JOSHUA 2 Introduction: This chapter gives an account of the spies sent by Joshua to Jericho, and of their entrance into

the house of Rahab, who hid them from the king's messengers. It describes her account of the fear and dread of Israel that had fallen on the Canaanites and of the request she made to them to save her and her father's house when the city should be taken. She asked for a sure sign of it to be given to her. The spies solemnly promised to honour her request and gave her a sign by which she could ensure her safety with a charge for her not to tell anyone. They were let down by a rope from the window of Rahab's house, which was on the outer wall, from where they made their escape to a mountain, where they stayed for three days, and then returned to Joshua, and made their report. A. The spies' trip: 1. Rahab's assistance to Israel's spies: The two men take refuge in the home of a prostitute who has come to fear the Lord. (a)The spies' danger (vv.1-3): 1Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grovea to spy secretly, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. 2And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” 3So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.” (The king of Jericho dispatches men to Rahab's house to arrest the spies.) Q1: Why did Joshua send spies? Does it mean that he didn't entirely trust God? Q2: Why did Joshua send them secretly? (b)The spies' deliverance (vv.4-7): 4Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.” 6(But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.) 7Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate. 1

(Rahab deceives the king's men into believing the spies had already left.) Q3: In the culture of that day, there was a strong tradition of hospitality. If someone was a guest in your house, you had a strong duty to protect them and care for them. Do you think this was the reason why Rahab helped the spies? Q4: Because of Rahab's lie the spies were delivered from their pursuers. Does it mean that the bible justifies her lie? 2. Rahab's assurance from Israel's spies: (a) Rahab's petition (vv.8-13): 8Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9and said to the men: “I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. 10For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. 12Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the LORD, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, 13and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” (She asks that she and her family be spared when the Israelites capture Jericho.) Note: As a harlot, Rahab was in a degenerate position. But then she had a dramatic conversion. She had faith in God, as evidenced by her belief that God had given the land to the Israelites (v.9). She knew about God, as evidenced by her knowledge of what He had done for His people (v.10). And she feared God, as evidenced by the condition of her heart (v.11). Rahab’s dramatic conversion was proved by a definite confession. Rahab confessed not only to God but before men when she said to the spies, “for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and in earth beneath” (v.11). Romans 10:9 tells us that in order to be saved, a man must believe in his heart and confess with his mouth. And Rahab did just that. In addition to Rahab’s degenerate position, dramatic conversion, and definite confession, notice her dynamic commendation. In Hebrews 11, a 2

small number of people are singled out as heroes in God’s “hall of faith.” Isaiah didn’t make it. Jeremiah didn’t make it. Daniel didn’t make it. Elisha didn’t make it. But one who did make it into the hall of faith was Rahab the prostitute. Rahab’s name appears again in James 2 as an example of what it means to have faith that is real. But the most important place Rahab’s name appears is in Matthew 1, as she takes her place with only three other women in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Q5: Rahab is not only a harlot, but she’s also a liar. How, then, could Rahab be so exalted? (b)The spies promise (vv.14-21): 14So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the LORD has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.” 15Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall. 16And she said to them, “Get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward you may go your way.” 17So the men said to her: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, 18unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. 19So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.” 21Then she said, “According to your words, so be it.” And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window. (The spies agree to spare Rahab's family) Q6: The scarlet cord served as the symbol for Rahab's salvation. What about us, what is the symbol for our salvation? Note: In Rahab’s day, ropes were made not of hemp like our ropes but of flax. Flax also was the material from which linen was made. This means that the Israelites on the roof, the priests wearing their priestly garments, and Rahab the harlot were all covered with the same material. They were all covered with flax. The same is still true today. The blood of Jesus Christ covers believing saints and sinners alike. We are saved, covered, and hidden by the righteousness of 3

Christ so freely given to us (Colossians 3:3). Joshua would be a savior for Rahab, but a judge of the rest of Jericho. In the same way Jesus is a savior for those who trust Him, but a judge for those who reject Him. B. The spies testimony (vv.22-24): 22They departed and went to the mountain, and stayed there three days until the pursuers returned. The pursuers sought them all along the way, but did not find them. 23So the two men returned, descended from the mountain, and crossed over; and they came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all that had befallen them. 24And they said to Joshua, “Truly the LORD has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us.” (Upon returning to camp, the spies reassure Joshua and eventually the Israelites that God indeed deliver Jericho into their hands.) Note: Joshua sends two men to go before him to be his spies. Jesus sent seventy men in groups of two to go before Him to be His witnesses. (Lk 10:1) Q7: If you were one of the men asked by Joshua to spy the land, would you go and do it? Conclusion: Joshua’s sending the spies to Jericho was an act of wisdom, not unbelief (Prov. 20:18). The report of the two men encouraged Israel for the invasion (v. 24) and reminded them that God was fulfilling His promise to them (Deut. 2:25). But the visit also meant the salvation of Rahab and her family. Although the Bible does not commend Rahab for her lies, it does commend her faith (Heb. 11:31) that revealed itself in works (James 2:25). Her faith saved her and her family from destruction (Josh. 6:17–19), and it resulted in her becoming an ancestress of the Messiah (Matt. 1:5). Once you begin to trust God and obey Him, you never know what He will do!


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