Joshua – Chapter 2: Rahab and the Spies

The first chapter of the book of Joshua started us off with the transition from Moses as leader of the Israelites to Joshua.  The Israelites have reached the promised land and everyone will live happily ever after, right?  Guess again.

“So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.” – Joshua 2:2

The scene is set.  Joshua sends two men to spy on Jericho and they go see a prostitute.  Rahab, the prostitute, hides the men from the King of Jericho.  Rahab goes on to say:

“I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” – Joshua 2:9-11

Rahab sums it up pretty well.  God has decided the Israelites are to get this land that is already occupied.  The people living there are evil because God says so and must be destroyed.  Rahab understands that the god of the Bible is a god who rules with fear.  A god who rules with fear is no god who should be worshipped.  Rahab and the Israelite spies agree to spare each other’s lives.

“Now the men had said to her, ‘This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them.  But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.’” – Joshua 2:17-20

It’s great that the Israelites are willing to spare Rahab and her family, but they are still about to spill blood across the city.  These verses set the story for upcoming death and destruction of people already occupying the promised land.

“They said to Joshua, ‘The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.’” – Joshua 2:24

Why again is it we are taught to worship and love a god who demands humans fear him?  Either the god of the Bible is not real (ding, ding, ding, ding) or the god of the Bible is not worthy of our worship.  Either way, humans are much better off without religion.

That concludes Joshua 2.  No death and destruction yet, but the plot has been set for upcoming bloodshed.  I’m sure it will be the “loving” type of bloodshed because God says it’s okay.  Barf.

Coming Soon:  Joshua – Chapter 3:  Crossing the Jordan

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