Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 2:12

Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord , since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father's household, and give me a pledge of truth,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Armies;   Hospitality;   Kindness;   Oath;   Reconnoissance;   Treaty;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Head;   Oaths;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Rahab;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Family Life and Relations;   Israel;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Architecture in the Biblical Period;   Joshua, the Book of;   Kindness;   Mercy, Merciful;   Sign;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Hoshea;   Jericho;   Joshua;   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;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Kindness;   Token;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Oath;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Swear unto me by the Lord - This is a farther proof that this woman had received considerable instruction in the Jewish faith; she acknowledged the true God by his essential character Jehovah; and knew that an oath in his name was the deepest and most solemn obligation under which a Jew could possibly come. Does not this also refer to the command of God, Thou shalt fear the Lord, and shalt swear by his name? See the note on Deuteronomy 6:13.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

A true token - literally, “a sign” or “pledge of truth; “something to bind them to keep their promise faithfully. The “token” was the oath which the spies take Joshua 2:14.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-2.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord,.... Which being a religious action, and done by men that feared the Lord, she knew it would be binding upon them: the Targum is,"swear to me by the Word of the Lord:"

since I have showed you kindness; by receiving them with peace into her house, and hiding them when inquired for and demanded of her; in doing which she risked her own, life, had this treachery to her country, as it would have been deemed, been discovered;

that you will also show kindness unto my father's house; she mentions not herself and household, for if this was granted that would be implied and included; and this she presses for by the law of retaliation and friendship, for since she had shown kindness to them, it was but reasonable it should be returned:

and give me a true token; that she and her father's house would be saved by them when the city should be taken and the inhabitants destroyed; a token that would not deceive her, on which she might depend, and would be firm and sure.

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-2.html. 1999.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

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.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-2.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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:

By the Lord — By your God who is the only true God: so she owns his worship, one eminent act whereof is swearing by his name.

My father's house — My near kindred, which she particularly names, Joshua 2:13, husband and children it seems she had none. And for herself, it was needless to speak, it being a plain and undeniable duty to save their preserver.

True token — Either an assurance that you will preserve me and mine from the common ruin: or a token which I may produce as a witness of this agreement, and a means of my security. This is all that she asks. But God did for her more than she could ask or think. She was afterwards advanced to be a princess in Israel, the wife of Salmon and one of the ancestors of Christ.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-2.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 2:12 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:

Ver. 12. 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 (a) 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.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 12. Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord In acknowledgment of the signal service which Rahab had done the two spies, she requests of them a favour, which is, that, at the taking of Jericho, not only herself and her parents, but all those also of her family who were found in her house, should be exempted from the general destruction. And she desires that it may be assured to her by an oath: this was the greatest security she could have; an oath is the most respectable and sacred tie of fidelity in all discourses and promises. All nations have so deemed it. All have believed, that the gods, avengers of sin, were particularly so of perjury; and, doubtless, the worshippers of the true God should be the most religious of all mortals in their observance of an oath. But how lively must the faith of this woman have been, that could excite her to act as she did! She speaks of Jericho, rather as a city already taken, than as barely threatened; and behaves as if she actually beheld the accomplishment of God's aweful decree. Hence the precautions that she takes, and the oath which she requires, are so many proofs of the confidence wherewith she received the word of God, and of her perfect acquiescence in his will.

And give me a true token That is, a sign, which might serve her as a safeguard, and put her house in perfect security against the violence of the soldiery. Houbigant renders it, and that you will give me a true token.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". 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

By the Lord; by your God, who is the only true God: so she shows her conversion to God, and owns his worship, one eminent act whereof is swearing by his name.

My father’s house; my near kindred, which she particularly names, Joshua 2:13. Husband and children it seems she had none. And for herself; it was needless to speak, it being a plain and undeniable duty to save their preserver.

A true token; either an assurance that you will preserve me and mine from the common ruin; or a token which I may produce as a witness of this-agreement, and a mean of my security.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-2.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12.Swear unto me — She gives still stronger proof of her confidence in the success of the Israelites by wishing to enter into covenant with the spies for the salvation of herself and her father’s family. She feels that if they swear by Israel’s mighty God they will not dare prove false. Her faith assumes a practical character, and shows itself by works. It impels her to bargain for her deliverance from the destruction which she sees impending over the city.

Since I have showed you kindness — Rahab here makes a good application of the Golden Rule.

Give me a true token — Some visible, material proof of the oath; some object which she may keep and produce as evidence that such a solemn compact has been entered into by the parties. This token was a substitute for a written covenant bearing their signatures.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-2.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

True token, such a one as, when I shew it to the Israelites, they may preserve me and mine. She is not content with a verbal promise, she requires something permanent and sensible, as a mark of their mutual engagements, (Calmet) a token of their sincerity. They afterwards appointed a piece of scarlet to be hung out of the house, where those were to be collected who should be entitled to protection. Rahab was bound not to divulge their secret, nor to betray them. If she had instructed others of her fellow-citizens to hand out the same mark, she would have forfeited all her privileges, ver. 20. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

and. Note the Figure of speech Polysyndeton (App-6) here and Joshua 2:13, showing the earnestness of the appeal.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-2.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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:
swear
9:15,18-20; 1 Samuel 20:14,15,17; 30:15; 2 Chronicles 36:13; Jeremiah 12:16
that ye will
1 Samuel 20:14-17; 24:21,22; Esther 8:6; 2 Timothy 1:16-18; James 2:13
my father's
13; Genesis 24:3,9; Romans 1:31; 1 Timothy 5:8
give me
18; Exodus 12:13; Ezekiel 9:4-6; Mark 14:44
Reciprocal: Genesis 9:12 - GeneralGenesis 21:23 - swear;  Genesis 40:14 - show;  Exodus 20:7 - guiltless;  Deuteronomy 6:13 - shalt swear;  Joshua 6:22 - as ye sware unto her;  Judges 1:24 - we will;  2 Thessalonians 3:17 - the token

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-2.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

12.Now, therefore, I pray you, swear, etc. It is another manifestation of faith that she places the sons of Abraham in sure possession of the land of Canaan, founding on no other argument than her having heard that it was divinely promised to them. For she did not suppose that God was favoring lawless intruders who were forcing their way into the territories of others with unjust violence and uncurbed licentiousness, but rather concluded that they were coming into the land of Canaan, because God had assigned them the dominion of it. It cannot be believed that when they sought a passage from the Edomites and others, they said nothing as to whither they were going. Nay, those nations were acquainted with the promise which was made to Abraham, and the memory of which had been again renewed by the rejection of Esau.

Moreover, in the language of Rahab, we behold that characteristic property of faith described by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, when he calls it a vision, or sight of things not appearing. (Hebrews 11:1) Rahab is dwelling with her people in a fortified city: and yet she commits her life to her terrified guests, just as if they had already gained possession of the land, and had full power to save or destroy as they pleased. This voluntary surrender was, in fact, the very same as embracing the promise of God, and casting herself on his protection. She, moreover, exacts an oath, because often, in the storming of cities, the heat and tumult of the struggle shook off the remembrance of duty. In the same way she mentions the kindness she had shown to them, that gratitude might stimulate them the more to perform their promise. For although the obligation of the oath ought of itself to have been effectual, it would have been doubly base and inhumane not to show gratitude to a hostess to whom they owed deliverance. Rahab shows the kindliness of her disposition, in her anxiety about her parents and kindred. This is, indeed, natural; but many are so devoted to themselves, that children hesitate not to ransom their own lives by the death of their parents, instead of exerting courage and zeal to save them.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:12". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-2.html. 1840-57.