Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 2:11

When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Armies;   Cowardice;   Faith;   Hospitality;   Kindness;   Miracles;   Reconnoissance;   Treaty;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Courage-Fear;   Fear of God;   Home;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   The Topic Concordance - God;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Canaanites, the;   Jews, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Rahab;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Hear, Hearing;   Israel;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Hornet;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Architecture in the Biblical Period;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Hoshea;   Jericho;   Rahab;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Rahab ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jericho;   Rahab, Rachab ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jericho;   Rahab;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Shittim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Jer'icho;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Melt (and forms);  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   Samuel the Prophet;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Courage;   Holy Spirit;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Fear of Man;   James, General Epistle of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He is God in heaven above, and to earth beneath - This confession of the true God is amazingly full, and argues considerable light and information. As if she had said, "I know your God to be omnipotent and omnipresent:" and in consequence of this faith she hid the spies, and risked her own life in doing it. But how had she this clear knowledge of the Divine nature?

  1. Possibly the knowledge of the true God was general in the earth at this time, though connected with much superstition and idolatry; the people believing that there was a god for every district, and for every people; for the mountains and for the valleys; see 1 Kings 20:23.
  • Or she received this instruction from the spies, with whom she appears to have had a good deal of conversation; or,
  • 3. She had it from a supernatural influence of God upon her own soul. She probably made a better use of the light she had received than the rest of her countrymen, and God increased that light.

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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-2.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    The Lord your God, he is God - From the rumour of God‘s miraculous interpositions Rahab believed, and makes the self-same confession to which Moses endeavors to bring Israel by rehearsing similar arguments Deuteronomy 4:39. Rahab had only heard of what Israel had experienced. Her faith then was ready. It is noteworthy, too, that the same reports which work faith and conversion in the harlot, cause only terror and astonishment among her countrymen. (Compare Luke 8:37-39.)

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-2.html. 1870.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt,.... Particularly what were done to the two kings of the Amorites, who, and their people, were utterly destroyed, their goods made a prey of, and their countries seized upon and possessed:

    neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you; they looked dejected in their countenances, had no heart to go about any business, trembled at the shaking of a leaf, or at the least rumour and report made that the Israelites were coming on and were at hand; they had no spirit to prepare to go out and meet them, or to defend themselves:

    for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath; the Maker and Possessor of both; is the Governor of the whole universe, and does what he pleases in it; and disposes of all countries, persons, and things, as he thinks fit: this is a proof of her knowledge of the true God, and faith in him, and shows her to be a believer, and hence she is reckoned in the catalogue of believers, Hebrews 11:31; and her faith is proved to be of the right kind by the works she did, James 2:25.

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    The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-2.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    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 e the LORD your God, he [is] God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

    (e) In this the great mercy of God appears, that in this common destruction he would draw a most miserable sinner to repent, and confess his Name.
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    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-2.html. 1599-1645.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    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.

    Melted — That is, were dissolved, lost all courage.

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    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-2.html. 1765.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    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.

    Ver. 11. 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.

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-2.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Ver. 11. For the Lord your God, he is God, &c.— "Is a God whose power, far different from that of the idols, who only preside over certain places of which they are considered as the tutelar deities, extends through all nature, and hath no bounds." This fine confession of Rahab is a convincing proof of the purity of her sentiments. We are not to be surprised, after this, at the apostle's celebrating the faith of this memorable Canaanite; much less, that, animated by a faith so judicious and noble, she should receive as she did the spies sent by Joshua.

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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-2.html. 1801-1803.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Did melt, i.e. were dissolved, lost all consistency and courage. This phrase is oft used, as Deuteronomy 1:28 20:8 Joshua 5:1 7:5.

    He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath; he can do whatsoever he pleaseth in heaven and earth; whereas our gods are enclosed in heaven, and can do nothing to us upon earth.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-2.html. 1685.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts melted, nor did there remain any more spirit in any man because of you, for YHWH your God, he is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath.”

    The name of YHWH had become a terror in the ears of the Canaanites, as One God Who acted in both heaven and earth (Deuteronomy 4:39; Deuteronomy 3:24), and thus closer and more personally active and wider ranging than their own gods, One Whose activities could be seen in what He did, defeating other people’s gods (heaven above) and taking possession of their land (earth beneath). We must not think of her as having a deep philosophical view of God, She was impressed by facts. Her primitive belief would grow and expand once she united with Israel, but she had the basics.

    The wording of her new belief was as found in Deuteronomy 4:39, the wording of which had possibly become attached to the name of YHWH in the news about Him that travelled around, or it may have resulted from translating her similar words in those terms. It was her belief in these facts that had persuaded her to side with Israel. But we must not read into them yet a full blown faith. She was feeling her way to the truth.

    Thus the hearts of the Canaanites had melted on hearing about what He was doing, and their spirits had drooped within them (contrast Deuteronomy 1:28). The words of Deuteronomy would be familiar to the writer, who would know them by heart, and are echoed throughout verses 9-11, probably unconsciously, as her words were translated from the Canaanite dialect.

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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-2.html. 2013.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    11.For the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath — This is the full profession of Rahab’s faith in the God of Israel. It was a complete renunciation of her idolatry and harlotry. It was a change in belief, feeling, will, and action, which brought her to the worship of the true God, and to a maternity of the Messiah in David’s royal line. However alloyed by one imperfection, it was a true faith working out its true results. And the wide-spread terror of these nations, as described in the last verse, and Rahab’s faith, were in accordance with God’s purpose in raising up Pharaoh and diffusing his “name.” Note on Romans 9:17.

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-2.html. 1874-1909.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Beneath. This is the confession of a true convert, (Calmet) inspired by God. (Haydock) --- For St. Paul commends her faith. (Hebrews xi. 31.) (Menochius) --- The pagans confined the power of their idols to certain districts; the power of the true God is infinite. (Calmet)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-2.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    melt. Compare Exodus 15:14, Exodus 15:15. Prophecy fulfilled.

    remain. Hebrew = rise up.

    courage. Hebrew. ruach, spirit. See App-9.

    any man. Hebrew. ish. See App-14,

    God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-2.html. 1909-1922.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    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.
    our hearts
    5:1; 7:5; 14:8; Deuteronomy 1:28; 20:8; Isaiah 13:7; Nahum 2:10
    did there remain
    Heb. rose up.
    Revelation 6:16
    for the Lord
    Deuteronomy 4:39; 1 Kings 8:60; Psalms 83:18; 102:15; Jeremiah 16:19-21; Daniel 4:34,35; Daniel 6:25-27; Zechariah 8:20-23
    Reciprocal: Exodus 9:16 - for to;  Exodus 15:15 - all the;  Numbers 22:3 - GeneralJoshua 2:9 - faint;  Joshua 2:24 - faint;  1 Kings 8:42 - For they shall;  2 Chronicles 20:6 - God in heaven;  Nehemiah 9:10 - didst;  Psalm 9:16 - known;  Psalm 46:6 - earth;  Psalm 119:28 - soul;  Isaiah 19:1 - the heart;  Jeremiah 49:23 - fainthearted

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-2.html.

    The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

    "Handfuls of Purpose"

    For All Gleaners

    "... the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath."Joshua 2:11

    Everything depends upon a right conception of the personality and character of God.—The Hebrew conception was marked by great exaltation and comprehensiveness.—Again and again we have observed that a little conception of God means a little religion, and a little religion means a little morality.—We must in all our thinking strive after the largest conceptions, not simply for their own value as thoughts, but for their moral influence upon the whole circuit of thinking and action.—Joshua"s description of God is absolutely inclusive: (I) he is "the Lord your God;" as if he were associated with the Israelites only, and with every Israelite in the whole community: thus he is made a personal, or social, or tribal God; but such a God can never be more than a mere idol; to save God from the rank of idols we must have a true conception of his greatness as well as of his moral qualities: (2) Then "he is God in heaven above;" there the thought receives wonderful and sublime enlargement: what "heaven above" is must be left to the imagination, and imagination itself reels in any attempt to comprehend the vastness and glory of the expression: though the mind is thus bewildered, it is yet exalted and ennobled by the very endeavour to comprehend the incomprehensible: (3) Then he is God "in earth beneath;" thus all the dimensions are included; a beautiful method of education is this, for it enables the mind to begin at certain clear and ascertain-able points and to move onward and upward to greater distances and to sublimer effects.—The Christian conception of God has never enlarged the thought of the Hebrew theology. Christianity has introduced tenderness into it by describing God by more familiar and endearing names, yet not at the expense of the sublimity, but rather in illustration of it, showing that true sublimity is not far from true condescension.—The Hebrew conception of God should have been followed by a grand conception of personal character.—To have a great God in the intellect, and no God in the life, is the most criminal atheism.—When a man with this conception of God does that which is unworthy of the conception, he not only drags himself downwards, but he drags also the conception of God along with him.—It is possible to have an intellectual conception without a moral realisation. This is the most painful irony that can occur in life.—When we speak of a great conception of God, it is not intended that the mind alone or the pure reason should be interested in that conception, but that it should fill the whole being, enlightening the mind, subduing the heart, chastening the disposition, and regulating the will. With such a conception immorality is simply impossible; because it is impossible that such light should be quenched by the darkness round about it.—The vital point to be ever remembered in these studies is that a great intellectual theology does not necessitate a grand moral purification. Theology must be made more than an intellectual science; it must supply the motive and the reward of sanctified impulse and action.

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    Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/joshua-2.html. 1885-95.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    11.The Lord your God, he is God, etc. Here the image of Rahab’s faith appears, as if reflected in a mirror, when casting down all idols she ascribes the government of heaven and earth to the God of Israel alone. For it is perfectly clear that when heaven and earth are declared subject to the God of Israel, there is a repudiation of all the pagan fictions by which the majesty, and power, and glory of God are portioned out among different deities; and hence we see that it is not without cause that two Apostles have honored Rahab’s conduct with the title of faith This is sneered at by some proud and disdainful men, but I wish they would consider what it is to distinguish the one true God from all fictitious deities, and at the same time so to extol his power as to declare that the whole world is governed at his pleasure. Rahab does not speak hesitatingly, but declares, in absolute terms, that whatever power exists resides in the God of Israel alone, that he commands all the elements, that he orders all things above and below, and determines human affairs. Still I deny not that her faith was not fully developed, nay, I readily admit, that it was only a germ of piety which, as yet, would have been insufficient for her eternal salvation. We must hold, nevertheless, that however feeble and slender the knowledge of God which the woman possessed may have been, still in surrendering herself to his power, she gives a proof of her election, and that from that seed a faith was germinating which afterwards attained its full growth.

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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:11". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-2.html. 1840-57.