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the people over Jordan ; telling him, that every place upon which the sole of their foot should tread, should be their own ; and assuring him that no man should be able to stand before him all the days of his life : for as he had been with Moses, so he would be with him, and never fail nor forsake him : therefore he commanded him to be strong and of good courage, for he should divide the land for an inheritance to the people. And to engage him to a performance of the Law which he had de. livered to Moses, he annexes a continual series of prosperity and success; charging him to make it his study day and night, as the standard of all his future actions, and repeating the former assurance of his presence with him wheresoever he should
go. Joshua, thus encouraged, prepares to execute the command of the Lord; and that nothing material might be omitted, he orders the officers to go through the camp, and give notice to the people, that within three days they should pass the river Jordan, in order to possess the land which the Lord their God had given them, and that they should furnish themselves with provisions for such a march.
The city of Jericho was just opposite to the place where they were to pass. Joshua, therefore, before* his order for their making provision for this march, sent two spies thither, to observe the situation and strength of the place, and the avenues to it; because it would be the first place they were to attack, after they had passed the
Before. This direction for marching is mentioned in the text, before the send. ing of the spies to Jericho. See Josh. i. 11. and ch. ii. 1. But it seems the spies were sent before that, and returned to the camp at Shittim, before their march to. wards Jordan : for the spies spent longer time in their search, than was between the notice given for marching, and the march itself, which was but three days : whereas they lay hid three days in the mountains for their safety, beside the time they spent in Jericho, and in going and returning; which they could not have done, had they been sent away before the order for marching was given. So that what is delivered in the second chapter of Joshua, should in order of time come in about the middle of the first chapter, between the ninth and tenth verses, being, as Junius and Tremellius observe, displaced by a figure called Hyperbatom
river. These spies* entering Jericho, went to a public house of entertainment, which was kept by Rahab, † and there took up their lodging. But being observed by some to go in there, information was presently given to the king of Jericho, that two Israelites were come to search the country. Upon this, the king sent to Rahab to produce them; but she, having timely notice, had hid them upon the rooff of the house, under the stalks of fax which she had spread there. Having thus secured the men, she put off the king's messengers with a feigned story, pretending that some men did come to her house, but she knew not who they were, nor whence they came; and that when it grew dark, before the gates were shut, they went out, but she knew not whither. And to prevent any further suspicion, she advised an immediate pursuit of them, for they could not be far off. Upon this they sent out several persons to take them, who went as far as the fords of Jordan, but in vain.
When they were gone, Rahab went up to the men she had hidden, and thus accosts them: “I know the Lord “ hath given you this land, and the fame of you is be. “come so terrible to us, that our people are utterly dis“ couraged. For we have heard how the Lord dried up " the water of the Red Sea for you to pass over, when
ye came out of Egypt; and how ye subdued Sihon and
Spies. These spies are fabulously supposed by the Rabbins to be Phineas and Caleb; which is very improbable. For Phineas was designed by God to be a priest, and Caleb a man in great authority. But Josh. vi. 23, positively states that they were young men.
+ Rabab. It is generally thought that she was an hostess, a keeper of an inn, and that this is the true signification of the original word; though St. Jerome and others understand it of a prostitute ; but there is no reason to think she was a wo. man of that character; had she been so, it is not likely that Salmon, a prince of the tribe of Judah, would have taken her to wife.
Roof. The roofs of houses were then built hat, so that they could walk upon them, and set their goods there, having battlements round them to secure them from falling off, Deut. xxii. 8. And such a roof it was that David afterwards walked upon when he unhappily noticed Bathsheba.
Og, the two Amorite kings, on the other side of Jordan. “ These actions have flashed terror amongst our people, " and quite dispirited them. Your God is the only God “ in heaven and earth. Now, therefore, in regard of the * service I have done in concealing you, shew favour to “me and my family, when you come into power, and
save us alive; and of this ye shall give me some assu“ rance."
They readily promised, upon their lives, to secure her and all that belonged to her; upon which she let them down by a cord from the window which faced the country, for her house stood on the town wall. When they had descended, she advised them immediately to make to the neighbouring mountains, and there to conceal themselves for three days, till their pursuers should give over the search. The spies, perceiving the sincerity of the woman, in consulting their security, resolved to make her easy in their promise to her ; and for a token of their integrity in the performance of it, give her this farther assurance. When she should see the Israelitish army approach the town, they bid her be sure to tie a scarlet cord in the window, through which she let them down; and to bring her father, mother, brethren, and all her family home to her house, and be careful to keep them within doors, that when their forces should enter the town, by this token they might distinguish the house and
them. And that if any should straggle from the house, their blood should be upon their own heads; but if any one in the house should come to any damage, they would answer for it. To these terms she gladly agreed, and so dismissed them.
The spies having hitherto thus happily succeeded, take Rahab's advice, and make the best of their way to the mountains, where they lay concealed three days; in which time, those who went in pursuit of them, despairing to find them, returned to Jericho; and the spies, descending from the mountains, ford the river, arrive safely in the Israelitish camp, and give Joshua, their general, a faithful account of their expedition ; adding, that, unquestionably the Lord had delivered the country into their
hands, for the people were utterly dispirited at the fame of them.
Joshua, roused at this news, decamps from Shittim, and approaches the river Jordan : then, reminding the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, of the agreement made between them and Moses, that they, leaving their families and cattle on this side the river, should, with their best forces, go over armed before their brethren, to assist in subduing their enemies, and placing them in their possessions, they acknowledge the agree. ment, and declare their readiness to go; promising in all things to be subject to him their general, as they had been to Moses, and in all things to obey his commands, under penalty of death.
The army being provided with necessaries for their march, the officers, going through the host, commanded the people, that when they should see the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord their God, and the priests of the Levites bearing it, then they should move and follow it, that they might know the way by which they were to go, because they had never before passed that way. And that order might be observed in their march, direction was given, that they should leave a space of about two thousand* cubits between the ark and the people.
Things being thus disposed, Joshua, early in the morning, on the ninth day of the first month, exhorted the people to sanctify themselves, because the Lord would on the next day, do wonders amongst them; and giving order for the priests to move, they took up the ark, and
• Two thousand. There were two thousand cubits between the Ark and the camp when they marched, Josh. iii. 4. and in all probability the same proportion was observed when they rested : this distance of ground some interpret to be one mile, some two; some measuring it according to a less, others according to a longer cubit, wbich they term a geometrical cubit. But all agree in this, that these two thousand cubits were a sabbath-day's journey ; because on the sabbath-day they were all to repair to the place of God's public worship, which was two thousand cubits distant from those who encamped nearest.
marched with it, before the people, to the banks of Jor. dan, where they halted : here the Lord assured Joshua that he would so distinguish him in the sight of all Israel, that they should know his presence should be with him, as it had been with Moses. He directed him to tell the priests, who were to carry the ark, to halt on the brink of the river, which they accordingly did; and Joshua thereupon calling the people together to hear the words of the Lord their God, told them, That they should hereby know that the living God was among them, and that he would drive out the nations before them : for the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the Earth passing into the river Jordan before them, as soon as the feet of the priests that bare it should touch the waters, they should divide and stand as an heap. Accordingly, the priests march into the river with the ark, and stopping in the midst of it, they stood on firm ground, the rapid stream dividing, and the waters, forgetting their fluidity, condense in heaps to afford them a dry passage. Thus did God make good his word to Joshua, in promising to magnify him in the sight of the people, by dividing the waters of Jordan, as he had done before to Moses, when the Israelites passed the Red Sea.
But before the people crossed the river, the Lord commanded Joshua to select twelve men, one out of each tribe, who, as soon as the people had passed the river, were to take up twelve stones from the place where the priests stood on dry ground, according to the number of the twelve tribes, and to set them up as a memorial of this great miracle in that place. He commanded them likewise to take other twelve stones, and to carry them on shore, for another memorial of the same miracle.
The priests who carried the ark walking on dry ground to the midst of Jordan, and halting there, as Joshua had ordered them, he commanded the rest of the people to follow', forty thousand of the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, well armed, leading the van. When they were all safely arrived on the other side of the river, the general commanded the priests who bare the ark, which stood in the midst of Jordan till all