II 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.
Verse 1. Sent - Or, had sent. Two men - Not twelve, as Moses did, because those were to view the wholeland, 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. Hebrew. The land and Jericho, that is, especially Jericho. Harlot's - So the Hebrew word is used, Judg. xi, 1, and so it is rendered by two apostles, Heb. xi, 31James ii, 25, such she either now was, or rather, had been formerly. Lodged - Or, lay down; as the same word is rendered, ver. 8, composed themselves to rest; but they were hindered from that intention.
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.
Verse 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. xi, 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.
Verse 6. Roof - Which was flat after their manner. Upon the roof - That they might be dried by the heat of the sun.
Verse 7. Fords - Or passages, that is, the places where people used to pass overJordan, 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.
Verse 11. Melted - That is, were dissolved, lost all courage.
Verse 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, ver. 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.
Verse 13. All that they have - That is, their children, as appears from chap. vi, 23.
Verse 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 pretense, 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.
Verse 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 threewhole days, but one wholeday, and part of two days.
Verse 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 observed.
Verse 18. Into the land - That is, overJordan, 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.