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Joshua sends spies to Jericho, ver. 1.
Rahab receives and conceals them, ver. 2 - 7.
Her agreement with them for the safety of herself and family, ver. 8 - 21.
The return of the spies, and the account given by them, ver. 22 - 24.
1: Sent - Or, had sent: See note ... "Jos 1:11"
Two men - Not twelve, as Moses did, because those were to view the
whole land, these but a small parcel of it. To spy - That is, to learn
the state of the land and people. It is evident Joshua did not this
out of distrust; it is probable, he had God's command and direction in it
for the encouragement of himself and his army. Secretly - With reference
not to his enemies, that being the practice of all spies, but to the
Israelites; a good caution to prevent the inconveniency which possibly
might have arisen, if their report had been discouraging. Jericho - That
is, the land about Jericho, together with the city. Heb. The land
and Jericho, that is, especially Jericho. Harlot's - So the
Hebrew word is used, (Jdg 11:1), and so it is rendered by two apostles,(Heb 11:31,Jam 2:25), such she either now was, or rather, had been
formerly. Lodged - Or, lay down; as the same word is rendered,(Jos 2:8), composed themselves to rest; but they were hindered from
2: To night - This evening.
3: Probably Israel had but one friend in all Jericho: and God
directed them to her! Thus what seems to be most accidental, is often
over - ruled, to serve the great ends of providence. And those that
acknowledge God in their ways, he will guide them with his eye.
4: And the woman - Or, But the woman had taken - and had hid
them, before the messengers came from the king; as soon as she understood
from her neighbours, that there was a suspicion of the matter, and guessed
that search would be made. And this is justly mentioned as a great and
generous act of faith, (Heb 11:31), for she apparently ventured her life
upon a steadfast persuasion of the truth of God's word and promise given to
the Israelites. Whence they were - Her answer contained in these and
the following words, was false, and therefore unquestionably sinful; tho'
her intention was good therein. But it is very probable, she being an
Heathen, might think, that an officious lie is not unlawful.
6: Roof - Which was flat after their manner. Upon the roof - That
they might be dried by the heat of the sun.
7: Fords - Or passages, that is, the places where people used to
pass over Jordan, whether by boats or bridges. The gate - Of the city,
to prevent the escape of the spies, if peradventure Rahab was mistaken,
and they yet lurked therein.
8: Laid down - To sleep as they intended.
9: Your terror - That is, the dread of you.
11: Melted - That is, were dissolved, lost all courage.
12: By the Lord - By your God who is the only true God: so she owns
his worship, one eminent act whereof is swearing by his name.
My father's house - My near kindred, which she particularly names,(Jos 2:13), husband and children it seems she had none. And for herself,
it was needless to speak, it being a plain and undeniable duty to save their
preserver. True token - Either an assurance that you will preserve me and
mine from the common ruin: or a token which I may produce as a witness of
this agreement, and a means of my security. This is all that she asks.
But God did for her more than she could ask or think. She was afterwards
advanced to be a princess in Israel, the wife of Salmon and one of
the ancestors of Christ.
13: All that they have - That is, their children, as appears from(Jos 6:23).
14: For yours - We will venture our lives for the security of yours.
Our business - That is, this agreement of ours, and the condition of it,
lest others under this pretence, should secure themselves. By which they
shew both their piety and prudence in managing their oath with so much
circumspection, that neither their own consciences might be ensnared, nor
the publick justice obstructed.
15: Town - wall - Which gave her the opportunity of dismissing them
when the gates were shut. Upon the wall - Her particular dwelling was
there: which may possibly be added, because the other part of her house
was reserved for the entertainment of strangers.
16: The mountain - That is, to some of the mountains wherewith
Jericho was encompassed, in which also there were many caves where they
might lurk. Three days - Not three whole days, but one whole day, and
part of two days.
17: Said - Or, had said; namely, before she let them down; it
being very improbable, either that she would dismiss them before the
condition was agreed on; or that she would discourse with them, or they
with her, about such secret and weighty things after they were let down,
when others might overhear them. Blameless - That is, free from guilt or
reproach if it be violated, namely, if the following condition be not
18: Into the land - That is, over Jordan, and near the city.
This line of scarlet - Probably the same with which she was about to let
them down. Window - That it may be easily discerned by our soldiers.
19: Upon his head - The blame of his death shall rest wholly upon
himself, as being occasioned by his own neglect of the means of safety.
Our head - We are willing to bear the sin, and shame, and punishment of it.
Be upon him - So as to kill him.
21: In the window - Forthwith, partly that the spies might see it
hung out before their departure, and so the better know it at some
distance; partly lest some accident might occasion a neglect about it.
22: Three days - Supporting themselves there with the provisions,
which Rahab had furnished them with. The ways - That is, in the road
to Jordan, and the places near it, but not in the mountains.
23: Passed over - Jordan unto Joshua.