Joshua son of Nun secretly sent out two spies from Acacia and said to them, "Go and look at the land, particularly at the city of Jericho." So the men went to Jericho and stayed at the house of a prostitute named Rahab.
Someone told the king of Jericho, "Some men from Israel have come here tonight to spy out the land."
So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: "Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house. They have come to spy out our whole land."
But the woman had hidden the two men. She said, "They did come here, but I didn't know where they came from.
In the evening, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don't know where they went, but if you go quickly, maybe you can catch them."
(The woman had taken the men up to the roofn and had hidden them there under stalks of flax that she had spread out.)
So the king's men went out looking for the spies on the road that leads to the crossings of the Jordan River. The city gate was closed just after the king's men left the city.
Before the spies went to sleep for the night, Rahab went up to the roof.
She said to them, "I know the Lord has given this land to your people. You frighten us very much. Everyone living in this land is terribly afraid of you
because we have heard how the Lord dried up the Red Sea when you came out of Egypt. We have heard how you destroyed Sihon and Og, two Amorite kings who lived east of the Jordan.
When we heard this, we were very frightened. Now our men are afraid to fight you because the Lord your God rules the heavens above and the earth below!
So now, promise me before the Lord that you will show kindness to my family just as I showed kindness to you. Give me some proof that you will do this.
Allow my father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all of their families to live. Save us from death."
The men agreed and said, "It will be our lives for your lives if you don't tell anyone what we are doing. When the Lord gives us the land, we will be kind and true to you."
The house Rahab lived in was built on the city wall, so she used a rope to let the men down through a window.
She said to them, "Go into the hills so the king's men will not find you. Hide there for three days. After the king's men return, you may go on your way."
The men said to her, "You must do as we say. If not, we cannot be responsible for keeping this oath you have made us swear.
When we return to this land, you must tie this red rope in the window through which you let us down. Bring your father, mother, brothers, and all your family into your house.
If anyone leaves your house and is killed, it is his own fault. We cannot be responsible for him. If anyone in your house is hurt, we will be responsible.
But if you tell anyone about this, we will be free from the oath you made us swear."
Rahab answered, "I agree to this." So she sent them away, and they left. Then she tied the red rope in the window.
The men left and went into the hills where they stayed for three days. The king's men looked for them all along the road, but after three days, they returned to the city without finding them.
Then the two men started back. They left the hills and crossed the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them.
They said, "The Lord surely has given us all of the land. All the people in that land are terribly afraid of us."
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.