Joshua son of Nun secretly sent out from Shittim two men as spies: "Go. Look over the land. Check out Jericho." They left and arrived at the house of a harlot named Rahab and stayed there.
The king of Jericho was told, "We've just learned that men arrived tonight to spy out the land. They're from the People of Israel."
The king of Jericho sent word to Rahab: "Bring out the men who came to you to stay the night in your house. They're spies; they've come to spy out the whole country."
The woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, "Yes, two men did come to me, but I didn't know where they'd come from.
At dark, when the gate was about to be shut, the men left. But I have no idea where they went. Hurry up! Chase them - you can still catch them!"
(She had actually taken them up on the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax that were spread out for her on the roof.)
So the men set chase down the Jordan road toward the fords. As soon as they were gone, the gate was shut.
Before the spies were down for the night, the woman came up to them on the roof
and said, "I know that God has given you the land. We're all afraid. Everyone in the country feels hopeless.
We heard how God dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt, and what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you put under a holy curse and destroyed.
We heard it and our hearts sank. We all had the wind knocked out of us. And all because of you, you and God, your God, God of the heavens above and God of the earth below.
"Now promise me by God. I showed you mercy; now show my family mercy. And give me some tangible proof, a guarantee
of life for my father and mother, my brothers and sisters - everyone connected with my family. Save our souls from death!"
"Our lives for yours!" said the men. "But don't tell anyone our business. When God turns this land over to us, we'll do right by you in loyal mercy."
She lowered them down out a window with a rope because her house was on the city wall to the outside.
She told them, "Run for the hills so your pursuers won't find you. Hide out for three days and give your pursuers time to return. Then get on your way."
The men told her, "In order to keep this oath you made us swear,
here is what you must do: Hang this red rope out the window through which you let us down and gather your entire family with you in your house - father, mother, brothers, and sisters.
Anyone who goes out the doors of your house into the street and is killed, it's his own fault - we aren't responsible. But for everyone within the house we take full responsibility. If anyone lays a hand on one of them, it's our fault.
But if you tell anyone of our business here, the oath you made us swear is canceled - we're no longer responsible."
She said, "If that's what you say, that's the way it is," and sent them off. They left and she hung the red rope out the window.
They headed for the hills and stayed there for three days until the pursuers had returned. The pursuers had looked high and low but found nothing.
The men headed back. They came down out of the hills, crossed the river, and returned to Joshua son of Nun and reported all their experiences.
They told Joshua, "Yes! God has given the whole country to us. Everybody there is in a state of panic because of us."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)