Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim, saying, “Go, reconnoiter the region of Jericho.” So they set out, and they came to the house of a harlot named Rahab and lodged there.
The king of Jericho was told, “Some men have come here tonight, Israelites, to spy out the country.”
The king of Jericho thereupon sent orders to Rahab: “Produce the men who came to you and entered your house, for they have come to spy out the whole country.”
The woman, however, had taken the two men and hidden them. “It is true,” she said, “the men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they were from.
And at dark, when the gate was about to be closed, the men left; and I don’t know where the men went. Quick, go after them, for you can overtake them.”—
Now she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under some stalks of flax which she had lying on the roof.—
So the men pursued them in the direction of the Jordan down to the fords; and no sooner had the pursuers gone out than the gate was shut behind them.
aHeb. “They.”The spies-a had not yet gone to sleep when she came up to them on the roof.
She said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given the country to you, because dread of you has fallen upon us, and all the inhabitants of the land are quaking before you.
For we have heard how the LORD dried up the waters of the Sea of Reeds for you when you left Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings across the Jordan, whom you doomed.bI.e., placed under ḥerem, which meant the annihilation of the inhabitants. Cf. Deut. 2.34 ff.
When we heard about it, we lost heart, and no man had any more spirit left because of you; for the LORD your God is the only God in heaven above and on earth below.
Now, since I have shown loyalty to you, swear to me by the LORD that you in turn will show loyalty to my family. Provide me with a reliable sign
that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and save us from death.”
The men answered her, “Our persons are pledged for yours, even to death! If you do not disclose this mission of ours, we will show you true loyalty when the LORD gives us the land.”
She let them down by a rope through the window—for her dwelling was at the outer side of the city wall and she lived in the actual wall.
She said to them, “Make for the hills, so that the pursuers may not come upon you. Stay there in hiding three days, until the pursuers return; then go your way.”
But the men warned her, “We will be released from this oath which you have made us take
[unless,] when we invade the country, you tie this length of crimson cord to the window through which you let us down. Bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your family together in your house;
and if anyone ventures outside the doors of your house, his blood will be on his head, and we shall be clear. But if a hand is laid on anyone who remains in the house with you, his blood shall be on our heads.
And if you disclose this mission of ours, we shall likewise be released from the oath which you made us take.”
She replied, “Let it be as you say.”
She sent them on their way, and they left; and she tied the crimson cord to the window.
They went straight to the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers turned back. And so the pursuers, searching all along the road, did not find them.
Then the two men came down again from the hills and crossed over. They came to Joshua son of Nun and reported to him all that had happened to them.
They said to Joshua, “The LORD has delivered the whole land into our power; in fact, all the inhabitants of the land are quaking before us.”