Now therefore, I pray you, swear to me by the LORD, since I have showed you kindness, that you will also show kindness to my father's house, and give me a true token:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Joshua 2:12-13. Swear unto me by the Lord — Hebrew, by Jehovah, your God, who is the only true God: so she owns his worship, one eminent act whereof is, swearing by his name. My father’s house — My near kindred, which she particularly names, (Joshua 2:13,) husband and children, it seems, she had none. And for herself it was needless to speak, it being a plain and undeniable duty to save their preserver. True tokens — Either an assurance that you will preserve me and mine from the common ruin, or a token which I may produce as a witness of this agreement, and a means of my security. This is all that she asks. But God did for her more than she could ask or think. She was afterward advanced to be a princess in Israel, the wife of Salmon, and one of the ancestors of Christ. All that they have — That is, their children, as appears from Joshua 6:23.Joshua 2:14.
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.By the Lord; by your God, who is the only true God: so she shows her conversion to God, and owns his worship, one eminent act whereof is swearing by his name.
My father’s house; my near kindred, which she particularly names, Joshua 2:13. Husband and children it seems she had none. And for herself; it was needless to speak, it being a plain and undeniable duty to save their preserver.
A true token; either an assurance that you will preserve me and mine from the common ruin; or a token which I may produce as a witness of this-agreement, and a mean of my security.
since I have showed you kindness; by receiving them with peace into her house, and hiding them when inquired for and demanded of her; in doing which she risked her own, life, had this treachery to her country, as it would have been deemed, been discovered;
that you will also show kindness unto my father's house; she mentions not herself and household, for if this was granted that would be implied and included; and this she presses for by the law of retaliation and friendship, for since she had shown kindness to them, it was but reasonable it should be returned:
and give me a true token; that she and her father's house would be saved by them when the city should be taken and the inhabitants destroyed; a token that would not deceive her, on which she might depend, and would be firm and sure.Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have showed you kindness, that ye will also show kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. a true token] “a verrey tokne,” Wyclif; i.e. a token of truth, a sign; comp. Exodus 3:12, “And this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee;” 1 Samuel 2:34; Isaiah 7:11; Luke 2:12.Verse 12. ? Kindness. The original is perhaps a little stronger, and involves usually the idea of mercy and pity. This, however, is not always the case (see Genesis 21:23; 2 Samuel 10:2). "It had been an ill nature in Rahab if she had been content to be saved alone: that her love might be a match to her faith, she covenants for all her family, and so returns life to those of whom she received it," (Bp. Hall). A true token. Literally, a token of truth. The construction is that in which the latter noun often stands in Hebrew for an adjective. Here, however, it would seem to be a little more, a token of truth - a pledge, that is, of sincerity. Rahab wanted some guarantee that her life and the lives of her kindred would be saved. The bare word of the spies would not suffice, for how could she and her kindred be identified in the confusion attending the sack of the city? But if the spies would agree upon some sign by which she could be recognised, it would at once be a pledge that they intended to keep their word, and a means of protection in the approaching downfall of the city. 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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