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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 2

Ellicott's Commentary for English ReadersEllicott's Commentary

Verse 1

(1) There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were.—A falsehood which evidently left no stain on Rahab’s conscience, although all falsehood is sin. The same may be said of Jael’s slaying Sisera. The Divine standard of sin and holiness never varies; but the standard of man’s conscience, even when faith is a dominant principle in the character, may vary to a very considerable degree. In Jesus Christ “all that believe are justified from all things;” but “by the deeds of the law no one. Here, as elsewhere, the application of the law only brings the discovery of sin.

Verse 6

(6) The stalks of flax.—It is remarked that flax and barley are both early crops (Exodus 9:31), and that the first month (see Joshua 4:19) was the time of barley harvest. (Comp. 2 Samuel 21:9.)

Verses 9-11

(9-11) She said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land. . . .—The words of this confession are memorable in everyway. Note the fulfilment of the prophetic song of Moses, which is partly repeated here (Exodus 15:15-16, with Joshua 2:9-11), “All the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away; fear and dread shall fall upon them.” But especially observe the expression of Rahab’s own belief, Jehovah, your God, He is God in heaven above and in earth beneath.” Did the faith of the men of Israel go much further than this? Did it always go so far? (Comp. Joshua 24:14; 1 Kings 18:21; Jonah 1:9-10). The prophets themselves could not assert much more. The greatest of them were satisfied if they could bring the people of Israel to acknowledge this. Rahab’s confession is also one of a series. The Egyptians, Philistines, Syrians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, were all in turn brought to the same acknowledgment by their contact with Israel. The reason is stated in Joshua 4:24, “That all the people of the earth may know the hand of Jehovah, that it is mighty.”

Verse 13

(13) Save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters.—Whatever Rahab may have been herself, her acknowledgment of all her family is observable. She was in no way separated or degraded from their society. When we remember what Moses describes the Canaanites to have been (in certain passages of the Pentateuch, as Leviticus 18:24-28; Leviticus 20:22-23) and compare this chapter, we may reasonably conclude Rahab to have been morally not inferior to her countrymen as they were then, but rather their superior. We are reminded that the “publicans and harlots “were not the worst members of the “evil and adulterous generation” to whom the Word of God came. They believed John the Baptist, and were among the most constant hearers of the true Joshua (Matthew 21:32; Luke 15:1).

Verse 15

(15) Her house was upon the town wall—Happily for the two spies. Perhaps, indeed, they selected it for this reason, as it enabled them to leave the town without passing the gate.

Verse 16

(16) Get you to the mountain.—The mountains between Jerusalem and Jericho have often been a refuge for worse characters than Joshua’s two spies (Luke 10:30).

Verse 18

(18) The window which thou didst let us down by.—It seems almost needless to observe that the scarlet line and the cord by which the men were lowered are not the same thing, but described by different words in the original. It would have been preposterous to require Rahab to display in her window the means by which the spies had escaped. It would at once have declared the tale to all beholders—the very thing Rahab was pledged not to do. The “line of scarlet thread” and the stalks of flax” on the roof were probably parts of the same business, and thus there would be nothing unusual in what was exhibited at the window, although it would be a sufficient token to those who were in the secret, to enable them to identify the house.

Verse 19

(19) Whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head.—Comp. Exodus 12:22 (the account of the Passover), “Ye shall. . . . strike the lintel and the two side-posts with the blood that is in the bason: and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning; for the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians.” What the blood was to the houses of Israel in Egypt, that the scarlet line in the window was to the house of Rahab. Both alike prefigured “the precious blood of Christ.”

Verse 22

(22) Three days—i.e., probably until the completion of three days from the commencement of their mission, according to the usual inclusive reckoning of the Old Testament.

Verse 24

(24) The Lord hath delivered.—Observe the entirely satisfactory effect of this mission, and compare what was said on Joshua 2:1.

Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ebc/joshua-2.html. 1905.
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