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of the best character, received the men in a very friendly manner, and had no disposition to expose them to detection. But they had been noticed as strangers by some of the inhabitants. They were supposed to be Israelites, and to have come to search out the land with hostile intentions. They were known to have taken shelter in the dwelling of Rahab; and information was quickly conveyed to the king of this circumstance, and of the suspicions which rested upon them. He immediately sent peremptory orders to her to bring forth the men, and deliver them up to justice; stating as the reason for this demand, the supposed errand on which they had
Rahab was prepared for the crisis. She had heard not a little of the Israelites and their history. She knew something of the true God, and of his wonderful dealings with this new and mighty people who were encamped on the other side of the Jordan. The spies had, probably, already informed her who they were, and made her acquainted with the object of their visit, and the designs which Jehovah had in view with regard to the destruction of the city, and the possession of the country by the Israelites. If she had not done it before, she now appears to have yielded the obedience of her heart to the Divine will, and to have come under the influence of a cordial faith in the only living and true God; while repenting of her past transgressions, there is reason to believe that she, afterwards, led a virtuous and pious life.
Rahab showed her faith by her works. She was ready to connect her interests with those of the people of God, and, notwithstanding the dangers to which it would expose her, to act on their side, as the exigencies of the occasion might require. Having an intimation, probably, of the demand that would be made upon her to deliver up the spies, she had concealed them under some flax that was spread to dry upon the roof of the house, which being flat, as is the case in the Eastern countries, rendered it very convenient for such a purpose.
She acknowledged to the messengers of the king, that the men of whom they were in search had been in her house; but declared that she knew not whence they were, and that they had gone away, she could not tell whither, when the gate of the city was closed, at night-fall. “Pursue after them quickly," said she, “for ye shall overtake them.”
Her advice was followed, probably without any search being made in the house; and when the king's officers were fairly out of the city, on their way to the fords of Jordan, Rahab went up to the spies in their hiding-places, to tell them
what had happened, and to concert further measures for their safety.
In thus screening the spies from detection, Rahab uttered a direct falsehood. No attempt should be made to justify it. The Bible no where justifies it. We are told, indeed, in the Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews, that " Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace,” and that this was by her faith. Her friendly treatment of these men met the approbation of God, inasmuch as it proceeded from a cordial confidence in him, and a spirit of obedience to his will. It was the means, under his providential direction, of saving her from destruction. But while the prevailing temper of her heart, and the general course of conduct which she pursued, with regard to the spies, are thus attributed to her faith, and have received the divine sanction, it is a very
false conclusion from such premises, that all that she said, or did, at the time, and especially that the falsehood which she uttered, was right in the sight of God.
In the same passage of Scripture, the general course of conduct which Moses pursued in choosing to connect his destiny with that of the Israelites, and to give up the pleasures of a court for the sake of doing the will of God, is attributed to his faith. But it, by no means, follows from Joshua & Judges
this that each specific act of his in taking this course was sinless. The best deeds of the most pious persons are often mingled with imperfection and sin. How much more should we expect this to be true in the case of a woman like Rahab, brought up among a heathen people ; –for a season, certainly, indulging in open and flagrant transgression; with a mind comparatively very ignorant of duty, and a conscience but little enlightened ; and but just taking a decided stand on the Lord's side. To what extent these considerations may have served to lessen the guilt of her falsehood, that holy and just Being has decided, whose judgment is always an impartial and righteous one.
Rahab, so far as she told the messengers any thing, should have told them nothing but the truth. She might have declined making a reply. She might have offered her house to be searched. God has abundant resources to provide for the relief of those who are engaged in his service, in such emergencies. Let us always obey kis commands, and do our duty, and he will take care of the rest.
The spies promise security to Rahab. They return. The
Israelites arrive on the banks of the Jordan. Joshua gives them directions about crossing it.
Rahab had an important object to attain in her interview with the strangers who were sharing her protection. For in their turn, they would soon be able to render her a still more signal favor. She was anxious to secure it, and thus addressed them :
"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.
For we have heard how the Lord dried 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. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage
any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Now, therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have showed you kindness, that ye will