Joshua 2

Chapter 2[a]

Rahab Saves the Spies.[b] 1 Joshua, the son of Nun, secretly dispatched two spies from Shittim.[c] He told them, “Go reconnoiter the land, especially Jericho.” They went and they came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab, where they stayed. 2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some Israelites came here tonight to spy throughout the land.” 3 The king of Jericho sent a message to Rahab saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you and entered your house, for they are here to spy through the whole countryside.” 4 But the woman had taken the two spies and she had hidden them. She said, “The men came to me, but I did not know where they were coming from. 5 When it was time to close the gates at dusk, they left. I do not know where they went. Chase after the men quickly, you may catch up with them.” 6 She had really taken them up on the roof and hidden them under stalks of flax[d] that she had laid out on the roof. 7 The men set out after them on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan. The gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out after them.

8 Before they went to sleep, she came up on the roof 9 and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you this land. We are terrified and all the inhabitants of the land are trembling at your approach. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came up out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites, Sihon and Og, on the other side of the Jordan, how you annihilated them. 11 When we heard about this, our hearts grew faint and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord, your God is God in the heavens above and on the earth below. 12 Now, I beg you, swear to the Lord that since I showed you kindness, you will also show kindness to my father’s household. Give me a pledge of your fidelity. 13 Spare my father and my mother, my brothers and my sisters, and all their households, saving us from sure death.” 14 The men answered her, “Our lives for your lives. If you do not inform on what we are doing, then we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord has given us the land.”

15 She let them down by a rope through the window, for the house in which she lived was built upon the city wall. 16 She said to them, “Go into the hills so that the pursuers will not find you. Hide there for three days until the pursuers shall have returned here. Then you can go on your way.” 17 The men said to her, “We will not be bound to the promise that you made us swear 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have a scarlet cord tied to the window from which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father, and your mother, and your brothers, and all of your father’s household into your house. 19 Whoever goes outside of the doors of your house will be responsible for his own death, we will not be at fault. But whoever is in the house with you, it will be our responsibility if anyone lays a hand on him. 20 However, if you inform on what we are doing, then we will not be bound to the promise that you made us swear.” 21 She said, “Let it be as you have said.” She sent them away, and they departed. She then tied a scarlet cord to the window.

22 The Spies Report to Joshua. They left, and went into the hills where they remained for three days until the pursuers had returned. The pursuers had searched all along that way, but had not found them. 23 [e]The two men then went back home. They came down from the hills and forded the river, coming to Joshua, the son of Nun. They told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “Surely the Lord has delivered the entire land into our hands, for all of the people in the land are overcome with fear of us.”


  1. Joshua 2:1 The crossing of the Jordan is here a miracle of no less importance than the crossing of the Red Sea.
  2. Joshua 2:1 Because of the aid which Rahab gives to the scouts, she will escape the disaster in Jericho. The profession of faith in the irresistible action of the God of Israel that is placed on her lips (vv. 9-11) will cause her to be cited for her exemplary faith (Heb 11; Jas 2:25) and win her a place in the genealogy of Jesus (Mt 1:5), for she will have been given a place in Israel and then will have given birth to Boaz (see Jos 6:25; Mt 1:5).
  3. Joshua 2:1 Shittim: a place east of the Jordan (see Num 33:49).
  4. Joshua 2:6 Stalks of flax: because of its height (3–4 ft.), it made an excellent hiding place when stacked on the rooftop to dry in preparation for making linen cloth.
  5. Joshua 2:23 Joshua was among those sent out 39 years earlier on a spy mission and had encouraged the Israelites to remain steadfast in following God’s plan (Num 13–14). To avoid any controversy, however, Joshua kept this spy mission a secret from the people.

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