Joshua 2

1 Joshua the son of Nun secretly sent two men out of Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, including Jericho.” They went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and slept there. 2 The king of Jericho was told, “Behold, men of the children of Israel came in here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 Jericho’s king sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered into your house; for they have come to spy out all the land.” 4 The woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I didn’t know where they came from. 5 About the time of the shutting of the gate, when it was dark, the men went out. Where the men went, I don’t know. Pursue them quickly. You may catch up with them.” 6 But she had brought them up to the roof, and hidden them under the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. 7 The men pursued them along the way to the fords of the Jordan River. As soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate. 8 Before they had lain down, she came up to them on the roof. 9 She said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites, who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and to Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 As soon as we had heard it, our hearts melted, and there wasn’t any more spirit in any man, because of you: for the LORD 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 house, and give me a true sign; 13 and that you will save alive my father, my mother, my brothers, and my sisters, and all that they have, and will deliver our lives from death.” 14 The men said to her, “Our life for yours, if you don’t talk about this business of ours; and it shall be, when the LORD gives us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.” 15 Then she let them down by a cord through the window; for her house was on the side of the wall, and she lived on the wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the mountain, lest the pursuers find you. Hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward, you may go your way.” 17 The men said to her, “We will be guiltless of this your oath which you’ve made us to swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, tie this line of scarlet thread in the window which you used to let us down. Gather to yourself into the house your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. 19 It shall be that whoever goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood will be on his head, and we will be guiltless. Whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand is on him. 20 But if you talk about this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless of your oath which you’ve made us to swear.” 21 She said, “Let it be as you have said.” She sent them away, and they departed. Then she tied the scarlet line in the window. 22 They went, and came to the mountain, and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had returned. The pursuers sought them all along the way, but didn’t find them. 23 Then the two men returned, descended from the mountain, crossed the river, and came to Joshua the son of Nun. They told him all that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “Truly the LORD has delivered all the land into our hands. Moreover, all the inhabitants of the land melt away before us.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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, Jas 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, Ps 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.

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