Spies Sent to Jericho
1Joshua son of Nun secretly sent out two spies from Acacia. Joshua said to them, “Go and look at the land. Look closely at the city of Jericho.”
So the men went to Jericho. They went to the house of a prostitute and stayed there. This woman’s name was Rahab.
2Someone told the king of Jericho, “Some men from Israel have come here tonight. They are spying out the land.”
3So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house. They have come to spy out our whole land.”
4Now the woman had hidden the two men. She said, “They did come here. But I didn’t know where they came from. 5In the evening, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know where they went. Go quickly. Maybe you can catch them.” 6(But the woman had taken the men up to the roof.# In Bible times houses were built with flat roofs. The roof was used for drying things such as flax and fruit. And it was used as an extra room, as a place for worship and as a place to sleep in the summer. She had hidden them there under stalks of flax. She had spread the flax out there to dry.) 7So the king’s men went out looking for the spies from Israel. They went to the places where people cross the Jordan River. The city gate was closed just after the king’s men left the city.
8The spies were ready to sleep for the night. So Rahab went to the roof and talked to them. 9She said, “I know the Lord has given this land to your people. You frighten us very much. Everyone living in this land is terribly afraid of you. 10We are afraid because we have heard how the Lord helped you. We heard how he dried up the Red Sea when you came out of Egypt. We heard how you destroyed Sihon and Og. They were the two Amorite kings who lived east of the Jordan. 11When we heard this, we became very frightened. Now our men are afraid to fight you. This is because the Lord your God rules the heavens above and the earth below! 12So now, make me a promise before the Lord. Promise that you will show kindness to my family just as I showed you kindness. Give me some proof that you will do this. 13Promise me you will allow my family to live. Save my father, mother, brothers, sisters and all of their families from death.”
14The men agreed. They said, “We will trade our lives for your lives. Don’t tell anyone what we are doing. When the Lord gives us our land, we will be kind to you. You may trust us.”
15The house Rahab lived in was built on the city wall. So she used a rope to let the men down through a window. 16She said to them, “Go into the hills. The king’s men will not find you there. Hide there for three days. After the king’s men return, you may go on your way.”
17The men said to her, “You must do as we say. If not, we cannot be responsible for keeping our promise. 18You are using a red rope to help us escape. When we return to this land, you must tie it in the window through which you let us down. Bring your father, mother, brothers and all your family into your house. 19We can keep everyone safe who stays in this house. If anyone in your house is hurt, we will be responsible. If anyone goes out of your house and is killed, it is his own fault. We cannot be responsible for him. 20But you must not tell anyone about this agreement. If you do, we are free from it.”
21Rahab answered, “I agree to this.” So she sent them away, and they left. Then she tied the red rope in the window.
22The men left and went into the hills. There they stayed for three days. The king’s men looked for them all along the road. But after three days, the king’s men returned to the city without finding them. 23Then the two men started back to Joshua. They left the hills and crossed the river. They went to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24They said to Joshua, “The Lord surely has given us all of the land. All the people in that land are terribly afraid of us.”