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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 2

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim. — Where the people then encamped, Numbers 33:49 and where the Midianites sometime, by the counsel of Balaam, Satan’s spell man, outwitted the Israelites by setting fair women before them, who soon drew them into those two sister sins, idolatry and adultery. Numbers 25:1-2 ; Numbers 25:18

Two men. — Not twelve, as Numbers 13:2-3 , for those were too many by ten; and did much harm among the people.

To spy secretly. — Heb., Silently. Silence is oft no small virtue; and he is a rare man who can both keep and give counsel.

Go view the land. — Of which though God had promised to possess them, yet Joshua knew that means was to be used. So 2 Samuel 5:24 . David had a promise of victory over the Philistines; but yet so as that he must fetch a compass behind them; and when he heard "the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberries," then he was to bestir himself.

Into a harlot’s house. — Or, Hostess, as some render it; but such as stuck not familiarly to entertain strangers. Hebrews 11:31 James 2:25 Upon her conversion she was advanced to become grandmother to Jesus Christ; who by his purity washeth off all our spots; like as the sun washeth and wipeth away all the ill vapours of the earth and air.

Verse 2

And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country.

And it was told the king of Jericho. — Kings have long ears; their ωτακουσται , informers and intelligencers, are in all places, but especially when Hannibal est ad portas, the enemy is at hand, as now he was.

To search out the country. — As we have cause to conceive. Optimus in dubiis agur timor.

Verse 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.

For they be come to search out all the country. — "To see the nakedness of the land," as Genesis 42:9 . See Trapp on " Joshua 2:2 "

Verse 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]:

And the woman took the two men, and hid them. — This was an act of her praiseworthy faith. See Hebrews 11:31 , where it is honourably mentioned, but nothing is said of the lie she told. God layeth the finger of mercy on the scars of our sins; as that painter in the story.

But I wist not whence they were. — This was no better than an officious lie: yea, four lies she here uttereth together in a breath, - as Jacob also did three, Genesis 27:19-24 - neither can she be excused. That was a worthy speech of a good woman on the rack, as Jerome relateth it, Non ideo negare volo ne peream: sed ideo mentiri nolo, ne peccem. But Rahab was yet but a new convert.

Verse 5

And it came to pass [about the time] of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.

And it came to pass. — See Joshua 2:4 .

Verse 6

But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

But she had brought them up to the roof of the house. — Septuag., δωμα : ut et 1 Samuel 9:25 . Which was built flat in those parts, as they are also at this day in Italy.

Which she had laid in order upon the roof. — That it might be fully dried, as Nahum 1:10 the wicked are, that they may burn the better: like grapes, they ripen in the sunshine, for the winepress of God’s wrath. Revelation 14:19

Verse 7

And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.

And the men pursued. — Not once searching the house. Thus God "maketh the wisdom of the wise to perish." Isaiah 29:14 See Matthew 2:8 . Herod went not himself, or sent some assassin to despatch the child Jesus; but sent the wise men to Bethlehem with charge to search, and bring him word. The Dutch have a proverb, Where God intendeth to blind any man, he first closeth up his eyes.

Verse 8

And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;

And before they were laid down, — so., To take their rest, which in this fright they had little list to. "Sleep on now, take your rest," saith our Saviour by an irony to his drowsy disciples; q.d., Do so, if you can at least, now, with so many swords and halberds about your ears. Mark 14:41

Verse 9

And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.

I know that the Lord hath given you the land. — She had a full assurance both of knowledge, as Luke 1:1 and of faith, as Hebrews 6:10 ; Hebrews 11:31 when many Israelites staggered and distrusted the promise. "God hath mercy on whom he will have mercy," … Romans 9:15 ; Romans 9:18

Verse 10

For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; 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.

For we have heard.Historiae fidae monitrices. Succurrat illud … Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur.

Verse 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.

For the Lord your God, he is God. — As for our idols, they are very vanities, and cannot deliver us. The Tyrians, afraid their Apollo should forsake them at that time when Alexander besieged their city, chained and nailed that idol to a post, that they might be sure of it; but all would not do.

Verse 12

Now therefore, I pray you, 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:

And give me a true token. — Sυσσημον , as Mark 14:44 . Signum consignans, de composito datum. As for the familiar conference that here passed betwixt these spies and Rahab, we need not question how they could so easily understand one another, being of two several nations. For, first, the language of the Canaanites, Phoenicians, Philistines, differed not much from the Hebrew, which Jerome In cap. iii. Sophoniae. rightly calleth Omnium linguarum matricem, the mother tongue. See Plautus in "Paenulo," act v. And then, it is not unlikely that these spies had learned the language of Canaan, by conversing with those conquered Amorites on this side Jordan.

Verse 13

And [that] ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

And that ye will save alive. — Man is ζωον φιλοζωον , a creature that would fain live, said Aesop. Quis vitam non vult? said Augustine. The Gibeonites were desirous to live upon any terms. Joshua 9:3-14 Rahab’s greatest care was for her kindred, because unconverted. Augustine professeth that he would not for the gain of a million of worlds be an atheist for half an hour: because he knew not but God might in that time call him to account.

Verse 14

And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.

If ye utter not this our business. — On this condition we assure thee of safety. God’s promises also are with a condition, which is as an oar in a boat, or stern of a ship, and turneth the promise another way.

Verse 15

Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house [was] upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.

For her house was upon the town wall. — In an obscure nook, among the poorer sort of people: for this harlot Rahab had not got such an estate as Phryne had, who offered at her own charge to repair the ruined walls of Thebes, if these words only might have been inscribed on them, "Alexander overturned these walls, and Phryne set them up again." O μεν Aλεξανδρος κατεσκαψε, η δε φρυνη ανωκοδο μησεν .

And she dwelt upon the wall. — Where Providence had placed her for such a purpose as this: for it is God that appointeth the bounds of men’s habitations. Acts 17:26

Verse 16

And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way.

Get you to the mountain. — This, say some, was spoken after the men were down, in the still of the night, without the wall. Joshua 2:18 But what a fool was he who said, Mισω σοφην γυναικα , I hate a discreet woman!

Verse 17

And the men said unto her, We [will be] blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.

We will be blameless of this thine oath,q.d, Great haste though we have, yet will we clear up the terms whereunto we have sworn, to prevent the danger or rebut the suspicion of perjury. An oath is not to be taken but with a great deal of caution and circumspection, Genesis 24:3-5 not in jest, but in judgment, Jeremiah 4:2 Isaiah 48:1 not rashly and unadvisedly, Leviticus 5:4 1 Samuel 14:39 ; 1 Samuel 14:44 as those that swear in heat and choler, when they should with fear, Deuteronomy 10:20 discerning the nature of an oath, the necessity, the conditions and circumstances.

Verse 18

Behold, [when] we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread 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.

And thou shalt bring thy father, … — Who, if not there found when we storm the town, shall perish at their own peril. So shall all not found to be of the family of faith, and within God’s doors. The devil sweeps all that are out of the covenant.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/joshua-2.html. 1865-1868.
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