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.

1 thought on “Joshua 2:15: Rahab’s Covenant, Part 3

  1. Matthew Henry: “Some ask how her house, which is said to have been upon the wall (Joshua 2:15), escaped falling with the wall; we are sure it did escape, for she and her relations were safe in it, either though it joined so near to the wall as to be said to be upon it, yet it was so far off as not to fall either with the wall or under it; or, rather, that part of the wall on which her house stood fell not. Now being preserved alive, 1. She was left for some time without the camp to be purified from the Gentile superstition, which she was to renounce, and to be prepared for her admission as a proselyte. 2. She was in due time incorporated with the church of Israel, and she and her posterity dwelt in Israel, and her family was remarkable long after. We find her the wife of Salmon, prince of Judah, mother of Boaz, and named among the ancestors of our Saviour, Matthew 1:5. Having received Israelites in the name of Israelites, she had an Israelite’s reward. Bishop Pierson observes that Joshua’s saving Rahab the harlot, and admitting her into Israel, were a figure of Christ’s receiving into his kingdom, and entertaining there, the publicans and the harlots, Matthew 21:31. Or it may be applied to the conversion of the Gentiles.”

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