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׃

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

  1. Jonathan Edwards, “Concerning the Necessity and Reasonableness of the Christian Doctrine of Satisfaction for Sin”: “The laying of hands on the head of the sacrifice, was a token of putting the guilt of sin upon a person; agreeably to the customary signification of the imputation of guilt among the Hebrews. Thus the phrase, his blood shall be upon his own head, or on our heads, etc. was a phrase for the imputation of the guilt of blood. So Josh 2:19…”

  2. Calvin: “A condition, however, is inserted, — provided Rahab do not divulge what they have said. This was inserted, not on account of distrust, as is usually expounded, but only to put Rahab more upon her guard, on her own account. The warning, therefore, was given in good faith, and flowed from pure good will: for there was a danger that Rahab might betray herself by a disclosure. In one word, they show how important it is that the matter should remain, as it were, buried, lest the woman, by inconsiderately talking of the compact, might expose herself to capital punishment. In this they show that they were sincerely anxious for her safety, since they thus early caution her against doing anything which might put it out of their power to render her a service. In further distinctly stipulating, that no one should go out of the house, or otherwise they should be held blameless, we may draw the important inference, that in making oaths soberness should be carefully attended to, that we may not profane the name of God by making futile promises on any subject.”

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