-Joshua sent out two men as spies to view the Promised Land that they were about to invade and conquer. They had a specific mission to spy out Jericho, which was just across the Jordan to the western side, protected with walls around the city. The two spies went and came into lodging with a harlot in Jericho. Her name was Rahab, and she hid the men when the king of Jericho was told of them being involved with her. The king inquired of Rahab as to the whereabouts of these men who were supposedly searching out the land, but she lied saying that she did not know where they were from or where they had gone. She told the king that they had gone out of the city gates near the time of darkness. She falsely implored the king to have his men pursue them quickly for they would overtake them for all practical purposes towards the east. However, secretly Rahab had brought these spies up to the roof of her house and hid them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order up there. The men from Jericho did pursue after the wanted spies along the road to the Jordan and into the fords that were there shutting the city gate behind them. There was intense fear in the city due to the reputation of the Israelites, and the spies soon got the full low-down from the helpful harlot. Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab came and spoke with them, “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.” The people of the land that Israel was about to invade had been privy to the stories of how God had dried up the Red Sea in their departure from Pharaoh in Egypt. They had also heard of how the two kings of the Amorites beyond the Jordan were utterly destroyed. The spies soon realized that these inhabitants had no courage left in them. Rahab confessed openly, “…For the LORD your God, He is God in Heaven above and on earth beneath (Joshua 2:1-11).” Therefore, she begged them to spare her and her family with an oath not to harm them when they sacked the city, which seemed inevitable at this point. Since she had dealt kindly with them, she asked for mercy, and the spies obliged. They would indeed promise to spare her and her family from death if they would keep totally quiet about the matter of being with them. They would in fact deal faithfully and kindly with her house (Joshua 2:12-14).
-Rahab let the two spies down by a rope through the window of her house, which providentially was on the city wall. Before she released them, she instructed them to go the opposite way to the west into the hill country for three days in order to not accidentally come across the men from Jericho who searching for them. After three days, she felt like it would be safe to be on their way to wherever they were going. The men gave some final instructions to Rahab for her protection. Her house was to have a cord of scarlet thread in the window through which they were let down for identification purposes. The family was ordered to stay in their house, else those who left would have their blood on their own head. Only the people in Rahab’s house would be safe. They reiterated their command not to tell of their business there with anyone, and the harlot complied willingly with an oath. She tied the scarlet cord to her window and the men were gone, departing to the hill country where they remained for the recommended three days until their pursuers returned. They were not found as they ventured back down to the Jordan Valley, and then they crossed back over to safety to the camp of Joshua and the Israelites. When they related all that had happened, all were encouraged by the LORD to take the land and all who inhabited it (Joshua 2:15-24).
-*Application* This special woman, Rahab, although not perfect by any stretch, played a key role in not just the national history of Israel, but for the salvific history of mankind. She is assumed to be part of the Messianic line according to Matthew 1:5, even though that may be debated as to who this Rahab was specifically. No matter the case, she overcame some glaring sins (sexual immorality and lying) to find mercy. Her total confession before the God of the Universe is something for us to ponder today. She acknowledged her Sovereign and went along with His program for her people. Her submission to His glory is what we need to glean from this Scripture more than anything else.
Verses to Memorize: Joshua 2:1, 11