Joshua sends spies to Jericho. Rahab shields the spies. Rahab provides valuable intelligence. The spies make a promise to Rahab. The spies return to Joshua.
VERSE 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.
sent two men out of Shittim as spies. Decades earlier, Joshua had been one of the twelve spies who explored the Promised Land.
Now he looks across the Jordan and sees the Promised Land again. It is natural for him to reconnoiter it to prepare for the battle. It will be the first of many battles in the war.
Jericho. This was the key citadel of the Jordan Valley.
a prostitute. From Josephus to the present, some people have argued that Rahab was an innkeeper.
However, the Hebrew word is הָנָז (zanah). It means to commit fornication, be a harlot, play the harlot, to commit adultery, to be a cult prostitute.
After 40 years in the desert, the first person these two men of God visit is a prostitute.
VERSE 2. The king of Jericho was told, “Behold, men of the children of Israel came in here tonight to spy out the land.”
Behold. This is from the Hebrew word הִנֵּה. It means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.
men of the children of Israel. Apparently they did not disguise themselves. Or if they did, it was insufficient.
VERSE 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.”
Jericho’s king sent to Rahab. Apparently the king of Jericho felt threatened by the children of Israel.
VERSE 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.
hid them. Rahab protected the two men of Israel. She hid them under stalks of flax on the roof (see verse 6 below).
VERSE 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.”
Where the men went, I don’t know. Rahab lies to the king’s emissaries. She is saving the lives of the two men of Israel.
Had she told the literal truth, doubtless the two men of Israel would have been tortured and executed.
VERSE 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.
Rahab shields the two spies. For this, she is a great hero of the faith!
Joshua 2:6. 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.
Hebrews 11:31. By faith, Rahab the prostitute didn’t perish with those who were disobedient, having received the spies in peace.
James 2:25. In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
VERSE 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.
VERSE 8. Before they had lain down, she came up to them on the roof.
VERSE 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.
I know that the LORD. Rahab believes in the LORD God of Israel.
has given you the land. Rahab knows the LORD God has given Jericho to the Israelites.
the fear of you has fallen upon us. This is as the LORD God promised:
Exodus 23:27. I will send my terror before you, and will confuse all the people to whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.
Deuteronomy 2:25. Today I will begin to put the dread of you and the fear of you on the peoples who are under the whole sky, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.”
Joshua 2:9. 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.
VERSE 10. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Sea of Suf 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.
Rahab shares two reasons why the people of Jericho are afraid of Israel:
the LORD dried up the water of the Sea of Suf. That is, the LORD God parted the Red Sea.
Sihon and to Og, whom you utterly destroyed. Israel handily defeated those two nations.
VERSE 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.
our hearts melted. They were overtaken by dread.
he is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath. Rahab declares her belief in the LORD God of Israel.
VERSE 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;
deal kindly. Rahab uses the Hebrew word khesed. It means loyal, steadfast, or faithful love based on a promise, agreement, or covenant.
VERSE 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.”
VERSE 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.”
Our life for yours. The response of the spies is immediate and decisive. They pledge their lives to her.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 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.”
VERSE 17. The men said to her, “We will be guiltless of this your oath which you’ve made us to swear.
VERSE 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.
tie this line of scarlet thread in the window. Rahab’s house was on the city wall. This scarlet rope will be visible from outside the city.
Later, the nation will march around Jericho. As they do so, millions of Israelites will see that scarlet rope every time they circle the city.
For them, it will be the sign of their victory!
Gather to yourself into the house. During the attack, Rahab is to gather her people into her house. They must stay inside.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 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.”
VERSE 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.
she tied the scarlet line in the window. This is an act of treason against Jericho. And it is an act of epic heroism for the LORD God.
VERSE 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.
came to the mountain. Scarcely a half-mile west of Jericho are limestone cliffs about 1,500 feet high, honeycombed with caves.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 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.”
This is the greatest news since the Exodus!
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.