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׃

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

  1. Jonathan Edwards, “Qualifications for Communion”: “This institution [of swearing] we have in Deuteronomy 6:13, “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.” It is repeated, Deuteronomy 10:20, “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, him alone shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.” In both places it might have been rendered; thou shalt swear in his name, or into his name. In the original, bishmo, with the prefix beth, which signifies in or into, as well as by. And whereas, in the latter place, in our translation, it is said, to him shalt thou cleave and swear by his name, the words are thus in the Hebrew, ubho thidhbák ubhishmo tisshàbhéang. The literal translation of which is, into him shalt thou cleave, [or unite,] and into his name shalt thou swear. There is the same prefix, beth, before him, when it is said, Thou shalt cleave to him, as before his name, when it is said, Thou shalt swear by his name. Swearing into God’s name, is a very emphatical and significant way of expressing a person’s taking on himself, by his own solemn profession, the name of God, as one of his people; or by swearing to or covenanting with God, uniting himself by his own act to the people that is called by his name. The figure of speech is something like that by which Christians in the New Testament are said to be baptized eis to onoma, into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. So Christians are said to be baptized into Christ, Galatians 3:17. This swearing by the name, or into the name, of the Lord, is so often, and in such a manner, spoken of by the prophets as a great duty of God’s solemn public worship, as much as praying or sacrificing, that it would be unreasonable to understand it only, or chiefly, of occasionally taking an oath before a court of judicature, which, it may be, one tenth part of the people never had occasion to do once in their lives. If we well consider the matter, we shall see abundant reason to be satisfied, that the thing intended in this institution was publicly covenanting with God. Covenanting in Scripture is very often called by the name of swearing, and a covenant is called an oath. [As Genesis 21:23-34; 26:28-35; 31:44,53; Joshua 2:12; etc.; 1 Samuel 20:16, 17,42; 2 Kings 11:4; Ecclesiastes 8:2; Ezekiel 16:59; 17:16; and many other places.] And particularly God’s covenant is called his oath, Deuteronomy 29:12, “That thou shouldst enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and into his oath.” Deuteronomy 29:14, “Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath.” 1 Chronicles 16:15-16, “Be ye mindful always of his covenant:—Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac.” 2 Chronicles 15:12, “And they entered into covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers.” 2 Chronicles 15:14-15, “And they sware unto the Lord with a loud voice: and all Judah rejoiced at the oath.” Swearing to the Lord, or swearing in or into the name of the Lord, are equipollent expressions in the Bible. The prefixed beth and lamed are evidently used indifferently in this case to signify the same thing, Zephaniah 1:5, “That swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham.” The word translated to the Lord, is Laihovah, with the prefix lamed; but to Malcham, is Bemalcham with the prefix beth, into Malcham. In 1 Kings 18:32 it is said, “Elijah built an altar in the name of the Lord;” beshem. Here the prefix beth is manifestly of the same force with lamed, in 1 Kings 8:44, “The house I have built for thy name or to thy name;” leshem.
    God’s people in swearing to his name, or into his name, according to the institution, solemnly professed two things, namely, their faith and obedience. The former part of this profession of religion was called, Saying, the Lord liveth. Jerermiah 5:2, “And though they say, the Lord liveth, yet surely they swear falsely.” Jeremiah 5:7, “They have sworn by them that are no gods:” that is, they had openly professed idol-worship. Jeremiah 4:2, “Thou shalt swear, the Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.” (Compare this with Isaiah 45:23-25.) Jeremiah 44:26, “Behold I have sworn by my great name, saith the Lord, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, the Lord liveth:” that is, They shall never any more make any profession of the true God, and of the true religion, but shall be wholly given up to heathenism. See also Jeremiah 12:16; 16:14, 15; 23:7-8; Hosea 4:15; Amos 8:14.”

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