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In this chapter we have an account of the spies that were employed to bring
an account to Joshua of the posture of the city of Jericho : observe here, 1. How Joshua sent them, ver. 1. 2. How Rahab received them, and protected them, and told a lie for them, ver, 2–7. so that they escaped out of the hands of the enemy. 3. The account she gave them of the present posture of Jericho, and the panic they were struck with upon the approach of Israel, ver. 8-11. 4. The bargain she made with them for the security of herself, and her relations, in the ruin she saw coming npon her city, ser. 12-21. 5. Their safe return to Joshua, and the account they gave him of their expedition, ver. 22–24. And that which wakes this story most remarkable is, that Rahab, the person priucipally concerned in it, is twice celebrated in the new testament, as a great believer, Heb. xi. 31. and as one whose faith proved itself by goud works, Jam. ii. 25.
VER. 1. “ And they went and came into an harlot's bouse, named Rahab, and lodged there.”]-The Hebrew word 'signifies an hostess : the bisliops' translation renders it, the 'tayerner's house, or hostess's house.' The Jews interpret it thus, a seller of food ;' for though the word cona signifies an harlot, yet it is likewise used for a victualler, one that dresseth and selleth meat, Dan. iv, 12. Psalm cxliv. 13. which seems to be Rahab's station of life, and some think it most probable, because Salmon, the prince of Judalı, married ber, Matt. i. 5. and as such she is reckoned in the genealogy of our Lord: which furnisheth an argument why the spies went in thithier for food and lodging. But wbatever she had been, it was no bar to divine grace; for publicans and harlots enter into the kingdom of heaven before a self-righteous pharisce, Matt. xxi. 31. And it is evident that Rabab was blessed with grace, and with the true knowledge of the God of Israel, and that her “ faith wrought by love" in receiving the spies, for she said to the : men, ver. 9. “I know that the Lord has given you the land;" and she adds in ver. 11. “For the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath." From hence it appears that she was a true believer, and that her faith and dependence was cn God, and on that account she is mentioned in the catalogue of believers in the Messiah, Heb. xi. 31.
Ver. 18. Thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by.”]-It is evident that Rabab was an instance of distinguisbing grace and wonderful merey, for she was a sinner by nature,
and an heathen and an idolater. It appears that she was an object of God's electing love, and pardoning mercy, the Lord having blessed her with the knowledge of his name, real repentance for her sins, true faith in the Messiah, and love to his name. This was farther manifested to her by the scarlet thread which was a sign or token of her safety, and an emblem of the blood of Christ, which is preached and set forth as the ensign of safety and salvation to all that look for redemption in Israel, and it shelters from avenging justice, secures from wrathi, obtains peace in the conscience, justifies from all sin, and, finally, secures the soul that trusteth therein from the wrath that is to come.
This and the following chapter gives us the history of Israel's passing
throngh Jordan into Canaan, and a very memorable history it is ; long after they are bid to remember what God did for them between Shittim (whence they decamped, ver. 1.) and Gilgal, where they next pitched, chap. iv. 19. Mic. vi. 5. " That they might know the rightes ousness of the Lord." By Joshua's order they marched up to the river's side, ver. 1. and then Almighty power led them through it. They passed through the Red Sea unexpectedly, and in their flight by night, but they bave notice some time before of their passing through Jordan, and their expectations are raised. (1.) The people are directed to follow the ark, ver. 2-4. (2.) They are commanded to sanctify themselves, ver. 5. (3.) The priests with the ark are ordered to lead the van, ver. 6. (4.) Joshua is magnified and made commander in chief, ver. 7, 8. (5.) Public notice is given of what God is about to do for them, ver. 9—13. (6.) The thing is done, Jordan is divided, and Israel brought safely through it, ver. 14–17. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellons in our eyes.
VER. 3. " Then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.”]—That is, after the ark; which was a lively figure of Christ, called the “ark of the Lord," the “ark of his strength,” the “ ark of the testimony," and the “ ark of his face." The ark was a great type of Christ, for the lid or covering of it was the " Lord's dwelling-place," where the glory of the Shekinah dwelt, called under the law the mercy, seat, but in the gospel the propitiation, and the “ throne of grace,” Rom. iii. 25. Heb. iv. 16. It was from this residence that the Lord sbone forth in bis glory, gave divine oracles, and communed with his people, Exod. xxv. 22. Lev. xvi. 2. Numb. vii. 89. Moreover, the ark was adorned with cherubims at each end of it, and was put in the most holy place
in the tabernacle and in the temple, into which the priest was not to enter without blood. Hence the prayer of the church ppcars beautiful and striking, “ Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth,” Psalm 1xxx. 1. The ark being moved and borne by the Levites, was figurative of the Lord Jesus, who is our spiritual ark and guide, and has for us already entered within the veil, as our forerunner, whom we are to follow in the exercise of faith, love, and obedience, as followers of the Lamb wbither. soever he goes.
Ver. 4. “ Come not near unto it.”]-Great reverence was to be shewn to the ark; thus Christ, in his name and person, in bis word and ordinances, in his ministers and people, is to be reverenced,
“ That ye may know the way by which ye must go."} That is, tbe ark being their guide; wbich was typical of Christ, who is the “ way, the truth, and the life,” and declared in the word as the only Saviour and guide of his people.
Ver. 6. " And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.”]-lhe ark was called the ark of the covenant, from its having the tables of the law, being the covenant between God and the people : in which respect it was a type of Christ, in whose nature, obedience, and life, the law shone forth in its perfection, Psalm xl. 8. It was fulfilled by him, and the covenant of grace was made with him; and he is the mediator, surety, and messenger of it, in whose hands the blessings are, and in whom they will stand fast for evermore.
Ver. 7. “ That they may know that as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.”]—The Lord was with Moses, to guide him, to direct him, to support him, and work miracles by him : he would also be with Joshúa, to qualify him as a general, to encourage him as a leader, to strengthen him as a warrior, to work miracles before him, for his honour and his people's deliverance.
Ver. 17. “And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord.”]—The high priest was of the tribe of Levi, from whom all the families of the Levites sprang; on which account priests and Levites are used synonimously in the sacred scriptures; for though it was the particular appointment of the Levites to bear the ark, yet upon extraordinary occasions the priests assisted, as appears in passing over Jordan, in surrounding Jericho, and in bringing the ark to its place in the reign of king David. We may observe that the Levites, v ho bore the things of tlie sanctuary, were divided into three families, called the Kohathites, from Kohath; Gershonites, from Gershon: Mararites, from Marari; all sons of Levi; see Numb. iv. The Kobathites had the charge of bearing the ark, Numb. iv. 15, 20. and they carried it with staves, which the Hebrews say were ten cubits long: they were put through the gollen rings that were on each side of the ark, that it might be borne on their shoulders ; see Exod. xxv. 12, 13, 14. Those Levites who bore the ark were figurative of gos. pel ministers that publish Christ before the people, as the
way, the truth, and the life,” whom they are to follow through much tribulation, till they enter into the king. dom.
“Stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan.”]— Which was about thirty yards broad, and about the same depth in the middle. This may be figurative of Christ's presence and power with his people in the deep waters of alliction ; when they even seem, like Jordan's streams, to over. flow, then the swellings of Jordan shall not come nigh them, because Christ the ark of the covenant, is with them; or it may denote, that the feet of Christ's ministers stand firm, stable, and strong, even in the depths of tribulation, while Christ is with them.
“ And all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people wese passed clean over Jordan."]—It is generally allowed that Jordan was a figure of the christian's passing through the dark valley of the shadow of death, and the believer's safe passage to glory: hence observe, however great the distresses of christians are about the fears of death, that though they are like the swellings of Jordan, not one soul shall be lost, they shall all pass over and arrive safe ; for they are the children of God, the charge and care of Christ, the purchase of bis blood, par. takers of his grace, and sanctified and prepared for the kingdom by his Spirit. But by Jordan I understand deep tribulations, and by Israel's passing safe a figure of the christian's safety through great trials and conflicts of soul, before he enjoys the rest promised in the gospel, which was prefigured by the land of Canaan, Heb. iv. 8.
This chapter gives a farther account of the miraculons passage of Israel
through Jordan. 1. The provision that was made at that time to preserve the memorial of it, by twelve stones set up in Jordan, ver. 9. and other twelve stones taken ng out of Jordan, ver. 1-8.
2. The march of the people through Jordan's channel, the two tribes first, then all the people, and the priests that bare the ark last, ver. 10- 14. 3. The closing of the waters agaiu npon their coming up with the ark, ver. 15–19. 4. The erecting of the monument in Gilgal, to preserve the remembrance of this work of wonder to posterity, ver. 20--24.
VER. 7. “ And these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever."]—These stones were taken out of the midst of Jordan alter the people had passed over, which were to be erected as a monument of the Lord's care to his people, and of his power, which wrought miraculously for Their deliverance : which renders it a figure of the Lord's love to his people under their deepest distresses, and shews that his power is engaged to deliver bis people, who are under great obligations to admire his goodness, to adore his love, and to speak of bis kindness to their children.
Ver. 10. " And the people hasted and passed over.”] -Not for fear of the waters falling upon them, for the arm of the Lord was their safety and confidence, but from an eager desire to set their feet upon the land of Canaan, and likewise to relieve the Levites that bore the ark. Thus we see ibat wlien God engages for the deliverance of his people, bis own arnı brings salvation; and it may likewise shew us, that free grace does not lead to idleness, but makes the soul active.
Ver. 22. “Saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.”]-It is supposed that it was dry for sixteen miles in length, that Israel might pass over: which may be figurative of the christian's passing safely through all his troubles. The Lord saith to his people, " When thou passes through the waters, I will be with thee; and when through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee :" if troubles come upon the christian, like the overflowings of Jordan, he is to remember that there is a safe way through them all, as there was through Jordan on dry land.
Ver. 23. “ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you."]-This was in the month Nisan ; which answers to the middle of March and April; at