Joshua 2:7
And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.
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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.The sense is, that "they pursued along the way which leads to Jordan and across the fords;" probably those described in Judges 3:28. 7. the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords—That river is crossed at several well-known fords. The first and second immediately below the sea of Galilee; the third and fourth immediately above and below the pilgrims' bathing-place, opposite Jericho.

as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate—This precaution was to ensure the capture of the spies, should they have been lurking in the city.

Fords, or passages, i.e. the usual places where people used to pass over Jordan, whether by boats or bridges; or rather, because of the shallowness of the river, which a little after this swelled higher, as the history will tell us, and as it is very usual for rivers to do.

They shut the gate of the city, partly for their security against their approaching enemies; and partly to prevent the escape of the spies, if peradventure Rahab was mistaken, and they yet lurked in the city.

And the men pursued after them,.... As they thought:

the way to Jordan; on the other side of which the people of Israel lay encamped, to which they supposed, according to Rahab's account, these two men directed their course:

unto the fords; the fords of Jordan, the passages through it; for in some places, and at some times, it was fordable; which accounts for the way in which these spies could get over Jordan, see Genesis 32:10; it was most reasonable to conclude they would return the same way; and so far the king's messengers went, but further they did not choose to go, because it would be to no purpose, and they might expose themselves to the camp of Israel, which lay on the other side:

and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate; that is, either as soon as the king's messengers were gone out of Rahab's house, either the spies, or rather the men of the house, Rahab's servants, shut the door of it to prevent their return, or others coming in; or rather, when they were got out of the city, the watchmen of the city, the porters of the city gates, shut them, that if they were not got out of the city, to prevent their escape, or however to keep out others from entering, that might be on some such design, or worse.

And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.
Verse 7. - Unto the fords. There were several of these fords. One near Jericho (cf, Judges 3:28; Judges 12:5, 6; 2 Samuel 17:22, 24; 2 Samuel 19:16, 19, 39); one at Bethsean, now Beisan, leading to Succoth (Judges 8:4; cf. Genesis 32:22; Genesis 33:17. See Robinson, ' Biblical Researches' 2:497; Ritter, 'Geography of Palestine'); beside others not mentioned in Scripture. A vivid description of the crossing the Jordan at the fords near Jericho is to be found in Tristrain's 'Land of Israel,' p. 520. The ford is almost certainly the one mentioned here, since an hour or two's ride brought the party to Shittim. These fords were easy to cross save when the Jordan, as was now the case (Joshua 3:15), overflowed its banks. This may have been the reason why the pursuers did not cross the fords, but they pursued the spies to the fords, hoping to find their retreat cut off. This is rendered more probable by the fact (ver. 22) that the pursuers appear to have continued their search after leaving the fords. Joshua 2:7Upon this declaration on the part of the woman, the king's messengers ("the men") pursued the spies by the road to the Jordan which leads across the fords. Both the circumstances themselves and the usage of the language require that we should interpret the words in this way; for המּעבּרות על cannot mean "as far as the fords," and it is very improbable that the officers should have gone across the fords. If they did not succeed in overtaking the spies and apprehending them before they reached the fords, they certainly could not hope to do this on the other side of the river in the neighbourhood of the Israelitish camp. By "the fords" with the article we are to understand the ford near to Jericho which was generally used at that time (Judges 3:22; 2 Samuel 19:16.); but whether this was the one which is commonly used now at the mouth of Wady Shaib, almost in a straight line to the east of Jericho, or the more southerly one, el Helu, above the mouth of Wady Hesban (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 254), to the south of the bathing-place of Christian pilgrims, or el Meshra (Lynch, p. 155), or el Mocktaa (Seetzen, ii. p. 320), it is impossible to determine. (On these and other fords near Beisan, and as far up as the Sea of Galilee, see Rob. ii. p. 259, and Ritter Erdk. xv. pp. 549ff.) After the king's messengers had left the town, they shut the gate to prevent the spies from escaping, in case they should be still in the town. כּאשׁר אהרי for אשׁר אהרי is uncommon, but it is analogous to אחרי־כן אשׁר in Genesis 6:4.
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