New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Spies Saved by Rahab. 1 Then Joshua, son of Nun, secretly sent out two spies from Shittim, saying, “Go, reconnoiter the land and Jericho.” When the two reached Jericho, they went into the house of a prostitute named Rahab,(A) where they lodged. 2 But a report was brought to the king of Jericho: “Some men came here last night, Israelites, to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent Rahab the order, “Bring out the men who have come to you and entered your house, for they have come to spy out the entire land.” 4 The woman(B) had taken the two men and hidden them, so she said, “True, the men you speak of came to me, but I did not know where they came from. 5 At dark, when it was time to close the gate, they left, and I do not know where they went. You will have to pursue them quickly to overtake them.” 6 Now, she had led them to the roof, and hidden them among her stalks of flax spread out[a] there. 7 But the pursuers set out along the way to the fords of the Jordan. As soon as they had left to pursue them, the gate was shut.
8 Before the spies lay down, Rahab went up to them on the roof 9 and said:[b] “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that a dread of you has come upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land tremble with fear because of you.(C) 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt,(D) and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites beyond the Jordan, whom you destroyed under the ban. 11 We heard, and our hearts melted within us; everyone is utterly dispirited because of you, since the Lord, your God, is God in heaven above and on earth below.(E) 12 (F)Now then, swear to me by the Lord that, since I am showing kindness to you, you in turn will show kindness to my family.(G) Give me a reliable sign 13 that you will allow my father and mother, brothers and sisters, and my whole family to live, and that you will deliver us from death.” 14 “We pledge our lives for yours,” they answered her. “If you do not betray our mission, we will be faithful in showing kindness to you when the Lord gives us the land.”
15 Then she let them down through the window with a rope; for she lived in a house built into the city wall.[c] 16 “Go up into the hill country,” she said, “that your pursuers may not come upon you. Hide there for three days, until they return; then you may go on your way.” 17 They answered her, “We are free of this oath that you made us take, unless, 18 when we come into the land, you tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you are letting us down. Gather your father and mother, your brothers, and all your family into your house. 19 Should any of them pass outside the doors of your house, their blood will be on their own heads, and we will be guiltless. But if anyone in your house is harmed, their blood will be on our heads. 20 If, however, you betray our mission, we will be free of the oath you have made us take.” 21 “Let it be as you say,” she replied, and sent them away. When they were gone, she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
22 They went up into the hill country, where they stayed three days until their pursuers, who had sought them all along the road without finding them, returned. 23 Then the two came back down from the hills, crossed the Jordan to Joshua, son of Nun, and told him all that had happened to them. 24 They assured Joshua, “The Lord has given all this land into our power; indeed, all the inhabitants of the land tremble with fear because of us.”
- 2:6 Stalks of flax spread out: to dry in the sun, after they had been soaked in water, according to the ancient process of preparing flax for linen-making. In the Near East the flax harvest occurs near the time of the feast of the Passover (4:19; 5:10); cf. Ex 9:31.
- 2:9–11 Rahab’s speech is Deuteronomic in content and style. Through her, the author expresses a theological conviction: the Lord, the God of Israel, is God above all gods; the formation of the people Israel and its success is the Lord’s doing; and all the rulers of the neighboring nations do well to panic at what the Lord is doing (cf. 5:1). Rahab the prostitute is pointedly mentioned in the Matthean genealogy of Jesus (Mt 1:5) and in Jas 2:25.
- 2:15 A house built into the city wall: the city wall formed the back wall of the house; remains of such houses have been found at ancient sites. The upper story of Rahab’s house was evidently higher than the city wall. It was through the window of such a house that St. Paul escaped from Damascus; cf. Acts 9:25; 2 Cor 11:33.
New International Version
Rahab and the Spies
2 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies(A) from Shittim.(B) “Go, look over(C) the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.(D)” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab(E) and stayed there.
2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab:(F) “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”
4 But the woman had taken the two men(G) and hidden them.(H) She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate,(I) they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.”(J) 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax(K) she had laid out on the roof.)(L) 7 So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan,(M) and as soon as the pursuers(N) had gone out, the gate was shut.
8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof(O) 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear(P) of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up(Q) the water of the Red Sea[a] for you when you came out of Egypt,(R) and what you did to Sihon and Og,(S) the two kings of the Amorites(T) east of the Jordan,(U) whom you completely destroyed.[b](V) 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear(W) and everyone’s courage failed(X) because of you,(Y) for the Lord your God(Z) is God in heaven above and on the earth(AA) below.
12 “Now then, please swear to me(AB) by the Lord that you will show kindness(AC) to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign(AD) 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them(AE)—and that you will save us from death.”
15 So she let them down by a rope(AH) through the window,(AI) for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the hills(AJ) so the pursuers(AK) will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days(AL) until they return, and then go on your way.”(AM)
17 Now the men had said to her, “This oath(AN) you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord(AO) in the window(AP) through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family(AQ) into your house. 19 If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads;(AR) we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head(AS) if a hand is laid on them. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.(AT)”
21 “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.”
22 When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days,(AW) until the pursuers(AX) had searched all along the road and returned without finding them. 23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands;(AY) all the people are melting in fear(AZ) because of us.”