This is that elusive peace from war. This is what peace means to most English speaking people, as we have all tired of war. We yearn for the absence of conflict. As we look back over the history of the world it is quite clear that there has never been a time where there was no conflict. Humans are warriors, and there will be no peace till Shiloh come, [Gen. 49:10] and that peace will be forced with a Rod of Iron.[Rev. 19:15]
There are two laws given in regard to peace. One is a promise that if the children of Israel do all that they covenanted to do, then they will have peace.
And I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid; and I will remove evil beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go through your land. Lev. 26:6
The other law is that if a people surrender, the children of Israel must offer terms of peace.
“When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. Deut. 20:10
The first time we see this kind of peace is in the book of Joshua as he made peace with the people of Gibeon. The people of Gibeon did not know of the law of treaties and therefore made an elaborate effort to trick the children of Israel into a peace treaty. They could have just asked.
And Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore to them. Josh. 9:15
When Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, Josh. 10:1
They are never again mentione again as an independent people, so it is assumed by the scholars that they melded into the children of Israel and in a few generations there was no distinction between the two groups.
Peace is Never Lasting
This lack of war is not always honored or kept for all time. Men are not reliable in this area. If the circumstances change so will their desire to maintain the peace.
But Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. Judg. 4:17
The men of Penuel would not support Gibeon in his war with the two kings of Midian so he promised on his return to take down their defenses.
And he said to the men of Penuel, “When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.” Judg. 8:9
This peace was not a negotiated peace but rather the peace that all out victory brings. The enemy was to be slain and so they were. The peace that Gibeon got came about by the utter defeat of Midea. They no longer had the ability to field an army. Nearly their entire army was wiped out, 120,000 men were killed leaving only 15,000 survivors. As Midea is in what is now central Iran they had come a long way, and were probably unable to support or resupply such a distant force. There war was over.
The next is probably the worst or lowest point for the 12 tribes, for after they had come into the land there was “that incident” as jewish literature refers to it. There was a civil was between the 11 tribes and Benjamin. There is nothing civil about civil war. It is always brutal and deviating to any nation that indulges in this uncivil behavior. The children of Israel were no exception. The full tale of this violent episode is in Judges 19-21.
Then the whole congregation sent word to the Benjaminites who were at the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them. Judg. 21:13
In the end there was peace, but at a terrible price. The entire tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out.
Where Peace is the Absence of Conflict
The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath; and Israel rescued their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites. 1 Sam. 7:14
. . . and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride comes home to her husband. You seek the life of only one man, and all the people will be at peace.” 2 Sam. 17:3
And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace. 2 Sam. 19:24 KJV
And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house. 2 Sam. 19:30 KJV
“Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel, Abner the son of Ner, and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he murdered, avenging in time of peace blood which had been shed in war, and putting innocent blood upon the girdle about my loins, and upon the sandals on my feet. 1Kings 2:5
For he had dominion over all the region west of the Euphrates from Tiphsah to Gaza, over all the kings west of the Euphrates; and he had peace on all sides round about him. 1 Kings 4:24
And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and the two of them made a treaty. 1Kings 5:12
Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?” 2 Kings 20:19
Behold, a son shall be born to you; he shall be a man of peace. I will give him peace from all his enemies round about; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. 1 Chr. 22:9
Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my days. Is. 39:8
It is God who makes Peace
“Dominion and fear are with God; he makes peace in his high heaven. Job 25:2
He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. Psa. 55:20 KJV
. . . a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Eccl. 3:8
I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers; then I was in his eyes as one who brings peace. Song 8:10
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Is. 9:6
However as Leviticus passage said if they did not keep their covenant with God there would be no peace.
Behold, the valiant ones cry without; the envoys of peace weep bitterly. Is. 33:7
When anguish comes, they will seek peace, but there shall be none. Ezek. 7:25
Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry “Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths. Mic. 3:5
And this shall be peace, when the Assyrian comes into our land and treads upon our soil, that we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men; Mic. 5:5
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love truth and peace. Zech. 8:19
(See Also: Zech 8 The Nations Shall Seek the Lord)