Joshua 2

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1 And Joshua son of Nun sendeth from Shittim, two men, spies, silently, saying, `Go, see the land -- and Jericho;' and they Go and come into the house of a woman, a harlot, and her name [is] Rahab, and they lie down there.

2 And it is told to the king of Jericho, saying, `Lo, men have come in hither to-night, from the sons of Israel, to search the land.

3 And the king of Jericho sendeth unto Rahab, saying, `Bring out the men who are coming in unto thee, who have come into thy house, for to search the whole of the land they have come in.

4 And the woman taketh the two men, and hideth them, and saith thus: `The men came in unto me, and I have not known whence they [are];

5 and it cometh to pass -- the gate is to [be] shut -- in the dark, and the men have gone out; I have not known whither the men have gone; pursue ye, hasten after them, for ye overtake them;'

6 and she hath caused them to go up on the roof, and hideth them with the flax wood, which is arranged for her on the roof.

7 And the men have pursued after them the way of the Jordan, by the fords, and the gate they have shut afterwards, when the pursuers have gone out after them.

8 And -- before they lie down -- she hath gone up unto them on the roof,

9 and she saith unto the men, `I have known that Jehovah hath given to you the land, and that your terror hath fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted at your presence.

10 `For we have heard how Jehovah dried up the waters of the Red Sea at your presence, in your going out of Egypt, and that which ye have done to the two kings of the Amorite who [are] beyond the Jordan; to Sihon and to Og whom ye devoted.

11 And we hear, and melt doth our heart, and there hath not stood any more spirit in [any] man, from your presence, for Jehovah your God, He [is] God in the heavens above, and on the earth beneath.

12 `And now, swear ye, I pray you, to me by Jehovah -- because I have done with you kindness -- that ye have done, even ye, kindness with the house of my father, and have given to me a true token,

13 and have kept alive my father, and my mother, and my brothers, and my sisters, and all that they have, and have delivered our souls from death.'

14 And the men say to her, `Our soul for yours -- to die; if ye declare not this our matter, then it hath been, in Jehovah's giving to us this land, that we have done with thee kindness and truth.'

15 And she causeth them to go down by a rope through the window, for her house [is] in the side of the wall, and in the wall she [is] dwelling;

16 and she saith to them, `To the mountain go, lest the pursuers come upon you; and ye have been hidden there three days till the turning back of the pursuers, and afterwards ye go on your way.'

17 And the men say unto her, `We are acquitted of this thine oath which thou hast caused us to swear:

18 lo, we are coming into the land, this line of scarlet thread thou dost bind to the window by which thou hast caused us to go down, and thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all the house of thy father thou dost gather unto thee, to the house;

19 and it hath been, any one who goeth out from the doors of thy house without, his blood [is] on his head, and we are innocent; and any one who is with thee in the house, his blood [is] on our head, if a hand is on him;

20 and if thou declare this our matter, then we have been acquitted from thine oath which thou hast caused us to swear.'

21 And she saith, `According unto your words, so it [is];' and she sendeth them away, and they go; and she bindeth the scarlet line to the window.

22 And they go, and come in to the mountain, and abide there three days until the pursuers have turned back; and the pursuers seek in all the way, and have not found.

23 And the two men turn back, and come down from the hill, and pass over, and come in unto Joshua son of Nun, and recount to him all that hath come upon them;

24 and they say unto Joshua, `Surely Jehovah hath given into our hand all the land; and also, all the inhabitants of the land have melted at our presence.'

  

Exploring the Meaning of Joshua 2      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua Chapter 2: Rahab hides the Israelite spies

Chapter 2 is the fascinating story of the prostitute Rahab, whose house is on the wall of the city of Jericho. Joshua sends two spies to see what Jericho is like, because Jericho lies opposite where they will be crossing the river Jordan. Rahab takes these spies into her house and hides them from the king’s messengers, who come and demand that she hand the men over. Rahab says the men have been and gone, and the king’s messengers leave. She then tells the men hidden on the roof that she knows that the God of Israel will give Jericho into the hands of Israel as he has made them victorious up to this time.

She asks them for kindness for everyone in her family just as she has been kind in hiding and so saving them. The two spies give her their promise and she lets them escape down a cord from her window on the city wall. The men tell her that their promise will be void unless she hangs a scarlet cord in her window and brings all her family into her house. Rahab agrees, and the men escape and return to Joshua, telling him everything and saying that God has given them the city.

There are several rich and important spiritual meanings in this very graphic story. First, we should appreciate that the spies do not seem to go anywhere else in Jericho than to Rahab! The point is, they don’t need to, because Rahab’s prostitution – selling her body for men to enjoy – represents the quality of the whole city of Jericho, which stands almost directly opposite where Israel will cross the Jordan. It must and will be taken. (See Doctrine of Life 46).

In this story, Jericho stands for a sensual life. It's the sort of life that comes into play when anything we know about God’s truth gets perverted and rejected as nothing. No truth, no values, no conscience, nothing! (See Arcana Caelestia 2973[6].) This is why the story involves the prostitute Rahab, because she pictures that level of life.

But Rahab sees herself for what she is and for what her city is, and she knows that with the God of the Israelites coming, there is no future for Jericho. She believes the future lies with Israel and their God.

So what we have in this story is a sinful woman whose mind and heart and actions turn towards repentance, and even a genuine worship and acknowledgement of God. For us, it is the picture of our unspiritual or natural life which is self-gratifying, hedonistic, pleasure-seeking and opportunistic. But hopefully for us it is also the picture of our wish and our intention to believe in and follow God (Arcana Caelestia 5639[2]). If we have that wish and work towards it, as with Rahab, it will eventually save us from ourselves and save everything about us (all Rahab’s family).

Next, we should look at these two men who are to spy out Jericho but who go in to Rahab.
Perhaps a better word than to ‘spy’ is to ‘espy’ which means to observe but even more to take a very long hard look at how a situation is. If we direct that to ourselves we are talking about real self-examination, about looking at how we have been and what we have thought, said and done, or not. We can only examine ourselves properly if we have begun to take on various values and truths, and look at ourselves in their light (Doctrine of Life 6).

There are two men, not one, and this is because our spiritual life involves a love for what is true and a love for what is good (Arcana Caelestia 5194). When we love and want to live by what is true, then things we know becomes things we feel and we have delight in them and doing them.

Lastly, note how these two men are hidden by Rahab high up on the roof, under her drying flax stalks. In the Word, anything up high is a picture of being closer to God, nearer to what is true (Divine Love and Wisdom 103). We see more high up! And the flax is the fibre from which our spiritual clothing – these truths again – can be made. And flax provides linen which was used for the high priest’s robes.

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