Chapter 2: The spies in Jericho
1. Yehoshua sends spies to Jericho:
- Yehoshua sent two spies [i.e. Kalev and Pinchas] from the area called Shitim to spy the land and Jericho.
- Lodging in the home of Rachav: The spies traveled and arrived at the home of Rachav, who was a food store owner [and harlot], and they slept there.
- The King of Jericho is made aware of the spies: The king of Jericho was told that spies had come that night from amongst the Jewish people to spy the land. The king summoned Rachav and told her to bring him the men who arrived by her, as they have come to spy the land.
- Rachav hides the spies: The woman took the two men and hid them. She then told the king that indeed men had come to her and she does not know where they are from, and in fact, just as the gates were closing at night they escaped. She said: “I do not know where they went. Quickly go chase after them and you will reach them.” In truth, she had brought the men up to her roof and hid them in the flax piles that were there.
- The chase: The men chased after the spies through the Jordon, by the river, and the gates were closed behind them.
2. The deal made between the spies and Rachav:
- Rachav returns to the roof and describes the fear of the nations from G-d: Before the spies were able to drift asleep, Rachav returned to the roof and told them that she knows that G-d has handed them the land and that we, the nations of the land, are all petrified. She said: “We heard that G-d dried the Red Sea on your behalf upon you leaving Egypt, and we also heard what you did to the two Emorite kings, Sichon and Og, which you obliterated. After hearing this, our hearts melted and we lost all spirit of resistance, as Hashem is the G-d of the Heavens and earth.”
- Rachav requests an oath from the spies to keep her family alive: “Please swear to me in the name of G-d, that you will do kindness with my family in exchange for the kindness I did with you. Give me a sign that I can use [so when you come to destroy the city] my family; father, mother, brother, sister, and all that they have, will not be killed.
- The reply of the spies to Rachav’s request: The spies readily agreed to the take the oath, promising that they will give up their own lives for the sake of saving her and her family. However, they stipulated that they will only do kindness with her family if she does not reveal the sign to anyone else.
3. The spies escape the city and return to Yehoshua:
- The escape plan: Rachav helped the spies escape through the window with the help of a rope, as she lived at the edge of the city, by the wall. She told them to hurry to the mountains to evade those chasing them, and to hide there for three days until the people chasing them return, and they may then return to their camp.
- The sign given to Rachav: The spies told Rachav that they will not be held accountable for their oath to save her and her family unless she fulfills the following directive: “Upon arrival of the Jewish people to the city to wage war against it, you are to tie this rope to the window from which we escaped, and gather your father, mother, siblings, and entire family into your home. Whoever leaves your home, is liable to be killed and his blood is on his own hands, while we remain absolved from our oath towards him. However, if anyone who is in your house his killed, we will be held responsible for their death. Likewise, if you tell anyone of this sign, we will be absolved from the oath.” Rachav replied to them that she will surely follow their instructions, and she sent them off and they went. She tied the rope to the window as requested.
- The spies return to Yehoshua: The two men left the mountain and returned to Yehoshua and told him of all the events that transpired. They told Yehoshua that Hashem has handed the entire land into their hands, and that all the inhabitants are petrified of their arrival.