|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:8-21 Rahab had heard of the miracles the Lord wrought for Israel. She believed that his promises would certainly be fulfilled, and his threatenings take effect; and that there was no way of escape but by submitting to him, and joining with his people. The conduct of Rahab proved that she had the real principle of Divine faith. Observe the promises the spies made to her. The goodness of God is often expressed by his kindness and truth, Ps 117:2; in both these we must be followers of him. Those who will be conscientious in keeping promises, are cautious in making them. The spies make needful conditions. The scarlet cord, like the blood upon the doorpost at the passover, recalls to remembrance the sinner's security under the atoning blood of Christ; and that we are to flee thereto for refuge from the wrath of a justly offended God. The same cord Rahab used for the saving of these Israelites, was to be used for her own safety. What we serve and honour God with, we may expect he will bless, and make useful to us.
Verse 16. - Get you to the mountains. No hint is given why the mountains were to be so safe a refuge. But a reference to the geography of the district will supply the reason. Any mountain district is usually less accessible and less thickly inhabited than the plains. But within five miles of Jericho lay the remarkable range called Quarantania, or Kuruntul, which is literally honeycombed with caves, so that a man might be concealed for months in the immediate neighbourhood of Jericho with a very slight risk of discovery. It is obvious how strongly this fact confirms the accuracy of the narrative. An inventor would have been certain in some way or other to draw attention to a statement intended to give an air of probability to his narrative. But there is nothing of the kind here, and yet the narrative displays a thorough acquaintance with the geographical features of the neighbourhood. Canon Tristram ('Land of Israel,' p. 207, sqq.) carefully explored the caverns. On one face of the rock, which is perpendicular, he found "some thirty or forty habitable caves," and on the southern face, towards Jericho, he supposed there were a good many more than this. The scouts of the king of Jericho might be excused a very diligent search, for we are told that the "foot hold was hazardous and the height dizzy." From the days of the spies till long after the Christian era, these caves have been in existence. They have been tenanted by Greek, Syrian, and even Abyssinian monks, and Canon Tristram found many Greek and Ethiopic inscriptions, as well as figures of our Lord and the saints. The Abyssinian Christians make a yearly pilgrimage there even now. The reason of the reverence in which the place is held, is the tradition (not, however, eight hundred years old, see Bitter, 3:37) that, as the name Quarantania implies, the forty days' fast of our Lord took place there. As a specimen of the mystical interpretations in which the Fathers indulged, we find Origen expounding the advice, "Get you to the mountains," as follows: "Humilia et dejecta refugite, quae excelsa sunt et sublimia, praedicate."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And she said unto them, get ye unto the mountain,.... Which was near to the city, and is supposed to be the same which is now called Quarantania: Dr. Shaw, a late traveller in those parts, says (m), from the mountain Quarantania, the very same perhaps where the two spies concealed themselves, Joshua 2:16, we have a distinct view of the land of the Amorites, of Gilead, and of Bashan, the inheritance of the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and of the half tribe of Manasseh--to it joins the mountain of Adummim, and through it the road is cut that leads from Jerusalem to Jericho, where probably it was from the very nature of the situation that the man fell among thieves, Luke 10:30; which very probably is the same mountain which Josephus (n) says hung over the city, and was a very barren one; though the singular may be put for the plural, since, as Strabo says (o), it was surrounded with mountains:
lest the pursuers meet you; on their return from the fords of Jordan, being disappointed:
and hide yourselves there three days: some of the Jewish Rabbins, as Jarchi and Kimchi, observe that she had this by the revelation of the Holy Ghost, that the pursuers would return at the end of three days; but the latter more truly remarks, that this was said by conjecture; that Jericho being, as he says, one day from Jordan, and a little more, by going, returning, and searching for the spies, they would be three days in doing it:
until the pursuers be returned; into the city; for until they were they could not be in safety, but must be in danger of being met by them and taken up:
and afterward may ye go your way: to Jordan, and so to the camp of Israel, and that without fear.
(m) Travels, p. 276. Ed. 2.((n) De Bello Jud. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 2.((o) Geograph. l. 16. p. 525.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16-21. she said—rather "she had said," for what follows must have been part of the previous conversation.
Get you to the mountain—A range of white limestone hills extends on the north, called Quarantania (now Jebel Karantu), rising to a height of from twelve hundred to fifteen hundred feet, and the sides of which are perforated with caves. Some one peak adjoining was familiarly known to the inhabitants as "the mountain." The prudence and propriety of the advice to flee in that direction rather than to the ford, were made apparent by the sequel.
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