Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 2:9

and said to the men, "I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Armies;   Faith;   Hospitality;   Kindness;   Miracles;   Reconnoissance;   Treaty;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Canaanites, the;   Jews, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Rahab;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Israel;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ethiopia;   Jacob;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Architecture in the Biblical Period;   Joshua, the Book of;   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;   Samuel the Prophet;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Hospitality;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - James, General Epistle of;   Rosh Ha-Shanah;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I know that the Lord hath given you the land - It is likely she had this only from conjecture, having heard of their successes against the Amorites, their prodigious numbers, and seeing the state of terror and dismay to which the inhabitants of her own land were reduced.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 2:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-2.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And she said unto the men,.... The two spies:

I know that the Lord hath given you the land; the land of Canaan, of which she was an inhabitant, and in which they now were; this she knew either by some tradition that was among them; or by divine revelation, a supernatural impulse upon her mind: or by observing what the Lord had done already, in putting the land of the Amorites into their hands, which were one of the seven nations of Canaan; and by this it also appears, and more clearly by what follows, that she had knowledge of the Lord God, the God of Israel:

and that your terror is fallen upon us; which was another token or sign by which she knew the land would be delivered to them; that they who were a formidable people, and struck terror into others, now were terrified themselves, at the rumour of Israel being come to invade them; this was what the Lord said should be the case, Deuteronomy 11:25,

and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you; or "melt"F6נמגו "liquefacti sunt", Montanus, Piscator. , like wax before the fire, as Moses had predicted, Exodus 15:15.

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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 2:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your d terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.

(d) For so God promised, (Deuteronomy 28:7) ; (Joshua 5:1).
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 2:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-2.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.

Your terror — That is, the dread of you.

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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 2:9". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-2.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 2:9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.

Ver. 9. I know that the Lord hath given you the land.] She had a full assurance both of knowledge, {as Luke 1:1} and of faith, {as Hebrews 6:10; Hebrews 11:31} when many Israelites staggered and distrusted the promise. "God hath mercy on whom he will have mercy," &c. [Romans 9:15; Romans 9:18]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 2:9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 9. She said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, &c.— As if she had thus addressed them. "Be not surprised at the care I take for your security. I, as well as you, believe in the one true God, absolute master of the fate of nations. I know that he hath resolved to give this country to the people of Israel; and I can already sensibly perceive the effect of his sovereign decree, in the terror which has seized on all the inhabitants of this land," &c. This terror is here painted by two very strong expressions. First, It was a terror fallen upon the inhabitants of the country; i.e. a sudden terror, which had struck them like thunder. Secondly, They fainted, or, as the Hebrew imports, they melted; as wax is made to melt in the fire: they were bereft of their strength and courage.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 2:9". 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

Quest. How could they understand one the other?

Answ.

1. The Hebrew and the Canaan or Phoenician languages have a very great resemblance, and are thought to be but differing dialects of one and the same tongue, as the learned prove by a multitude of words, which are common to both of them. Or,

2. Some of the Hebrews had either out of curiosity, or by Joshua’s order and direction, learnt that language for this or other such like occasions.

Your terror, i.e. the dread of you. See Exodus 23:27 34:24 Deuteronomy 11:25 Deuteronomy 28:7.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 2:9". 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 said to the men, “I know that YHWH has given you the land and that your terror is fallen on us and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.” ’

Here is a clue to her behaviour. News and rumour had spread widely while Israel were capturing the land Beyond Jordan, brought probably by those who fled from them. The news was about this terrible nation with their terrible God, YHWH, Who seemed invincible, a nation who claimed He had given them the land of Canaan and that they were coming to take it.

“Your terror is fallen on us -- the inhabitants of the land melt away.” This was as Yahweh had promised Israel (Exodus 15:15-16; Deuteronomy 2:25; Deuteronomy 11:25). The gist of her conversation is translated in words reminiscent of these promises. She would, of course, be speaking in a Canaanite dialect, not in pure Hebrew.

LXX omits ‘all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.’ Perhaps it was not in their copy of the Hebrew text (compare Joshua 2:24 where it is in LXX). Or perhaps they were abbreviating the text. LXX in Joshua is based on a shortened text and the translators were ready to be quite free with it.

Joshua 2:10 a

“For we have heard how YHWH dried up the waters of the Sea of Reeds before you, when you came out of Egypt.”

Compare Joshua 9:9-10 also Exodus 14:21. The story of what happened at the Sea of Reeds had become famous, passed on by travellers and storytellers from mouth to mouth, no doubt improving as it went. Most of Canaan would have delighted in the discomfiture of the Egyptians, and the story would have brightened many a weary night until they suddenly learned that the same people were now threatening their own borders.

Joshua 2:10 b

“And what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were in Beyond Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed (‘devoted’).”

See Numbers 21:21-35; Deuteronomy 2:26-36 especially Deuteronomy 2:34; Deuteronomy 3:1-12. The practise of ‘devoting’ conquered people to a god and destroying them was known elsewhere and was common. In the Moabite Stone we read of Mesha devoting the city of Nebo to his god(s) Ashtar-Chemosh and slaughtering all its inhabitants. This practise was, in the case of Israel, reinforced by the fact that Israel must not live among the Canaanites and Amorites, but must destroy them or drive them out because of their debased religion, lest they themselves become corrupted by it. The Canaanite religion was a religion obsessed with perverted sex, distorted but physically attractive. But the news of the intention of the Israelites was sufficient to chill the heart of those waiting for an invasion to come.

We may sometimes question why they behaved so harshly, but we need to recognise the harshness of the times, and the necessities that were laid on them (as well as God’s right to bring His judgment in any way that He decided was right). Everyone in Canaan (and elsewhere) accepted that they themselves had a right to possess other people’s land and drive out the inhabitants. That was not open to question. The only thing that prevented it was their weakness or strength at any particular time (what happened in Judges when there were strong kings over different nations brings this out). The Amorites mentioned here had refused Israel safe passage along the King’s Highway. In other words their threat had been that if they did not go back, or if they tried to take the road though their land, they would slaughter them all, men, women and children. Israel had been left with no alternative but to reply as they did, for the alternative was to leave alive an enemy who at any moment could rear up against them, having obtained reinforcements, and Israel had no cities in which to guard their women and children. In such circumstances the only ‘good’ Amorite was a dead one. As for the Canaanites in the future. They would on the whole resist Israelite occupation of the land tooth and nail. They were not peace loving nations suddenly attacked by a warlike Israel. Israel were in constant danger of attack from them. Even though much of the land that they initially occupied was uninhabited no one would cede it to them. They had to fight every inch of the way. But added to that were the evil practises which were a part of the Canaanite way of life. They were probably riddled with sexually transmitted diseases due to their sexual perversions, and mingling with them would have destroyed Israel both spiritually (as indeed it did in the end) and physically. The only path really open to them, as YHWH had made clear, was either to drive them out or slaughter them.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 2:9". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-2.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

9.I know that the Lord hath given you the land — Mark the strength of her affirmation: not 1 believe, but I know. Rahab now discloses unto them the cause of her hospitality, her firm conviction that the Hebrews were destined to overthrow her people. This belief arose from the miraculous passage of the Red Sea, and the easy conquest of Eastern Palestine. With characteristic womanly penetration she had read the secret fears of her countrymen, and had interpreted them as tokens of coming defeat to her people. Thus the very knowledge which Joshua was most desirous of attaining, namely, the state of feeling among the Canaanites, is freely communicated to the spies. To dishearten a nation is to conquer it.

Your terror — Fear of you has paralyzed us. Moses, in his last discourse, had predicted this result. Deuteronomy 2:25; Deuteronomy 11:25.

All the inhabitants of the land faint — For faint, the Hebrew reads, are melted; an expression showing the utter prostration of their confidence and resolution. This despair of the people, whether natural or supernatural, prevented them from making any combination to resist the invading host at the best place for such resistance — the passage of the Jordan.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 2:9". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-2.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Strength. Hebrew "they faint or melt away," deprived both of strength and counsel.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 2:9". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

I know. Faith"s conclusion, from what she had heard, verses: Joshua 2:11, Joshua 2:12. Corresponds with Sarah"s "she judged" in Hebrews 11:11.

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

faint. Hebrew = have melted. Compare Joshua 2:11.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 2:9". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-2.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
I know
Exodus 18:11; 2 Kings 5:15; Job 19:25; Ecclesiastes 8:12; Hebrews 11:1,2
that the Lord
Genesis 13:14-17; 15:18-21; Exodus 3:6-8; Deuteronomy 32:8; Psalms 115:16; Jeremiah 27:5; Matthew 20:15
your terror
Genesis 35:5; Exodus 15:15,16; 23:27; Deuteronomy 2:25; 11:25; 28:10; Judges 7:14; 1 Samuel 14:15; 2 Kings 7:6
faint
Heb. melt.
11; 1 Samuel 14:16; 2 Samuel 17:10; Psalms 112:10; Isaiah 19:1; Nahum 2:10
Reciprocal: Exodus 10:1 - that I;  Exodus 15:14 - hear;  Leviticus 26:36 - I will send;  Numbers 14:14 - they have;  Deuteronomy 1:28 - discouraged;  Joshua 2:24 - all the inhabitants;  Joshua 5:1 - heard;  Joshua 6:1 - because;  Joshua 6:2 - I have;  Joshua 7:5 - wherefore;  Joshua 9:9 - we have;  Joshua 10:2 - they feared;  1 Chronicles 14:17 - the fear of him;  2 Chronicles 6:32 - is come;  2 Chronicles 14:14 - the fear;  2 Chronicles 17:10 - the fear;  2 Chronicles 20:29 - they had heard;  Esther 9:2 - the fear;  Psalm 8:2 - still;  Psalm 46:6 - earth;  Psalm 58:7 - GeneralPsalm 65:8 - afraid;  Psalm 105:38 - for;  Psalm 126:2 - then said;  Psalm 145:6 - And men;  Isaiah 23:5 - at the;  Isaiah 33:13 - Hear;  Jeremiah 49:5 - I will;  Ezekiel 16:14 - thy renown;  Ezekiel 21:7 - and every;  Micah 7:17 - they shall be;  Zechariah 8:23 - we have;  Romans 9:17 - that;  Revelation 11:11 - great

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 2:9". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-2.html.