Joshua 2:11
And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.The Lord your God, he is God - From the rumour of God's miraculous interpositions Rahab believed, and makes the self-same confession to which Moses endeavors to bring Israel by rehearsing similar arguments Deuteronomy 4:39. Rahab had only heard of what Israel had experienced. Her faith then was ready. It is noteworthy, too, that the same reports which work faith and conversion in the harlot, cause only terror and astonishment among her countrymen. (Compare Luke 8:37-39.) Jos 2:8-21. The Covenant between Her and Them.

8-13. she came up unto them upon the roof and said—Rahab's dialogue is full of interest, as showing the universal panic and consternation of the Canaanites on the one hand (Jos 24:11; De 2:25), and her strong convictions on the other, founded on a knowledge of the divine promise, and the stupendous miracles that had opened the way of the Israelites to the confines of the promised land. She was convinced of the supremacy of Jehovah, and her earnest stipulations for the preservation of her relatives amid the perils of the approaching invasion, attest the sincerity and strength of her faith.

Did melt, i.e. were dissolved, lost all consistency and courage. This phrase is oft used, as Deu 1:28 20:8 Joshua 5:1 7:5.

He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath; he can do whatsoever he pleaseth in heaven and earth; whereas our gods are enclosed in heaven, and can do nothing to us upon earth. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt,.... Particularly what were done to the two kings of the Amorites, who, and their people, were utterly destroyed, their goods made a prey of, and their countries seized upon and possessed:

neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you; they looked dejected in their countenances, had no heart to go about any business, trembled at the shaking of a leaf, or at the least rumour and report made that the Israelites were coming on and were at hand; they had no spirit to prepare to go out and meet them, or to defend themselves:

for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath; the Maker and Possessor of both; is the Governor of the whole universe, and does what he pleases in it; and disposes of all countries, persons, and things, as he thinks fit: this is a proof of her knowledge of the true God, and faith in him, and shows her to be a believer, and hence she is reckoned in the catalogue of believers, Hebrews 11:31; and her faith is proved to be of the right kind by the works she did, James 2:25.

And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for {e} the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

(e) In this the great mercy of God appears, that in this common destruction he would draw a most miserable sinner to repent, and confess his Name.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. he is God in heaven above] Rahab expressly acknowledges God as Almighty, a knowledge which is possible to the heathen, for the “invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20).Verse 11. - Melt. The word in the Hebrew is a different one to that used in ver. 9, but it has a precisely similar meaning. There seems no reason why the destruction of Sihon and Og should have inspired such terror into the hearts of the powerful Phoenician tribes. But the miracle of the drying up of the Red Sea was an event of quite another order, and eminently calculated to produce such feelings. Nothing but such an occurrence could have explained Rahab's language, or the anxiety which the near approach of the armies of Israel inspired in those "cities, great and walled up to heaven," with their inhabitants of giant-like stature and strength. Courage. Literally, spirit. The word רוּחַ seems to have been used in the Hebrew in just the same senses as our word spirit, and it signified wind also (see 1 Kings 10:5). For the Lord your God, he is God. Literally, for Jehovah your God. This declaration, bearing in mind the circumstances of the person who uttered it, is as remarkable as St. Peter's, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." How Rahab attained to this knowledge of God's name and attributes we do not know. It is certain, however, that under the circumstances her knowledge and spiritual insight are as surprising as any recorded in Scripture, and are sufficient to explain the honour in which her name has been held, both at the time and ever since. "I see here," says Bp. Hall, "not only a disciple of God, but a prophetesse." Keil argues that Rahab regards God only as one of the gods, and supposes that she had not entirely escaped from polytheism. But this view does not appear to be borne out by the form of her expressions. We should rather, in that case, have expected to find "he is among the gods," than He is God, which is the only possible rendering of the Hebrew.

CHAPTER 2:12-25. THE OATH OF THE SPIES. - When the king of Jericho was informed of the fact that these strange men had entered the house of Rahab, and suspecting their reason for coming, summoned Rahab to give them up, she hid them (lit., hid him, i.e., each one of the spies: for this change from the plural to the singular see Ewald, 219), and said to the king's messengers: כּן, recte, "It is quite correct, the men came to me, but I do not know where they were from; and when in the darkness the gate was at the shutting (i.e., ought to be shut: for this construction, see Genesis 15:12), they went out again, I know not whither. Pursue them quickly, you will certainly overtake them." The writer then adds this explanation in Joshua 2:6 : she had hidden them upon the roof of her house among stalks of flax. The expression "to-night" (lit., the night) in Joshua 2:2 is more precisely defined in Joshua 2:5, viz., as night was coming on, before the town-gate was shut, after which it would have been in vain for them to attempt to leave the town. "Stalks of flax," not "cotton pods" (Arab., J. D. Mich. ), or "tree-flax, i.e., cotton," as Thenius explains it, but flax stalks or stalk-flax, as distinguished from carded flax, in which there is no wood left, λινοκαλάμη, stipula lini (lxx, Vulg.). Flax stalks, which grow to the height of three or four feet in Egypt, and attain the thickness of a reed, and would probably be quite as large in the plain of Jericho, the climate of which resembles that of Egypt, would form a very good hiding-place for the spies if they were piled up upon the roof to dry in the sun. The falsehood by which Rahab sought not only to avert all suspicion from herself of any conspiracy with the Israelitish men who had entered her house, but to prevent any further search for them in her house, and to frustrate the attempt to arrest them, is not to be justified as a lie of necessity told for a good purpose, nor, as Grotius maintains, by the unfounded assertion that, "before the preaching of the gospel, a salutary lie was not regarded as a fault even by good men." Nor can it be shown that it was thought "allowable," or even "praiseworthy," simply because the writer mentions the fact without expressing any subjective opinion, or because, as we learn from what follows (Joshua 2:9.), Rahab was convinced of the truth of the miracles which God had wrought for His people, and acted in firm faith that the true God would give the land of Canaan to the Israelites, and that all opposition made to them would be vain, and would be, in fact, rebellion against the Almighty God himself. For a lie is always a sin. Therefore even if Rahab was not actuated at all by the desire to save herself and her family from destruction, and the motive from which she acted had its roots in her faith in the living God (Hebrews 11:31), so that what she did for the spies, and thereby for the cause of the Lord, was counted to her for righteousness ("justified by works," James 2:25), yet the course which she adopted was a sin of weakness, which was forgiven her in mercy because of her faith.

(Note: Calvin's estimate is also a correct one: "It has often happened, that even when good men have endeavoured to keep a straight course, they have turned aside into circuitous paths. Rahab acted wrongly when she told a lie and said that the spies had gone; and the action was acceptable to God only because the evil that was mixed with the good was not imputed to her. Yet, although God wished the spies to be delivered, He did not sanction their being protected by a lie." Augustine also pronounces the same opinion concerning Rahab as that which he expressed concerning the Hebrew midwives (see the comm. on Exodus 1:21).)

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