Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 2:6

But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Armies;   Falsehood;   Flax;   Harlot (Prostitute);   Hospitality;   House;   Kindness;   Reconnoissance;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Flax;   Home;   Housetops;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Houses;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Flax;   House;   Rahab;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Lie, Lying;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Flax;   Linen;   Rahab;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Flax;   House;   Linen;   Rahab (1);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Architecture in the Biblical Period;   Flax;   Harvest;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Flax;   Hoshea;   House;   Jericho;   Joshua;   Rahab;   Spinning and Weaving;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Agriculture;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Flax,;   Jericho;   Rahab, Rachab ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jericho;   Rahab;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Dwelling;   Rahab;   Shittim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Flax,;   Jer'icho;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Flax;   Houses;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Flax;   Linen;   Order;   Stalk;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Agriculture;   Flax;   Spinning;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Hid then with the stalks of flax - It is a matter of little consequence whether we translate העיץ פסתי pistey haets stalks of flax, or stalks of hemp: the word עץ ets, which signifies wood, serves to show that whether it was hemp or flax, it was in its rough, unmanufactured state; and as this was about the season, viz., the end of March or the beginning of April, in which the flax is ripe in that country, consequently Rahab's flax might have been recently pulled, and was now drying on the roof of her house. The reader may find some useful remarks upon this subject in Harmer's Observations, vol. iv., p. 97, etc.

Upon the roof - We have already seen that all the houses in the east were made flat-roofed; for which a law is given Deuteronomy 22:8. On these flat roofs the Asiatics to this day walk, converse, and oftentimes even sleep and pass the night. It is probable that this hiding was after that referred to in the fourth verse.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Stalks of flax - literally, “the carded fibres of the tree.” The flax in Palestine grew to more than three feet in height, with a stalk as thick as a cane. It was probably with the flax stalks, recently cut (compare Exodus 9:31, note) and laid out on the house roof to dry, that Rahab hid the spies.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-2.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But she had brought them up to the roof of the house,.... Before the messengers came; though Abarbinel thinks it was after they were gone, when she took them from the place of their concealment, and had them to the roof of the house, where she thought they would be safe and secure, should the messengers return, or others come in search of them, who would not, as she imagined, look for them there:

and hid them with the stalks of flax; that is, under them, or "in flax of wood", or "a tree"F2בפשתי העץ "in linis ligni", Montanus; "vel arboris", Vatablus. ; which may with as much propriety, or more, be called a tree than hyssop, 1 Kings 4:33; as it is in the MisnahF3Sabbat, c. 2. sect. 3. & Bartenora in ib. . Moreover, there was a sort of flax which grew in the upper part of Egypt towards Arabia, as Pliny saysF4Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 1. , which they called "xylon", or wood, of which were made "lina xylina": though the words may be rightly transposed, as by as, "stalks of flax", which are large and strong before the flax is stripped or beaten off of them; the Targum renders it bundles of flax, or handfuls and sheaves of them, as they were when cut down and gathered:

which she had laid in order upon the roof; to be dried, as Kimchi observes; and PlinyF5Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 1. speaks of flax being bound up in bundles, and hung up and dried in the sun; which was done that it might be more easily stripped and beaten off; and the roofs of houses in those countries being flat, were very fit for such a purpose; See Gill on Deuteronomy 22:8; and these being now laid there were very suitable and convenient to conceal the men under them. This seems to be in favour of Rahab, as being a virtuous and industrious woman; see Proverbs 31:13.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

But she had brought them up to the c roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

(c) Meaning, on the house: for then their houses were flat above, so that they might do their business on it.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-2.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax — Flax, with other vegetable productions, is at a certain season spread out on the flat roofs of Eastern houses to be dried in the sun; and, after lying awhile, it is piled up in numerous little stacks, which, from the luxuriant growth of the flax, rise to a height of three or four feet. Behind some of these stacks Rahab concealed the spies.

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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 2:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-2.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

Roof β€” Which was flat after their manner.

Upon the roof β€” That they might be dried by the heat of the sun.

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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 2:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-2.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 2:6 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

Ver. 6. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house.] (a) Which was built flat in those parts, as they are also at this day in Italy.

Which she had laid in order upon the roof.] That it might be fully dried, as [Nahum 1:10] the wicked are, that they may burn the better: like grapes, they ripen in the sunshine, for the winepress of God’s wrath. [Revelation 14:19]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 6. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house We have elsewhere remarked in what manner the roofs of houses in this country were constructed. See Deuteronomy 22:8. They were flat, or rather terraces, on which men might either lie or walk.

And hid them, &c.— All this had passed before the arrival of the king of Jericho's officers, and upon a report of the search that they were ordered to make.

Stalks of flax Hemp-wood,—line-stalks. See Ulpian. Digest. lib. 32: cap. 55 sect. 5.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". 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

Up to the roof, which was plain, after the manner. See Deuteronomy 22:8 Matthew 10:27 Mark 2:4 Acts 10:9. Laid in order upon the roof, that they may be dried by the heat of the sun.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". 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 she brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof.’

Compare 2 Samuel 17:19. The word for ‘hid’ is different from Joshua 2:4. It may be that in Joshua 2:4 she had just quickly hidden them out of sight, but now found a more secure hiding place under the stalks of flax spread out on the flat roof to dry out. Alternately we must remember that the account was written to be read out aloud, and such an introductory comment as that made earlier, made to prepare the hearer, followed later by a more detailed explanation, was an ancient technique, and occurs often in Scripture.

The roof was a regular drying place for produce from the fields. Flax was cultivated in Palestine and Egypt (see Proverbs 31:13; Isaiah 19:9) and was one of the gifts of lovers to prostitutes (Hosea 2:5; Hosea 2:9). It grew to a height of a metre and produced beautiful blue flowers. Its shiny seeds produced linseed oil. The woody fibre of the bark provided the flax fibre woven into linen.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-2.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.She had brought them up to the roof of the house — This verse more fully explains Joshua 2:4, by detailing the place and manner of her concealing the spies. Eastern houses have flat roofs, surrounded with a parapet to prevent falling off. Deuteronomy 28:8. Here the family often sleep, sit, walk, and store such articles as will not be damaged by the exposure. Sometimes the roof is shaded by means of an awning supported by posts. See note on Acts 10:9.

Stalks of flax — Hebrews flax of the tree; that is, flax in the tree or stalk. Some render these words stalks or pods of cotton, but without sufficient authority. Flax is said to grow in Egypt to a great size, and its stalks attain the thickness of a cane, and so it doubtless did in the rich plain of Jericho. To dry stalks of such thickness much exposure to the sun would be necessary, and they were laid out in such abundance on Rahab’s house that the two men could be easily concealed among them.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-2.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

There. The roofs were flat in that country, and consequently very proper to dry flax, or "cotton," as Masius understands.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

stalks of flax. Hebrew = flax of stalks. Figure of speech Hypallage, App-6. Flax now ripe: just before the Passover. Compare Exodus 9:31 with Joshua 4:19; Joshua 5:10.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". "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

But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

She had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax. Flax with other vegetable productions, is at a certain season spread out on the flat roofs of Eastern houses to be dried in the sun; and after lying awhile it is piled up in numerous little stacks, which, from the luxuriant growth of the flax, rise to a height of three or our feet. Behind some of these stacks Rahab concealed the spies. 'The stalks of flax had no doubt just been cut down, and she had spread them upon the roof of her house to steep and to season. It was harvest time (see the note at Joshua 3:15). It would seem that the flax and the barley were crops which ripened about the same time in Egypt; and as the climate of Canaan did not differ materially from that of Egypt, this no doubt was the case in Canaan too; so that the flax stalks must have been newly reaped. Here I see truth; yet how very minute is this incident! How very casually does it present itself to our notice! How very unimportant a matter it seems in the first instance under what the spies were hidden! Enough that, whatever it was, it answered the purpose and saved their lives. Could the historian have contemplated for one moment the effect which a trifle about a flax-stalk might have in corroboration of his account of the passage of the Jordan?' (Blunt's 'Undesigned Coincidences,' p. 106).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) The stalks of flax.β€”It is remarked that flax and barley are both early crops (Exodus 9:31), and that the first month (see Joshua 4:19) was the time of barley harvest. (Comp. 2 Samuel 21:9.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.
to the roof
8; Exodus 1:15-21; Deuteronomy 22:8; 2 Samuel 11:2; Matthew 24:17
hid them
Exodus 2:2; 2 Samuel 17:19; 1 Kings 18:4,13; 2 Kings 11:2; Jeremiah 36:26; Colossians 3:3; Hebrews 11:23
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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 2:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-2.html.