Spies in Jericho
1 Joshua son of Nun and all the people were camped at Acacia.* Acacia Or “Shittim,” a town east of the Jordan River. Also in 3:1. Joshua sent out two spies. No one knew that Joshua sent out these men. Joshua said to them, “Go and look at the land, especially the city of Jericho.”
So the men went to the city of Jericho and stayed at the house of a prostitute named Rahab.
2 But someone told the king of Jericho, “Last night some men from Israel came to look for weaknesses in our country.”
3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Do not hide the men who came and stayed in your house. Bring them out. They have come to spy on our country.”
4 Rahab had hidden the two men, but she said, “They did come here, but I didn’t know where they came from. 5 In the evening, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don’t know where they went. But if you go quickly, maybe you can catch them.” 6 (Rahab said this, but really she had taken the men up to the roof and had hidden them in the flax† flax A plant used to make linen. that she had piled up there.)
7 So the king’s men went out of the city, and the people closed the city gates. The king’s men went to look for the two men from Israel. They went to the Jordan River and looked at all the places where people cross the river.
8 The two men were ready to sleep for the night, but Rahab went to the roof to talk to them. 9 She said, “I know that the LORD has given this land to your people. You frighten us. Everyone living in this country is afraid of you. 10 We are afraid because we have heard about the ways that the LORD helped you. We heard that he dried up the Red Sea when you came out of Egypt. We also heard what you did to the two Amorite kings, Sihon and Og. We heard how you destroyed those kings living east of the Jordan River. 11 When we heard about this, we were very afraid. And now, not one of our men is brave enough to fight you, because the LORD your God rules the heavens above and the earth below! 12 So now, I want you to make a promise to me. I was kind to you and helped you. So promise me before the LORD that you will be kind to my family. Please tell me that you will do this. 13 Tell me that you will allow my family to live—my father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all their families. Promise me that you will save us from death.”
14 The men agreed and said, “We will trade our lives for yours. Don’t tell anyone what we are doing. Then, when the LORD gives us the land, we will be kind to you. You can trust us.”
15 Rahab’s house was built into the city wall, so she used a rope to let the men down through a window. 16 Then she said to them, “Go into the hills so that the king’s men will not accidentally find you. Hide there for three days. After the king’s men come back, you can go on your way.”
17 The men said to her, “We made a promise to you. But you must do one thing, or we will not be responsible for our promise. 18 When we come back to this land, you must tie in your window this red rope you are using to help us escape. You must bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your family into your house with you. 19 We will protect everyone who stays in this house. If anyone in your house is hurt, we will be responsible. But if they go out of your house and are killed, we will not be responsible. It will be their own fault. 20 We are making this agreement with you. But if you tell anyone about what we are doing, we will be free from this agreement.”
21 Rahab answered, “I will do just what you said.” She said goodbye, and the men left her house. Then she tied the red rope in the window.
22 The men left her house and went into the hills. They stayed there for three days. The king’s men looked all along the road. After three days, they stopped looking and went back to the city. 23 Then the two men went back to Joshua. They left the hills and crossed the river. They went to Joshua and told him everything that they had learned. 24 They said to him, “The LORD really has given us all the land. All the people in that country are afraid of us.”
*2:1 Acacia Or “Shittim,” a town east of the Jordan River. Also in 3:1.
†2:6 flax A plant used to make linen.