Joshua 2:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. "Go, look over the land," he said, "especially Jericho." So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

New Living Translation
Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove. He instructed them, "Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho." So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night.

English Standard Version
And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there.

New American Standard Bible
Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.

King James Bible
And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
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 woman, a prostitute named Rahab, and stayed there.

International Standard Version
After this, Nun's son Joshua sent two men from the Acacia groves as undercover scouts. He told them, "Go and look over the land. Pay special attention to Jericho." So they went out, came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab, and lodged there.

NET Bible
Joshua son of Nun sent two spies out from Shittim secretly and instructed them: "Find out what you can about the land, especially Jericho." They stopped at the house of a prostitute named Rahab and spent the night there.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
From Shittim Joshua, son of Nun, secretly sent out two men as spies. He told them, "Go, look at that country, especially the city of Jericho." So they went to Jericho and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab to spend the night there.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two spies secretly, saying: 'Go view the land, and Jericho.' And they went, and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lay there.

New American Standard 1977
Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And Joshua, the son of Nun, sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went and came into a harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

King James 2000 Bible
And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into a harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

American King James Version
And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

American Standard Version
And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men as spies secretly, saying, Go, view the land, and Jericho. And they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lay there.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And Josue the son of Nun sent from Setim two men, to spy secretly: and said to them: Go, and view the land and the city of Jericho. n They went and entered into the house of a woman that was a harlot named Rahab, and lodged with her.

Darby Bible Translation
And Joshua the son of Nun sent from Shittim two spies secretly, saying, Go, see the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into a harlot's house, named Rahab, and they lay down there.

English Revised Version
And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men as spies secretly, saying, Go view the land, and Jericho. And they went, and came into the house of an harlot whose name was Rahab, and lay there.

Webster's Bible Translation
And Joshua the son of Nun sent from Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go, view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into the house of a harlot, named Rahab, and lodged there.

World English Bible
Joshua the son of Nun secretly sent two men out of Shittim as spies, saying, "Go, view the land, including Jericho." They went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and slept there.

Young's Literal Translation
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.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:1-7 Faith in God's promises ought not to do away, but to encourage our diligence in the use of proper means. The providence of God directed the spies to the house of Rahab. God knew where there was one that would be true to them, though they did not. Rahab appears to have been an innkeeper; and if she had formerly been one of bad life, which is doubtful, she had left her evil courses. That which seems to us most accidental, is often overruled by the Divine providence to serve great ends. It was by faith that Rahab received those with peace, against whom her king and country had war. We are sure this was a good work; it is so spoken of by the apostle, Jas 2:25; and she did it by faith, such a faith as set her above the fear of man. Those only are true believers, who find in their hearts to venture for God; they take his people for their people, and cast in their lot among them. The spies were led by the special providence of God, and Rahab entertained them out of regard to Israel and Israel's God, and not for lucre or for any evil purpose. Though excuses may be offered for the guilt of Rahab's falsehood, it seems best to admit nothing which tends to explain it away. Her views of the Divine law must have been very dim: a falsehood like this, told by those who enjoy the light of revelation, whatever the motive, would deserve heavy censure.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 1. - And Joshua the son of Nun sent. Rather, as margin, had sent (see note on Joshua 1:2). It might have been at the very time when the command was given to the Israelites, for, according to a common Hebrew manner of speech (see, for instance, 1 Samuel 16:10), the three days (ver. 22) may include the whole time spent by the spies in their exploring expedition. Out of Shittim. Literally, from the valley of acacias. It is so called in full in Joel 3:18. This place (called Abel-Shittim in Numbers 33:49), in which the Israelites had sojourned for some time (see Numbers 25:1; cf. 10. 12:1), seems to have been in the plains (עַרְבֹת see note on Joshua 4:13) of Moab, by Jordan, opposite Jericho" (Numbers 33:48, 49, 50; Numbers 36:13; cf. Deuteronomy 1:5). It was "the long belt of acacia groves which mark with a line of verdure the upper terraces of the valley." (Stanley, 'Sinai and Palestine,' p. 298). The word Abel, or meadow, signifying the long grass with its juicy moisture, points to it as a refreshing place of sojourn and pasture for flocks, after the weary wandering in the wilderness. The acacia, not the spina AEgyptiaca of the ancients, the mimosa Nilotica of Linnaeus, but the acacia Seyal, a tree with a golden tuft of blossom, which is still (Tristram, 'Land of Israel,' p. 524) to be found on the spot, very hard dark wood, of which much use was made in the tabernacle and its fittings (see Exodus 25, 26, 36, 37, etc.). The name Abel was a common one in Palestine, and is the same as Abila, from whence comes Abilene (Luke 3:1). We may add that it has nowhere been said that they were at Shittim. We find this out from Numbers 25:1. This undesigned coincidence is beyond the power of an inventor, and far beyond the power of a compiler who was not only untrustworthy, but so clumsy that he made the most extraordinary blunders in the management of his matter (see note on next verse, and also on Joshua 1:11). Two men. Young men, as we are told in Joshua 6:23, and therefore active, fleet of foot as well as brave and prudent. All these qualities, as the subsequent narrative shows, were urgently required. "Joshua himself was full of God's Spirit, and had the oracle of God ready for his direction. Yet now he goes, not to the Propitiatorie for consultation, but to the spyes. Except where ordinarie meanes faile us, it is no use appealing to the immediate helpe of God; we may not seek to the posterne, but where the common gate is shut. It was promised Joshua that bee should leade Israel into the promised land, yet hee knew it was unsafe to presume. The condition of his provident care was included in that assurance of successe. Heaven is promised to us, but not to our carelessnesse, infidelitie, disobedience" (Bishop Hall). Secretly. Literally, dumbness or craftiness (the noun being used adverbially), implying the silence and skill required for the task. He who knows how to he silent possesses one at least of the elements of success. The necessity of silence and secrecy may be inferred from Joshua 6:1. Keil, however, following the Masoretic punctuation, regards" secretly" as referring to the Israelites, and the spies as sent unknown to the army, that no depressing report might damp their courage. Jericho. "The city of fragrance" (from רָוַח to breathe, and in the Hiphil, to smell a sweet odour), so called from its situation in the midst of palm trees, from which it was called "the city of palm trees עִיר הַתְּמָרִיּם in Deuteronomy 34:3, 2 Chronicles 28:15; cf. Judges 1:16. The vast palm grove, of which relics are even now occasionally washed up from the Red Sea, preserved by the salt in its acrid waters, has now disappeared. We read of it as still existing in the twelfth century, and indeed traces of it were to be seen as late as 1838. A dirty and poverty-stricken village called Riha, or Eriha, is all that now marks the site of all these glories of nature and art, and the most careful researches have until lately failed to discover any remains of the ancient city. It is doubtful whether the ruins observed by Tristram ('Land of Israel,' p. 216) are not the ruins of soma later city, built in the neighbourhood. Bartlett, p. 452, believes Riha to be the site of the later Jericho of our Lord's day, but Tristram would, with less probability, identify Riha with Gilgal. They both, however, place the site of ancient Jericho about a mile and a half from Riha. Conder thinks its true position is at the fountain Ain-es-Sultan. Lenormant, in his 'Manual of Oriental History,' remarks on the skill of Joshua as a military tactician. Whether he followed the advice of his experienced leader, or whether we are to attribute his success to special guidance from above, he certainly displayed the qualities of a consummate general. "Jericho," says Dean Stanley ('Sinai and Palestine,' p. 805), "stands at the entrance of the main passes from the valley of the Jordan into the interior of Palestine, the one branching off to the southwest towards Olivet, the other to the northwest towards Michmash, which commands the approach to Ai and Bethel. It was thus the key of Palestine to any invader from this quarter." He illustrates by Chiavenna (or the key city, from its situation), in Italy. Lenormant remarks that from an ordinary historical point of view the strategy of Joshua is worth notice. It was the practice ever followed by Napoleon, and, he adds, by Nelson also, to divide his enemies, and crush them in detail. Had Joshua advanced upon Palestine from the south, each success, as it alarmed, would have also united the various communities of the land, under their separate kings, by the sense of a common danger. Thus each onward step would have increased his difficulties, and exposed him, exhausted by continued efforts, to the assaults of fresh and also more numerous enemies, in a country which grew ever more easy to defend and more perilous to attack. But by crossing the Jordan and marching at once upon Jericho, he was enabled, after the capture of that city, to fall with his whole force first upon the cities of the south, and then on those of the north. The political condition of Palestine at that time (see Introduction) did not permit of a resistance by the whole force of the country under a single leader. A hasty confederation of the kings of the south, after the treaty with Gibeon, was overthrown by the rapid advance of Joshua and the battle of Beth-boron. By this success he was free to march with his whole army northward, against the confederation of tribes under the leadership of the king of Hazor, whom he overcame in the decisive battle of Merom. There is no hint given in the Scripture that in this strategy Joshua acted under the special guidance of the Most High. The probability is, that in this, as in all other of God's purposes effected through the agency of man, there is a mixture of the Divine and human elements, and that man's individuality is selected and guided as an instrument of God's purpose, which, in this instance, was the chastisement of the Canaanitish people, and the gift of the Holy Land as a possession to the descendants of Abraham. That Joshua was not indifferent to human means is shown by this very verse. Into a harlots house. Many commentators have striven to show that this word simply means an innkeeper, an office which, as Dr. Adam Clarke proves at length, was often filled by a woman. It has been derived from זוּן to nourish, a root also found in the Syriac. The Chaldee paraphast and many Jewish and Christian interpreters have adopted this interpretation, in order, as Rosenmuller remarks, "to absolve her from whom Christ had His origin from the crime of prostitution." But St. Matthew seems to imply the very opposite. The genealogy there contained mentions, as though of set purpose, all the blots on the lineage of Christ as was fitting in setting forth the origin of Him who came to forgive sin. Only three women are there mentioned: Tamar, who was guilty of incest; Rahab, the harlot; and Ruth, the Moabitess. And the LXX. render by πόρνη. Calvin calls the interpretation "innkeeper" a "presumptuous wresting of Scripture." Hengstenberg ('Geschichte des Reiches Gottes,' p. 197) also rejects the interpretation "innkeeper," and maintains the right of the spies, who, he says, were no doubt chosen by Joshua for their good character, to enter a wicked woman's house for a good purpose. It does not appear that the spies entered the house of Rahab with any evil intent, but simply because to enter the house of a woman of that kind - and women of that kind must have been very numerous in the licentious Phoenician cities - would have attracted far less attention than if they had entered any other. Even there it did not escape the notice of the king, who had been thoroughly alarmed (ver. 3) by the successes of Israel eastward of Jordan. Origen, in his third homily on Joshua, remarks that, "As the first Jesus sent his spies before him and they were received into the harlot's house, so the second Jesus sent His forerunners, whom the publicans and harlots gladly received." Named Rahab. Origen (Hom. 3) sees in this name, which signifies room (see Rehoboth, Genesis 26:22), the type of the Church of Christ which extends throughout the world, and receives sinners. And lodged there. Literally, and lay there, perhaps with the idea of lying hid, for they did not (ver. 15) spend the night there.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men,.... Or "had sent" (p); for this was done before the above order to depart: it is a tradition of the Jews (q), that they were Caleb and Phinehas; but they were not young men, as in Joshua 6:23; especially the former; nor is it probable that men of such rank and figure should be sent, but rather meaner persons; yet such as were men of good sense and abilities, and capable of conducting such an affair they were sent about, as well as men of probity and faithfulness; two good men, Kimchi says they were, and not as they that went on the mission of Moses; these were sent from Shittim, the same with Abelshittim, in the plains of Moab, where Israel now lay encamped, Numbers 33:49, which Josephus (r) calls Abila, and says it was sixty furlongs, or seven miles and better, from Jordan:

to spy secretly; or "silently" (s); not so much with respect to the inhabitants of the land, for it is supposed in all spies, that they do their business in the most private and secret manner, so as not to be discovered by the inhabitants, whose land they are sent to spy; but with respect to the children of Israel, that they might know nothing of it, lest they should be discouraged, thinking that Joshua was in some fear of the Canaanites, and under some distrust of the promise of God to give the land to them: the word for "smiths", and also for persons deaf and dumb, coming from the same root, have furnished the Jewish writers with various conceits, as that these spies went in the habit of smiths with the instruments of their business in their hands; or acted as deaf and dumb persons, and so as incapable of giving an account of themselves, or of answering to any questions put to them, should they be taken up and examined; their commentators in general take notice of this:

saying, go view the land, even Jericho; especially Jericho, so Noldius (t); the land in general, and Jericho in particular, because it was a great city, as Kimchi notes; of this city; see Gill on Luke 19:4. Whether it had its name from the sweetsmelling balsam which grew in plenty about it, or from the form of it, being that of an half moon, is not certain, Strabo (u) says of it, that here was a paradise of balsam, an aromatic, and that it was surrounded with hills in a plain, which bent to it like an amphitheatre. They were not sent to spy the land, as the spies in the times of Moses, to see what sort of land it was, and what sort of people dwelt in it; but to reconnoitre it, to know where it was best to lead the people at first, and encamp; and particularly to observe the passes and avenues leading to Jericho, the first city in it, nearest to them, of importance. Ben Gersom thinks it was to spy or pick out the thoughts of the inhabitants of the land, what apprehensions they had of the people of Israel, whether disheartened and dispirited at their near approach, and what were their intentions, resolutions, and preparations to act against them, offensively, or defensively; and which seems not amiss, since this was the chief information they got, and which they reported to Joshua upon their return; though Abarbinel objects to it as a thing impossible:

and they went, and came into a harlot's house, named Rahab; they went from Shittim, and crossed the river Jordan, by swimming or fording, and came to Jericho; which, as Josephus (w) says, was fifty furlongs, or seven miles and a half, from Jordan; and they went into a harlot's house, not purposely for that reason, because it was such an one, but so it proved eventually; though the Targum of Jonathan says it was the house of a woman, an innkeeper or victualler; for Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, interpret the word it uses of a seller of food (x); and if so, it furnishes out a reason why they turned in thither, where they might expect to have food and lodging; though the Jews commonly take her to be a harlot; and generally speaking, in those times and countries, such as kept public houses were prostitutes; and there are some circumstances which seem to confirm this in the context; and so the Greek version calls her, and is the character given of her in the New Testament: her name was Rahab, of whom the Jews have this tradition (y), that she was ten years of age when Israel came out of Egypt; that she played the harlot the forty years they were in the wilderness, became the wife of Joshua, who had daughters by her, from whom came eight prophets, Jeremiah, Hilkiah, Maasia, Hanameel, Shallum, Baruch, the son of Neriah, Ezekiel, the son of Buzi, and some say Huldah the prophetess; but the truth is, she married Salmon, a prince of the tribe of Judah; see Gill on Matthew 1:5,

and lodged there; that is, they went thither in order to lodge.

(p) "miserat", Vatablus, Masius, Drusius. (q) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 7. 2.((r) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. De Bello Jud. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 2.((s) "silentio", Montanus, Munster; so Kimchi and Ben Melech. (t) P. 277. (u) Geograph. l. 16. p. 525. (w) Ut supra, sect. 4. (r)) (x) And so R. Sol. Urbin. Obel Moed, fol. 24. 1.((y) Shalshalet Hakabala, ut supra. (q))

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary


Jos 2:1-7. Rahab Receives and Conceals the Two Spies.

1. Joshua … sent … two men to spy secretly—Faith is manifested by an active, persevering use of means (Jas 2:22); and accordingly Joshua, while confident in the accomplishment of the divine promise (Jos 1:3), adopted every precaution which a skilful general could think of to render his first attempt in the invasion of Canaan successful. Two spies were despatched to reconnoitre the country, particularly in the neighborhood of Jericho; for in the prospect of investing that place, it was desirable to obtain full information as to its site, its approaches, the character, and resources of its inhabitants. This mission required the strictest privacy, and it seems to have been studiously concealed from the knowledge of the Israelites themselves, test any unfavorable or exaggerated report, publicly circulated, might have dispirited the people, as that of the spies did in the days of Moses.

Jericho—Some derive this name from a word signifying "new moon," in reference to the crescent-like plain in which it stood, formed by an amphitheater of hills; others from a word signifying "its scent," on account of the fragrance of the balsam and palm trees in which it was embosomed. Its site was long supposed to be represented by the small mud-walled hamlet Er-Riha; but recent researches have fixed on a spot about half an hour's journey westward, where large ruins exist about six or eight miles distant from the Jordan. It was for that age a strongly fortified town, the key of the eastern pass through the deep ravine, now called Wady-Kelt, into the interior of Palestine.

they … came into an harlot's house—Many expositors, desirous of removing the stigma of this name from an ancestress of the Saviour (Mt 1:5), have called her a hostess or tavern keeper. But Scriptural usage (Le 21:7-14; De 23:18; Jud 11:1; 1Ki 3:16), the authority of the Septuagint, followed by the apostles (Heb 11:31; Jas 2:25), and the immemorial style of Eastern khans, which are never kept by women, establish the propriety of the term employed in our version. Her house was probably recommended to the spies by the convenience of its situation, without any knowledge of the character of the inmates. But a divine influence directed them in the choice of that lodging-place.

Joshua 2:1 Additional Commentaries
Rahab Welcomes the Spies
1Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. 2It was told the king of Jericho, saying, "Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land."…
Cross References
Hebrews 11:31
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

James 2:25
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

Numbers 25:1
While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women,

Joshua 1:18
Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!"

Joshua 2:2
The king of Jericho was told, "Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land."

Joshua 3:1
Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over.

Micah 6:5
My people, remember what Balak king of Moab plotted and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD."
Treasury of Scripture

And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

sent. or, had sent

Numbers 25:1 And Israel stayed in Shittim, and the people began to commit prostitution …

Numbers 33:49 And they pitched by Jordan, from Bethjesimoth even to Abelshittim …

to spy secretly

Numbers 13:2,17-21 Send you men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give …

Joshua 18:2,14,17 And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which …

Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be you …

Ephesians 5:5 For this you know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous …

even Jericho

Joshua 5:10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover …

Joshua 6:1-24 Now Jericho was straightly shut up because of the children of Israel: …

harlot's house Though the word {zonah} generally denotes a prostitute, yet many very learned men are of opinion that it should be here rendered an {innkeeper} or {hostess}, from {zoon} to furnish or provide food. In this sense it was understood by the Targumist, who renders it, {ittetha pundekeetha, `a woman, a tavern-keeper}, and so Chrysostome, in his second sermon on Repentance, calls her (). The Greek () by which the LXX. render it, and which is adopted by the Apostles, is derived from () to sell, and is also supposed to denote a tavern keeper. Among the ancients, women generally kept houses of entertainment. Herodotus says, `Among the Egyptians, the women carry on all commercial concerns, and keep taverns, while the men continue at home and weave.' The same custom prevailed among the Greeks.

Joshua 6:17,25 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, …

Matthew 1:5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and …


Joshua 21:31 Helkath with her suburbs, and Rehob with her suburbs; four cities.

Hebrews 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, …

James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she …

lodged [heb] lay

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