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This Chapter contains that memorable history which is handed down to gospel times, with such honourable testimony of the harlot Rahab. Joshua having sent spies from Shittim to Jericho, Rahab in faith received them into her house, concealed them, and before she sent them away in peace made a league with Israel through them, for her own personal safety and that of her family. The return of the spies to Joshua, with the assurance they gave of the certainty of their success in the conquering of the country, from what they had seen and heard, is also related in this Chapter.
The dismission of these spies was not from any distrust, but rather a conviction, that the Lord would deliver Jericho into the hand of his people. Joshua sent those men that they might be convinced even before the victory, what the Lord would do. Joshua's conduct here was similar to that of John the Baptist, sending his disciples unto Christ, not for his conviction but for theirs. Matthew 11:2-40.11.3 . Their coming to the house of Rahab, surely was from the over-ruling power of God. That promise is never to be lost sight of: I will bring the blind by a way they know not. Isaiah 42:16 . See also Proverbs 3:6 . Jericho was about seven or eight miles from the water side. We are not told how those spies got over Jordan. No doubt the Lord that was with them made their way prosperous.
The alarm of the king of Jericho was very natural. He and his people had heard of Israel, and of the Lord being among them. Remember God's promise. Deuteronomy 2:25 .
The history of this woman forms so interesting a subject in the gospel, that we cannot be too particular in attending to all the circumstances the Holy Ghost hath been pleased to give us concerning it. If whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, certainly this claims very peculiar regard, since we are expressly told that all this woman did for Israel was done by faith. Hebrews 11:31 .
The apostle James had it in commission from the Holy Ghost, to tell the church, that the harlot Rahab was justified by works, but then it was, as he observed, the works of faith: meaning that her belief in the God of Israel, was not a cold inactive faith, but a faith that was so well founded, through grace, as to manifest itself in all suitable conduct. James 2:25 .
What a wonder working God our God is! Jericho is one of the cities devoted to destruction: and yet in this place there is a precious soul to be gathered to his people! Compare Joshua 6:26 with 1 Kings 16:34 . In Jericho there is a woman of ill-fame, an harlot: and grace singles her out for the illustrious display of mercy. Reader, remember what the Lord Jesus told the chief priests and the elders; that publicans and harlots would go into the kingdom of God before them. Matthew 21:31 . But the most astonishing thing of all concerning Rahab is, that she was one of the ancestors of the Lord Christ, according to the flesh. See Matthew 1:5 .
Observe what views she had of Jehovah, that the grand security she desired was an oath of appeal to him! Where should she have learned this? Was not God her teacher? Isaiah 48:17 .
How earnest are the feelings of natural affection! Are we not taught by this instance to be very anxious for the everlasting welfare of our relations after the flesh, and to feel somewhat of Abraham ' s longing for the salvation of Ishmael. Genesis 17:18 .
I pass over all the several particulars of the agreement between Rahab and the spies, to call the Reader's attention to the interesting circumstances to which Rahab was enjoined by the spies, as signals between her and Israel. In the scarlet thread which the men of Israel gave Rahab, is there not somewhat of a sacramental design, similar to what God had enjoined Israel at the passover, when the blood was to be sprinkled upon the door post? And as, the apostle had it in commission from the Holy Ghost to tell the church in after ages, that all this referred to the blood of sprinkling of Jesus, who was and is our passover: did not both refer to one and the same thing, that the security of all redeemed souls is only in Jesus? And again, that none of her family at the time of Jericho being destroyed, should go without the doors of the house on pain of death; was not this a still further evidence of the same thing, very plainly proving; that one and the same object was intended to be conveyed under both sacramental signs? See Exodus 12:12-2.12.13 . Compared 1 Corinthians 5:7 .
Reader! do not fail to discern Jesus as the hiding place of his people, when both law and justice pursue them. The Psalmist took great comfort in this view. And why may not you and I? When Jesus hides his people, he manifests himself. Psalms 32:7 .
It is very sweet to exercise faith in God's promises, and to enjoy his mercies by anticipation. Reader! remember that is not faith which hath in possession: it is not to trust God when the promise is realized. But that is faith which depends upon God when we see not how things will go, but believe that all shall go well, because God hath said so. Hebrews 13:5 .
PAUSE, my soul, over this chapter, and contemplate the several parts of it, and beg of God the Holy Ghost, who hath caused it to be written for thy instruction, to be thy teacher.
Do not I behold, in the instance of Rahab the harlot, the testimony of that blessed doctrine, that where sin hath abounded grace should much more abound: and as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Take courage, my soul, in this, and in every other instance of the triumphs of God thy Saviour. Even in Jericho the Lord will seek out and save his people, if a soul of his be there. The Lord knoweth them that are his. And from all their filthiness, and all their idols, Jesus will cleanse them. Through him shall publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of God, while self-righteous Pharisees are cast out. Dear Lord! may thy precious blood be sprinkled on the door of my heart, as the scarlet thread was fastened to the window of the harlot t ' s house, that in the hour of visitation, as in the destruction of Jericho, thy destroying angel may see that sweet token between my God and me, and spare my soul. And convinced of my security and shelter in thy blood and righteousness, may my faith stand firm within, and never go out while the judgments of my God are passing, as in the case of Jericho, on the un godly: for sweet is that assurance, he that believeth shall not make haste.
But chiefly, dearest Jesus! may my soul pause over this Chapter, and contemplate thine unequalled condescension and love, in the instance of this woman. Was it not enough, O thou Son of God, in thy pity to our fallen nature, that thou shouldst leave the glories of eternity, and take upon thee our flesh; but that thou shouldst stoop to the lowest possible abasement in the assumption of our nature, and condescend to spring from a stock such as this woman! Was it not enough, that our nature, when thou tookest it upon thee, had been sunk to the deepest misery and sin, short of hell, but as if to surprize and overpower the mind both of angels and of men, even Rahab, was made choice of to be thine ancestor after the flesh! Oh! thou holy, harmless, undefiled Lamb of God, how hast thou endeared thyself to the most affectionate feelings of thy people, by such testimonies of thy love and mercy. And though, in taking our nature upon thee, thou hast taken none of the pollutions of it, yet in making choice of such channels, thou hast effectually put out the pride of all human glory: and hast most convincingly taught us by this process of grace, that in thy Gentile, as well as thy Jewish pedigree, all is grace; mercy, and love, in every act of thine concerning thy people. All flesh is corrupt before thee, and all alike filthy and polluted. It is thine own arm which hath brought salvation, and to thee alone be all the glory?
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent