« ElőzőTovább »
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to
5 There shall not any man be able to stand be-all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make fore thee all the days of thy life: as I was with thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good Moses, so I will be with thee: Is will not fail thee, success. nor forsake thee.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and
2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
c Deut. 11. 24. d Gen. 15. 18. Num. 34. 2-12. e Deut. 7. 24.
c. 3. 7. 6. 27.
g Deut. 31. 6, 8. Heb. 13. 5. ⚫or, thou shalt cause this people to inherit.
A Deut. 31. 7, 23. Eph. 6. 10. 2 Tim. 2. 1. † or, do wisely. Deut. 29. 9. or, do wisely. ver. 1. i 1 Chr. 28. 20. Hag. 2. 4. Zech. 8. 9.
Eleazar had the breastplate of judgment, which Joshua was could never be done by the law of Moses, justifies, Acts 13. 39, directed to consult as there was occasion, (Num. 27. 21,) yet, and sanctifies, Rom. 8. 3. The life of Moses made way for for his greater encouragement, God here speaks to him imme-Joshua, and prepared the people for what was to be done by diately, some think, in a dream or vision, (as Job 33. 15;) for him: thus the law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. though God has tied us to instituted ordinances, in them to at- And then the death of Moses made room for Joshua: thus we tend him, yet he has not tied himself to them, but that he may, are dead to the law our first husband, that we may be married without them, make himself known to his people, and speak to to Christ, Rom. 7. 4. their hearts otherwise than by their ears.
Concerning Joshua's call to the government, observe here, I. The time when it was given him, After the death of Moses. As soon as ever Moses was dead, Joshua took upon him the administration, by virtue of his solemn ordination in Moses's lifetime; an interregnum, though but for a few days, might have been of bad consequence; but, it is probable that God did not speak to him to go forward toward Canaan, till after the thirty days of mourning for Moses were ended; not, as the Jews say, because the sadness of his spirit during those days unfitted him for communion with God; (he sorrowed not as one that had no hope;) but by this solemn pause, and a month's adjournment of the public councils, even now when time was so very precious to them, God would put an honour upon the memory of Moses, and give time to the people not only to lament their loss of him, but to repent of their miscarriages toward him during the forty years of his government.
II. The place Joshua had been in before he was thus preferred. He was Moses's minister, that is, an immediate attendant upon his person and assistant in his business. The LXX translate it broupyos, a workman under Moses, under his direction and command. Observe, 1. He that was here called to honour, had been long bred to business. Our Lord Jesus himself took upon him the form of a servant, and then God highly exalted him. 2. He was trained up in subjection and under command. Those are fittest to rule, that have learned to obey. 3. He that was to succeed Moses was intimately acquainted with him, that he might fully know his doctrine and manner of life, his purpose and long-suffering, (2 Tim. 3. 10,) might take the same measures, walk in the same spirit, in the same steps, having to carry on the same work. 4. He was herein a type of Christ, who might therefore be called Moses's minister, because he was made under the law, and fulfilled all the righteousness of it.
III. The call itself that God gave him, which is very full. 1. The consideration upon which he was called to the government; Moses my servant is dead, v. 2. All good men are God's servants; and it is no disparagement, but an honour, to the greatest of men to be so; angels themselves are his ministers. Moses was called to extraordinary work, was a steward in God's house, and in the discharge of the trusts reposed in him, he served not himself but God who employed him; he was faithful as a servant, and with an eye to the Son, as is intimated, Heb. 3. 5, where what he did is said to be for a testimony of the things that should be spoken after; God will own his servants, will confess them in the great day. But Moses, though God's servant, and one that could ill be spared, is dead; for God will change hands, to show that whatever instruments he uses, he is not tied to any. Moses, when he has done his work as a servant, dies and goes to rest from his labours, and enters into the joy of his Lord. Observe, God takes notice of the death of his servants. It is precious in his sight, Ps. 116. 15. 2. The call itself; Now therefore arise. (1.) Though Moses is dead, the work must go on, therefore arise, and go about it. Let not weeping hinder sowing, nor the withering of the most useful hands be the weakening of ours; for when God has work to do, he will either find or make instruments fit to carry it on. Moses the servant is dead, but God the Master is not, he lives for ever. (2.) "Because Moses is dead, therefore the work devolves upon thee as his successor, for hereunto thou wast appointed. Therefore there is need of thee to fill up his place, Up, and be doing." Note, [1.] The removal of useful men should quicken survivors to be so much the more diligent in doing good. Such and such are dead, and we must die shortly, therefore let us work while it is day. [2.] It is a great mercy to a people, if, when useful men are taken away in the midst of their usefulness, others are raised up in their stead to go on where they broke off. Joshua must arise to finish what Moses began, thus the latter generations enter into the labours of the former. And thus Christ, our Joshua, does that for us which
3. The particular service he was now called out to. "Arise, go over this Jordan, this river, which you have in view, and on the banks of which you lie encamped." This was a trial to the faith of Joshua, whether he would give orders to make preparation for passing the river, when there was no visible way of getting over it, at least, not at this place and at this time, when all the banks were overflown, ch. 3. 15. He had no pontons or bridge of boats by which to convey them over, and yet he must believe that God, having ordered them over, would open a way for them. Going over Jordan was going into Canaan; thither Moses might not, could not bring them, Deut. 31.2. Thus the honour of bringing the many sons to glory is reserved for Christ the Captain of our salvation, Heb. 2. 10.
4. The grant of the land of Canaan to the children of Israel is here repeated, v. 2-4, I do give it them. To the patriarchs it was promised, I will give it, but now that the fourth generation was expired, the iniquity of the Amorites was full, and the time was come for the performance of the promise, it is actually conveyed, and they are put in possession of that which they had long been in expectation of, "I do give it, enter upon it, it is all your own, nay, v. 3, I have given it; though it be yet unconquered, it is as sure to you as if it were in your hands." Observe, (1.) The persons to whom the conveyance is made, to them, even to the children of Israel, v. 2, because they are the seed of Jacob, who was called Israel then when this promise was made to him, Gen. 35. 10, 12. The children of Israel, though they had been very provoking in the wilderness, yet for their fathers' sakes should have the entail preserved. And it was the children of the murmurers that God said should enter Canaan, Num. 14. 31. (2.) The land itself that is conveyed, from the river Euphrates eastward to the Mediterranean sea westward, v. 4. Though their sin cut them short of this large possession, and they never replenished all the country within the bounds here mentioned; yet had they been obedient, God would have given them this and much more. Out of all these countries, and many others, there were in process of time proselytes to the Jewish religion, as appears, Acts 2. 5, &c. If their church was enlarged, though their nation was not multiplied, it cannot be said that the promise was of none effect. And if this promise had not its full accomplishment in the letter, believers might thence infer that it had a further meaning, and was to be fulfilled in the kingdom of the Messiah, both that of grace and that of glory. (3.) The condition is here implied, upon which this grant is made, in those words, as I said unto Moses, that is, "upon the terms that Moses told you of many a time; if ye will keep my statutes, you shall go in and possess that good land. Take it under those provisoes and limitations, and not otherwise. The precept and promise must not be separated." (4.) It is intimated with what ease they should gain the possession of this land, if it were not their own fault, in these words, "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon (within the following bounds) shall be your own. Do but set your foot upon it, and you have it."
5. The promises God here makes to Joshua for his encouragement. (1.) That he should be sure of the presence of God with him in this great work to which he was called; v. 5, "As I was with Moses to direct and strengthen him, to own and prosper him, and give him success in bringing Israel out of Egypt, and leading them through the wilderness, so I will be with thee to enable thee to settle them in Canaan." Joshua was sensible how far he came short of Moses, in wisdom and grace, but what Moses did was done by virtue of the presence of God with him; and though Joshua had not always the same presence of mind that Moses had, yet if he had always the same presence of God, he would do well enough. Note, It is a great comfort to the rising generation of ministers and Christians, that the same grace which was sufficient for those that went before them, shall not be wanting to them, if they be not wanting to themselves in the improvement of it. It is repeated here again, v. 9, "The Lord thy God is with thee as a God of
of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
11 Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for "within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.
12 And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites,
k Gen. 28. 15. Ps. 27. 1. Jer. 1. 8. Ps. 46. 7. Is. 43. 1, 5. m c. 3. 2.
power, and that power engaged for thee whithersoever thou goest." Note, Those that go where God sends them, shall have him with them wherever they go, and they need desire no more to make them easy and prosperous. (2.) That the presence of God should never be withdrawn from him, I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, v. 5. Moses had assured him of this, Deut. 31. 8, that though he must now leave him, God never would; and here God himself confirms that word of his servant Moses, (Is. 44. 26,) and engages never to leave Joshua. We need the presence of God, not only when we are beginning our work to set us in, but in the progress of it to further us with a continual help. If that at any time fail us, we are gone; but this we may be sure of, that the Lord is with us while we are with him. This promise here made to Joshua is applied to all believers, and improved as an argument against covetousness, Heb. 13. 5, Be content with such things as ye have, for he hath said, I will never leave thee. (3.) That he should have victory over all the enemies of Israel, v. 5, There shall not any man, that comes against thee, be able to stand before thee. Note, There is no standing before those that have God on their side; If he be for us, who can be against us? God promises him clear success, the enemy should not make any head against him; and constant success, all the days of his life; however it might be with Israel when he was gone, all his reign should be graced with triumphs. What Joshua had himself encouraged the people with long ago, Num. 14. 9, God here encourages him with. (4.) That he should himself have the dividing of this land among the people of Israel, v. 6. It was a great encouragement to him in beginning this work, that he was sure to see it finished, and his labour should not be in vain. Some make it a reason why he should arm himself with resolution, and be of good courage, because of the bad character of the people whom he must cause to inherit that land; he knew well what a froward discontented people they were, and how unmanageable they had been in his predecessor's time; let him therefore expect vexation from them and be of good courage.
6. The charge and command he gives to Joshua, which is, (1.) That he conform himself in every thing to the law of God, and make that his rule, v. 7, 8. God does as it were put the book of the law into Joshua's hand; as when Joash was crowned, they gave him the testimony, 2 Kings 11. 12. And concerning this book, he is charged, [1.] To meditate therein day and night, that he might understand it, and have it ready to him upon all occasions. If ever any man's business might have excused him from meditation, and other acts of devotion, one would think Joshua's might at this time; it was a great trust that was lodged in his hands, the care of it was enough to fill him, if he had had ten souls, and yet he must find time and thoughts for meditation. Whatever affairs of this world we have to mind, we must not neglect the one thing needful. [2.] Not to let it depart out of his mouth, that is, all his orders to the people, and his judgments upon appeals made to him, must be consonant to the law of God; upon all occasions he must speak according to this rule, Is. 8. 20. Joshua was to maintain and carry on the work that Moses had begun, and therefore he must not only complete the salvation Moses had wrought for them, but must uphold the holy religion he had established among them. There was no occasion to make new laws, but that good thing which was committed to him, he must carefully and faithfully keep, 2 Tim. 1. 14. [3.] He must observe to do according to all this law. To this end he must meditate therein, not for contemplation's sake only, or to fill his head with notions, or that he might find something to puzzle the priests with, but that he might both as a man and as a magistrate observe to do according to what was written therein; and several things were written there, which had particular reference to the business he had now before him, as the laws concerning their wars, the destroying of the Canaanites, and the dividing of Canaan, &c. these he must religiously observe. Joshua was a man of great power and authority, yet he must himself be under command and do as he is bidden. No man's dignity or dominion, how great soever, sets him above the law of God. Joshua must not only govern by law, and take care that the people observe the law, but he must observe it himself, and so by his own example maintain the honour and power of it. First, He must do what was written; it is not enough to hear and read the word, to commend and admire it, and know and remember it, to talk and discourse of it, but we must do it. Secondly, He must do according to what was written, exactly observing the law as his copy, and doing, not only that which was there required, but in all circumstances according to the appointment. Thirdly, He must do according to all that was written, without exception or reserve, having a respect to all
n Num. 32. 20-28. c. 22. 1—4. • marshalled by five. Ex. 13. 18. God's commandments, even those which are most displeasing to flesh and blood. Fourthly, He must observe to do so, observe the checks of conscience, the hints of providence, and all the advantages of opportunity: careful observance is necessary to universal obedience. Fifthly, He must not turn from it, either in his own practice, or in any act of government, to the right hand or to the left, for there are errors on both hands, and virtue is in the mean. Sixthly, He must be strong and courageous, that he may do according to the law. So many discouragements there are in the way of duty; but those who will proceed and persevere in it, must put on resolution. And (lastly) to encourage him in his obedience, he assures him, that then he shall do wisely, (as it is in the margin,) and make his way prosperous, v. 7, 8. They that make the word of God their rule, and conscientiously walk by that rule, shall both do well and speed well; it will furnish them with the best maxims by which to order their conversation, Ps. 111. 10. And it will entitle them to the best blessings; God shall give them the desire of their heart.
(2.) That he encourage himself herein with the promise and presence of God, and make those his stay, v. 6, Be strong and of a good courage. And again, v. 7, as if this was the one thing needful, only be strong and very courageous. And he concludes with this, v. 9, Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed. Joshua had long since signalized his valour, in the war with Amalek, and in his dissent from the, report of the evil spies, and yet God sees fit thus to inculcate this precept upon him. Those that have grace, have need to be called upon again and again to exercise grace and to improve in it. Joshua was humble and low in his own eyes, not distrustful of God, and his power, and promise, but diffident of himself, and of his own wisdom and strength, and sufficiency for the work, especially coming after so great a man as Moses; and therefore God repeats this so often, "Be strong and of a good courage; let not the sense of thine own infirmities dishearten thee, God is all-sufficient. Have not I commanded thee?" [1.] "I have commanded the work to be done, and therefore it shall be done, how invincible soever the difficulties may seem that lie in the way." Nay, [2.] "I have commanded, called, and commissioned thee to do it, and therefore will be sure to own thee and strengthen thee, and bear thee out in it." Note, When we are in the way of our duty, we have reason to be strong and very courageous; and it will help very much to animate and imbolden us, if we keep our eye upon the divine warrant, and hear God saying, "Have not I commanded thee? I will therefore help thee, succeed thee, accept thee, reward thee." Our Lord Jesus, as Joshua here, was borne up under his sufferings by a regard to the will of God, and the commandment he had received from his Father, John 10. 18. V. 10-15. Joshua, being settled in the government, immediately applies himself to business; not to take state or to take his pleasures, but to further the work of God among the people over which God had set him. As he that desires the office of a minister, (1 Tim. 3. 1,) so he that desires the office of a magistrate, desires a work, a good work; neither is preferred to be idle.
I. He issues out orders to the people to provide for a march; and they had been so long encamped in their present post, that it would be a work of some difficulty to decamp. The officers of the people, that commanded under Joshua in their respective tribes and families, attended him for orders, which they were to transmit to the people. Inferior magistrates are as necessary and as serviceable to the public good in their places as the supreme magistrate in his. What could Joshua have done without officers? We are therefore required to be subject, not only to the king as supreme, but to governors, as to them that are sent by him, 1 Pet. 2. 13, 14. By these officers, 1. Joshua gives public notice, that they were to pass over Jordan within three days. These orders, I suppose, were not given till after the return of the spies that were sent to bring an account of Jericho, though the story of that affair follows, ch. 2. And perhaps that was such an instance of his jealousy, and excessive caution, as make it necessary that he should be so often bidden as he was, to be strong and of a good courage. Observe with what assurance Joshua says it to the people, because God had said to him, Ye shall pass over Jordan, and shall possess the land. We greatly honour the truth of God, when we stagger not at the promise of God. 2. He gives them directions to prepare victuals, not to prepare transport vessels; he that bore them out of Egypt upon eagles' wings, would in like manner bear them into Canaan, to bring them to himself, Ex. 19. 4. But those that were minded to have other victuals beside the manna, which had not yet ceased, must prepare it, and have it ready
15 Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, I in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to as he hath given you, and they also have possessed death: only be strong and of a good courage. the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses, the LORD's servant, gave you on this side Jordan, toward the sunrising.
16 And they answered Joshua saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us we will go.
In this chapter we have an account of the scouts that were employed to bring an account to Joshua of the posture of the city of Jericho : Observe here, I. How Joshua sent them, v. 1. II. How Rahab received them, and protected them, and told a lie for them, v. 2-7, so that they escaped out of the hands of the enemy. III. The account she gave them of the present posture of Jericho, and the panic-fear they were struck with upon the approach of Israel, v. 8-11. IV. The bargain she made with them for the security of herself and her relations in the ruin she saw coming upon her city, v. 12-21. V. Their safe return to Joshua, and the account they gave him of their expedition, v. 22-24. And that which makes this story most remarkable, is, that Rahab, the person principally concerned in it, is twice celebrated in the New Testament as a great believer, Heb. 11. 31, and as one whose faith proved itself by good works, Jam, 2. 25.
17 According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.
18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against the AND Joshua the son of Nun "sent out of Shittim
commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words
two men to spy "secretly, saying, view the
o Deut.5.27. p ver. 5. 1 Sam. 20. 13. 1 Kings 1. 37. Rom. 13. 1-5.
r ver. 6, 7, 9. 1 Cor. 16. 13. or, had sent.
a Num. 13. 2.
and bind ourselves to do what he commands us by his word, and to go whither he sends us by his providence.
against the time appointed. Perhaps, though the manna did not quite cease till they were come into Canaan, ch. 5. 12, yet since they were come into a land inhabited, (Ex. 16. 35,) where they might be furnished in part with other provisions, it did not fall so plentifully, nor did they gather so much as when they had it first given them in the wilderness, but decreased gradually, and therefore they are ordered to provide other victuals, in which perhaps was included all other things necessary to their march. And some of the Jewish writers considering that having manna, they needed not to provide other victuals, understand it figuratively, that they must repent of their sins, and make their peace with God, and resolve to live a new life, that they might be ready to receive this great favour. See Ex. 19. 10, 11.
And since Joshua, being humbly conscious to himself how far short he came of Moses, feared he should not have such influence upon the people, and such an interest in them, as Moses had, they here promise that they would be as obedient to him as ever they had been to Moses, v. 17. To speak truth, they had no reason to boast of their obedience to Moses, he had found them a stiff-necked people, Deut. 9. 24. But they mean that they would be as observant of Joshua as they should have been, and as some of them were (the generality of them at least sometimes) of Moses. Note, We must not so magnify them that are gone, how eminent soever they were, either in the magistracy or in the ministry, as to be wanting in the honour and duty we owe to those that survive and succeed them, though in gifts they may come short of them. Obedience for conscience' sake will continue, though Providence change the hands by which it rules and acts.
II. He reminds the two tribes and a half of the obligation they were under to go over Jordan with their brethren, though they left their possessions and families on this side. Interest would make the other tribes glad to go over Jordan, but in these it was an act of self-denial, and against the grain: therefore it was needful to produce the agreement which Moses had made with them, when he gave them their possession before their brethren, v. 13, Remember the word which Moses commanded you. Some of them perhaps were ready to think now that Moses was dead, who they thought was too hard upon them in this matter, they might find some excuse or other to discharge themselves from this engagement, or might prevail with Joshua to dispense with them; but he holds them to it, and lets them know, though Moses was dead, his commands and their promises were still in full force. He reminds them, 1. Of the advantages they had received in being first settled: "The Lord your God hath given you rest, given your minds rest, you know what you have to trust to, and are not as the rest of the tribes, waiting the issue of the war first and then of the lot. He has also given your families rest, your wives and children, whose settlement is your satisfaction. He has given you rest, by giving you this land, this good land, which you are in full and quiet possession of." Note, When God by his providence has given us rest, we ought to consider how we may honour him with the advantages of it, and what service we may do to our brethren who are unsettled, or not so well settled as we are. When God had given David rest, (2 Sam. 7. 1,) see how restless he was till he had found out a habitation for the ark, Ps. 132. 4, 5. When God has given us rest, we must take heed of slothfulness, and of settling upon our lees. 2. He reminds them of their agreement to help their brethren in the wars of Canaan, till God had in like manner given them rest, v. 14, 15. This was, (1.) Reasonable in itself; so closely were all the tribes incorporated, that they must needs look upon themselves as members one of another. (2.) It was enjoined them by Moses, the servant of the Lord; he commanded them to do this, and Joshua his successor would see his commands observed. (3.) It was the only expedient they had to save themselves from the guilt of a great sin in settling on that side Jordan, a sin which would one time or other find them out, Num. 32. 23. (4.) It was the condition of the grant Moses had made them of the land they were possessed of, so that they could not be sure of a good title to, or a comfortable enjoyment of, the land of their possession, as it is here called, v. 15, if they did not fulfil the condition. (5.) They themselves had covenanted and agreed thereunto, Num. 32. 25, Thy servants will do as my lord commandeth. Thus we all lie under manifold obligations to strengthen the hands one of another, and not to seek our own welfare only, but one another's.
V. 16-18. This answer was given not by the two tribes and a half only, (though they are spoken of immediately before,) but by the officers of all the people, (v. 10,) as their representatives, concurring with the divine appointment, by which Joshua was set over them, and they did it heartily, and with a great deal of cheerfulness and resolution.
1. They promise him obedience, v. 16, not only as subjects to their prince, but as soldiers to their general, of whose particular orders they are to be observant; he that hath soldiers under him, saith to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh, Matt. 8. 9. Thus the people of Israel here engage themselves to Joshua, "All that thou commandest us to do we will readily do, without murmuring or disputing; and whithersoever thou sendest us, though upon the most difficult and perilous expedition, we will go." We must thus swear allegiance to our Lord Jesus, as the Captain of our salvation,
2. They pray for the presence of God with him, v. 17, “ Only the Lord thy God be with thee, to bless and prosper thee, and give thee success, as he was with Moses." Prayers and supplications are to be made for all in authority, 1 Tim. 2. 1, 2. And the best thing we can ask of God for our magistrates, is, that they may have the presence of God with them; that will make them blessings to us, so that in seeking this for them, we consult our own interest. A reason is here intimated, why they would obey him as they had obeyed Moses, because they believed (and in faith prayed) that God's presence would be with him as it was with Moses. Those that we have reason to think have favour from God, should have honour and respect from us. Some understand it as a limitation of their obedience; "We will obey only as far as we perceive the Lord is with thee, but no further. While thou keepest close to God, we will keep close to thee; hitherto shall our obedience come, but no further." But they were so far from having any suspicion of Joshua's deviating from the divine rule, that there needed not such a proviso.
3. They pass an act to make it death for any Israelite to disobey Joshua's orders, or rebel against his commandment, v. 18. Perhaps, if such a law had been made in Moses's time, it might have prevented many of the rebellions that were formed against him, for most men fear the sword of the magistrate more than the justice of God. Yet there was a special reason for the making of this law, now that they were entering upon the wars of Canaan, for in time of war the severity of military discipline is more necessary than at other times. Some think that in this statute they have an eye to that law concerning the prophet God would raise up like unto Moses, which they think, though it refer chiefly to Christ, yet takes in Joshua by the way, as a type of him, that whosoever would not hearken to him, should be cut off from his people, Deut. 18. 19, I will require it of him. 4. They animate him to go on with cheerfulness in the work to which God had called him; and, in desiring that he would be strong and of a good courage, they do in effect promise him that they would do all they could, by an exact bold and cheerful observance of all his orders, to encourage him. It very much heartens those that lead in a good work, to see those that follow, follow with a good will. Joshua, though of approved valour, did not take it as an affront, but as a great kindness, for the people to bid him be strong and of a good courage.
NOTES TO CHAPTER II.
I. The prudence of Joshua, in sending spies to observe this important pass, which was likely to be disputed at the entrance of Israel into Canaan, v. 1, Go view the land, even Jericho. Moses had sent spies, Num. 13. (Joshua himself was one of them,) and it proved of ill consequence: yet Joshua now sends spies, not as the former were sent, to survey the whole land, but Jericho only; not to bring the account to the whole congregation, but to Joshua only; who, like a watchful general, was continually projecting for the public good, and was particularly careful to take the first step well, and not to stumble at the threshold. It was not fit that Joshua should venture over Jordan, to make his remarks incognito-in disguise, but he sends two men, two young men (say the LXX) to view the land, that from their report he might take his measures in attacking Jericho. Observe, 1. There is no remedy, but great men must
land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there. 2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to-night of the children of Israel, to search out the country.
3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.
4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were:
b Matt. 1. 5. Heb. 11. 31. Jam. 2. 25. lay. see with other people's eyes, which makes it very necessary that they be cautious in the choice of those they employ, since so much often depends upon their fidelity. 2. Faith in God's promise ought not to supersede but encourage our diligence in the use of proper means. Joshua is sure he has God with him, and yet sends men before him. We do not trust God, but tempt him, if our expectations slacken our endeavours. 3. See how ready these men were to go upon this hazardous enterprise; though they put their lives in their hands, yet they ventured in obedience to Joshua their general, in zeal for the service of the camp, and in dependence upon the power of that God, who being the keeper of Israel in general, is the Protector of every particular Israelite in the way of his duty.
works, and this is instanced in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way, and she did it by faith, such a faith as set her above the fear of man, even of the wrath of the king. She believed, upon the report she had heard of the wonders wrought for Israel, that their God was the only true God, and that therefore their declared design upon Canaan would undoubtedly take effect, and in this faith she sided with them, protected them, and courted their favour. Had she said, "I believe God is yours and Canaan yours, but I dare not show you any kindness," her faith had been dead and inactive, and would not have justified her. But by this it appeared to be both alive and lively, that she exposed herself to the utmost peril, even of life, in obedience to her faith. Note, Those only are true believers, that can find in their hearts to venture for God; and those that by faith take the Lord for their God, take his people for their people, and cast in their lot among them. They that have God for their refuge and hiding-place, must testify their gratitude by their readiness to shelter his people when there is occasion: let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Is. 16. 3,4. And we must be glad of an opportunity of testifying the sincerity and zeal of our love to God, by hazardous services to his church and kingdom among men.
II. The providence of God, directing the spies to the house of Rahab. How they got over Jordan we are not told, but into Jericho they came, which was about seven or eight miles from the river, and there seeking for a convenient inn, were directed to the house of Rahab, here called a harlot; a woman that had formerly been of ill fame, the reproach of which stuck to her name, though of late she had repented and reformed. Simon the leper, (Matt. 26. 6,) though cleansed from his leprosy, wore the reproach of it in his name as long as he lived, so Rahab the harlot; and she is so called in the New Testament, where But, (2.) There is that in it which it is not easy to justify, both her faith and her good works are praised; to teach us, and yet it must be justified, or else it could not be so good a 1. That the greatness of sin is no bar to pardoning mercy, if it work as to justify her. [1.] It is plain that she betrayed her be truly repented of in time. We read of publicans and harlots country by harbouring the enemies of it, and aiding those that entering into the kingdom of the Messiah, and being welcomed were designing its destruction, which could not consist with her to all the privileges of that kingdom, Matt. 21. 31. 2. That allegiance to her prince, and her affection and duty to the comthere are many, who before their conversion were very wicked munity she was a member of. But that which justifies her in and vile, and yet afterward come to great eminence in faith and this, is, that she knew the Lord had given Israel this land, v. 9, holiness. 3. Even those that through grace have repented of knew it by the incontestable miracles God had wrought for them, the sins of their youth, must expect to bear the reproach of them, which confirmed that grant; and her obligations to God were and when they hear of their old faults must renew their repent-higher than her obligations to any other. If she knew God ance; and as an evidence of that, hear of them patiently. had given them this land, it would have been a sin to join with God's Israel, for aught that appears, had but one friend, but those that hindered them from possessing it. But since no such one well-wisher in all Jericho, and that was Rahab, a harlot. grant of any land to any people can now be proved, this will by God has often served his own purposes and his church's in- no means justify any such treacherous practices against the terests by men of indifferent morals. Had these scouts gone public welfare. [2.] It is plain that she deceived the officers to any other house than this, they had certainly been betrayed that examined her, with an untruth, That she knew not whence and put to death without mercy. But God knew where they the men were, that they were gone out, that she knew not had a friend that would be true to them, though they did not, whither they were gone. What shall we say to this? If she and directed them thither. 'Thus that which seems to us most had either told the truth, or been silent, she had betrayed the contingent and accidental, is often overruled by the Divine spies, and that had certainly been a great sin: and it does not Providence to serve its great ends. And those that faithfully appear that she had another way of concealing them, than by acknowledge God in their ways, he will guide them with his eye, this ironical direction to the officers to pursue them another See Jer. 36. 19, 26. way, which if they would suffer themselves to be deceived by, let them be deceived. None are bound to accuse themselves, or their friends, of that which, though inquired after as a crime, they know to be a virtue. This case was altogether extraordinary, and therefore cannot be drawn into a precedent; and that may be justified here, which would be by no means lawful in a common case. Rahab knew by what was already done on the other side Jordan, that no mercy was to be showed to the Canaanites, and from thence inferred, if mercy were not owing them, truth was not; they that might be destroyed, might be deceived. Yet divines generally conceive that it was a sin, which however admitted of this extenuation, that being a Canaanite she was not better taught the evil of lying; but God accepted her faith and pardoned her infirmity: however it was in this case, we are sure it is our duty to speak every man the truth to his neighbour, to dread and detest lying, and never to do evil, that evil, that good may come of it, Rom. 3. 8; but God accepts what is sincerely and honestly intended, though there be a mixture of frailty and folly in it, and is not extreme to mark what we do amiss. Some suggest that what she said might possibly be true of some other men.*
III. The piety of Rahab in receiving and protecting these Israelites. Those that keep public houses, entertain all comers, and think themselves obliged to be civil to their guests. But Rahab showed her guests more than common civility, and went upon an uncommon principle in what she did; it was by faith that she received those with peace, against whom her king and country had denounced war, Heb. 11. 31. 1. She bid them welcome to her house, they lodged there, though it appears by what she said to them, v. 9, she knew both whence they came, and what their business was. 2. Perceiving that they were observed coming into the city, and that umbrage was taken at it, she hid them upon the roof of the house, which was flat, and covered them with stalks of flax, (v. 6,) so that if the officers should come thither to search for them, there they might lie undiscovered. By these stalks of flax, which she herself had laid in order upon the roof to dry in the sun, in order to the beating of it, and making it ready for the wheel, it appears she had one of the good characters of the virtuous women, however in others of them she might be deficient, that she sought wool and far, and wrought willingly with her hands, Prov. 31. 13. From which instance of her honest industry, one would hope, that whatever she had been formerly, she was not now a harlot. 3. When she was examined concerning them, she denied they were in her house, turned off the officers that had a warrant to search for them with a sham, and so secured them. No marvel that the king of Jericho sent to inquire after them, v. 2, 3, he had cause to fear when the enemy was at his door, and his fear made him suspicious and jealous of all strangers; he had reason to demand from Rahab that she should bring forth the men to be dealt with as spies: but Rahab not only disowned that she knew them, or where they were, but, that no further search might be made for them in the city, told the pursuers they were gone away again, and in all probability might be overtaken,
V. 8-21. The matter is here settled between Rahab and the spies, respecting the service she was now to do for them, and the favour they were afterward to show to her. She secures them on condition that they should secure her.
v. 4, 5.
5 And it came to pass, about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.
6 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.
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. 8 And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;
e 2 Sam. 17. 19, 20. d Ex. f. 15–21.
Now, (1.) We are sure this was a good work: it is canonized by the apostle, Jam. 2, 25, where she is said to be justified by VOL. I.-64
I. She gives them, and by them sends to Joshua and Israel, all the encouragement that could be desired, to make their intended descent upon Canaan. This was what they came for,
*However the guilt of Rahab's falsehood may be extenuated, it seems best to admit nothing which tends to explain it away. We are sure that God discriminated between what was good in her conduct, and what was bad, rewarding the former, and pardoning the latter. Her views of the divine law must have been exceedingly dim and contracted; a similar falsehood, told by those who enjoy the light of revelation, however laudable the motive, would of course deserve much heavier censure.
9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
10 For we have heard how the LORD dried sup the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what eye did unto the two kings of the Amorites that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.
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.
14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.
15 Then she let "them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.
16 And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way.
17 And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us
18 Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by; and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee.
19 And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood 5.8. Ex. 12. 13. ver. 18. Ez. 9. 4-6. I instead of you to die. Gen. 24. 49. Judg. 1. 24. 1 Sam. 20.8. n Acts 9. 25. o Lev. 19. 11, 12. Num. 30. 2. 2 Sam. 21. 1, 2, 7. p c. 6. 23. § gather.
e Gen. 35. 5. Ex. 15. 15, 16. 23. 27. Deut. 2. 25. 11.25. ⚫ melt. 1 Sam. 14. 16.
II. She engaged them to take her and her relations under their protection, that they might not perish in the destruction of Jericho, v. 12, 13. Now, 1. It was an evidence of the sincerity and strength of her faith concerning the approaching revolution in her country, that she was so solicitous to make an interest for herself with the Israelites, and courted their kindness. She foresaw the conquest of her country, and in the belief of that bespoke in time the favour of the conquerers. Thus Noah,
being moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, and the condemning of the world, Heb. 11. 7. They who truly believe the divine revelation, concerning the ruin of sinners, and the grant of the heavenly land to God's Israel, will give diligence to flee from the wrath to come, and to lay hold on eternal life, by joining themselves to God and to his people. 2. The provision she made for the safety of her relations, as well as for her own, is a laudable instance of natural affection, and an intimation to us in like manner to do all we can for the salvation of the souls of those that are dear to us, and, with ourselves, to bring them, if possible, into the bond of the covenant. No mention is made of her husband and children, but only her parents and brothers and sisters, whom, though she was herself a housekeeper, she retained a due concern for. 3. Her request that they would swear unto her by Jehovah, is an instance of her acquaintance with the only true God, and her faith in him, and devotion toward him, one act of which is religiously to swear by his name. 4. Her petition is very just and reasonable, that since she had protected them, they should protect her; and since her kindness to them extended to their people, for whom they were now negotiating, their kindness to her should take in all hers. It was the least they could do for one that had saved their lives with the hazard of her own. Note, Those that show mercy, may expect to find mercy. Observe, She does not demand any preferment by way of reward for her kindness to them, though they lay so much at her mercy that she might have made her own terms, but only indents for her life, which in a general destruction would be a singular favour. Thus God promised Ebed-Melec, in recompense for his kindness to Jeremiah, that in the worst of times he should have his life for a prey, Jer. 39. 18. Yet this Rahab was afterward advanced to be a princess in Israel, the wife of Salmon, and one of the ancestors of Christ, Matt. 1. 5. Those that faithfully serve Christ and suffer for him, he will not only protect, but prefer, and will do for them more than they are able to ask or think.
III. They solemnly engaged for her preservation in the common destruction, v. 14, "Our life for yours. We will take as much care of your lives as of our own, and would as soon ourselves as any of you." Nay, they imprecate God's judgments on themselves, if they should violate their promise to her. She had pawned her life for theirs, and now they in requital pawn their lives for hers, and (as public persons) with them they pawn the public faith and the credit of their nation, for they plainly interest all Israel in the engagement in those words, When the Lord has given us the land, meaning not themselves only, but the people whose agents they were. No doubt, they knew themselves sufficiently authorized to treat with Rahab concerning this matter, and were confident that Joshua would ratify what they did, else they had not dealt honestly; the general law, that they should make no covenant with the Canaanites, (Deut. 7. 2,) did not forbid them to take under their protection a particular person, that was heartily come into their interests, and had done them real kindnesses: The law of gratitude is one of the laws of nature. Now observe here, 1. The promises they made her. In general, "We will deal kindly and truly with thee, v. 14. We will not only be kind in promising now, but true in performing what we promise; and not only true in performing just what we promise, but kind in outdoing thy demands and expectations." The goodness of God is often expressed by his kindness and truth, (Ps. 117. 2,) and in both these we must be followers of him. In particular, "If a hand be upon any in the house with thee, his blood shall be on our head, v. 19. If hurt come through our carelessness to those whom we are obliged to protect, we thereby contract guilt, and blood will be found a heavy load."
2. The provisoes and limitations of their promises. Though they were in haste, and it may be in some confusion, yet we find them very cautious in settling this agreement and the terms of it, not to bind themselves to more than was fit for them