Joshua 2

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

SPYING OUT JERICHO

INTRODUCTION:

The Israelites were encamped at a place called Shittim on the east side of the Jordan River across the Jordan River from Jericho, which was on the west side of the river. A little reconnaissance work was in order before the Israelites would cross the Jordan River and seek to destroy Jericho.

I. THE SPIES ARE SENT BY JOSHUA TO JERICHO - 2:1

Joshua 2:1 - And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim [i.e. Shittim was the last Israelite encampment on the east side of the Jordan River] two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho [i.e. especially Jericho]. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

Rahab was a harlot. Here their visit would not be readily questioned; and also the house, being on the wall, afforded easy escape if necessary. Beside this, it was where the Lord led them. Rahab had apparently already believed in the God of Israel; and He was about to deliver her and her family. The spies' visit to Rahab was necessary within the will of God for Rahab and her family. Rahab would eventually marry an Israelite and become an ancestor of Christ.

Matthew 1:5 - And Salmon begat Booz [i.e. Boaz] of Rachab [i.e. Rahab]; and Booz [i.e. Boaz] begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse [Jesse was the father of David].

II. THE SPIES ARE PROTECTED BY RAHAB IN JERICHO - 2:2-7

Joshua 2:2 - And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither [i.e. in here] to night of the children of Israel to search out the country.

Although led by the Lord, the men's presence and the fact that they were Israelites was known by those in Jericho.

This once again illustrates the truth of Psalms 37:23 and of Romans 8:28 .

Psalms 37:23 - The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Joshua 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.

It is interesting to note that the king of Jericho knew why the spies had come to Jericho.

Joshua 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.e. Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from.].

Rahab continues speaking with the men who were looking for the spies -

Joshua 2:5 - And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate [i.e. as the gate was being shut], when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not [i.e. I do not know where the men went.]: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.

Joshua 2:6 - But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with [i.e. in, under] the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

She had laid the flax out on the roof in order that it might dry.

Hebrews 11:31 - By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

James 2:25 - Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

Was Rahab right in lying? Note that she was not commended for lying. She was commended for receiving the spies and sending them out another way. God did not need her to lie to protect the spies. He was perfectly capable of protecting them in some other way. God did not need her help.

Joshua 2:7 - And the men [i.e. the men looking for the spies] pursued after them [i.e. pursued after the two spies] the way to Jordan unto the fords [on the assumption that this was the way the spies fled]: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.

Joshua 2:8 - And before they [i.e. before the two spies] were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof.

III. THE SPIES GAIN INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION FROM RAHAB - 2:9-11

Joshua 2:9 - And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror [i.e. the terror of you] is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint [i.e. are fainthearted] because of you.

Joshua 2:10 - For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt [this was 40 years earlier]; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.

We see what happened to Sihon in Numbers 21:21-25 . Sihon's kingdom was located north of Moab on the east side of the Jordan River from the middle of the Dead Sea north to half way between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee -

Numbers 21:21-25 - 21 And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 Let me pass through thy land: we will not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink of the waters of the well: but we will go along by the king's high way, until we be past thy borders. 23 And Sihon would not suffer [i.e. would not allow, would not permit] Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness: and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 24 And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon was strong. 25 And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof.

Their refusal to let the Israelites pass through their land was of the Lord Who used this incident to destroy this group of Amorites.

We also see what happened to Og, king of Bashan [another group of Amorites] in Numbers 21:33-35 . Bashan was located on the east side of the Jordan River north of Sihon's kingdom from just south of the Sea of Galilee to half way between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea -

Numbers 21:33-35 - 33 And they turned and went up by the way of [i.e. along the road to] Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei. 34 And the LORD said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land [It was already a done deal in God's sight.]; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon. 35 So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.

Back to Joshua 2:11

Joshua 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.

Rahab had already recognized that the LORD was the God of the creation and had apparently placed her trust in Him. James confirms this.

James 2:25 - Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

IV. THE SPIES PROMISE RAHAB THAT SHE WILL NOT BE KILLED - 2:12-21

Joshua 2:12 - Now therefore, I pray you [i.e. please], 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 [i.e. give me a sure sign, give me a certain sign]:

Joshua 2:13 - And that ye will save alive [i.e. spare] my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

Joshua 2:14 - And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not [i.e. if you do not tell] this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.

Joshua 2:15 - Then she let them down by a cord [i.e. by a rope] through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.

Joshua 2:16 - And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain [i.e. get to the mountain], lest the pursuers meet you [on your way to the fords of the Jordan River where they have gone]; and hide yourselves there [i.e. hide yourselves in the mountains] three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way [i.e. and afterward go on your way].

Joshua 2:17 - And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.

We will not be bound by our oath if you do not do your part.

Verses 18-20 indicate what Rahab must do in order for her and her family to be safe when Jericho is destroyed.

Joshua 2:18 - Behold [i.e. unless], when we come into the land, thou shalt bind [i.e. unless you bind] this line of scarlet thread [i.e. this scarlet cord (or rope)] 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.

Joshua 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 [i.e. he will be responsible for his own blood], and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head [i.e. we will be responsible for his blood], if any hand be upon him [i.e. if a hand is laid on him].

Joshua 2:20 - And if thou utter this our business [i.e. if you tell this business of ours], then we will be quit of thine oath [i.e. then we will be free from our oath] which thou hast made us to swear.

In verse 21 Rahab agrees to the conditions set forth by the spies.

Joshua 2:21 - 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.

V. THE SPIES RETURN TO JOSHUA - 2:22-24

Joshua 2:22 - And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there [i.e. remained there, stayed there] three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way [i.e. all along the road between Jericho and the Jordan River], but found them not.

Joshua 2:23 - So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over [i.e. crossed over (the Jordan River)], and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them [i.e. all things that happened to them]:

Joshua 2:24 - And they said unto Joshua, Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country [i.e. of the land] do faint [i.e. are fainthearted] because of us.