Joshua 2:24: The Escape and Return of the Spies, Part 2

Verse 24:[1]  And they said unto Joshua, Truly (Ex. 23:31; Josh. 6:2; 21:44) the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint (Heb. melt,[2] Josh. 2:9[3]) because of us.

[And they said, He hath delivered[4] (thus the Syriac, Tigurinus, Pagine)]  It is not able to be denied that כִּי, just like ὅτι/that among the Greeks,[5] is often superfluous (Masius).

[כִּי־נָתַן]  Because (for surely [Jonathan, Junius and Tremellius]) He gave, or, He delivered (Septuagint, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius).  This narration is abbreviated (Masius out of Kimchi).  Many things appear to have gone before, of which this is the last part (Masius).  Certainly He hath delivered (Munster).  Certainly He hath given (Piscator).  Before the כִּי, there is an ellipsis, either, of it is אֱמֶת/truth, or, a certain thing, or, of יָדַעְנוּ, we know, that.  Whence we perceive that the כִּי is set down here, not αἰτιολογικῶς/causally, but εἰδικῶς/specifically.[6]  At the same time, by metonymy of the efficient and synecdoche of member he wished to say this simultaneously, Therefore let us go against them (Piscator).  He hath already delivered (Arabic), that is, He is certainly going to deliver (Piscator).  How dissimilar is the oration of these to that of those in Numbers 13, who nevertheless are not mentioned as having suffered any dangers.  That is, all things result in good to them that love God, Romans 8:28.  And so these, to the extent that they escaped greater perils, were promising to themselves and to their own a more certain victory.  Rahab here bore the figure of the Church.  Poor Rahab, not the wise and powerful of Jericho, received the spies:  A similar thing happens in 1 Corinthians 1:26.  Also, רָחָב/Rahab signifies breadth,[7] and denotes that the Church would be made much larger, according to Isaiah 49; 54 (Masius).  [Whoever might wish to see more concerning these allegories, let him consult Masius and Bonfrerius.]

[1] Hebrew:  וַיֹּאמְרוּ֙ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ כִּֽי־נָתַ֧ן יְהוָ֛ה בְּיָדֵ֖נוּ אֶת־כָּל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וְגַם־נָמֹ֛גוּ כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵ֥י הָאָ֖רֶץ מִפָּנֵֽינוּ׃

[2] Hebrew:  נָמֹגוּ.

[3] 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 (נָמֹגוּ) because of you.”

[4] Hebrew:  וַיֹּאמְרוּ—כִּי־נָתַן יְהוָה.

[5] Just like ὅτι, כִּי can be used to introduce direct speech.

[6] That is, not a causal, but a noun clause.

[7] רָחָב/Rahab is related to the verbal root רָחַב, to be wide or spacious.

Joshua 2:22, 23: The Escape and Return of the Spies, Part 1

Verse 22:[1]  And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned:  and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not.

[They abode there three days]  Question:  What did they eat there for three days?  Response:  1.  A three days’ fast is not uncommon; and that three day period was shorter.  2.  Or, travelers were carrying necessities with them, according to the custom of the age; or, Rahab gave them provisions according to her hospitality (Serarius).

Abode there three days; supporting themselves there with the provisions, which after the manner of those times and places they carried with them, which Rahab furnished them with.  Throughout all the way, that is, in the road to Jordan, and the places near it, but not in the mountains.

[They did not find them]  This commends the woman’s counsel, and illustrates the greatness of the danger (Masius).


Verse 23:[2]  So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them…

And passed over, to wit, Jordan unto Joshua.

[And they related to him]  To Joshua alone; which was expedient, lest a moveable and inconsiderate multitude from their relations should conceive greater confidence or fear than was fitting (Masius).

Him alone, not the people, as they did Numbers 13.

[That had befallen them (thus the Septuagint, similarly Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius), הַמֹּצְא֖וֹת אוֹתָֽם׃]  That found them (Montanus, Drusius, Vatablus).  Dangers are said to find us, Genesis 44:34;[3] Exodus 18:8;[4] Deuteronomy 31:17;[5] Esther 8:6.[6]  It is general rule, Whom a calamity often passes by, it at length finds[7] (Drusius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֵּלְכוּ֙ וַיָּבֹ֣אוּ הָהָ֔רָה וַיֵּ֤שְׁבוּ שָׁם֙ שְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֔ים עַד־שָׁ֖בוּ הָרֹדְפִ֑ים וַיְבַקְשׁ֧וּ הָרֹדְפִ֛ים בְּכָל־הַדֶּ֖רֶךְ וְלֹ֥א מָצָֽאוּ׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיָּשֻׁ֜בוּ שְׁנֵ֤י הָֽאֲנָשִׁים֙ וַיֵּרְד֣וּ מֵֽהָהָ֔ר וַיַּעַבְרוּ֙ וַיָּבֹ֔אוּ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ בִּן־נ֑וּן וַיְסַ֙פְּרוּ־ל֔וֹ אֵ֥ת כָּל־הַמֹּצְא֖וֹת אוֹתָֽם׃

[3] Genesis 44:34:  “For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall find (יִמְצָא) my father.”

[4] Exodus 18:8:  “And Moses told his father in law all that the Lord had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and all the travail that had found them (מְצָאָתַם) by the way, and how the Lord delivered them.”

[5] Deuteronomy 31:17:  “Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall find them (וּמְצָאֻ֛הוּ רָע֥וֹת רַבּ֖וֹת וְצָר֑וֹת); so that they will say in that day, Have not these evils found us (מְצָא֖וּנִי הָרָע֥וֹת הָאֵֽלֶּה׃), because our God is not among us?”

[6] Esther 8:6:  “For how can I endure to see the evil that shall find (יִמְצָא) my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?”

[7] Seneca the Younger’s “The Madness of Hercules” 325-328.

Joshua 2:21: Rahab’s Covenant, Part 8

Verse 21:[1]  And she said, According unto your words, so be it.  And she sent them away, and they departed:  and she bound the scarlet line in the window.

[And sending them away,וַתְּשַׁלְּחֵם ]  And she had sent them away (Masius).  Sending away, that is, bidding them farewell (Lapide).  Thus שָׁלַח, to send away, is often taken (Masius).  For example, by saying, Go in peace (Lapide).

[She hung]  Question:  When?  Response 1:  Immediately (Masius, Lyra, Menochius, Bonfrerius, etc.).  Lest it be given over to forgetfulness, and so that the spies might see it before their departure (Lyra), and so that no place for error in such a matter of moment might be left (Menochius):  and also so that the sight of it might be a comfort to her:  moreover, she did not know when or how they were going to capture the city.  Objection 1:  But this would have stirred up the suspicion of the inhabitants of Jericho.  Response:  It is denied, because in other circumstances she was wont now and again to send forth cords from the window, for the drawing together of which perhaps that line above was of use.  Objection 2:  But then it would not have been said, she hung, but, she left hanging.  Response:  It is denied, because she positioned that cord differently (Bonfrerius).  Response 2:  Others maintain that this was done when the siege began (Kimchi in Masius).  For there was yet no danger, and she had allotted three days for their hiding (Bonfrerius).

And she bound the scarlet line in the window:  Forthwith, partly, that the spies might see it hung out before their departure, and so the better know it at some distance; partly, lest some accident might occasion a mistake or neglect about it; and partly, for her own comfort, it being pleasant and encouraging to her to have in her eye the pledge of her deliverance.

[1] Hebrew:  וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ כְּדִבְרֵיכֶ֣ם כֶּן־ה֔וּא וַֽתְּשַׁלְּחֵ֖ם וַיֵּלֵ֑כוּ וַתִּקְשֹׁ֛ר אֶת־תִּקְוַ֥ת הַשָּׁנִ֖י בַּחַלּֽוֹן׃

Joshua 2:19, 20: Rahab’s Covenant, Part 7

Verse 19:[1]  And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless:  and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, (Matt. 27:25) his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.

[His blood shall be upon his head]  That is, let it be charged against himself (Bonfrerius).  He shall be liable for himself (Septuagint).  Let his blood return upon his own head (Arabic).  Let the cause (or blame [Chaldean]) of his murder return upon his head (Junius and Tremellius).  Blood signifies the guilt of shed blood, as in Matthew 27:25.  By such a precise description of their duty they show the highest zeal concerning the salvation of Rahab.  The more anyone with many conditions and exceptions defines that which he guarantees that he is going to do, the more he shows that it is a matter of concern to him that he not fail.  For, those that rashly promise many things, it is commonly of no concern to them that they perform the duty of the promise (Masius).  By right of war they fall, who in the captured city do not separate themselves from those resisting (Grotius).

His blood shall be upon his head; the blame of his death shall rest wholly upon himself, as being occasioned by his own neglect or contempt of the means of safety.  His blood shall be on our head; we are willing to bear the sin, and shame, and punishment of it.

[If any touch them, אִם־יָ֖ד תִּֽהְיֶה־בּֽוֹ׃]  If a hand be upon him (Montanus, Junius and Tremellius), supply, laid (Junius and Tremellius).  If any one hurt him (Arabic, similarly the Syriac).  They promise more than Rahab stipulated.  She had asked life:  They restrain all injuries (Masius).  If any touch, that is, strike.  For no one is guilty of murder because of a simple act of striking.  If a hand be upon him, that is, if one kill by the hand.  Thus Esther 6:2; Job 1:12 (Drusius).

If any hand be upon him, to wit, so as to kill him, as this phrase is used, Esther 6:2; Job 1:12.


Verse 20:[2]  And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear.

[1] Hebrew: וְהָיָ֡ה כֹּ֣ל אֲשֶׁר־יֵצֵא֩ מִדַּלְתֵ֙י בֵיתֵ֧ךְ׀ הַח֛וּצָה דָּמ֥וֹ בְרֹאשׁ֖וֹ וַאֲנַ֣חְנוּ נְקִיִּ֑ם וְ֠כֹל אֲשֶׁ֙ר יִֽהְיֶ֤ה אִתָּךְ֙ בַּבַּ֔יִת דָּמ֣וֹ בְרֹאשֵׁ֔נוּ אִם־יָ֖ד תִּֽהְיֶה־בּֽוֹ׃

[2] Hebrew:  וְאִם־תַּגִּ֖ידִי אֶת־דְּבָרֵ֣נוּ זֶ֑ה וְהָיִ֣ינוּ נְקִיִּ֔ם מִשְּׁבֻעָתֵ֖ךְ אֲשֶׁ֥ר הִשְׁבַּעְתָּֽנוּ׃

Joshua 2:18: Rahab’s Covenant, Part 6

Verse 18:[1]  (Josh. 2:12) 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:  (Josh. 6:23) and thou shalt bring (Heb. gather[2]) thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.

[If with us entering the land]  Namely, places neighboring the city.  Into part of the city (Septuagint), that is, as soon as the attack is made upon the city.  But it was difficulty at that time to call together the relatives (Masius).

Into the land, that is, over Jordan, and near the city.

[That scarlet cord (thus Munster, Tigurinus), אֶת־תִּקְוַ֡ת חוּט֩ הַשָּׁנִ֙י]  A line (strip [Vatablus], cord [Arabic, Jonathan, Septuagint, Paginine]) of scarlet thread (Montanus), that is, made of scarlet thread (Vatablus) (of red thread [Jonathan], of double-dyed thread [Junius and Tremellius], of threaded scarlet [Arabic]).  I translate תִּקְוַת as woven fabric, with the Hebrews (Masius, Drusius), which elsewhere signifies hope and trust.  By translation thus he names this as the sign, in which the woman placed all hope of salvation.  It is translated sign by the Septuagint, Aquila, Symmachus, and Vulgate, more according to the sense than the definition of the term.  The Chaldean translates it תֻורָא, that is, fringe.  Why?  The word קואי, which in Chaldean signifies weaver, persuades me that to the Hebrews קָוָה signifies not only to gather, but also to weave/braid.  For the other tongues of the East are derived from Hebrew.  Rabbi Isaiah translates it, a cord, named from gathering, because in a cord many twisted threatds are gathered together (Masius).  That thread, which we see, or, by which thou didst let us down (Lapide).  The same cord, by which she saved her guests, is made use of for (her own) salvation (Masius).  It was scarlet, so that it might represent the blood of Christ (Lapide, Bonfrerius).

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

[Through/by which thou didst let us down[3]]  It is referred to the window (Jerome, the Septuagint in Bonfrerius).  But it is able to be referred to the woven fabric of thread (Drusius).  Through/by which thou didst let us down (thus Masius).

[Brethren, etc.]  By the name of brethren, etc., all relatives are understood (Lapide, Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: הִנֵּ֛ה אֲנַ֥חְנוּ בָאִ֖ים בָּאָ֑רֶץ אֶת־תִּקְוַ֡ת חוּט֩ הַשָּׁנִ֙י הַזֶּ֜ה תִּקְשְׁרִ֗י בַּֽחַלּוֹן֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הוֹרַדְתֵּ֣נוּ ב֔וֹ וְאֶת־אָבִ֙יךְ וְאֶת־אִמֵּ֜ךְ וְאֶת־אַחַ֗יִךְ וְאֵת֙ כָּל־בֵּ֣ית אָבִ֔יךְ תַּאַסְפִ֥י אֵלַ֖יִךְ הַבָּֽיְתָה׃

[2] Hebrew:  תַּאַסְפִי.

[3] Hebrew:  אֲשֶׁ֣ר הוֹרַדְתֵּ֣נוּ ב֔וֹ.

Joshua 2:17: Rahab’s Covenant, Part 5

Verse 17:[1]  And the men said unto her, We will be (Ex. 20:7) blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.

The men said, or, had said; namely, before she let them down; it being very improbable, either that she would dismiss them before the condition was expressed and agreed; or that she would discourse with them, or they with her, about such secret and weighty things after they were let down, when others might overhear them; or that she should begin her discourse in her chamber, and not finish it till they were gone out of her house.  Objection:  They spoke this after they were let down; for it follows, verse 18, this—thread—which thou didst let us down byAnswer:  Those words may be thus rendered, which thou dost let us down by, that is, art about to do it; it being frequent for the preter tense to be used of a thing about to be done, by an enallage of tenses, as Joshua 10:15.

[We shall be innocent]  Or, we wish to be (Junius and Tremellius, Masius).  Deobligati erimus, we shall be freed, if it could thus be said in Latin (Vatablus), that is, loosed from the obligation of the oath (Bonfrerius).  Guiltless with respect to thine adjuration (Syriac, Junius and Tremellius).  This proviso and caution, made so carefully, teaches that an oath is not to be taken rashly nor broadly, but with all religion and precisely; so that you might not promise more, with all things considered, you find yourself to be able to bring to pass.  The Gentiles believing that to be perjury (although not committed, but only conceived in the soul:  see Juvenal’s[2] Satires 13, he answered a certain Spartan, etc.[3]), even to be atoned for by the posterity of the perjurer.  Hesiod:[4]  Ὃς δὲ κε μαρτυρίῃσιν, etc., but whoever in his witness, etc.[5]  In Hebrew, there is an Enallage of gender, שְׁבוּעָה/oath, which is feminine, is constructed with הַזֶּה/this, which is masculine (Masius).

Blameless of this thine oath, that is, free from guilt or reproach if it be violated, namely, if the following condition be not observed.

[With which thou didst adjure us (thus the Syriac, Junius and Tremellius), הִשְׁבַּעְתָּנוּ]  Thou didst cause us to swear[6] (Montanus); which thou didst declare upon us (Jonathan); with which thou didst call us to witness (Arabic); to which thou didst bind us (Pagnine and Vatablus in Lapide).  The words of which thou didst dictate to us.  See what things are on Leviticus 5:1 and Matthew 26:63 (Grotius).

[1] Hebrew:  וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ אֵלֶ֖יהָ הָאֲנָשִׁ֑ים נְקִיִּ֣ם אֲנַ֔חְנוּ מִשְּׁבֻעָתֵ֥ךְ הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר הִשְׁבַּעְתָּֽנוּ׃

[2] Decimus Junius Juvenalis was a Roman poet, flourishing at the turn of the second century.

[3] Juvenal tells of a certain Spartan that perjured himself, later repented, and yet was still punished for his earlier intention.

[4] Hesiod was a Greek Poet, living around the turn of the seventh century BC.  His work preserves a most ancient form of Greek mythology, as well as other pieces of an otherwise lost antiquity.

[5] Works and Days 282.  In this passage, Zeus is said to be a rewarder of those that keep faith, but perjurers and their offspring are punished.

[6] The Hiphil conjugation frequently conveys a causative sense.

Joshua 2:16: Rahab’s Covenant, Part 4

Verse 16:[1]  And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned:  and afterward may ye go your way.

[To the mountains]  Hebrew:  to the mountain;[2] that is, which was adjacent to the city (Vatablus).  Mountain in the place of mountains:  thus Deuteronomy 1:7;[3] 2:37;[4] Joshua 9:1;[5] 10:40[6] (Drusius).  Jericho was surrounded by mountains (Serarius, Bonfrerius, Masius, Josephus and Adrichomius[7] in Bonfrerius), toward the West, North, and South:  But Jordan itself was toward the East, in which direction the pursuers were proceeding (Serarius).

To the mountain, that is, to some of the mountains wherewith Jericho was encompassed, in which also there were many caves where they might lurk.

[Lest they meet you[8]]  Or, lest they rush upon you, or, attack:  for פָּגַע often signifies this (Masius).

[Remaining in hiding three days]  It is a Synecdoche; for only a part of the first and of the last days is spent in hiding (Serarius).  Thus Christ arose on the third day:  and it everywhere happens that the time of night before sleep is reckoned to the day (Serarius, similarly Masius, Lightfoot).  The Hebrews observe that tribulations are often limited to three days, Genesis 42:18; Hosea 6:2; Jonah 1:17.  This prognostic of the third day they ascribe partly to the Law given on the third day, Exodus 19:16, partly to Abraham going to sacrifice his son, Genesis 22:4.  We more rightly ascribe it to Christ, who arose on the third day (Masius).  Not that she was thinking that three days were necessary for the journey and return, for from the city to the ford there were only sixty stadia, or five miles; but that it was likely that the pursuers were not going to return directly, but were everywhere going to search the thickets, retreats, and all hiding places, and were going to wait at Jordan for some time (Bonfrerius, Masius).  In the word וְנַחְבֵּתֶם, and hide yourselves, an א/Aleph or ה/He is wanting or lies hidden, and a Patach (ַ) is under the נ in the place of the Hireq (ִ), because of the guttural ח[9] (Masius).

Three days; not three whole days, but one whole day, and parts of two days:  see on Joshua 1:11.

[1] Hebrew: וַתֹּ֤אמֶר לָהֶם֙ הָהָ֣רָה לֵּ֔כוּ פֶּֽן־יִפְגְּע֥וּ בָכֶ֖ם הָרֹדְפִ֑ים וְנַחְבֵּתֶ֙ם שָׁ֜מָּה שְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֗ים עַ֚ד שׁ֣וֹב הָרֹֽדְפִ֔ים וְאַחַ֖ר תֵּלְכ֥וּ לְדַרְכְּכֶֽם׃

[2] Hebrew:  הָהָרָה.

[3] Deuteronomy 1:7:  “Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites (הַ֥ר הָֽאֱמֹרִי֮), and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills (בָהָר), and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”

[4] Deuteronomy 2:37:  “Only unto the land of the children of Ammon thou camest not, nor unto any place of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in the mountains (וְעָרֵ֣י הָהָ֔ר), nor unto whatsoever the Lord our God forbad us.”

[5] Joshua 9:1:  “And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills (בָּהָר), and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof…”

[6] Joshua 10:40:  “So Joshua smote all the country of the hills (אֶת־כָּל־הָאָ֡רֶץ הָהָר֩), and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings:  he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded.”

[7] Christian Adrichomius (1533-1585), a Dutch Roman Catholic priest, wrote an important geography of Palestine (Theatrum Terræ Sanctæ et Biblicarum Historiarum).

[8] Hebrew:  פֶּֽן־יִפְגְּע֥וּ בָכֶ֖ם. פָּגַע  signifies to encounter, even to encounter with hostility, to fall upon.

[9] The root is חָבָא or חָבָה, to hide.  It is not unusual for a final ה to be dropped, or a final א to lose its power as a consonant.  In the Niphal, the presence of the guttural ח as the initial letter in the root tends to lengthen the Hireq (ִ), so the presence of the Patach (ַ) is unusual.

Joshua 2:15: Rahab’s Covenant, Part 3

Verse 15:[1]  Then she (Acts 9:25) let them down by a cord through the window:  for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.

[Accordingly she let them down by a cord]  Some think that in these two verses there is an historical Enallage of the narration (Tostatus and Cajetan in Serarius, Masius).  They do not appear to have been put in their own proper place, but they are to be pushed back to verse 21.  It is not unusual in Sacred Scripture for the order of narrations to be jumbled and confused.  For it is not credible that they were sent away with the sign not yet given (Masius):  neither would the spies swear, before they had specified all the stipulations (Serarius).  But how were so many things spoken outside of the city at the walls, without anyone hearing?  Response:  This belonged to the Divine providence, that no one understood; by which also it was accomplished that they did not see the lowering down (Serarius).  Some think that the thread of the series is correct, and that the following things were said when they were let down (Kimchi in Serarius, Serarius):  for it is said, thou didst let down.[2]  But Masius answers that it is an Enallage of tenses, thou didst let down, in the place of, thou wilt have let down, or in the place of, thou preparest to let down.  (This would not displease, says Serarius, except the propriety of the words is to be retained in histories.)  Thus in Joshua 10:15 Joshua is said to have returned to Gilgal significantly before he retruned (Masius).  Perhaps it may yet be said without absurdity that the woman, so anxious concerning the preservation of her guests, being content with the oath, sent them forth speedily, anticipating at a more convenient time the sign of her salvation; but that they, being now more secure, spoke these words in front of the walls, with her listening through the window (Masius).

[By a cord]  By which she was accustomed to send forth and receive fornicators; so that the instrument both of sin and of salvation might be the same (Lyra).

[It was joined to the wall, בְּקִ֣יר הַֽחוֹמָ֔ה[3]In pariete muri, in the inner wall of the city wall (Vatablus, Montanus, Drusius), or mœnium/bulwarks (Junius and Tremellius); in muro mœnium, in the wall of the bulwarks (Masius).  Paries is properly of houses, murus of cities (Drusius).  Her house was in the city wall (the Septuagint in Lapide).  קִיר not only signifies private walls, but also the bulwarks of cities.  Thus Numbers 35:4, a thousand cubits from the wall of the city[4] (Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:50:590).  Among the Latins a submœnium, a place beneath the city walls, is mentioned, when the submœnian harlots in Martial’s[5] Epigrams 1:35; 3:82 (Malvenda).  Citizens of slighter fortune and harlots were wont to dwell there (Calvin and Masius in Serarius).  But this is rather to be imputed to the Divine providence (Serarius).

Her house was upon the town wall:  Which gave her the opportunity of dismissing them when the gates were shut.

[It was joined,[6]הִ֥יא יוֹשָֽׁבֶת׃ ]  She sitting[7] (Montanus).  She, that is, the house.[8]  Thus, Alexandria sits upon streams, that is, it was situated or placed.  But perhaps she, that is, Rahab, was sitting, that is, was dwelling (Drusius).  She was dwelling, or living (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic).

She dwelt upon the wall; her particular dwelling was there; which may possibly be added, because the other part of her house was reserved for the entertainment of strangers.

[1] Hebrew:  וַתּוֹרִדֵ֥ם בַּחֶ֖בֶל בְּעַ֣ד הַֽחַלּ֑וֹן כִּ֤י בֵיתָהּ֙ בְּקִ֣יר הַֽחוֹמָ֔ה וּבַֽחוֹמָ֖ה הִ֥יא יוֹשָֽׁבֶת׃

[2] See verse 18.

[3] קִיר signifies wall, as does חוֹמָה.

[4] Numbers 35:4:  “And the suburbs of the cities, which ye shall give unto the Levites, shall reach from the wall of the city (מִקִּ֤יר הָעִיר֙) and outward a thousand cubits round about.”

[5] Marcus Valerius Martialis was a first century Roman poet.

[6] The final two Hebrew clauses of this verse, כִּ֤י בֵיתָהּ֙ בְּקִ֣יר הַֽחוֹמָ֔ה וּבַֽחוֹמָ֖ה הִ֥יא יוֹשָֽׁבֶת׃, for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall, are rendered as one in the Vulgate, domus enim ejus hærebat muro, for her house was joined to the town wall.

[7] A woodenly literalistic rendering.

[8] בַּיִת/house in Hebrew is masculine, but perhaps it is read as feminine in the present context because of the feminine suffix.

Joshua 2:14: Rahab’s Covenant, Part 2

Verse 14:[1]  And the men answered her, Our life for yours (Heb. instead of you to die[2]), if ye utter not this our business.  And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that (Judg. 1:24; Matt. 5:7) we will deal kindly and truly with thee.

[Let our soul be in your place unto death, נַפְשֵׁ֤נוּ תַחְתֵּיכֶם֙ לָמ֔וּת]  Our soul for you to die (Montanus, Drusius, Masius), supply, shall be exposed (Junius and Tremellius).  Hebraism:  We will preserve you, even if it should mean death for us (Vatablus).  We will deliver ourselves to be killed for your sake to those wishing to kill you (Kimchi in Masius).  This is a formula of oath (Masius, Malvenda, Bonfrerius); that is to say, May our soul die, or, May God destroy us, if the Hebrews harm you.  See verse 17 (Lapide).  To God we pledge our soul or life in the place of thine, so that, if anyone harm thee, He shall destroy us (Bonfrerius).  Indeed, the name of Jehovah is not in the formula; but it was religion to pious men to employ that in imprecations of this sort:  And, for this reason, if it was posited, those evil, ominous, and dire words were passed over in silence; as in those words, The Lord do so to me, etc.[3]  But it was sufficient that the name of God was in the stipulation of Rahab, to which they respond fully and completely (Masius).

Our life for yours; we pawn and will venture our lives for the security of yours.  Or, may we perish, if you be not preserved.

[If thou dost nor reveal us]  And our business, which the King would have purchased at the greatest price (Malvenda).  But they were already sufficiently confident of Rahab’s intention (Bonfrerius).

[אִ֚ם לֹ֣א תַגִּ֔ידוּ אֶת־דְּבָרֵ֖נוּ זֶ֑ה]  If ye reveal, or divulge, not this our word (Montanus, similarly Junius and Tremellius).  Our matter (Masius, Drusius), which was transacted among us (Drusius).  This our fame (Arabic); that business (Jonathan), the business of this covenant (Piscator).  Understand the sign to be hung from the window, and the counsel concerning gathering her paternal family into her house (Drusius, Kimchi and Levi ben Gershon in Masius).  For, if the citizens had learned of those things, some would have made use of similar signs, and others would have intruded upon the house of Rahab (Masius), and those were too many and unworthy of life (Menochius).  Therefore, they desire that the execution of the oath by not impeded by her (Bonfrerius).  We are admonished by their exception, that we not suffer ourselves to be drawn to swear except with the greatest caution and religion, after we have diligently explored all things completely, whether we might even be able to fulfill what we have sworn (Masius).  Our speech, that is, this method by which we mean to save you:  or, our speeches in which we promise that we are going to preserve thee, etc. (Vatablus).

This our business, that is, this agreement of ours, and the way and condition of it, lest others under this pretence secure themselves.  By which they show both their piety and prudence in managing their oath with so much circumspection and caution, that neither their own consciences might be insnared, nor the public justice obstructed.

[And when the Lord will have delivered[4]]  Hebrew:  and it shall be.[5]  Either it is superfluous, as is often the case; or it confirms what preceded, and what follows:  that is to say, What we have said shall be done; do not doubt it:  in turn to thee we promise, that when Jehovah, etc. (Vatablus).

[We shall do unto thee mercy and truth[6]]  That is, We shall preserve thee in life, and we will not fail (Vatablus).  This phrase signifies to be kind with the utmost fidelity (Masius).  He furnishes mercy, who first confers a benefit; truth, who repays a benefit (Vatablus).  חֶסֶד, piety, or beneficence, has regard unto the benefit itself, and signifies a gratuitous benefit.  And so it regards the kinsmen of Rahab, who performed no meritorious services toward the spies.  אֱמֶת, truth, has regard unto the certain fidelity of furnishing the benefit, and signifies what is just and equitable to be furnished; but this has regard to Rahab herself.  You will find these conjoined, Genesis 24:27 (Masius out of Kimchi).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֧אמְרוּ לָ֣הּ הָאֲנָשִׁ֗ים נַפְשֵׁ֤נוּ תַחְתֵּיכֶם֙ לָמ֔וּת אִ֚ם לֹ֣א תַגִּ֔ידוּ אֶת־דְּבָרֵ֖נוּ זֶ֑ה וְהָיָ֗ה בְּתֵת־יְהוָ֥ה לָ֙נוּ֙ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְעָשִׂ֥ינוּ עִמָּ֖ךְ חֶ֥סֶד וֶאֱמֶֽת׃

[2] Hebrew:  תַחְתֵּיכֶם֙ לָמ֔וּת.

[3] See Ruth 1:17; 1 Samuel 3:17; 1 Kings 2:23.

[4] Hebrew:  וְהָיָ֗ה בְּתֵת־יְהוָ֥ה לָ֙נוּ֙ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ.

[5] Hebrew:  וְהָיָה.

[6] Hebrew: וְעָשִׂ֥ינוּ עִמָּ֖ךְ חֶ֥סֶד וֶאֱמֶֽת׃ .

Joshua 2:12, 13: Rahab’s Covenant, Part 1

Republishing Matthew Henry’s Matthew Henry!


Verse 12:[1]  Now therefore, I pray you, (see 1 Sam. 20:14, 15, 17) swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto (see 1 Tim. 5:8) my father’s house, and (Josh. 2:18) give me a true token…

[By the Lord]  By whom alone swearing is to be done.[2]  Hence her faith shines forth, who comes to terms with them not otherwise than if they were possessing the town; she regarded, not the present condition of her guests with the eyes of the body, but the counsel of God from the viewpoint of faith; since she was acquiescing in this with her whole heart, she was asking that this be sworn (Masius).

By the Lord; by your God, who is the only true God:  so she shows her conversion to God, and owns his worship, one eminent act whereof is swearing by his name.

[I have done mercy]  Relate this, not so much to the evaded inquisitors of the King, as to the reason of evasion now declared (Masius).

[With my father’s house]  Of herself she says nothing, because duty was requiring this of obligation, that they preserve their preserver (Kimchi in Masius).  Of a husband and offspring she says nothing, because she had none, as previously mentioned.  Concerning her relatives she was especially solicitous, because she knew that they were not yet having their hope place in God, who alone could save (Masius).

My father’s house; my near kindred, which she particularly names, verse 13.  Husband and children it seems she had none.  And for herself, it was needless to speak, it being a plain and undeniable duty to save their preserver.

[And give a true sign, א֥וֹת אֱמֶֽת׃]  A sign of truth (Montanus, Jonathan); or, a true sign (Syriac), a symbol of promise not at all deceitful (Munster); a certain sign (Arabic), by which she could truly and certainly secure herself and her own from destruction, and which she might show the Israelites laying all waste (Bonfrerius).

A true token; either an assurance that you will preserve me and mine from the common ruin; or a token which I may produce as a witness of this agreement, and a mean of my security.


Verse 13:[3]  And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

[All that they have]  The children of her brothers and sisters, as it is evident from Joshua 6:23 (Masius).  In such matters that do not harm the public state, those sent by the people place the people under obligation.  For which reason also this faith is kept, Joshua 6:25 and Matthew 1:5.  There is a similar history in Judges 1:25 (Grotius).

All that they have, that is, their children, as appears from Joshua 6:23.

[1] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֗ה הִשָּֽׁבְעוּ־נָ֥א לִי֙ בַּֽיהוָ֔ה כִּי־עָשִׂ֥יתִי עִמָּכֶ֖ם חָ֑סֶד וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֙ם גַּם־אַתֶּ֜ם עִם־בֵּ֤ית אָבִי֙ חֶ֔סֶד וּנְתַתֶּ֥ם לִ֖י א֥וֹת אֱמֶֽת׃

[2] See Deuteronomy 6:13; 10:20; Matthew 4:10.

[3] Hebrew: וְהַחֲיִתֶ֞ם אֶת־אָבִ֣י וְאֶת־אִמִּ֗י וְאֶת־אַחַי֙ וְאֶת־אַחוֹתַ֔י וְאֵ֖ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר לָהֶ֑ם וְהִצַּלְתֶּ֥ם אֶת־נַפְשֹׁתֵ֖ינוּ מִמָּֽוֶת׃