Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 2:18

unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father's household.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Armies;   Reconnoissance;   Token;   Treaty;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Scarlet;   Stories for Children;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Rahab;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Family Life and Relations;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Colour;   Scarlet;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Crimson;   Joshua, the Book of;   Line;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Hoshea;   Jericho;   Joshua;   Line;   Rahab;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jericho;   Rahab, Rachab ;   Scarlet;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jericho;   Rahab;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Handicraft;   Rahab;   Shittim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Handicraft;   Jer'icho;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Cord;   Scarlet;   Thread;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Color;   Fillet;   Line;   Relationships, Family;   Worm;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Symbol;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

This line of scarlet thread - השני חוט תקות tikvath chut hashshani . Probably this may mean, this piece of scarlet cloth, or, this cloth (made) of scarlet thread. When the Israelites took the city this piece of red cloth seems to have been hung out of the window by way of flag; and this was the sign on which she and the spies had agreed.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 2:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The “line” or cord was spun of threads dyed with cochineal: i. e., of a deep and bright scarlet color. The color would catch the eye at once, and supplied an obvious token by which the house of Rahab might be distinguished. The use of scarlet in the Levitical rites, especially in those more closely connected with the idea of putting away of sin and its consequences (compare e. g., Leviticus 14:4, Leviticus 14:6, Leviticus 14:51; Numbers 19:6), naturally led the fathers, from Clement of Rome onward, to see in this scarlet thread, no less than in the blood of the Passover (Exodus 12:7, Exodus 12:13, etc.), an emblem of salvation by the Blood of Christ; a salvation common alike to Christ‘s messengers and to those whom they visit.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 2:18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-2.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Behold, when we come into the land,.... The land of Canaan, and into this city, into that part of it, as the Septuagint, where her house was, meaning not themselves only, but the people of Israel they belonged to:

thou shall bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by; the word by refers either to the scarlet thread they were let down by, said to be a cord, Joshua 2:15; and therefore must be a line twisted with various scarlet threads, as Kimchi; who observes, that according to the Targum, it was the border of a red garment; or to the window through which they were let down, as the Septuagint version; it may refer to both, and the sense be, that the same twisted cord of scarlet thread they were let down by should be bound to the same window they were let down through; only this objection there is to the same window, that it was not towards the city, and so not to be seen when they came into it, but looked over the wall without the city: now as Rahab was an instance of the salvation of sinners by the grace of God, for she was a sinner by birth, by practice, and a notorious one; she was an instance of distinguishing grace, of free and efficacious grace, a singular instance of it; and became a true penitent, a real believer, was a justified person, and saved: so the scarlet thread was an emblem of the blood of Christ, by which salvation is; redemption and all the blessings of grace are through it; justification, remission of sin, reconciliation, and atonement, and safety, and protection from avenging justice, and wrath to come, are only by it: likewise the spies, who are also called "messengers", James 2:25; may represent the ministers of the Gospel, who are the messengers of Christ, and the churches, are sent out by him the antitypical Joshua, men of wisdom, courage, and valour, and are sent as spies to bring to light men and things, who direct to the way of salvation and give the same token of it, Mark 16:16,

and thou shall bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household home unto thee; into her house, where the scarlet thread was bound, and where only they would be safe, as the Israelites were in the houses where the blood of the paschal lamb was sprinkled, Exodus 12:23; and so they are safe, and they only, who are under the blood of sprinkling, and partake of the virtue of it.

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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 2:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-2.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Into the land — That is, over Jordan, and near the city.

This line of scarlet — Probably the same with which she was about to let them down.

Window — That it may be easily discerned by our soldiers.

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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 2:18". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-2.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 2:18 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.

Ver. 18. And thou shalt bring thy father, &c.] 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.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-2.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Into the land, i.e. over Jordan, and near the city.

Bind this line of scarlet thread in the window, that it may be easily discerned by our soldiers.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 2:18". 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

18.Thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window — A small rope or cord composed of crimson threads. The English version conveys the idea that this cord was used in letting down the spies. But the Hebrew, Septuagint, and Vulgate make the window the antecedent of which, thus — the window through which thou didst let us down. The scarlet cord was probably the token (Joshua 2:12) given to Rahab in proof of their oath. But the scarlet of the thread by which she and her house were to be saved, though a suggestive emblem of the blood of the atonement, (as advanced by St. Clement,) can hardly be considered, like the blood of the paschal lamb on the door post, an appointed type.

And thou shall bring thy father — The persons to whom deliverance is pledged must be separated front the mass of the people and gathered within the house of Rahab, otherwise they must perish in the impending universal destruction. So must those who hope to escape the general doom of this sinful world be gathered into the house of God, the Church of Jesus Christ.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 2:18". "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 2:18. When we come into the land — That is, over Jordan, and near the city. This line of scarlet — The Hebrew word, תקות, tickvath, more properly means, rope, riband, or web. Probably the same with which she was about to let them down. Window — That it may be easily discerned by our soldiers.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 2:18". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-2.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

CHAPTER II.

Ver 1. Sent, or as many translate, "had sent," as if Josue had dismissed the spies immediately after the mourning of Moses was ended, (Calmet) on the 1st of Nisan. On the second day they examined the city, and were obliged to flee in the night. But they only returned to their brethren on the 6th. On the following day Josue gave orders to make all necessary preparations for their departure, and crossed the Jordan on the 10th of the month. (Salien, B.C. 1469.) --- Setim was about eight or nine miles from the river, "or sixty stadia." (Josephus, [Antiquities?] v. 1.) --- Two men. Septuagint intimate that they were young. See chap. vi. 23. (Haydock) --- The Rabbins assert, without reason, that Caleb and Phinees were chosen, and that they pretended that they were deaf, (eross) a word which the Vulgate translates, secretly. (Calmet) --- Jericho. Josue had himself examined the country some time before. But there might have been many changes, and he might not know the present disposition of the people of Jericho. (Haydock) --- This city was built in a delightful plain, surrounded by mountains, (Calmet) except on the east side, chap. iv. 13. (Haydock) --- Harlot. Hebrew zona may also signify an "innkeeper," as such places were under the direction of women, who were commonly of a very loose character. Hence the Greeks deemed it a dishonour to enter into a public house. Isocrates says, that "even an honest servant will not dare to enter into an ale-house, to eat or drink." (Atheneus Dipn. 13.) --- Rahab might have been formerly addicted to pleasure, as the Scripture and the Fathers agree; (Hebrews xi. 31., and James ii. 25.) (Calmet) though she might at this time be very discreet, being awakened by the account of the miracles which God had wrought in favour of his people, who, she knew, were approaching to take possession of the country. The spies might, therefore, take shelter in her house with the least suspicion, and without danger of injuring their character. (Haydock) --- The woman was not very old, as she was afterwards married to Salmon. (St. Matthew i. 5.) --- With her. they spent the first night in her house, entering the city in the dusk of the evening, so that they had not time to make any observations till the following day. (Salien) --- Others think that they were suspected by the people of the town almost immediately, and denounced to the king. Hence they were forced to flee that same night, without having accomplished their design, and were only informed by Rahab of the dismay which had seized the inhabitants, ver. 11.

By which window or cord. (Calmet) --- The cord was left as a signal. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 2:18". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Behold. Figure of speech Asterismos. App-6.

line. Hebrew "hope", put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), App-6, for the line which was the token of it.

by = through: referring to the window. Compare o. 21.

bring = gather.

home = unto the hour. The "line" was outside, for Joshua to see; not for the inmates. Compare Exodus 12:13,

When I see, &c. So the ground of our assurance is not experience within, but the token without.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 2:18". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-2.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(18) The window which thou didst let us down by.—It seems almost needless to observe that the scarlet line and the cord by which the men were lowered are not the same thing, but described by different words in the original. It would have been preposterous to require Rahab to display in her window the means by which the spies had escaped. It would at once have declared the tale to all beholders—the very thing Rahab was pledged not to do. The “line of scarlet thread” and the “stalks of flax” on the roof were probably parts of the same business, and thus there would be nothing unusual in what was exhibited at the window, although it would be a sufficient token to those who were in the secret, to enable them to identify the house.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:18". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
scarlet thread
21; Leviticus 14:4; Numbers 4:8; 19:6; Hebrews 9:19
bring
Heb. gather. thy father.
13; 6:23; Genesis 7:1; 12:2; 19:12-17; Esther 8:6; Luke 19:9; Acts 10:27,33; Acts 11:14; 2 Timothy 1:16
Reciprocal: Joshua 2:12 - give me;  Song of Solomon 4:3 - scarlet;  Ezekiel 9:6 - but;  2 Corinthians 11:33 - I let

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 2:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-2.html.