Gracefully Truthful


Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Joshua 2:1-24

Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two men as spies from the Acacia Grove, saying, “Go and scout the land, especially Jericho.” So they left, and they came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab, and stayed there.

2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelite men have come here tonight to investigate the land.” 3 Then the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab and said, “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, for they came to investigate the entire land.”

4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. So she said, “Yes, the men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they were from. 5 At nightfall, when the city gate was about to close, the men went out, and I don’t know where they were going. Chase after them quickly, and you can catch up with them!” 6 But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them among the stalks of flax that she had arranged on the roof. 7 The men pursued them along the road to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as they left to pursue them, the city gate was shut.

8 Before the men fell asleep, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you. 10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings you completely destroyed across the Jordan. 11 When we heard this, we lost heart, and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on earth below. 12 Now please swear to me by the LORD that you will also show kindness to my father’s family, because I showed kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all who belong to them, and save us from death.”

14 The men answered her, “We will give our lives for yours. If you don’t report our mission, we will show kindness and faithfulness to you when the LORD gives us the land.”

15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, since she lived in a house that was built into the wall of the city. 16 “Go to the hill country so that the men pursuing you won’t find you,” she said to them. “Hide there for three days until they return; afterward, go on your way.” 17 The men said to her, “We will be free from this oath you made us swear, 18 unless, when we enter the land, you tie this scarlet cord to the window through which you let us down. Bring your father, mother, brothers, and all your father’s family into your house. 19 If anyone goes out the doors of your house, his death will be his own fault, and we will be innocent. But if anyone with you in the house should be harmed, his death will be our fault. 20 And if you report our mission, we are free from the oath you made us swear.”

21 “Let it be as you say,” she replied, and she sent them away. After they had gone, she tied the scarlet cord to the window. 22 So the two men went into the hill country and stayed there three days until the pursuers had returned. They searched all along the way, but did not find them. 23 Then the men returned, came down from the hill country, and crossed the Jordan. They went to Joshua son of Nun and reported everything that had happened to them. 24 They told Joshua, “The LORD has handed over the entire land to us. Everyone who lives in the land is also panicking because of us.”

The Original Intent

1) How did the spies end up at Rahab’s house? (verse 1)

Before the battle of Jericho,Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two men as spies . . . So they left, and they came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab, and stayed there.” (Joshua 2:1) Joshua didn’t specifically target Rahab’s home, but, by God’s good providence, they found this faith-filled believer who would eventually be woven into the maternal lineage of Jesus. (Matthew 1:5)

Liz Curtis Higgs asserts, “It wasn’t coincidence that the two spies ended up at Rahab’s house of ill repute. God had plans for Rahab from before the beginning of time.” Rahab’s home was on the city wall, and the spies likely chose a prostitute’s home because their presence there would not attract much attention since men frequently visited her home.

Moshe Weinfeld notes, “A prostitute’s or innkeeper’s house was the accustomed place for meeting with spies, conspirators, and the like.” There is no indication the spies were there as patrons. Steven Grant argues that the use of the word “sakab” indicates lodging and nothing to do with sexual sin. A. W. Pink suggests that since Rahab had flax on her rooftop, it was an indication that she was trying to earn a living making cloth, much like the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:13. She may even have used the pretense of prostitution to lead the Israelite spies to her home once she recognized their intentions. (The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Scholars)

The Lord led the spies to Rahab, preparing her to help them and to receive aid from them. Author Charles H. Spurgeon asserts, “Israel dreamed not of finding an ally within her enemy’s walls, yet the Lord would have it so, and so it was.” May we be as open and obedient to the working of the Lord in our own lives!

The Everyday Application

1) How did the spies end up at Rahab’s house? (verse 1)

My husband was looking for a new job a few years ago, so he took a day off for several interviews in nearby towns. On a whim, I drove the 30 minutes to see him between interviews and find out how the previous ones had gone (back in the pre-cell phone days!).

I surprised him in the parking lot, and he hopped in my car to go over the details of his interviews. After some time, I said, “I guess you better head into your next meeting.” He looked at his watch and assured me he had time. I pointed to the car’s clock and questioned, “Isn’t your interview at 4:00?”

He realized his watch had stopped working and he quickly gathered his things and sprinted inside the building just in time to make the interview (and get the job!). Later, we laughed about how lucky it was that I showed up when I did, but we both believed it wasn’t really luck but God’s Sovereign goodness. (Romans 8:28)

God helped me be in the right place at the right time so my husband could secure the job God was leading him to accept. That same Sovereign God was at work in the story of Rahab when Joshua’s spies ended up at her doorstep. (Joshua 2:1)

The spies did not know they would find one who feared the Lord in the home of a prostitute, and Rahab hadn’t expected followers of God to bring an opportunity for freedom to her door. But the Lord directed their steps and led the future ancestor of Jesus to save herself and her family by her faith when God’s people came knocking.

We can be assured that even our most unlikely circumstances are part of God’s plan for our lives when we follow Him in faith. (Ephesians 2:10)

The Original Intent

2) Why did Rahab help the spies and not the city officials? (verses 4-6)

When the city officials of Jericho heard that Israelite spies might be hiding at the home of Rahab the prostitute, they asked her to send them out. Instead, she hid the men and told the officials they had already fled. (Joshua 2:4-6)

What made Rahab so loyal to men she didn’t know, at great peril to her own safety? One explanation is the traditional treatment of guests in ancient cultures. David Guzik explains that “The culture of the ancient near east had a strong tradition of protecting guests. Even considering this, Rahab went much further than these cultural traditions regarding hospitality. She put her own life at risk for the Israelite spies.”

Rahab, and all of Jericho, had heard about the mighty works of the God of the Israelites (Joshua 2:10); the Truth of His power and Goodness resonated with her. Charles H. Spurgeon notes, “Out of these common reports, this woman had gathered evidence sufficient for faith to rest upon.“

Rahab evidently longed for a God who would move heaven and earth to set her free and protect her from harm, like He had done for the Israelites. She believed God saw her and wanted to break her chains and lead her to freedom, and she saw this encounter with the spies as God’s invitation to freedom.

Liz Curtis Higgs queries, “How could a Canaanite prostitute know about the one true God? The only explanation is revelation. As Jesus would later say to Peter, ‘This was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.’ (Matthew 16:17) God had shown Rahab who He was, and she had embraced that truth.”

Lord, help us embrace the truth of Your Word as we encounter it in our lives each day!

The Everyday Application

2) Why did Rahab help the spies and not the city officials? (verses 4-6)

In C. S. Lewis’ novel, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, there is a passage when Mr. and Mrs. Beaver first meet the Pevensie siblings. They had heard the stories and the prophecies about the four “Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve” who would herald the return of Aslan, the King of Narnia. The stories, however, were generations old, and Narnia had lived in winter for ages waiting for the prophecies to be fulfilled.

As soon as the Beaver couple saw the children, they had to decide to either obey the White Witch who ruled the land and hand the children over to her, or risk their lives to get the children to Aslan who could save Narnia. At their peril, they chose to help the siblings and trust Aslan to set things right in Narnia.

Rahab the prostitute displayed the same kind of faith when she decided to help the Israelite spies who came to her door in Jericho. (Joshua 2:4-6) Though she put herself at risk by helping the enemy of her people, her faith in God and His promises led her to devise a plan to hide the spies and help them escape.

David Guzik asserts, “This surprising outburst of faith shows that God had a plan in bringing Rahab and the spies together. God had already been speaking to Rahab in some way, and she had begun to believe in the superiority of Yahweh (the Lord), the God of Israel.”

Her faith was so tremendous that she is mentioned alongside Moses and other Old Testament heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 as well as in James 2:25-6.

Rahab didn’t allow her circumstances, or her status, to keep her from believing in God and acting out her faith.

The Original Intent

3) Why did the spies put so much trust in Rahab? (verse 14)

When Joshua sent two spies to scope out Jericho, they ended up at the home of Rahab the prostitute. She hid them from the king’s men and made a deal with them; if she didn’t turn them in, they would return and repay her help by saving her and her family. (Joshua 2:14)

The spies didn’t know Rahab before they arrived at her home, but they quickly realized God led them to her. They could tell that the guidance and protection she gave them was from the Lord. (Joshua 1:9) To meet a follower of Jehovah behind enemy lines was astounding! They knew she was risking herself to help them, and they recognized her loyalty to the Lord.

Rahab affirmed that their God was the true God of heaven and earth, and she asked them to swear they would return her kindness and spare her and her family when the fall of Jericho came, which they did. Richard S. Hess explains, “As an oath of fealty, this covenant would bring Rahab’s family into Israelite society . . . Rahab and her family here ceased to be Canaanite and became part of Israel’s family.”

The spies promised to show Rahab kindness and faithfulness in exchange for her faithfulness to the Lord. The Hebrew word for kindness, hesed, is the “idea of faithful love in action and often in the [Old Testament] refers to God’s lovingkindness expressed in His covenant relationship with Israel” ( The spies were pledging to enact the faithful love of God that Rahab had heard about and believed in because they recognized God had led them to this woman for their benefit and hers.

The Everyday Application

3) Why did the spies put so much trust in Rahab? (verse 14)

My husband’s family loves to participate in March Madness, the college basketball tournament experience that includes filling out brackets to predict which of the 64 teams will win each round. Eventually, the brackets wind down to top the 32, the sweet 16, the final four and, finally, the 2 best teams who face off in the championship game.

Each year I’m invited to fill out a bracket, but since I’m not a big basketball fan, I make my choices willy-nilly and watch all my teams drop out in the early rounds. One year, though, I based all my choices on a common thread: when possible, I picked religious universities to win in each match up. I didn’t know the strengths of any teams in the tournament, but I could recognize a faith-based school when I heard the name and used that as my guide in picking winners.

I was happy to have found something I could identify with in my family’s March Madness preoccupation, even though it earned me some good-natured teasing, especially when my teams won!

The spies Joshua sent out also gravitated to something they noted with familiarity when they entered the foreign city of Jericho. They quickly recognized something significant, albeit surprising, about Rahab. Not only did she trust in the same God they served, but God was using her faith to save them! When they realized their interaction was God-ordained, they pledged to save her and her family from destruction when Israel defeated Jericho. (Joshua 2:14)

In a culture far-removed from their own, God led them to a Gentile woman whose faith was flourishing, Rahab, and they acknowledged her leap of faith by trusting her to hide them and help them. When they accepted Rahab’s help, they were accepting the Lord’s provision (Matthew 6:33) and guidance for their circumstances (Proverbs 16:9).

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