Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 2:14

So the men said to her, "Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the Lord gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you."
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;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Rahab;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Family Life and Relations;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jericho;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Architecture in the Biblical Period;   Joshua, the Book of;   Kindness;   Mercy, Merciful;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Hoshea;   Jericho;   Joshua;   Rahab;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Truth (2);   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 - Business;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Our life for yours - "May our life be destroyed if we suffer yours to be injured!" This is what was anciently called in our country pledging - staking, a man's life for that of his neighbor or friend.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Our life for yours - See the margin. This is (see Joshua 2:17) a form of oath, in which God is in effect invoked to punish them with death if they did not perform their promise to save Rahab‘s life. Compare the more common form of oath, 1 Samuel 1:26, etc.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". "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 the men answered her,.... The two spies:

our life for yours; or "our souls in your stead to die"F9נפשנו תחתיכם למות "anima nostra pro vobis ad moriendum", Pagninus, Montanus. ; that is, we engage for the security of your lives, should they be in danger; we promise to die in your room and stead rather than you should: this they said not as though their lives would be required of them for them, but to assure her of the safety of her and her father's house, on the following condition:

if ye utter not this our business; not their business in searching the land, for the discovery of that would be of little avail after they were gone; for it was known already that there were persons come to search the land; but "this our word"F11את דברנו זה "verbum nostrum hoc", Pagninus, Montanus; "sermonem nostrum hunc", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius. , what they were going to say to her and bid her do, as a sign of safety to her and hers; which, if she discovered, others would give out the same sign, and then they could not promise her safety; or if she did not take care to bring in her father, mother, brethren, and sisters, and theirs into her house, they could not engage to protect them:

and it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land; not the whole land, but Jericho and the laud about it, that when that part of it should be delivered into their hands:

that we will deal kindly and truly with thee; "kindly", by sparing her and her father's house; "truly", by faithfully performing the promise and oath they made to her.

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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 2:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the men answered her, f 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.

(f) We warrant you on pain of our lives.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-2.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business — This was a solemn pledge - a virtual oath, though the name of God is not mentioned; and the words were added, not as a condition of their fidelity, but as necessary for her safety, which might be endangered if the private agreement was divulged.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-2.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

For yours — We will venture our lives for the security of yours.

Our business — That is, this agreement of ours, and the condition of it, lest others under this pretence, should secure themselves. By which they shew both their piety and prudence in managing their oath with so much circumspection, that neither their own consciences might be ensnared, nor the publick justice obstructed.

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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.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-2.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 2:14 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.

Ver. 14. 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.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 14. And the men assured her, Our life for yours i.e. We will perish rather than suffer you to receive the least injury; or, May we perish, if your demand be not complied with! They engaged themselves by oath, (see ver. 17.) so far as in them lay, in a firm persuasion that Joshua would not fail to ratify what they had promised solely for the public good.

If ye utter not this our business Or, as the Hebrew signifies, this our word;—in the engagement we make with you. Persuaded that their oath must be kept, these prudent Israelites did not think proper to give it rashly; they specify the condition upon which they undertake it, namely, that Rahab should keep secret what had passed between her and them. Without this, others than those of her family might have taken shelter in her house, or other houses than her's might have imitated the token, by which the latter was to be known; and thus have deceived the vigilance of those, who, as executioners of God's commands, were to spare none but herself, and those who belonged to her.

We will deal kindly, &c.— That is, "We will exercise mercy towards you, and will keep our promise." The Scripture often makes use of these expressions to denote the favours of God towards his children, and the faithfulness wherewith he performs the promises he has made them.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". 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

Our life for yours; we pawn and will venture our lives for the security of yours. Or, may we perish, if’ you be not preserved.

This our business, i.e. this agreement of ours, and the way and condition of it, test others under this pretence secure themselves. By which they show both their piety and prudence in managing their oath with so much circumspection and caution, that neither their own consciences might be insnared, nor the public justice obstructed.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". 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 the men answered her, “Our life for yours, if you do not tell about this our business, and it shall be, when YHWH has given us the land, that we will deal faithfully and truly with you.” ’

Their pledge was a strong one, that their own lives might be forfeit if they failed (compare Ruth 1:17; 1 Kings 2:23; 1 Kings 20:10 for similar oaths). The condition was that she did not inform anyone about what they had been doing there, or what they had promised her. They were confident that YHWH would give them ‘the land’, that is, in this case, that part by the Jordan. And when He did so they swore to show faithfulness and kindness and to be true to their promise.

LXX omits ‘if you do not tell about this our business’ but compare Joshua 2:20 where LXX does have it. It may well be that LXX was ironing out repetitions.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-2.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14.Our life for yours — According to Osiander, this form of oath may be thus paraphrased: “We place our life and soul in the hand of God as a pledge for thee, in order that he may destroy us if any one injures thee or thine.”

If ye utter not this our business — This is the indispensable condition on which their oath and her deliverance depend.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-2.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 2:14. Our life for yours — We will venture our lives for the security of yours. Our business — That is, this agreement of ours, and the condition of it, lest others, under this pretence, should secure themselves. By which they show both their piety and prudence in managing their oath with so much circumspection, that neither their own consciences might be insnared, nor the public justice obstructed.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-2.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Death. We are willing to die instead of you, if we do not fulfil our promises. --- Truth, a real and effectual mercy.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

ye. Some codices, with one early printed edition, and Vulgate, read "thou".

kindly and truly = in lovingkindness and faithfulness. Perhaps Figure of speech Hendiadys (App-6), "in true loving-kindness".

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

The men answered her, Our life for yours. This was a solemn pledge-a virtual oath, though the name of God is not mentioned; and the words "if ye utter not this our business" were added, not as a condition of their fidelity, but as necessary for her safety, which might he endangered if the private agreement was divulged.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-2.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
for your's
Heb. instead of you to die.
1 Kings 20:39
when the Lord
6:17,25; Genesis 24:49; Numbers 10:29-32; Judges 1:24,25; 1 Samuel 20:8; 2 Samuel 9:1; Proverbs 18:24; Matthew 5:7
Reciprocal: Leviticus 5:4 - to do evil;  Deuteronomy 7:2 - make no;  Joshua 2:19 - his blood;  Proverbs 11:13 - he;  Acts 23:22 - General

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-2.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

14.Our life for yours, etc. They imprecate death upon themselves, if they do not faithfully make it their business to save Rahab. For the interpretation adopted by some, We will pledge our lives, seems far-fetched, or too restricted, since their intention was simply to bind themselves before God. They constitute themselves, therefore, a kind of expiatory victims, if any evil befalls Rahab through their negligence. The expression, for yours, ought, doubtless, to be extended to the parents, brothers, and sisters. They therefore render their own lives liable in such a sense, that blood may be required of them, if the family of Rahab do not remain safe. And herein consists the sanctity of an oath, that though its violation may escape with impunity, so far as men are concerned, yet God having been interposed as a witness, will take account of the perfidy. In Hebrew, to do mercy and truth, is equivalent to performing the office of humanity faithfully, sincerely, and firmly.

A condition, however, is inserted, — provided Rahab do not divulge what they have said. This was inserted, not on account of distrust, as is usually expounded, but only to put Rahab more upon her guard, on her own account. The warning, therefore, was given in good faith, and flowed from pure good will: for there was a danger that Rahab might betray herself by a disclosure. In one word, they show how important it is that the matter should remain, as it were, buried, lest the woman, by inconsiderately talking of the compact, might expose herself to capital punishment. In this they show that they were sincerely anxious for her safety, since they thus early caution her against doing anything which might put it out of their power to render her a service. In further distinctly stipulating, that no one should go out of the house, or otherwise they should be held blameless, we may draw the important inference, that in making oaths soberness should be carefully attended to, that we may not profane the name of God by making futile promises on any subject.

The advice of Rahab, to turn aside into the mountain, and there remain quiet for three days, shows that there is no repugnance between faith and the precautions which provide against manifest dangers. There is no doubt that the messengers crept off to the mountain in great fear, and yet that confidence which they had conceived, from the remarkable interference of God in their behalf, directed their steps, and did not allow them to lose their presence of mind.

Some have raised the question, whether, seeing it is criminal to overleap walls, it could be lawful to get out of the city by a window? But it ought to be observed, first, that the walls of cities were not everywhere sacred, because every city had not a Romulus, who could make the overleaping a pretext for slaying his brother; (41) and secondly, That law, as Cicero reminds us, was to be tempered by equity, inasmuch as he who should climb a wall for the purpose of repelling an enemy, would be more deserving of reward than punishment. The end of the law is to make the citizens secure by the protection of the walls. He, therefore, who should climb over the walls, neither from contempt nor petulance, nor fraud, nor in a tumultuous manner, but under the pressure of necessity, could not justly on that account be charged with a capital offence. Should it be objected that the thing was of bad example, I admit it; but when the object is to rescue one’s life from injury, violence, or robbery, provided it be done without offence or harm to any one, necessity excuses it. It cannot be charged upon Paul as a crime, that when in danger of his life at Damascus, he was let down by a basket, seeing he was divinely permitted to escape, without tumult, from the violence and cruelty of wicked men. (42)

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:14". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-2.html. 1840-57.