And the leaders said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the leaders had promised them.
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George Leo Haydock
Multitude. The common people, only considering their own private advantage, murmured at the conduct of their leaders, as they supposed that they were thus deprived of the plunder (Calmet) of many cities, and engaged in a dangerous war, with the five confederate kings. But this war was in no degree detrimental to them, as they knew they had to subdue the whole country; and as for the Gabaonites, they eased the people of Israel of a great burden, by doing the drudgery of the tabernacle, which otherwise must have fallen upon them. (Haydock)
These people were dispersed through the country, particularly in the cities of the priests and Levites, whose servants they were forced to be. Gabaon was allotted to the priests. In latter ages, many of these poor people being slain by Saul, David was obliged to select some others, called Nathineans, or "people given "to supply their place, (Calmet) unless these were all the remnants of the Gabaonites. (Menochius)
Josephus (Jewish Wars ii. 17,) speaks of the feast of Xylophoria, or "wood carrying "for the uses of the temple; and we read, (2 Esdras x. 34,) that lots were cast among the priests and the Levites, and the people, for the offering of wood, which seems to insinuate that the ancient institution was then altered. Many authors speak of a fountain which furnished the temple with water, after the captivity, so that the service of the Gabaonites was not much wanted. We find no mention of them after that time.