Joshua – Lesson 3

Joshua Chapter 2: 1-24


In our study last week we saw Joshua consult with the leaders and officers of each tribe and determine

That the people were solidly behind him. God told them to get ready to cross over Jordan in 3 days which we discussed typified the three days and three nights that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ lay in the grave before he rose victorious and ascended to the Father where he offered the blood sacrifice that would cover the sins of all men. We saw the chapter ending with the people vowing to do all the things that Moses had commanded them to do.

We take up today in verse 1 of Joshua Chapter 2 and find that almost 40 years have passed since Moses

sent spies into Canaan. We remember how that only 2 came back with a good report, one being Caleb and the other Joshua. Remember how that the failure to trust God was why the Israelites were forced to wander 40 years in the desert, one year for each day the spies were in the land. Now we see Joshua sending out 2 spies to spy out Jericho.

I. Note the Two Spies

Josh 2:1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

Josh 2:2 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.

When Joshua sent the two spies into the city of Jericho, he could not expect to receive help from the people since they were coming to take over the land. Note that the one who helps them is Rahab the harlot. I think we can learn from this that God can use all people in his service, and we know that Rahab got saved and was one of those that is mentioned as a woman of faith. To help these men meant risking her life. Sometimes our service to God may require us to take some risks, but the rewards for being a good

servant will outweigh any loss we may sustain. If we were to die in God’s service, we would be one of those who receive a Martyr’s Crown. It would take the Grace of God to stand in that hour, but if God helped us and we had the faith of the forefathers like Joshua, I truly believe we could die willingly for our Lord. We see in verse 1 that the men are told to go to Rahab the harlot’s house.

Prov 16:7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

These men were directed by God, and he blessed their efforts.

Psa 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

Psa 37:24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

We know that by her name, that Rahab at one time had been a harlot, but the name did not mean she still

was a woman of the night. Names stayed with people a long time after the fact, and God saved this woman and put her in His service.

Remember the story in Matthew about the man cleansed from leprosy. He was still called a leper as long as he lived.

Mat 26:6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,

Mat 26:7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.

We see Simon still called a leper many months after being cleansed of his leprosy. God was using Rahab at this time to protect the men. Today, many of the finest Christians are those that have come from very sordid backgrounds. Part of the reason is due to the gratitude we have when God forgives many sins.

Luke 7:41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

Luke 7:42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

Luke 7:43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

There was no doubt that the people of Jericho knew that the host of Israel were encamped opposite them on the other side of Jordan. Most likely they had a keen watch on them to be aware of any movement. Some Bible scholars claim that Joshua lacked faith in sending out these 2 men. But I believe it was like Moses sending out the spies, and God was pleased in it.

Num 13:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Num 13:2 Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.

Num 13:3 And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.

We have to realize that God, being God, could have prevented the discovery of the spies. But God works all things after his counsel, and we may not understand it, but we can be sure there are valid reasons. Perhaps to test our faith, to allow us an opportunity to serve and receive blessings, but God has reasons.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

We know when Moses sent out the ten spies, they went into the land for 40 days and no one saw them. The people of Jericho had set a watch both day and night, but the men still make an entrance successfully into the city.

Psa 127:1 A Song of degrees for Solomon. Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Psa 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

We see the king of Jericho had determined to prevent any Israelite from entering the city, but his well laid plans went awry.

  1. Rahab’s disregard to the King

Josh 2:3 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.

Josh 2:4 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:

Josh 2:5 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.

We can learn some important things here about Rahab’s conduct.

  1. She put God before man. We have a commandment to follow the laws of the land.

    Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

    When we disobey the law of the land, we can only do this and be right when we are obeying

    the exact will of God in our lives. At that point, we are duty bound to serve God.

    Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

    Acts 4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

    Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

    1. Rahab had to either be loyal to her king and country or loyal to God and His servants. She chose the right one.

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.


  1. Is Rahab excused for the untruth she told?

    When we lie, we sin. It is never right to lie. Remember how other Bible characters lied and got in trouble. Abraham lied and said that his wife Sarah was his sister because she was a beautiful woman and he thought the people of the land might kill him if he told the truth. The king, when he found out the truth, was very wrought with Abraham.

    Some believe that had Rahab kept silent or not lied, they would have found the spies. When we think like that, we forget God. When things look the bleakest, we need to look to God the most. Remember how the widow and her son were out of food, and she was about the make a cake and they were going to eat it and die. The prophet Elijah came and told her to first make him a cake, and then make one for them, and God would bless them. And she did, and God made that flour last and last and the oil in the cruse did not run out for many days. May have been over a year. If you don’t think you can make it, turn it over to God. If you are out of hope, turn it over to God. If the money is gone, turn it over to God. When human reasoning makes no sense, turn it over to God. He may direct you in a path that makes no sense at all, but if you are in His Will, it will work out to your best advantage. When we think we have to lie to make it, we are reasoning on unbelief and using our wisdom, not the wisdom of God. I don’t know how God would have done it, but I believe if she had kept silent or told the truth, somehow God would have protected both her and the spies.

  2. How do we explain Hebrews 11:31?

    Heb 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

    James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

    Many point to these 2 verses to justify what Rahab did and say that God approved of Rahab’s lie. If you read those 2 verses carefully, there is not one word there to suggest that God approved of her lie. In Hebrews it say she received the spies with peace and in James it says she was justified by works. Does not say justified by her words does it… She was right in receiving the spies and sending out the spies. God is a totally righteous God, and he wants His children to do things His way. That means keeping the commandments.

    Prov 7:2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.

    Prov 7:3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.

    John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

    John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

  3. Rahab’s Faith

    We see from Hebrews 11 that Rahab was a believer.

    Josh 2:5 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.

    Josh 2:6 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.

    Josh 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.

    We can see from verse 6 that the fact that she had stalks of flax on her roof speaks of how she know was making a living in a useful lifestyle.

    Prov 31:1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.

    Prov 31:2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

    Prov 31:3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.

    Harlotry was abhorred by God, and when Rahab was saved, she turned from her wicked ways. We know that the woman caught in the act of adultery was brought before the Lord, and after the men left that wanted to stone her to death, Jesus asked her "Where are those thine accusers?"

    John 8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

    John 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

    The key point is she was to sin no more. We are to be different once we are saved. Our lives will measure up to God I believe if we truly are saved and walking in His truth. The ground of Rahab’s faith was the word of God.

    Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    Josh 2:8 And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;

    Josh 2:9 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.

    Josh 2:10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.

    Josh 2:11 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.

    There is little reason to have faith in men, but there is every reason to trust in God. Even these non-believers knew that there was no other God like the God of the Israelites, the God of Heaven.

    Can God make our enemies fear us before we even come on the scene. He sure did for Israel.

    Deu 2:25 This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee.

    Many times the battle was won because of God. One time he made the enemy flee because they heard

    sounds of a great many men coming when in reality there were but a few. God is the one who can win your battles, but you have to have faith and believe.

    Rahab had a faith that was self-denying. If you and I want to please God, we have to have this kind of faith. The faith that caused Abraham to go out to land that he knew not. All he knew was God sent him, and he believed God. Dozens after dozens of examples of this type of faith in the Bible.

    Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

    Mark 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

    Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

    Mark 8:37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

    Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

    Rahab viewed God for who he was, the God of heaven and earth. But who is the god of this world today?

    It is not God today, but one day it will be. The god of this world is Satan today.

    2 Cor 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    2 Cor 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

  4. The Scarlet Cord

    Josh 2:12 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:

    Josh 2:13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

    Josh 2:14 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.

    Josh 2:15 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.

    Josh 2:16 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.

    Josh 2:17 And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.

    Josh 2:18 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.

    Josh 2:19 And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.

    Josh 2:20 And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear.

    Josh 2:21 And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.

    We see that the spies made a covenant with Rahab.

    Deu 7:2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them:

    The only way she could have been part of a covenant was if she was saved.

    Mat 12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;

    Mat 12:4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

    Mat 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

    Mat 12:6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.

    We saw in verse 15 that her house was on the wall. This gave God the opportunity to show His power in deliverance. This same great wall came falling down not long after this.

    Josh 6:20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.

  5. The spies report.

Josh 2:23 So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them:

Josh 2:24 And they said unto Joshua, Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.

We see the spies return with a good report. Just as God had promised the land would soon be theirs. Because the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us. What a blessing to know that God goes before us and protects His own.

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