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The Story of Rahab

Joshua 1:1-3

The Story of Rahab

When Moses died, Joshua became the leader of God’s people. Once they were camped on the shores of the River Jordan, Joshua called two of his best men to a secret meeting. They were brave and clever soldiers. “I have a secret mission for you,” he said.

The two men liked secret missions. “I want you to spy on the land across the river. Sneak into the city of Jericho. Find out how strong it is. Find out if the people are ready to fight us and how many soldiers they have. See what types of weapons they use. Are they made of bronze or iron?Then come back and tell me. After we cross the River Jordan, we’ll attack Jericho.”

The men nodded. That afternoon the two spies slipped into the city. It was surrounded by great thick walls. At night the gates were closed tight. Guards patrolled the tops of the walls. The men walked by a group of soldiers. One of them turned and shouted, “Hey, who are those two strangers?”

“They look like Israelites!” “Stop! Spies! Those two men are spies, stop them!”

The two could hear the crowd crashing after them. They turned first this way, then that. They dashed through the narrow streets, trying to find a place to hide.

“In here!” someone whispered. The men stopped and looked up. They saw a woman hanging out of a window above them. “In here.” She pointed at the door below her. Joshua’s spies opened the door and ran in.

The Israelite spies looked around. They saw the woman standing on the other side of the room. “I will hide you,” she said. “Follow me.”

The Jericho woman led the spies up to the roof of her house. She showed them where to hide. The spies waited until it became dark.

When the king of Jericho had heard about the spies, he ordered his soldiers to search the city. Soon they reached the house where the spies were hiding.

The soldiers entered the woman’s house. When they questioned her, she told them, “Yes, they were here, but now they’re gone. If you hurry, you can still catch them.”

The guards clattered out of the house. They rushed out of the gate just before it closed for the night. Now no matter what, they could not come back in until the next morning.

“Quickly,” the woman called to the Israelites. “Quickly, now is your chance. Hurry and leave while the guards are gone.”

The two men climbed out of their hiding place. “I know all about you people of Israel,” she said. “God is on your side. He blesses whatever you do. All the men in Jericho are scared to fight you.

“If I help you escape, will you remember me and not harm me when you take Jericho?”

“Our lives for yours,” the men replied. “Yes, we’ll save you if you help us get out of here.” The woman nodded. Then she led them up another set of stairs.

The men climbed the narrow steps until they reached a tiny room. “Here, this is how you will escape,” the woman said. She pointed at a small window. That side of the house was actually part of the wall surrounding Jericho. The woman gave the spies some rope. “If you climb out here, you’ll land on the outside of the city. Go into the hills. Stay hidden for three days.”

The man took the rope from her. “What is your name?”

“I am Rahab.”

“Rahab, when Israel attacks, tie this red rope to the window. We’ll make sure no one living here gets hurt when we attack Jericho.”

The other spy growled, “But if you tell and we are caught, you’ll get no mercy from our army.”

She nodded. The men opened the window and fastened the red cord to a pillar. Slowly they lowered themselves out of the house. They bounced against the wall with their feet. When they reached the ground, no alarm had sounded. They disappeared into the darkness. Rahab pulled the rope back inside. She knew it was her ticket to safety. If God wanted the people of Israel to capture Jericho, then they surely would.

The spies from Israel hid for three days. Once they knew they were safe, they ran back to camp and reported to Joshua.

“It’s too good to be true,” the men said. “This woman who helped us said all the men in Jericho were afraid of us. The city is ours.”

Then the three men bowed their heads and thanked God for helping them. When Joshua finished praying he looked at his men.

“We will invade Jericho a few days from now. Today, though, is the day for which we have waited so long.” At first his officers did not understand what he meant. Then a huge grin stretched itself across Joshua’s bearded face. “Today is the day the Lord will lead us into the promised land!” The men took up the call and ran to the other leaders. They told the news to everyone in the camp. Soon it spread from one end to the other, “Today is the day!”

The people were so excited. They had hoped for and counted down the days. Forty years of wandering were over!

Joshua and the Walls of Jericho

Joshua 3:14-4:24

Joshua and the Walls of Jericho

Joshua ordered the priests to carry the ark across the river. When the priests toes touched the water, the waves reared back. The water formed a huge wall. A dry path stretched before the priests.

They walked to the middle of the river. Not a drop touched them. They were perfectly dry! Then Joshua called for the people to follow. Family by family, camel by camel, all the people and donkeys and cattle crossed the River Jordan that day. They walked around the priests who held the ark. It took all day for the people of Israel to pass by the priests. On the other side was their new land. When everyone had crossed the river, Joshua looked down from the hill where he had been watching everything. He remembered the promise of God to his forefather Abraham.

God had said, “I will make you into a great nation. You will number more than all the stars in the sky. This land of Canaan will belong to you.”

Joshua told the priests to come onshore. As soon as they were safe, God caused the waves to come crashing down again. After nearly five hundred years, Abraham’s children had come home to the promised land.

Joshua knew he must attack Jericho soon. He prayed for the Lord’s help. Then God gave Joshua a very strange plan.

Joshua told his captains, “We will have a parade.”

None of Joshua’s soldiers had ever fought like that before. A parade was not a battle! But they listened to the plan from God as Joshua told them. “Yes,” they said, “we will try that. We will do what God says.”

The next day all the soldiers lined up. It did look like a parade. First the priests carried the ark. Then came Joshua. He led all the soldiers.

The people in the city of Jericho saw the soldiers of Israel coming. They shook with fear. “Oh,” they cried, “this will be a terrible battle. We will all die because God is on their side. “But the Israelites surprised them. They did not attack. Instead, they lined up and walked around the city. They marched around the walls which surrounded the city. And as they marched, the soldiers were very quiet. Joshua had told them not to make a sound. There were no battle cries, no yells or shouts, just hundreds and hundreds of quiet soldiers. The only sound was that of seven priests,playing on their trumpets.

The army of Israel marched around Jericho. Then they went back to their camp and rested.

The next day they did the same thing. For six days, they paraded around Jericho. All the while, they made no sound except for the trumpets

Then, on the seventh day, Joshua ordered his army to walk around Jericho seven times. After the seventh time, when the trumpets blew, the soldiers let out a great whoop. They yelled as loud as they could.

“Boom! Crash!” No sooner had the soldiers yelled when the very walls of Jericho fell in! God had worked another miracle. The people of Israel poured into the city. Only one family in Jericho lived through that day. That was the woman named Rahaband her family.

Bible Study Joshua

Author: probably Joshua
Date: c. 1350 B.C. or c. 1150 B.C.

The Book of Joshua picks up where Deuteronomy leaves off. Moses is gone, and the role of leadership is Joshua’s. Joshua had been one of the two spies (Caleb was the other) who had brought back a favorable report and urged the Israelites to enter the land. They would now enter after 40 years of wandering.

There are essentially three battle campaigns described in this book. The central campaign goes through Jericho and Ai and concludes with the treaty made at Gibeon. The occurrences in each of the three cities give us something to ponder: Jericho shows us the power of God; Ai shows us the wages of sin; and Gibeon shows us the foolishness of human beings. To leave the Canaanites in the land turned out to be a disaster a century or two later.

The southern campaign involves a coalition of kings led by Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem. Joshua’s army is able to defeat them by the direct help of the Lord.

The northern campaign brings Jabin, King of Hazor, into battle against Israel and sees his eventual defeat. The land thus has rest from war (11:23), and the people of Israel now settle in to live in this new territory, which is apportioned to the twelve tribes.

Theological Themes in the Book of Joshua

Numerous important theological ideas may be seen in the Book of Joshua. The focus on the centrality of God continues from the earlier books. God is God, and his will is being done. His power to act is also evident, as well as his control over the forces of nature and history. The holiness of God is evident in the judgment meted out to the Canaanites whose iniquity was now “full,” but also in that Israel, too, was judged when it sinned. God is an absolutely impartial judge who will not regard one person above another. The mercy of God is also to be seen in the sparing of many from the horrors of war.

The importance of human involvement and response is a central theme of the Book of Joshua. God could have defeated his enemies directly had he chosen to do so, but he didn’t. He used Joshua and the people of Israel. They made the decisions, marched through the land, fought the battles, set up the cities, and lived their lives. Through those actions God accomplished his will. It is important to keep both facts firmly together in our minds: God works; we work.

One other thing stands out: the necessity to make the right choices. The choice was thrust upon the new dwellers in the land. Choose whom you will serve, either God or the gods who were worshipped by the Canaanites. Joshua made the right choice for his people as an example for us. The temptation to follow false gods is just as strong today as it was back then.

Outline for the Book of Joshua

The time of preparation Joshua 1:1-2:24
The entrance into the land Joshua 3:1-5:15
The conquest of Canaan Joshua 6:1-12:24
The division of the land Joshua 13:1-21:45
Settling under Joshua’s leadership Joshua 22:1-24:33