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Verses 1-24

The Two Spies at Jericho

Joshua himself had been one of twelve sent by Moses on a similar errand, some thirty-eight years before (Numbers 13). The incident, natural in itself, acquires a special interest as bringing before us for the first time Rahab, the great-great-grandmother of David, and so human ancestress of our Saviour (Matthew 1:3-6, cp. Ruth 4:18-22). it affords incidentally a signal instance among Gentiles of belief in the power of the true God (Joshua 2:11.), which is rewarded (Joshua 6:25), like the similar attitude of Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth 1:16), with incorporation into Israel and into the direct line of Israel’s Hope.

1. Shittim] i.e. ’Acacias.’ The district referred to is the part of the Jordan basin opposite Jericho, where acacias still are found. An harlot’s] ’We know nothing of her after-conduct, but we may well believe that the faith which an apostle could praise (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25) was accompanied by a true conversion’ (HDB. art. ’Rahab’). See on Joshua 2:10 and Joshua 6:25.

6. She had brought them, etc.] Then, as now, the flat roofs of Eastern houses were used for such purposes as drying flax stalks. The flax would be ripe (cp. Exodus 9:31-32) shortly before wheat harvest.

7. The fords] Clearly, therefore, there were fords in the neighbourhood of Jericho. The account of the miraculous crossing in Joshua 3, 4 cannot be based on ignorance of that fact. At the present time fords are said to be comparatively rare in the southern reaches of Jordan.

9. Your terror is fallen upon us] Cp. Exodus 15:14-16. Compare Joshua 5:1 for a similar panic produced by the crossing of Jordan.

10f. Rahab had followed the career of Israel with fascinated interest. She is represented as knowing and using the covenant name of ’Jehovah’ and as recognising His universal sovereignty. Her whole attitude is in striking contrast to that of her fellow-countrymen.

16. The mountain] the limestone ridges full of caves, NW. of Jericho.

24. Do faint] RV here (and in Joshua 2:9 and Exodus 15:15) ’do melt away.’

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