Joshua 2

Rahab Shelters Spies

1 Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from 1Shittim, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." So they went and came into the house of 2a harlot * whose name was Rahab, and [a]lodged there.
2 It was told the king of Jericho, saying, "Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land."
3 And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, "Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land."
4 But the 3woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.
5 "It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them."
6 But 4she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof.
7 So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.
8 Now before they lay down, [b]she came up to them on the roof,
9 and said to the men, "5I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the 6terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have [c]melted away before * you.
10 "7For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the [d]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 Sihon and Og, whom you [e]utterly destroyed.
11 "When we heard it, 9our hearts melted and no [f]courage remained in any man any longer because * of you; for the 10LORD your God, He is God in heaven above * and on earth beneath *.
12 "Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father's household, and give me a 11pledge of [g]truth,
13 and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death."
14 So the men said to her, "Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will 12deal kindly and faithfully with you."

The Promise to Rahab

15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall, so that she was living on the wall.
16 She said to them, "13Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way."
17 The men said to her, "14We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear,
18 unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and 15gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father's household.
19 "It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, 16his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.
20 "But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear."
21 She said, "According to your words, so be it." So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
22 They departed and came to the hill country, and remained there for three days until the pursuers returned. Now the pursuers had sought them all along the road, but had not found them.
23 Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them.
24 They said to Joshua, "Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, 17all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before * 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 17

  • 1. Numbers 25:1; Joshua 3:1
  • 2. Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25
  • 3. 2 Samuel 17:19
  • 4. James 2:25
  • 5. Numbers 20:24; Joshua 9:24
  • 6. Exodus 23:27; Deuteronomy 2:25; Joshua 9:9, 10
  • 7. Exodus 14:21; Numbers 23:22; Numbers 24:8
  • 8. Numbers 21:21-35
  • 9. Joshua 5:1; Joshua 7:5; Psalms 22:14; Isaiah 13:7; Isaiah 19:1
  • 10. Deuteronomy 4:39
  • 11. Joshua 2:18, 19
  • 12. Genesis 24:49
  • 13. James 2:25
  • 14. Genesis 24:8
  • 15. Joshua 2:12
  • 16. Matthew 27:25
  • 17. Joshua 2:9

Footnotes 16

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