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׃

Joshua 2:10, 11: Rahab’s Faith, Part 3

Verse 10:[1]  For we have heard how the LORD (Ex. 14:21; Josh. 4:23) dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and (Num. 21:24, 34, 35) what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.

[For we have heard, etc.]  Then why did they not put an obstacle in the way of those passing over Jordan?  They certainly appear to have despised them as wretched renaways, not suited for war.  At the same time, their minds were agitated by some heavenly impulse, etc. (Masius).

[That He dried up[2] (similarly Montanus)]  That God dried, or, how He dried (Junius and Tremellius).

[Ye destroyed, הֶחֱרַמְתֶּם]  Concerning which word see Leviticus 27:28[3] (Lapide).

 

Verse 11:[4]  And as soon as we had (Ex. 15:14, 15) heard these things, (Josh. 5:1; 7:5; Is. 13:7) our hearts did melt, neither did there remain (Heb. rose up[5]) any more courage in any man, because of you:  for (Deut. 4:39) the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

[And out heart drooped, וַיִּמַּס]  And it melted (Montanus, Jonathan, Masius, Junius and Tremellius, Drusius, similarly the Arabic), was troubled (Syriac).  A Hebraism, in the place of, we were exceedingly frightened (Vatablus).  We are shaken in our mind (the Septuagint in Masius).  It is a Metaphor derived from wax (Masius, Menochius), or from melting snow (Menochius).

Did melt, that is, were dissolved, lost all consistency and courage.  This phrase is oft used, as Deuteronomy 1:28;[6] 20:8;[7] Joshua 5:1; 7:5.

[Neither remained a spirit (thus the Chaldean in Vatablus, Syriac, similarly Jonathan, Arabic), וְלֹא־קָמָה]  It did not rise (Montanus, Malvenda).  But this is incorrect:  קוּם here signifies to stand, not to rise (Drusius).  It did not stand fast (Vatablus, Drusius); the spirit no longer stands firm (Junius); no man stands firm in soul (Junius and Tremellius); it did not persist (Drusius).  קוּם sometimes signifies to remain, or, to live on (Glassius’ “Grammar” 225).  To stand sometimes signifies to remain.  The heart or spirit is said to depart in consummate fear, 1 Samuel 17:32 (Drusius).  In a man follows; emphatically:  that is to say, Those that were previously men, in them courage/spirit completely fails (Drusius).

[At your invasion, מִפְּנֵיכֶם]  From your sight (Targum in Drusius); because of your presence, or, for your sake (Masius), because of you (Vatablus), in fear of you (Junius and Tremellius).  Thus elsewhere, he fled from the face (that is, in fear) of Absalom[8] (Drusius).

[In heaven, etc.]  As One that governs the heavenly souls of men according to His will, by confounding some with fear, and strengthening others with courage.  But in the earth, as One that dispenses all earthly things according to His will, He takes from some, and assigns to others (Masius).  Your God works wherever He pleases whatever He wills; therefore, the Canaanites are not able to resist (Lapide).  He alone is immense and omnipotent (Bonfrerius).  She sets Jehovah as one over against all feigned gods.  This is the faith and profession of Rahab, so celebrated, by which (say the Hebrews) she merited this, that eight Prophets and Priests were born of her line, Jeremiah, Baruch, Hanameel, etc.  And they say that she gave her name to Judaism in the fiftieth year of her life, and that she entreated pardon from God, etc. (Masius).

He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath; he can do whatsoever he pleaseth in heaven and earth; whereas our gods are enclosed in heaven, and can do nothing to us upon earth.

[1] Hebrew: כִּ֣י שָׁמַ֗עְנוּ אֵ֠ת אֲשֶׁר־הוֹבִ֙ישׁ יְהוָ֜ה אֶת־מֵ֤י יַם־סוּף֙ מִפְּנֵיכֶ֔ם בְּצֵאתְכֶ֖ם מִמִּצְרָ֑יִם וַאֲשֶׁ֣ר עֲשִׂיתֶ֡ם לִשְׁנֵי֩ מַלְכֵ֙י הָאֱמֹרִ֜י אֲשֶׁ֙ר בְּעֵ֤בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן֙ לְסִיחֹ֣ן וּלְע֔וֹג אֲשֶׁ֥ר הֶחֱרַמְתֶּ֖ם אוֹתָֽם׃

[2] Hebrew:  אֵ֠ת אֲשֶׁר־הוֹבִ֙ישׁ יְהוָ֜ה.

[3] Leviticus 27:28:  “Notwithstanding no devoted thing (חֵרֶם), that a man shall devote (יַחֲרִם) unto the Lord of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing (חֵרֶם) is most holy unto the Lord.”

[4] Hebrew: וַנִּשְׁמַע֙ וַיִּמַּ֣ס לְבָבֵ֔נוּ וְלֹא־קָ֙מָה ע֥וֹד ר֛וּחַ בְּאִ֖ישׁ מִפְּנֵיכֶ֑ם כִּ֚י יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם ה֤וּא אֱלֹהִים֙ בַּשָּׁמַ֣יִם מִמַּ֔עַל וְעַל־הָאָ֖רֶץ מִתָּֽחַת׃

[5] Hebrew:  קָמָה.

[6] Deuteronomy 1:28a:  “Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart (הֵמַ֙סּוּ אֶת־לְבָבֵ֜נוּ, have melted our heart)…”

[7] Deuteronomy 20:8b:  “What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint (יִמַּס/melt) as well as his heart.”

[8] Psalm 3 (title):  “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom (מִפְּנֵ֤י׀ אַבְשָׁל֬וֹם) his son.”  2 Samuel 15:14:  “And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalomמִפְּנֵ֣י) אַבְשָׁל֑וֹם):  make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.”