Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 2:5

It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Armies;   Falsehood;   Gates;   Harlot (Prostitute);   Hospitality;   Reconnoissance;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Gates;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Rahab;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - City;   Rahab;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Lie, Lying;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Rahab;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Gate;   Jericho;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Architecture in the Biblical Period;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - City;   Hoshea;   Jericho;   Joshua;   Linen;   Rahab;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jericho;   Rahab, Rachab ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jericho;   Rahab;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Gate;   Rahab;   Shittim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Gate;   Jer'icho;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Fortification;   Jericho;   Wist;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gate;   Jericho;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

When it was dark - So it appears that it was after night that the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, ordering her to produce the persons who lodged with her. The season itself was friendly to the whole plot: had these transactions taken place in daylight, it is scarcely possible that the spies could have escaped. But this is no excuse for the woman's prevarication, for God could have saved his messengers independently of her falsity. God never says to any, Do evil that good may come of it. See at the end of the chapter, Joshua 2:24; (note).

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 2:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-2.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And it came to pass, about the time of the shutting of the gate,.... Of the city, which was done every night, and at a certain time:

when it was dark; the sun set, and night come on:

that the men went out; out of her house, and out of the city too, as she said, though it was a downright lie, as well as what follows:

whither the men went I wot not; though she knew they were not gone, but were now in her house; she might not scruple telling a lie, being brought up a Heathen, and being done with a design to save the lives of persons that belonged to a people she was persuaded were the people of God, and to whom he had given the land; though her lies are not to be justified; evil is not to be done that good may come; nor are men to tell lies one to another upon any account; but these sins, with others, the Lord forgave her:

pursue after them quickly, and ye shall overtake them; this she encouraged them to do, to get rid of them the sooner, and to remove all suspicion of her having any respect for them, and of being concerned in concealing them.

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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 2:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-2.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

the time of shutting of the gates — The gates of all Oriental cities are closed at sunset, after which there is no possibility either of admission or egress.

the men went out — This was a palpable deception. But, as lying is a common vice among heathen people, Rahab was probably unconscious of its moral guilt, especially as she resorted to it as a means for screening her guests; and she might deem herself bound to do it by the laws of Eastern hospitality, which make it a point of honor to preserve the greatest enemy, if he has once eaten one‘s salt. Judged by the divine law, her answer was a sinful expedient; but her infirmity being united with faith, she was graciously pardoned and her service accepted (James 2:25).

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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 2:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-2.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 2:5 And it came to pass [about the time] of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.

Ver. 5. And it came to pass.] See Joshua 2:4.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 5. And—about the time of shutting of the gate Rahab's house was evidently nigh to one of the gates of Jericho: she feigned, therefore, that, before the gate was shut, those whom they took for spies had gone out, and so had left her house but a very short time before. The spies arrived at the close of the day, and Rahab asserts that they went out in the dusk, just at the shutting of the gate.

Whither the men went, I wot not: pursue after them quickly, for ye shall overtake them The argument was plausible: if the two men who came to Rahab, and who, as she said, had gone out of the city at the shutting of the gate, were emissaries from the camp of Israel, they had only to follow them with diligence, and overtake them before they had repassed the Jordan: but Rahab most certainly told a falsehood; and it cannot be said that this lie was merely officious, since she uttered it to the king's people, and in prejudice to the safety of her country: but the idea of saving the life of two innocent persons evidently prevailed in her mind, and she thought she might harmlessly employ a falsehood to effect her purpose. Some of the ancient fathers of the church have thought the same; and St. Augustin, though very rigid upon the subject, granted it to be a very difficult question. See cap. 15 ad Consentinum. But this is carrying matters certainly to an excess. The fathers before St. Augustin, and all the Jewish doctors, condemn the practice altogether. It may, indeed, be said, in palliation of Rahab's crime, that if she had heard of what had happened to Pharaoh, Sihon, and Og, the same events could not be unknown to the king of Jericho; so that it was as natural for her to be afraid, and to provide for her own security, as for him to defend himself courageously, or perish in the attempt. For we apprehend, that to reject peace offered by a formidable conqueror, at the hazard of being massacred, for the love of a king who might very probably have been only a petty tyrant, and to continue attached to a people whom fear had disabled from defending themselves; we apprehend, I say, that to reject peace under such circumstances, and even supposing that the king of Jericho lawfully swayed the sceptre, would have been an instance of love for one's country, or rather for truth, which there was hardly room to expect from a Canaanitish woman; much less from a hostess so young as Rahab must have been, since she brought forth Boaz above thirty years after, as Junius has fully proved, in Jacob. She did, upon the whole, what might be expected from her in such a case, an honest action, and conformable to the will of God, in joining the party of those whom His powerful arm supported, and in relinquishing the interests of a nation, whom so many reasons united to render worthy of an utter destruction. Still more fully to justify the reception which Rahab gave to the Israelitish spies, and the asylum she afforded, two things may reasonably be supposed; 1. That God had revealed to this woman the wonders he had wrought in favour of the children of Israel, and his design of giving them the land of Canaan. By faith, we read, the harlot Rahab perished not; Hebrews 11:31. This faith seems to suppose something more than persuasion founded on common report; it supposes some divine warning, a Revelation 2. It is natural to suppose, that God had summoned the king and people of Jericho to submit themselves to the Israelites on pain of utter destruction; and that, while Rahab's fellow-citizens refused to comply with that summons, this woman, more submissive to the divine commands, took part with the Israelites, and asked in consequence of her option. The words of St. Paul favour this conjecture. Instead of saying, according to our version, by faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, τοις απιστοις, he says, agreeably to the marginal rendering, perished not with them who were disobedient, τοις απειθησασι ; i.e. disobedient to the orders which God had given them to submit to the Israelites. There was nothing, therefore, unfaithful, nothing criminal, in the asylum which Rahab afforded the spies; nothing which can be deemed treasonable in the care she took to screen them from the knowledge and search of the officers of the king of Jericho. Impressed with sentiments of true faith in the commands of God, that faith, that confidence in his word, was the principle of her whole conduct in this emergency; though we acknowledge, that she sinned by having recourse to a lie. Again: Rahab testified her faith by her obedience, and for this only is she celebrated in Scripture. Let those who find themselves in like circumstances imitate her in that wherein she is imitable, her humble submission to orders undoubtedly issued by God, and her eagerness to comply therewith; to them also will then belong that fine eulogium of St. James: Was not Rahab justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?—As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith, without works, is dead also. James 2:25-26. See Waterland's Scripture vindicated, part 2: p. 52.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 2:5". 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

The time of shutting of the gate; either of her house, or rather of the city, which was shut at a certain time.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 2:5". 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

5.[

The men went out — This statement was a wilful falsehood, and cannot be justified by saying that oriental hospitality required a person to utter falsehood if necessary to defend a guest. It may, indeed, relieve the case somewhat to urge that before the Gospel strict truth, in Jew or heathen, was a virtue utterly unknown; but it is altogether superfluous to attempt either to apologize for Rahab’s previous harlotry or to justify her falsehoods. We must distinguish, however, between her vices and her virtues. The sacred writers record her vices without a word of comment or apology. Even with this alloy, however, they attest the justifying power of her faith. The epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 11:31) extols her faith in Israel’s God, and James (James 2:25) makes mention of her praiseworthy works of hospitality. The one declares that her faith saved her from perishing with the unbelieving inhabitants of Jericho; the other shows that her faith was not without its appropriate fruits.] {Verse 11, however, shows that Rahab had long entertained a sincere faith in Jehovah as the true God, and her conduct toward the spies was the imperfect manifestation of that faith which resulted in her true incorporation into Israel, and obtaining a place in the genealogy of the Messiah. Matthew 1:5. Her falsehood on the present occasion was far less condemning than that of Abraham on two occasions. Genesis 12:13; Genesis 20:2. It was also a stratagem of war, which even our Christian civilization has hardly attained the virtue of disusing.}

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 2:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-2.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

At the time, not precisely, as otherwise the men who shut the gates must have seen them, but about that time, (Calmet) Rahab pretends that the spies had left her house, and had directed their course towards the gate, so that she made no doubt but they might easily overtake them. (Haydock) --- Notwithstanding this officious lie, which is a venial sin, St. Paul and St. James testify that she was justified by her faith in God, and by good works towards these men. See St. Augustine, contra Mend. 17. and note on James ii. 25. (Worthington) --- Rahab might suppose that an officious lie was not a sin, (Menochius) as many great and learned men seemed to have maintained this doctrine. See Grotius, Jur. iii. 1. 9.; Origen, contra Cels. iv. p. 171.; St. Chrysostom, hom. 53, Genesis. She was so far from intending to do an injury to any one, that she consulted the welfare both of her guests and of her countrymen, who, if they had detected the spies and committed murder, would have thus brought greater destruction upon themselves, as they could not escape the wrath of God. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 2:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

whither. Some codices, with one early printed edition, read "and whither".

wot. Anglo-Saxon "know".

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 2:5". "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 it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.

The time of shutting of the gate. The gates of all Oriental cities are closed at sunset, after which there is no possibility either of admission or egress; and in the East there is scarcely any twilight; 'sunset,' therefore, is a period 'when it is dark.'

The men went out. This was a palpable deception. But, as lying is a common vice among pagan people, Rahab was probably unconscious of its moral guilt, especially as she resorted to it as a means for screening her guests; and she might deem herself bound to do it by the laws of Eastern hospitality, which make it a point of honour to preserve the greatest enemy, if he has once eaten one's salt. Judged by the divine law, her answer was a sinful expedient; but her infirmity being united with faith, she was graciously pardoned, and her service accepted (James 2:25).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 2:5". "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 it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.
of shutting
7; Nehemiah 13:19; Isaiah 60:11; Ezekiel 47:1,2,12; Revelation 21:25
the men went out
Jeremiah 50:20; Romans 3:7,8
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 19:14 - she said;  2 Samuel 17:20 - They be gone

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 2:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-2.html.