us. If we allow them to lead they will trick us every time. They are not meant for that.

How do we overcome this emotional nature? The Astral nature of desire must come into subjugation of the higher mental faculties and the Christ within! We must realize that these natures are permanently attached to the human being—just like the men of Gibeon became permanent slaves to the Israelites—until the divine will is active within us. Desire can be a positive driving force in certain stages of our spiritual evolution, but there comes a time for change. Higher levels of consciousness from the Christ nature within ultimately have to reign in order to make it to the Promised Land (a higher state of consciousness). In the higher states of consciousness, the blind nature of desire is crucified completely. In its stead we can say the true will of man comes into action, and the will of man comes from the Christ within. This will of man is not dependent upon outside circumstances or the senses creating desire.

In our next post we’re going to learn more about the process of being led by the spirit within by studying why the LORD made the sun and moon stand still when Joshua and the Israelites were fighting one of their most famous battles! What we’ll learn will be the key to developing higher consciousness by a quicker road to arrive on. Blessings.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

anny July 27, 2013 at 10:36 am

Hello Joshua,

Another profound article. I think we should also look at the name Gibeon, however. You can see this name as geba (hill) + 50. We are talking about forces of the ego here but a hill is a higher place and by the wav (the character six, which is always used for the word ‘and’) it is hooked to the number 50 which a.o. stands for higher awareness. Joshua himself is a ben Nun, son of the fifty, which indicates that he has acquired this higher awareness already.

You write: Water (Lower Aspect): A symbol of the astral planes in which are errors and illusions…
Water is majim in Hebrew and as mem it is the character for the number 40. Symbolically it stands for the field of ego and emotions, which is just another way to explain what you write above. But this forty was forever present during the ’40’ years in the desert, in whatever form (as number and as water) and the Israelites had had to deal with it all this time. They had had to learn to start to crucify their ego and it had been a troublesome process. Because of it they had finally arrived in the Promised Land. They had not reached the fifty by a long shot but were far ahead of the ‘peoples’ who lived there and who had to submit to the same process by being killed.

I think that these Gibeonites were among those who had somewhat advanced already and longed for this higher awareness of the fifty, only they did not want to submit to this difficult process and by deceit they tried to be allowed to live near Joshua who already had reached the fifty and between the Israelites who were well on their way there. They were trying to hop onto the wagon so to speak and to reach the goal without doing the necessary work, though they were willing to serve the Israelites. This did not work of course and so they were made to do the heavy work themselves after all.

We can recognize ourselves here, I think. At least, I can, I had just as soon skip some heavy stuff if I see a chance, but of course that does not work either.

I think it is always also good to look up a name in some other places in the bible in order to see what it means there because there is definitely a system there.

Gibeon for instance is also mentioned as the place where Joshua called for the sun to stand still over and it is mentioned as one of the fourteen cities that are given to the tribe of Benjamin (son of the right hand), along places as Rama (height) Beëroth (wells), Mizpeh (high point) and others, including Jerusalem. Fourteen is the number of action and it is the numerical value of the word jad, which means hand, and of the name David as the balancing and integrating principle. The character Nun, which is number 50, is the fourteenth character of the alphabeth.


Joshua Tilghman July 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm

A very wise interpretation, Anny. As always, thank you for continuing to add more depth to my interpretations. I have a feeling Gibeon is going to stick with us for a while. I have already had to mention it in the next post again!


motla68 July 30, 2013 at 9:39 am

Hi Joshua, thank you.

Now if you put this in the context I mentioned before the difference between the Kingdom of God (Great Estate) and the Kingdom of Heaven (Low Estate) this meshes with the ascension from the low estate to the great estate. For us to ascend to the great estate we must give up all of what is on this earth, stop making claims of ownership per: Deu 10 , because elsewhere it mentions God saying that ” my kingdom is ot of this earth ” and also that in Ecc 1 it says that everything under the Sun is a Vexation of spirit. Wealth is in knowledge and wisdom stored up in your great estate. The only thing real is Spirit!

This is what really attracted me to your blog, you and all who have come to this group are so far beyond in the ascension of what the general masses believe and some of you may not even realise it.


Joshua Tilghman July 30, 2013 at 11:03 am

Awww…now I see where you were going with the difference between the kingdom of God and Heaven, Motla. It makes perfect sense. Thanks!


motla68 July 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

No problem, I hope it has a effect on future blog entries. 😉


Motla68 January 9, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Hi Leo,

Thanks for responding.
This is where strength in numbers comes handy, if more are being guardians of the Great Estate, all that is good will prevail and we all return to abundance together. Although I have used this ascension on myself to take care of minor health ailments I have seen a group of people rid someone of cancer.

Another cancer is the debt of a nation, if we all stop being greedy for the needs of this earth and turn towards the free gifts of the spirit then we can rid ourselves of any crisis, remove the scare-city.



Al June 16, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Wow, nice thanks for contributions, quite enlightening.


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