Truth, Understanding, Insight

Spies, Espionage and Faith

17th July 2005, hej


5) Joshua's faith

Think of the layering of events at this point. Yahweh did not command Joshua to send out spies. Yet it seems the spies went beyond their brief and were sent to save Rahab. If the spies were sent to save Rahab, this is only one facet, for Rahab also provides critical help and her statement is relayed to Joshua as evidence of the faithfulness of Yahweh. On the basis of Rahab's statement the spies say to Joshua

"Truly the LORD has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us." (Jos 2:24 ESV)

Joshua is not told by the angel of the procedure for conquering Jericho until after crossing Jordan, therefore Joshua prepares for battle in the usual way. He sends spies and prepares a sizeable force of 40,000 who cross the Jordan to go to the plains of Jericho. It records they were dressed and ready for war.

About 40,000 ready for war passed over before the LORD for battle, to the plains of Jericho. (Joshua 4:13 ESV)

If we think that Joshua was fearless let us rethink this and consider the implications of the fact Yahweh has to say to Joshua three times “be strong and courageous”. And the last time Yahweh says

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Jos 1:9 ESV)

With only three days to go before the Jordan crossing the elders also say to Joshua, as they prepare for war.

Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous." (Jos 1:18 ESV)

After hearing of the words of Rahab, and of knowing of the miraculous crossing of the Jordan, Joshua said to the people.

"Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. (Jos 3:10 ESV).

We must remember at this time Joshua was no longer young, being at least sixty and probably eighty. The text indicates a number of facts that indicate Joshua needed courage, including the specific encouragement by Yahweh, the sending of the spies and the preparation of a very large armed force. To Joshua, who did not yet know of the special nature of the capture of Jericho, Rahab's statement would have been for Joshua confirmation that Yahweh had prepared the minds of those in Jericho.