14 Jul Histo-Ray Commentary by Ray Moore – Joshua 2:1-14
JOSHUA 2:1-14 STRANGERS IN THE ATTIC
“Faith is more than thinking something is true. Faith is thinking something is true to the extent we act on it.” W.T. Purkiser
Rahab demonstrates for us the wisdom and value of choosing faith and acting upon that choice. Her reward was enormous.
Joshua 2:1-14 Undercover Assignment
Verse 1 Jericho is 14 miles west of the Jordan River. It was a walled fortress. Joshua sent spies to gain information to help know when/how to attack. The use of the spies was not a lack of faith but a demonstration that true faith is active faith. Like Joshua, we must use common sense and caution as we march through our Christian lives.
Why did the spies go to Rahab’s house? It was probably in an area where there was much foot traffic and the spies wouldn’t be isolated.
Verse 2 So much for undercover work. The spies were detected quickly. The king of Jericho learned of them and sent for Rahab to turn them over. He obviously expected her to do her patriotic duty.
Verse 4-7 The story take a surprising turn. At her own initiative, Rahab lied to the king’s men and sent them on a wild chase. The morality of Rahab’s lie is a central issue in this chapter. It’s important to remember:
- What the bible reports and what it recommends
- What the bible records and what it requires
Certainly Rahab’s lie is never condoned. God could have saved them another way. We could hardly expect spiritual behavior from a heathen harlot especially one involved in espionage.
Rahab, for all her negative beginning, rises like a star through out the pages of biblical history. In the honor roll of faith found in Hebrews chapter 11, she makes an appearance “by faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” (Hebrews 11:31) James tells us “Was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in different directions?”
Rahab’s act of faith placed here with four other women in Jesus’ genealogy. (Tamar, Ruth Bathsheba and Mary) Mary was of course a Jew, but the others were foreigners who became part of Israel.
Howard notes: “This reflects the inclusiveness intended in the Abrahamic Covenant, whereby God stated he would bring blessings to the nations—to those who were not descendants of Abraham, like Rahab, through Abraham and his descendants.”
Shaeffer writes: “Rahab stood alone in faith against the TOTAL culture which surrounded her. For a period of time, she stood for the unseen against the seen.”
What about Rahab’s lie? We must be careful to make a distinction between Rahab’s faith and the way Rahab expressed it. The bible praises Rahab because of her faith in God, not because of her lying. Rahab, like the rest of us had a mixed character, but she believed in God and strove to honor Him and His people. That is what draws her praise.
Joshua 2:8-14 Undercover Intelligence
Verses 8-13 Rahab and her fellow citizens of Jericho had heard stories of the Red Sea and the defeat of Sihon and Og. The miraculous works of God made a greater impression on her than on some of the Israelites. Rahab had also come to a personal conviction about the nature of God when she said “The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” This is an amazing statement of faith for a woman who had never tasted manna, had never seen the glory cloud and had never read the law. Rahab’s words become even more significant when we realize the last part, the phrase “in the heaven above and the earth below.” It is found only three times prior to this and affirms God’s exclusive claim to sovereignty.
Why did the spies make a treaty of amnesty with a prostitute? Most scholars feel that Rahab’s testimony makes her a DE FACTO Israelite in that she had joined sides with God.
Verse 14 “Our lives for your life.” That was the deal. The spies never wavered in their confidence that God would give them the land. But there were conditions that Rahab had to fulfill in exchange for which she would be treated “kindly and faithfully.” The word “kindly” appears in verse 12 as a request and in verse 14 as a promise. Kindness is a significant word and it appears 250 times in the Old Testament. Kindness (HESED) is a steadfast genuine love based on some kind of promise. Rahab made a HESED agreement with them by saving their lives and they in turn made a HESED agreement with her to spare the lives of her family.
Remember from this story of Rahab, FAITH IS A VERB.