Jos 2:1 ¶ And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even (especially) Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.
- Joshua … sent two men … as spies. The sending of the two spies, to gather intelligence about the hostile territory, underscores Joshua's skill as a leader and his concern for prudent preparation. Even though God had promised him success in the conquering of Jericho it did not minimize his sense of responsibility to do what he could do in preparing them for the battle.
- Remember that all this takes place during the three days Joshua has commanded the nation to wait on the banks of the Jordan (Joshua 1:11). So there was a three-day delay when the people reached the Jordan River. This gave them the time and opportunity to become quiet before God and prepare themselves for what God had in store for them.
- But as the chapter develops, as in John 4, we once again see that God has a divine appointment with a sinner who was being drawn to faith in the God of Israel.
- Shittim, which means “the Acacia trees,” was east of the Jordan River, though its exact location is unknown. Shittim was the site of an earlier instance of Israelite prostitution, both physical and spiritual (Num. 25:1–3). Jericho lay 7 miles West of the river
- Into the harlots house (house of a prostitute). Their purpose for coming to Rahabs house was not impure. In fact, it was by divine appointment because the narrative carefully avoids any suggestion of a sexual relation between the spies and Rahab.
- Rahab is one of four women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the first chapter of Matthew; the other three are Tamar (Matt. 1:3), Ruth the Moabitess (Matt. 1:5), and the “wife of Uriah”, which would be Bathsheba (Matt. 1:6).
- According to verse 15 we read that her house was located on the city wall and would provide a quick getaway after they completed their fact finding mission. Although Rahab was a prostitute, she had come to saving faith in The God if Israel and she is noted as a woman of faith in (Heb. 11:31) and for her good works (James 2:25).
Jos 2:2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. 2:3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.
- The NKJV reads, Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country. To say the least, the spies' intent to remain “undercover” was singularly unsuccessful!
Jos 2:4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were (I did not know where they came from): 5 And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not (I do not know where they went): pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.
- Rahab's deceptive response about the whereabouts of the spies has raised some ethical questions and has been the subject of many discussions. The narrative, in fact, does not address this ethical issue, and the NT, while commending Rahab for protecting the spies, offers no explicit comment regarding her methods
- Lying is sin to God (Ex. 20:16), for He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). God commended her faith (Heb. 11:31; James 2:25) as expressed in vv. 9–16, not her lie. He never condones any sin.
Jos 2:6 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.
- Flax is the plant from which linen is made by a process of alternately drying and soaking the flax fibers. The flat rooftops of houses were convenient places for drying the stalks.
Jos 2:7 And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate. 2:8 And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; 9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side (east side) Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed (The defeat of Sihon and Og is recorded in Numbers 21:21-35).
- I know that the Lordhas given you the land. Rahab shows a remarkable awareness of The Lord's intention to give Israel the land of Canaan. Her confession here is a divine recognition of the supreme power of Israel's God, but her inclusionin the “hall of faith” chapter reveals a genuine saving faith.
- Dried Up the Red Sea - This miracle that God performed for the former generation of the Jews had become an irrefutable historical fact in the surrounding area that brought great glory to God. The miracles that God does in out lives are a living testimony of His greatness and power.
Jos 2:11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
- He Is God - Rahab further defines her faith in God as she proclaims Him The One and only supreme God. This is an amazing cofession in light of the culture she was living in that was steeped in idolatry, fertility rites with temple prostitutes, and sacrificing children to the god Molech.
- Like Jesus response to Peter’s declaration, Matt 16.16 Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
- It is by God gracious Spirit and grace that our hearts are opens to divine truth.
Jos 2:12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token: 13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.
- She now intercedes for deliverance on behalf of her family. She is concerned for the welfare of her family members.
14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business.
- They hold her accountable to the need for secrecy about the purpose of their mission.
And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.
- We will deal kindly and truly (faithfully) with you. The response of the spies shows that the grace of God allowed for exceptions in the general instruction to destroy the Canaanites. God made room for those who would come to Him in faith.
- This once again underscores the fact that the boundary between Israel and Canaan was not drawn along ethnic lines, but in terms of faith in and allegiance to the Lord.
Jos 2:15 Then she let them down by a cord (rope) through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.
- Her house was built into the city wall. This interesting architectural note explains how Rahab lowered the spies through a window to the outside of the city. Those houses abutting the outer wall may well have had a window in the wall.
Jos 2:16 And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. 17 And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee.
- Scarlet cord. The instructions that Rahab should gather and retain her entire family in her house recall the procedure prescribed at the time of the first Passover (Ex. 12:22 and context). If you wanted to be safe when the destroyer passed over, you needed to be inside a house that had blood on its door posts.
- The cord's color would enable it to stand out clearly. This cord would have been seen each time the Jewish army marched around the city, thereby giving all of the soldiers ample time to mentally locate this house.
- It is significant that it was a scarlet cord, or rope, that Rahab was to display in her window. This was symbolic of the blood of Christ, which, according to 1 John 1:7, cleanses us from all sin.
- As early as the first century, commentators such as Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Ireneaus, Origen and more saw this scarlet cord as a symbol of the blood of Jesus.
Jos 2:19 And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.
- This place of protection provided inside the house with the scarlet cord becomes a graphic example of the safety any person may have from judgment for their sin by placing their sin under the blood of Jesus Christ.
- The call to come into Noah's Ark was get into the ark if you want to be safe from the flood. The call of the gospel of God -Christ is Only The Ark of salvation for all that call upon His Name.
20 And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. 21 And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.
22 ¶ And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not. 23 So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them: 24 And they said unto Joshua, Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.
- The news that the spies brought provided Joshua with a solid confirmation that would not only strengthen him but the people he must lead into battle.