Joshua 2

Listen to Joshua 2

Rahab Hides the Spies

1 And Joshua the son of Nun 1sent[a] two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." And they went and came into the house of 2a prostitute whose name was 3Rahab and lodged there.
2 And it was told to the king of Jericho, "Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land."
3 Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, "Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land."
4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, "True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.
5 And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them."
6 But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof.
7 So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan 4as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out.
8 Before the men[b] lay down, she came up to them on the roof
9 and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, 5and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land 6melt away before you.
10 For we have heard how the LORD 7dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and 8what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to 9Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction.[c]
11 And 10as soon as we heard it, 11our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for 12the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.
12 Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father's house, and 13give me a sure sign
13 that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death."
14 And the men said to her, "Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the LORD gives us the land 14we will deal kindly and faithfully with you."
15 Then she 15let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall.
16 And she said[d] to them, "Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way."
17 The men said to her, "We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear.
18 16Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, 17and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father's household.
19 Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, 18his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head.
20 But if you 19tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear."
21 And she said, "According to your words, so be it." Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
22 They departed and went into the hills and remained there three days until the pursuers returned, and the pursuers searched all along the way and found nothing.
23 Then the two men returned. They came down from the hills and 20passed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they told him all that had happened to them.
24 And they said to Joshua, "Truly 21the LORD has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land 22melt away because of us."

Joshua 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

Rahab receives and hides two Israelites. (1-7) Rahab and the spies. (8-21) The return of the spies. (22-24)

Verses 1-7 Faith in God's promises ought not to do away, but to encourage our diligence in the use of proper means. The providence of God directed the spies to the house of Rahab. God knew where there was one that would be true to them, though they did not. Rahab appears to have been an innkeeper; and if she had formerly been one of bad life, which is doubtful, she had left her evil courses. That which seems to us most accidental, is often overruled by the Divine providence to serve great ends. It was by faith that Rahab received those with peace, against whom her king and country had war. We are sure this was a good work; it is so spoken of by the apostle, ( James 2:25 ) ; and she did it by faith, such a faith as set her above the fear of man. Those only are true believers, who find in their hearts to venture for God; they take his people for their people, and cast in their lot among them. The spies were led by the special providence of God, and Rahab entertained them out of regard to Israel and Israel's God, and not for lucre or for any evil purpose. Though excuses may be offered for the guilt of Rahab's falsehood, it seems best to admit nothing which tends to explain it away. Her views of the Divine law must have been very dim: a falsehood like this, told by those who enjoy the light of revelation, whatever the motive, would deserve heavy censure.

Verses 8-21 Rahab had heard of the miracles the Lord wrought for Israel. She believed that his promises would certainly be fulfilled, and his threatenings take effect; and that there was no way of escape but by submitting to him, and joining with his people. The conduct of Rahab proved that she had the real principle of Divine faith. Observe the promises the spies made to her. The goodness of God is often expressed by his kindness and truth, ( Psalms 117:2 ) ; in both these we must be followers of him. Those who will be conscientious in keeping promises, are cautious in making them. The spies make needful conditions. The scarlet cord, like the blood upon the doorpost at the passover, recalls to remembrance the sinner's security under the atoning blood of Christ; and that we are to flee thereto for refuge from the wrath of a justly offended God. The same cord Rahab used for the saving of these Israelites, was to be used for her own safety. What we serve and honour God with, we may expect he will bless, and make useful to us.

Verses 22-24 The report the spies brought was encouraging. All the people of the country faint because of Israel; they have neither wisdom to yield, nor courage to fight. Those terrors of conscience, and that sense of Divine wrath, which dismay the ungodly, but bring not to repentance, are fearful forebodings of approaching destruction. But grace yet abounds to the chief of sinners. Let them, without delay, flee to Christ, and all shall be well.

Cross References 22

  • 1. Numbers 25:1
  • 2. Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25
  • 3. Matthew 1:5
  • 4. Judges 3:28; Judges 7:24
  • 5. Exodus 15:16; Exodus 23:27
  • 6. ver. 11, 24; Exodus 15:15
  • 7. Joshua 4:23; Exodus 14:21
  • 8. See Num. 21:23-26, 33-35
  • 9. Psalms 135:11; Psalms 136:19, 20
  • 10. Exodus 15:14, 15
  • 11. ver. 9; Joshua 5:1; Joshua 7:5; [2 Samuel 17:10; Psalms 22:14; Isaiah 13:7; Ezekiel 21:7]
  • 12. Deuteronomy 4:39
  • 13. ver. 18
  • 14. Judges 1:24, 25
  • 15. 1 Samuel 19:12; Acts 9:25; 2 Corinthians 11:33
  • 16. ver. 12
  • 17. ver. 12; Joshua 6:23
  • 18. [Matthew 27:25]
  • 19. ver. 14
  • 20. ver. 7
  • 21. Joshua 21:44; Exodus 23:31
  • 22. ver. 9

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Or had sent
  • [b]. Hebrew they
  • [c]. That is, set apart (devoted) as an offering to the Lord (for destruction)
  • [d]. Or had said

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JOSHUA 2

This chapter gives an account of the spies sent by Joshua to Jericho, and of their entrance into the house of Rahab, who hid them from the king's messengers, Jos 2:1-7; of the relation she gave them of the fear and dread of Israel, which were fallen upon the Canaanites, Jos 2:8-11; and of the request she made to them, to save her and her father's house, when the city should be taken, and to have a sure sign of it given her, Jos 2:12,13; which the spies solemnly promised, and gave her a sign of it, with a charge not to discover the matter to any, Jos 2:14-20; and being let down by a cord through the window of her house, they made their escape to a mountain, where they lay three days, and then returned to Joshua, and made their report, Jos 2:21-24.

Joshua 2 Commentaries