How to Detect a Deceptive Woman

Joshua 9:1-27

As a man, never say things like “All women are liars” or “Women can’t be trusted.” Some women are liars and some women can’t be trusted; but anytime we lump a large group into a narrow definition that is based upon our personal experiences with just a few people from that group, we are lying to ourselves.

So please don’t view this article as “7 labels all women are defined by.” As you will see, these 7 points in this article could be applied to anyone, including men. But we are going to apply these 7 principles about discovering deception to the topic of, “How to spot a deceptive woman.”

Therefore, by studying the Gibeonite’s deception towards Israel in Joshua 9, we can discover at least 7 principles to help you avoid being deceived in general and then we will apply these principles to this topic about deceptive women.

1. A Fearful Woman Is Often Tempted into Cunning Deception

Most people don’t lie just because they are crazy, wicked, and like deceiving people. Rather, the motive behind most lies is fear.

Sometimes a woman lies to you not because she doesn’t like you but rather because she likes you so much. She wants to gain your affection, or she doesn’t want to lose your affection if she already has it. Thus, rather than tell the truth about something that might cause a problem, she might be tempted to be deceptive if she is especially fearful or worried.

Fear was the root behind the Gibeonite’s deception of Joshua and Israel. By the time we get to Joshua 9, Israel had defeated a few nations on the east of the Jordan. They then crossed the Jordan and defeated two cities on the west of the Jordan, Jericho and Ai (Joshua 6-8).

This caused all the nearby cities and nations to become fearful of Israel. In Joshua 9:1-2, we see that these nations decided to ban together to fight against Israel as one. But in Joshua 9:3-4, the Gibeonites fear caused them to use deception instead of war. It states, “But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning . . .”

Therefore, be careful around the fearful woman. Of course as a strong man, do what you can to help her with her fears if you can. But just know if a woman seems afraid of losing you in and overblown and unhealthy way, she will be more susceptible to deception in order to keep you.

2. If Her External Appearance Is Being Used to Rush You Into Something She Wants from You

Men are visual by nature. Women know this. I’m not saying that all women who look nice or spend time on their appearance are just doing this to control and deceive men. Rather, what you want to be aware of as a man is when a woman is using her external appearance to rush you to do something she wants you to do for her.

Notice how much time and attention the Gibeonites spend on their external appearance in order to rush Israel into a covenant they never should have made:

“. . . they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, ‘We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.’” (Joshua 9:4-6)

Notice that their appearance was being used to rush Joshua into a commitment. This is what you need to be aware of with women. It’s fine if she is well put together and takes care of herself. How she uses her physical appearance on you is what you need to be careful about.

3. If She’s Trying to Talk You Into Believing Her Through Telling Stories Rather than Just Giving You Time to Get to Know Her More Naturally and Slowly

Not only will a deceptive woman use her appearance to rush you, she will also use her story telling ability. Instead of giving you time to get there yourself, a deceptive woman will give you all kinds of reasons for why you should do what she’s saying right now. Rushing you with reasoning should be seen as a red flag because words are easily misleading. Just because her words make sense doesn’t mean she’s truly trustworthy.

The Gibeonites, for example, were really smart in how they told their story to make it very believable. As I mentioned already, Joshua and Israel had defeated nations on the east of the Jordan first, then they crossed the Jordan, and then they defeated two nations on the west of the Jordan. But because the Gibeonites were pretending to be from a very distant country in the far west, they pretended like they didn’t even know about these two most recent victories in the west. In Joshua 9:9-10, they only mentioned God’s miracles and victories on the east of the Jordan and near Egypt.

Why? Because it would have been impossible for them to come that far that fast if they only came once they heard about the western victories. The story made more sense to Joshua since they said they started traveling once they heard about the victories in the east.

All that to say, just because someone’s story is very elaborate, consistent, and believable doesn’t mean they are trustworthy. I’m not saying you should doubt every woman who tells you a story. But we all, men and women, need time to be able to confirm if someone is truly trustworthy or not.

Storytelling is a tool deceptive people have mastered. If she’s rushing you by using reasons and stories, this is a red flag.

4. If You Have to Ignore Your Wisdom and Experiences in Order to Make Her Happy

After something goes wrong, usually we think back and kick ourselves for ignoring all the warning signs. Before that company cheated your company, you knew something was off. Once your new mechanic lets you know your old mechanic didn’t do what he said, you instantly remember how you just ignored some concerns because you were too busy to deal with it. Or when that woman leads you on and then leaves you for a different guy, you regret all the times you “just assumed the best” even though there were some warning bells ringing inside of you.

When you read Joshua 9:7-13, it’s clear that Israel and Joshua had some concerns. Right from the start, they had a sense of what these strangers were up to. Joshua 9:7, “But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, ‘Perhaps you live among us; then how can we make a covenant with you?’”

They ignored wisdom and their personal life experiences that were sending them internal warning signs. They listened to the story and allowed themselves to be deceived.

Don’t do this in relationships.

5. If You Have to Ignore God’s Warning to You in Your Heart in Order to Do What She Wants

Joshua 9:14-15 is the most striking passage in this whole story. It states, “So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. 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.”

As Christian men, we are not to be purely logical. We are not supposed to just rely on our own wisdom (Proverbs 3:5-6). God wants us to use logic and wisdom. But he also tells us to ask him about things. Through slowing down and just asking God in prayer about a relationship, he will help you know which women are trustworthy and which women are not.

6. If She’s Not Giving You the Time to Use “The Truth Equation”

I won’t spend too much time on this one because we’ve hit on it a bit already. But what I want to highlight here is what I call the truth equation: “actions + time = the truth.” Anyone can act right for a moment or make a stupid decision now and then. And anyone can say the right things over and over again or say the wrong thing every now and then. But when you look at someone’s actions over a consistent period of time, that’s the truth.

We talked about how deceptive women use their appearance and storytelling ability to rush men into doing what the woman wants. Only through observing consistent actions over a long period of time can someone truly be trusted.

Notice what Joshua 9:16 state, “At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors and that they lived among them.” If Joshua and Israel would have given it just three more days, they would not have been deceived.

Like my dad told me when teaching me how to drive, “Speed kills. The brake is more important than the gas pedal.” The same is true when it comes to relationships.

7. If She Is Pushing for Something You Can’t Easily Get Out of So You Will Be Trapped

Here’s a principle that’s served me well over the years: The smaller the decision, the less confirmation you need. The bigger the decision, the more confirmation you need.

You don’t need a huge sign from God to go on one date with a woman. You don’t need to do a background check on her to go on a second date. When you don’t know someone that well yet, it’s okay to trust them in small ways. The more you get to know someone, the more you can trust them. So it’s not about not trusting or fully trusting. It’s about being wise in the level of trust you are giving for the level the relationship is truly at.

It’s a huge red flag when a woman is trying to get you into something that you can’t easily get out of. When the time is right, you should make commitments. I’m not saying a woman should never expect a man to commit in a serious way and in marriage one day. But you should not be pushed into this by a woman. A trustworthy woman will not want you to do anything you don’t want to do yourself. 

As you read the rest of Joshua 9, you learn about the consequences Israel had to deal with because of the rash covenant they made with the Gibeonites. Even though they were tricked into this covenant, God still held them responsible for honoring it.

Likewise, be careful with your commitments. Once you make them, even if you were tricked, there’s still going to be consequences for your choices. The best way to deal with a bad commitment is to slow down and not make those commitments in the first place. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5,Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.”

Do you know what are the 6 categories a man needs to focus on if he wants to live a fulfilling life? Here’s the article where I cover that important topic: The 6 Categories to Be a Complete Man.

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Mark Ballenger is the writing ministry of Mark Ballenger. To reach Mark, send him an email anytime:

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