Prophet Pearls #37 – Shlach (Joshua 2:1-24)

Prophet Pearls Shlach, Yehovah, Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson, Prophets portion, Shlach, Joshua, prostitute, Rahab, spies, Jericho, faith, Canaanite, Elohim, Septuagint, rabbis, tikvah, cord, hope, HaTikvah, national anthem, Israel, peace, Jerusalem, torah pearls, torah portion, torah portion shlach, torah pearls shlachIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Shlach covering Joshua 2:1-24. In the story of the prostitute Rahab hiding the spies, Gordon and Johnson agree to disagree on their interpretations for Joshua’s motives for sending spies to Jericho. Was it simply prudent reconnaissance, or did it show a lack of faith? And how did a Canaanite prostitute know that Yehovah is Elohim?

Gordon explains how the Septuagint and the rabbis handle the singular pronoun in the statement “Rahab hid him” and gives his own explanation. Gordon also provides geographical context to the wild goose chase on which Rahab sent the King of Jericho. In honor of the word-of-the-week “tikvah/cord/hope” from the root qoof-vav-hei, Gordon sings HaTikvah—the national anthem of Israel. In closing, Johnson asks for strength like Joshua and peace for Jerusalem.

"And she said to the men: 'I know that Yehovah has given you the land...'" Joshua 2:9

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Image courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University.


Prophet Pearls #37 - Shlach (Joshua 2:1-24)

You are listening to Prophet Pearls with Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at

Nehemia: Shalom, this is Nehemia Gordon. I’m with Keith Johnson, bringing you Prophet Pearls recorded live in Jerusalem, a city under siege. A little over an hour ago not far from the exact place where we’re sitting right now recording this program, an Arab terrorist struck, wounding five people. And it really makes it real. We say we’ll go anywhere and we won’t be stopped. We’re going to do this despite… We were dealing with a Communist Party conspiracy to block our internet, an intercontinental counterfeiting ring to rip off our program. And we said we’re not going to be stopped, we’re going to do whatever it takes to do this, to bring you the Prophet Pearls. And we came here to Jerusalem, and this is real. This is as real as life gets.

Keith: Yes. Nehemia, I’m a little sober right now, and we took a break. We’re recording two or three, maybe as many as four or five, if we can, based on inspiration and time and energy, and it’s no small thing. It’s taking a lot of energy. I’m not feeling the best. Nehemia, even you fell down a little something last night.

I just have to say, Nehemia, it really does bring it to the forefront. I was on a bus yesterday on my way down to the Old City, and people are celebrating Purim, and now, on the day itself, just on this Friday, a terrorist gets behind the wheel of a car and tries to take out five, five people who were trying to protect this city. You know, all this politics back and forth, it all comes down to like you said - it’s a city under siege, and Yehovah will choose Jerusalem. But in the meantime, there’s going to be some struggle. And there are going to be people that have to be willing to do what it takes to continue to be a witness, as we are right now.

I want to say, folks, I’m going to make a little shift here. We do our little Ministry Minute each time, and I bet there’s some people who are like, “Hurry up and get through that so I can get to the good stuff.” Maybe there are some people who skip it and don’t listen to it. But I want to challenge people right now. I want to challenge people that have been listening. We’ve got thousands of people around the world, some of them are able and some of them are not. But I really want to challenge people to listen to what we’re saying regarding our ministries, and what the needs are and what the issues are, and the opportunity for people to support us. Because it’s one thing to sit in your place of comfort and say, “Man, boy, that really blessed me. I just got a chance to open up the Word of God.” But to actually be sitting here in Jerusalem and to listen to the sirens go back and forth and to know that we’ll be out and about on buses and walking amongst people, and that there are people out there that would love nothing better than to take us out. I mean just to be honest, Nehemia, it really is humbling.

And so when we talk about our ministry, I really want people to prayerfully consider what we’re talking about and how they can be supportive and how they can come alongside and help us. I feel really good about what we do, and I think that there’s great value in what we do. And either of us, at this point, neither of us is saying, “Well, we won’t do it unless…” We’re going to do it, but there’s a chance for people to come alongside.

Nehemia: Right.

Keith: So we’re going to get into this verse and talk about this. But here’s what I want to do for my Ministry Minute.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: I want to start with the Ministry Minute. I want you to stop the recording.

Nehemia: Uh-oh.

Keith: Stop the recording.

Nehemia: We are no longer recording.

Keith: No, not us.

Nehemia: Oh. [laughing]

Keith: No. I want people. Here’s what I need you. Maybe this will challenge you and maybe it won’t, Nehemia. But for me, this is really serious because we have the number of things that we’re working on right now that are really, really important.

One of them as it pertains to even what’s going on here in the land of Jerusalem. I sat down with my friend Yehuda Glick, who’s presently, and maybe is still at this time, at the time that we’re here, he’s basically under siege in an apartment; he can’t even go into a public hospital to do his rehab just because of the people that are so intent on taking him out. But we’ve been very serious about putting together, the last two years, a project that I’ve been working on, and he’s really challenging me not to take a soft approach, but really to continue to do the work to bring forth the cause of the freedom to pray on the Temple Mount, and how that fits with what Isaiah says that “it will be a place of prayer for all nations.”

You said something really important. This sounds really way off-topic. I was talking to you about how people separate - in Christianity and the heritage I come from - they separate any importance of what happened at the Temple Mount. And you actually said something… you know, Nehemia, I hope people take this the right way, but you said it’s really interesting how sometimes people focus on certain aspects of his life in ministry but they don’t put it in context.

One of the issues regarding his life in ministry - I’m speaking of Yeshua - is where he taught at the Temple Mount, and why he taught at the Temple Mount, and what the significance of that is. So for me, I just want to say, I want people to stop the recording, go to, and ask yourself what you can do to help us continue to do what we’re doing. One thing that’s available right now is for you to learn a little Biblical Hebrew, right on the front page, become a part of the Premium Content Library, which is going to help us produce the things that I believe can be life-changing for people.

So do that. Go to After you sign up to the Premium Content Library, then come back and you’ll hear about what we’re talking about in this next section of Prophet Pearls.

That’s my Ministry Minute.

Nehemia: Okay. Yes. I think people think like, “Oh, ‘Premium Content Library’, or ‘join the Support Team’, this is just about money.” I know for me it’s not just about money. There are definitely bills that need to be paid. There’s no question about that. And that takes money, no question.

But for me, it really is about… When I say Support Team, I mean people who really support my ministry, and I feel like you’re in the ministry with me, you’re part of it. And I appreciate that. When I’m doing these studies - and I’ll sometimes spend literally dozens of hours doing research to record one of these studies, I call them the Raw Stream of Torah Consciousness. It won’t be scripted, but I’ll prepare for it, collecting sources and translating sources and tracking down information, and really it’s my way of saying thank you to people who come and entered into the ministry with me.

What I’ve always been about is empowering people with information, and people who’ve come into the ministry with me and they’ve become part of the Support Team, I want to help them get to that next level. And that’s really what it’s about for me. It really isn’t the money. I’ve actually had people who say, “Look, I don’t want to be in your Support Team, but I want to buy that study that you’ve done.” And I say, “Well, it’s not for sale. You want to join?”

Keith: Amen. I like that.

Nehemia: Yes. So it really truly is about… And I’ve had people who say, “Look, I don’t have any money. I’m living on welfare.” And I’m like, “Okay, would you support me in prayer?” And I have a number of people who are part of the Support Team through prayer. Of course, like we said, it does take resources. We want to get this message out, and things like editing, like we’re doing right now… you’re hearing this, and believe it or not, this is edited. Somebody worked a lot on this.

Keith: Time and energy.

Nehemia: Not to mention, we had to fly over here, and there are all kinds of expenses. You know, I heard this speech by Netanyahu recently - this is prerecorded - Netanyahu just a few days ago, gave a speech, and he said something really interesting. He said there are the things everybody knows about between America and the United States. But then there are all kinds of things going on that nobody ever hears about it. And I really thought, “Wow, isn’t that a picture of my ministry? There’s so much that people will never hear about, but there’s a lot that goes into it.”

Keith: Isn’t that something? And this is an example, I want to say thank you to our friends, the servants of El Elyon, Most high. Two people that have supported a number of our Prophet Pearls programs, and people like them and others who have done that, the Maccabees and many of the other people that are doing it, it’s not like we’re sitting here saying we don’t have support. We do, and that’s why we’re able to do what we’re doing. We want to continue to say to those of you that come alongside - thank you. Thank you to our Prophet Pearls Partners. Thank you to all the people who have come alongside. I think we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’re going to need more people.

And I don’t mind saying that. We need more people. BFA International, Nehemia’s Wall, Makor Hebrew Foundation, we need a whole lot more people to do what we’re doing. So thank you for those who are, and hopefully, you’ll prayerfully consider taking a look at both sites and finding out how you can come alongside.

We’re in Joshua chapter 2. And it’s funny, Nehemia, we were talking before we started, and we were like, “Didn’t we discuss this?” And you know, most of our discussions are biblical. [laughing] I don’t know if you know it or not. We get into the Bible, and we’re just talking, and we’re thinking, “Did we did record that? Did we discuss that?”

Nehemia: Well, I’m sure we discussed that. I guess we probably didn’t record it.

Keith: Yes. So I mean we’re actually in Joshua chapter 2. Love this book. I really love this book. I love everything about this book. I love what it represents. There’s actually a parallel where we’re dealing with the Original Torah Pearls in the section in Numbers where the spies were sent, and we have now an example of the resending of the spies, and I use the word the dispensation of the time of Joshua.

Nehemia: Can you tell a simple Jew what dispensation means?

Keith: It’s a period of time. [laughing] I call it a period of time.

Nehemia: All right. I feel like this is some loaded theological concept.

Keith: No, no, I’m actually just talking. We’re actually in the beginning here of Joshua chapter 2 verse 1, same thing with the Hebrew and also in the English. And I’m going to read this. It’s really a story, Nehemia, and I have to be completely honest.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: Sometimes we can look at things, and like, “What’s the hidden meaning here? What’s the deep biblical theological… whatever?” This just seems to me like one of these just great stories that it is what it is. So let’s just start if it’s okay.

“Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly,” secretly, “from Shittim, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially in Jericho.’ So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and they lodged there.” We are what - what would it take us, 45 minutes, maybe an hour to get to the place where this happened?

Nehemia: To Jericho?

Keith: Yes. I mean basically, if we took the road to Jericho.

Nehemia: Without traffic, we could do it in 35 minutes.

Keith: 35 minutes. We’ve done it many times. We’ve driven by there many times. And again, it’s a struggle for me to be stuck in this place, in this apartment because there are so many places. We could go drive there right now and do the show from there. But in order to get this done, we really have to stay focused.

But there, he’s coming, he’s crossed the Jordan, and now they’re sending people into this place called Jericho. That’s one of the places he says he’s sending the two men as spies. But then it says, in English, it says, “View the land, especially Jericho.” And is that because that’s the first place they’re going to have to address? What do you think?

Nehemia: Well, they’re going to cross the Jordan River, and the place where they’re crossing the Jordan River… they’re opposite Jericho in Transjordan. And the place where they’re crossing it is right next to Jericho.

Keith: It’s so something, though. Now I’m not in the United States hearing about this, but actually having been there and seen it and looking, and saying, “Yes, you cross the Jordan, and there, off in the distance you see present-day Jericho,” which by the way, Nehemia, a year ago we were there, and there are actually stones that have been uncovered.

Nehemia: You were in Jericho?

Keith: Yes, actually in Jericho. Actually, it’s a funny story. So we’re on a tour. We’re on the tour bus. We have the big tour bus and we’ve got the Israeli tour guide, and we’re over at the Jordan, and I say to the tour guide, “Man, we’re so close to Jericho, could we just go?” And he says, “Well, it’s a little illegal for me.” And this is really funny. He says, “It’s a little illegal for me to go in there.” And why is it illegal for him to go into Jericho, can you tell the people?

Nehemia: Because he’s Israeli, and the Arabs will kidnap him. So it’s actually against the law for an Israeli…

Keith: Why is it against the law?

Nehemia: Oh. Because Jericho is actually - and I say this, it breaks my heart to say it, it’s a sad thing for me - it’s no longer… it’s not part of the state of Israel. It’s part of the Land of Israel, but Jericho today is part of something called the Palestinian Authority. It was broken off, ripped off from Israel in 1994, and given away to the Arabs. And so today it’s ruled by these terrorists from the PLO. And if I were to go in there and they found out I was Israeli, they would murder me, and you’d be seeing me in one of these videos with Jihadi John.

Keith: So we’re in the bus and my tour guide says, “Okay, look, we’re going to go to Jericho. You want to take your people to Jericho?

Nehemia: And he got off the bus?

Keith: No. You know what he did? He says, “I’m going to go sit in the back. You’re the tour guide.” [laughing]

Nehemia: [laughing] Oh. So then he…

Keith: So they let me be in the front of the bus. Are you kidding me? I’m in the front of the bus! I’ve got the microphone! I’m the tour guide taking the group into Jericho!

Nehemia: He stuck his chest out, “I went to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.”

Keith: I stuck my chest out and I said I spoke in Arabic and Hebrew! No, it was really something to be there. But what was most important about it, Nehemia, was to actually go into Jericho and to actually see the stones. I get the chills. I mean you know about this.

Nehemia: Yes, and I’ve been to Jericho. I was in Jericho before it was given away to the Arabs, back in 1993 or ‘4. It was given away in ’94, and I was there weeks before it was given away. And yes, for me, it’s the one and only time I’ve ever been to Tel Jericho, or the ancient Mound of Jericho, where, like you said, you see the walls. And presumably, the walls we’re seeing aren’t the walls that fell down, because the walls we’re seeing are still standing.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: I think the walls we’re seeing are from the Middle Bronze period, if I’m not mistaken, and these are from the Late Bronze period. But yes, it’s an amazing sight.

Keith: But, I mean, it’s there.

Nehemia: It’s an amazing site. I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this with you, but I was back in ‘93 or ‘94 in Tel Jericho, and I’m walking around, and I do what I do, and there’s some kind of little old gate that says, “Don’t go beyond this point.” And then I go beyond it. And I’m walking in this area where you’re not supposed to go, which had been heavily excavated. I’m actually deep in this pit, and I actually found this jar handle broken off from a pottery jar, and there was some kind of writing on it. I’ve never been able to decipher it, but it has some kind of… and I still have it today.

Keith: What do you mean you still have it? Where is it?

Nehemia: It’s in my storage room.

Keith: Do you understand we could sell that and we’d be able to continue doing what we do. [laughing] I’m just kidding.

Nehemia: No, I’m keeping it.

Keith: No, but Nehemia, again, I think the point is, for me, is just that this is a physical place; that it’s there and that you can actually see it with your own two eyes, depending on who you are, makes it a little easier depending on who you are. But like you say, it’s a sad story.

Nehemia: And the reason that they crossed to Jericho, is one, that’s an easy place to cross the Jordan River. To this day, there’s a bridge over there. I think it’s the Allenby Bridge, if I’m not mistaken. And number two is you have a large open plain there, and remember, we’re talking about 600,000 men, so it’s like two or three million people. You need a lot of space for two or three million people. If you were to try to cross further north, there are a lot of hills, and so you’d have people like on this side of the hill, on that side. It would get complicated. It’s much easier to cross…

Keith: So the geography of it actually makes sense.

Nehemia: The geography is you want to cross at the plains of Jericho, that’s the place to cross.

Keith: And what’s interesting about this is that they send the two spies secretly. I mean, there are 600,000 or more people on the other side of the Jordan, they knew they were coming.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: But they went, and we find that in the story. I mean basically, they know something’s changing. So it says, “It was told the king of Jericho, saying, ‘Behold, men from the sons of Israel.’” Now, think about it. These two men go to Rahab and they lodge there, “And it was told the king of Jericho, ‘Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.’”

Now, how does that happen? In other words, do the two men... now, it clearly says...

Nehemia: Word got out.

Keith: It clearly says they went secretly. And in the next verse...

Nehemia: Yes. It actually says “quietly”.

Keith: Quietly.

Nehemia: Silently.

Keith: Silently? Well, obviously, maybe they got to the lodging place of Rahab and had… who knows what happened, but somehow...

Nehemia: Word got out. I want to make a little comment here, and this might seem really esoteric to some people, and very confusing to some people, but I’ve got to say it. So that first word in verse 2. There’s a word that we have maybe hundreds, maybe thousands of times in the Tanakh, and it’s the word “vayomer,” “and he said.” And here, instead of “vayomer,” we have “vaye’amar.”

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: And “vaye’amar” is the passive form of “vayomer.” And it literally means “and it was said.” So it was said. And really, you could read this without a problem, “And he said to the king of Jericho saying,” and who said? Whoever said. I mean you have things like that, where things are said and we don’t know who said it.

Keith: That is amazing.

Nehemia: So why is it “vaye’amar”, just, that’s what’s written? This is what’s interesting to me, I deal with people all the time, who say, “Oh, those vowels. Those Masorite Jews, they made up the vowels, and we want to read the Paleo-Hebrew. There’s no vowels.” So if you’re reading the Paleo-Hebrew, you don’t know if this is “and he said,” or “and it was said”. And you might say it doesn’t matter here, but there are a lot of verses where it does matter.

Keith: Absolutely.

Nehemia: A lot of verses where it completely changes the meaning by changing the vowels. It’s interesting that the vowels may not have been written down, but they were fixed at a very early period. And I’ve talked about, in my book Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence… Actually, a few weeks ago, from when we’re recording this, the mayor of Jerusalem got involved… there was a terrorist attack, and he got involved and stopped the terrorists with his own two hands. And do you remember what the mayor of Jerusalem’s name is?

Keith: Well, it’s funny because you can say Birkat or Bareket, and I always get confused of which one he is. [laughing]

Nehemia: Barkat. Right. And that’s because the word barkat or bareket means carbuncle, it’s a type of precious stone, and it appears once in Ezekiel and once in Exodus, I believe it is. And in one of the passages it’s bareket and the other it’s barkat. And what it shows - and we actually had a guy at Hebrew University that explained this to us, I wasn’t aware of this - that what this shows is that there was a fixed tradition of how to read the word in each passage. It wasn’t that they said, “Oh, this is the word that we say in our language as bareket, so every time we see it, we’ll put the vowels in bareket.”

But actually that the tradition was this ancient reading tradition that when you get to this passage you read it bareket, but in that passage it’s barkat. And that apparently represents a difference of pronunciation in two different periods of history that’s being preserved between the time of Exodus and the time of Ezekiel. It’s amazing that that level of precision is being preserved in the vowels. So it’s not so easy to just dismiss these vowels and throw them out, because then you really open up Scripture to all kinds of wild speculation, and I’ve heard people come up with the wildest things based on ignoring the vowels.

Keith: You know what’s funny, Nehemia? We were looking at this, and this isn’t one of these words… If I would just take a casual look at that word, I would immediately say, “vayomer.” And again, by you saying, “Let’s slow down and take a look at the actual vowels and consonants, the jots and tittles, every aspect of that,” it really is humbling. And I do want to say - you said it kind of casually - “We sat with a man and talked to him about the vowels.” But we actually sat with one of the world’s foremost scholars on the Aleppo Codex.

Nehemia: The foremost scholar.

Keith: The foremost scholar on the Aleppo Codex.

Nehemia: And that’s not me. [laughing]

Keith: Yes. No, I couldn’t believe it, this guy. It wasn’t Nehemia.

Nehemia: No, it wasn’t.

Keith: But look, Nehemia, I want to stop and say something about this. We’ve talked about it individually. Certainly, you can see some conversations about it. But what is so cool is that those little dots and those little dashes and those little things there actually do make all the difference in the world. And he said something like...

Nehemia: It’s as if an angel wrote it.

Keith: He says, as if an angel wrote it, talking about the Aleppo Codex, which is a vocalized text where they have the vowels and they have the consonants. And not to send too much of a push, again, but people can learn what those are. And that really is… that’s an exciting study. But, “It was told the king of Jericho, saying, ‘Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search.’” So obviously, the secret is out.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: How the secret got out, I don’t know. But it definitely is out.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: “And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab,” so obviously he knows where they are.

Nehemia: Right.

Keith: “… saying, ‘Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house.’” And you know, it makes me think, actually - so here these two guys show up, maybe it’s a pub, or whatever this is.

Nehemia: Well, an inn.

Keith: An inn. And there are always other people around. And so these are two guys that maybe they’re not dressed the same.

Nehemia: And just to state what we’ve talked about - and I know we talked about this at some point - but she was a prostitute, and in the Aramaic, it’s translated as an innkeeper, and the two are actually the same thing. Back then, the inn is where the prostitute… You know, we think about like in the Old West.

Keith: That’s why I thought we discussed this.

Nehemia: You go to the inn and there are prostitutes there; it’s one of the services they provide. And why do they provide it? Because there are beds available. Where else are they going to provide it? And this was just part of especially the Canaanite culture, that when you’re at an inn, there’s going to be a prostitute, and that’s a great place for a traveler to stay. Meaning, if they go anywhere else, they’d be like, “Wait, you’re foreigners, what are you doing here?” Whereas they thought they could slip by, by being at the inn, because nobody would notice. But somebody did notice.

Keith: And it’s funny. You have to wonder, where there specific instructions or not? Did they just do what, you know...

Nehemia: How did they identify them? That’s what I want to know.

Keith: That’s what I’m saying. Could it have been their clothes? Could it have been they looked different?

Nehemia: Maybe their tzitzit.

Keith: Yes. Maybe. Who knows? Maybe they looked completely different.

Nehemia: Maybe it was the color of their skin. We actually don’t know.

Keith: We don’t know. Yes. But somehow, someway...

Nehemia: The color of their eyes?

Keith: The locals found out that the two spies were there.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: The two witnesses that entered the city. [laughing]

Nehemia: The two witnesses. [laughing]

Keith: Yes. “But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said,” and who’s the woman? Rahab. “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. It came about…”

Nehemia: Whoa, whoa…

Keith: No, go ahead.

Nehemia: I want to talk about “and she hid them.” In Hebrew, it actually says, “and she hid him.” And that’s really interesting. The Septuagint changes it to “she hid them,” just like you did.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: I mean, it doesn’t make sense. She hid “him”? There are two of them.

Keith: There are two men.

Nehemia: Right. So what’s going on? The Septuagint is probably just fixing this problem. But what happened here? This is a big deal. So the rabbis come along and they say, “Oh, well the two witnesses,” or the two… “the two spies.”

Keith: The two witnesses. [laughing]

Nehemia: The two witnesses, no, that’s a different thing. “The two spies were Caleb and Pinchas.” Now, it doesn’t say that in the Tanakh, but this is what the rabbis say. “She hid Caleb, and Pinchas turned into an angel, and she didn’t need to hide him.” I hear that, and I’m like, I kind of laugh. But it really is just the rabbis, they’re struggling with this question, why does it say, “she hid him,” and not “them”?

And one possibility is, one of the medieval commentators says she hid each one by himself. And that’s why it says, “she hid him.” She hid one here and the other one over there.

What’s the real answer? I think the real answer is that this is an allusion to another passage, possibly, I’m throwing this out there, Exodus chapter 2 verse 2, when Miriam hides Moses it says the exact same thing, “she hid him.” And there might be a connection there. Meaning, we have here this image of a woman who’s hiding a man, an important man who is part of Yehovah’s plan. And maybe that’s Rahab hiding the two spies.

Keith: Could you find some really cool grammatical issues, some like collective singular or something? Couldn’t you come up with some new thing…?

Nehemia: The collective singular doesn’t work here. It would if there were a category here, for instance, the category of man, of human, or the category of... you know, you can’t say the category of spy. I guess you could but...

Keith: You couldn’t come up with something like that?

Nehemia: No.

Keith: All right. Well, it’s an issue.

Nehemia: Yes, it’s an issue

Keith: It’s an unresolved issue.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: We don’t feel the need to fix it.

Nehemia: No.

Keith: Okay. So, “the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from.” And then it says here in Joshua 2:5, “It came about,” you all know the story. Maybe if you don’t, we’re going to read it, “when it was time to shut the gate at dark,” and I think this is interesting - this is a city that’s behind a wall, and there’s the gate. And we find this in the Book of Nehemiah, I believe it is, where at a certain time there’s the gate that shuts, and there’s time for…

Nehemia: So maybe I’m stating the obvious, but every city back then was behind a wall. By definition, if it wasn’t behind a wall, it wasn’t a city, it was a village. And what would happen is… there wasn’t a strong central government in Israel in most periods of history, let’s put it that way. And so if bandits would come along from the countryside, and you weren’t behind a wall, they would attack you. And even if there was a strong central government, which, let’s say, in the time of Solomon, for example, is a very strong central government, what if foreigners invade? Then you need to get behind the wall. And this is what would happen - there’d be an invasion by, let’s say, the Egyptians in the time of Solomon, and everybody who’s out in the villages where there isn’t a wall, they come into the city for defense. And it was very difficult for them to knock down those walls or breach the walls. It was possible, but it took a lot.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: So the wall was a really good defense. I think it’s interesting that they would close the gate at night. Why at night? Because that’s when the bandits come out, that’s when the prowlers come out.

Keith: Sure, makes sense.

Nehemia: And if you’re inside the city then you can be defended from that.

Keith: Yes. So she sends them on a wild goose chase, she basically says they’ve already left. “Go out quickly and you will overtake them.”

Nehemia: Can I just read one little passage? You said the Book of Nehemiah. So my namesake, Nehemiah, he built the wall, and that’s why my ministry, my website is And Nehemiah chapter 13 verse 19. So, Nehemiah, he has this issue with these people who don’t want to keep Shabbat; they want to buy and sell on the Shabbat.And it says in Nehemiah 13:19, this is the JPS, “When shadows filled the gateways of Jerusalem at the approach of the Sabbath, I gave orders that the doors be closed, and ordered them not to be opened until after the Shabbat.”

So what we’re seeing here is as it’s getting dark, as it starts to get dark, or it’s about to get dark, they shut the gates of the city. And that’s significant because clearly, Shabbat begins when it gets dark. And why do I say that? There are some people out there today who have come up with this theory that Shabbat should begin at sunrise, because it says, “the day of the Shabbat.” So they say it’s not nighttime. And I said, “Seriously, guys?” But anyway, this proves definitively, Nehemiah 13:19, that Shabbat begins when it gets dark. Otherwise, why shut the gates at night? Leave it till the morning and they can do all this commerce for another twelve hours.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: Well, in this situation, they shut the gate at dark, that the men went out, “And I do not know where the…” it says she’s saying that, “It came about that when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” So she sent them on this...

Nehemia: Wild goose chase.

Keith: Yes. “But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them,” and this is the...

Nehemia: And here it says “them”.

Keith: Yes, and here it says “them”. So, whatever it was that happened, clearly we’re back to “them”.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: “In the stalks of flax which she had laid in…” There’s got to be some spiritual meaning for what kind of place they were hidden. Surely, you’ve got to come up with something, Nehemia. I mean this just can’t be that clear.

Nehemia: The numerical value of the word flax… No, I got nothing.

Keith: It says, “ha’etz.”

Nehemia: It says, “pishtei ha’etz.”

Keith: Yes, “which she had laid in order on the roof.” So basically, they’re hidden.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: They’re hidden under the tree of life. [laughing]

Nehemia: [laughing] That’s your spiritual explanation?

Keith: Boy, we are definitely... So anyway. It says, “So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords.” And when it says that, “to the Jordan, to the fords,” so are they going back toward the Jordan where the Israelites were soon going to cross over?

Nehemia: Oh, this is a wild goose chase. First, they’re going west to the mountains, then they’re going east back. They didn’t find them going west. So they said, “Okay, let’s turn east now.” And it isn’t that big of a distance, we’re talking like a few miles. The entire plain of Jericho is only a few miles wide, meaning, it’s not that big. So they went in one direction, they couldn’t find them, then they went the other direction. And the truth is, they could be hidden somewhere in the mountains and they’ll never find them. But they felt, “Okay, we didn’t get them that way, let’s find them…” And maybe they were good trackers, and that’s how they knew.

Keith: Well, the verse that kind of caught my attention, Nehemia, to be honest to you, is when Rahab speaks. And we see this happen over again, over and over again. We saw this with Naaman.

Nehemia: I know we spoke about this.

Keith: And we saw this with other... You know, people that are not Israel who come and they use these words, it says here, “I know that" and then it says Yud-Hei-Vav-Hei. It doesn’t say Adonai. It doesn’t say Hashem. She says, the prostitute, “I know,” boy, I don’t know if I’m going to let you do this controversy here. Boy, should I do this? Let me think about this. We might need to shut off the recording and let me think about it. She says, the prostitute, “I know that Yehovah has given you the land.” Now, she’s speaking the name.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: A prostitute is speaking the name. And you did something really, really controversial, Nehemia.

Nehemia: What’s that?

Keith: You shared a video, bringing into modern times, where people in modern times of Israel were speaking the name, but the person that was speaking the name, she didn’t look Orthodox, she didn’t look holy, she didn’t look religious, but she spoke the name just the way it’s written, and she kind of, can I say this? She normalized it.

And Rahab, in this situation, she’s… I mean, I almost don’t want her to be the prostitute. I want her to be some, you know, maybe she’s an Israelite...

Nehemia: She must be in the Temple, immersed in water and wearing special garments.

Keith: Exactly. Maybe she’s an Israelite, who’s… You know, I will be honest with you, can we just...

Nehemia: She’s an Israelite who escaped from Egypt and set up a hotel in Jericho.

Keith: And she knew this was going to happen.

Nehemia: She’s not actually a prostitute.

Keith: Exactly. Instead...

Nehemia: We can explain it away, but it is what it is. She was a whore who said the name of Yehovah. And she knew Biblical doctrine better than these two Israelites. That’s the message. That’s the point of the story, that this prostitute from Jericho, who is a pagan heathen… And let’s point out something else, prostitute back then also may have had a religious connotation. In other words...

Keith: A shrine prostitute, or…?

Nehemia: Well, it doesn’t use the word today “kdesha.” But that word “zonah”, “prostitute,” she may have also... in other words, let’s put it this way - when you were involved with her, they also viewed this as a holy union between the god and the goddess. So they didn’t think of this as sin, they actually thought of it as a very righteous thing, the Canaanites.

And so this woman, she knows Biblical doctrine better than the spies. I mean, look what she says. She says, “For the fear of you,” or, “the terror of you has fallen upon us.”

Keith: Wait. Why do you throw the spies under the bus? They haven’t said anything that they don’t know that.

Nehemia: What do you mean, they’re coming to… Let’s go back to the beginning of the story. Why’d he send the spies? On some level, he’s not sure. He’s saying, “We’ve got to go find out what the people are thinking.” Instead of saying, “Who cares what the people are thinking? Yehovah’s behind us. We’ve defeated the Egyptians. These guys are ants compared to the Egyptians. Why are we going and spying out the land?”

And look, it’s hard for me to read this without thinking about the parallel passages in Numbers and Deuteronomy, where the people sent the spies and they were kind of supposed to, but then they really weren’t, because it was a sign of distrust. And the report they brought back showed, “Look, no matter what the information, we’re going to be negative.”

And I want to go back to the story of Netanyahu giving the speech. Can we do that for a second? Because remember the original story of the spies? They come back and they say, “This is such an amazing land. There’s so much produce in it. The people are so blessed in this land, that we have no chance against them.” Instead of saying, “The people are so blessed that there are so many riches in this land that we’re going to get that too, when we conquer the land; isn’t this great?” They’re always looking for the negative.

And Netanyahu gave this speech, and there was this American politician, she comes along and she says, “This was insulting to us because we knew the things that he said.” So what are you really saying? You’re upset that he said things you agree with? [laughing] Like, wait a minute. If you didn’t agree with it, then you should be upset. But he comes along and says things you agree with, and that’s why you’re upset?

It reminds me of the verse in Proverbs, it says, “Love covers all transgressions, but hate raises up strife,” or something like that. And the point is, if you hate somebody, if you’re negative about someone in the first place, you’re going to look for the negative. And that’s what the spies were doing back in the Book of Numbers - they were looking for the negative. No matter what they saw, they would have found the negative. And the point is that, look, didn’t we learn our lesson about spies? Why are we sending these spies into Jericho?

Keith: Here’s the thing I want to say, though. I want to say this. I want to give a little shout-out to my friend, Joshua.

Nehemia: Hey, Joshua.

Keith: Because basically...

Nehemia: Joshua the son of Nun?

Keith: Yes, Joshua the son of Nun. I call him my friend because he understood what it meant, “be strong and courageous”, and he is actually one of those that came back with a good report.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: He came back and said, “Look, we can do this.” And I actually think there’s something really important about this that he did send it to there. He doesn’t say, “Just go there and see if.” He says, “Go to this place, view the land, especially Jericho.” That’s all he says, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” He didn’t say, go there and give us a report. He said, “Go and view the land.”

What I think is really interesting, though, and back to this verse where Rahab says, “We have heard,” she’s talking about… No, I’m sorry, verse 2:9. This is just great testimony out of the mouth of a prostitute. “I know that Yehovah has given you the land.” “I know that, that Yehovah has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.” The report has gone out. CNN has already made the report, whether it’s secret or not, or public, look, the Israelites are coming. God has given...

Nehemia: And she goes on in verse 10, “For we’ve heard.”

Keith: Yes, “For we heard.” And that’s what I wanted to get to.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: “We’ve heard the good news, we’ve heard this testimony.” And what’s the testimony?

Nehemia: It’s not good news for them. [laughing]

Keith: No. What’s the testimony? “Yehovah has dried up the water of the Red Sea.” In other words, now, news is working. It’s going all the way. And this is a testimony of just what he’s done, “The Red Sea before you, when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan,” which we also talked about, “to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.”

And then 2:11, she’s still testifying, “When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in us.” No, and actually the word there is “ru’ach,” no spirit, no breath, no wind, I mean they took the wind out of our sails, “remained in any person any longer because of you; for Yehovah your God, He is God,” man, lady’s testifying.

Nehemia: She’s like Elijah, “Yehovah hu ha’Elohim.”

Keith: She’s saying, “Yehovah hu ha’Elohim in heaven above and on earth beneath.”

Now, before we go any further, I just want to say, I think this is an example of when we say... we talked earlier about how the nations or who are those nations that will be called by His name; who are those people? This is the awakening, Nehemia, that took place back then. How can a prostitute be awakened and be aware and be at this place where she can say, “We know that Yehovah, he is God”?

What an amazing story. She’s testifying, and I think this is the kind of thing we’re going to see even in our lifetime, and we’ve seen it. You just think, “Who is this person?” I mean, is she going to stay in that place? I think she becomes pretty important even in the actual legacy of… as we hear about Rahab later in Scripture. But basically, her words in the position that she’s in are a testimony of just how big Yehovah is and who He’s able to reach.

Nehemia: Yes. I read this and the first thing I think of is Exodus 16, the Song of the Sea in verses 14 to 16 - sorry, Exodus 15. It says, “The peoples hear, they tremble; Agony grips the dwellers in Philistia. Now are the clans of Edom dismayed; The tribes of Moab—trembling grips them; All the dwellers in Canaan are aghast. Terror and dread descend upon them; Through the might of Your arm they are still as stone— Till Your people cross over, O Yehovah, Till Your people cross whom You have ransomed.” That was the JPS translation.

But she’s clearly echoing to me, I guess it’s her reality, but it’s the same reality echoed in Exodus 15. She uses actually a very specific word in verse 15, referencing the Canaanites, she says, “namogu kol yoshvei K’naan,” “all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted,” that word “namogu.” It’s the exact same word in Joshua 2:9, it says, “vekhi namogu kol yoshvei ha’aretz mipneichem,” “all the inhabitants of the land have melted before you.” So it’s the same exact word she’s using. That can’t be a coincidence to me.

This is actually repeated by the spies in verse 24 in their report to Joshua, they say, “And also all the inhabitants of the land have melted before us.” And to me, as I read this, and you may disagree, my read of this is that Rahab, she’s got more faith in Yehovah than these Israelites. Why is that? And here’s the irony - her faith is based on their experience that she heard about, they and their fathers experienced it themselves, but for some reason, they lack confidence in Yehovah.

Keith: You have to help me with this, Nehemia. You’re so tough on the Israelites.

Nehemia: I am.

Keith: No, I want to know why you’re tough on these two guys?

Nehemia: Because I read the story. No, I read the story about how they went through the Red Sea, and then they say, “You took us out for us to die in the desert.” Okay, “You took us out of slavery, now what do we eat?”

Keith: Can I use the word “dispensation”?

Nehemia: “Now, we’ve got something to eat. What do we drink?” And she hears this, and she’s like, “Look, game over. It’s the end of the story. He dried up the sea and took you out of slavery. Why are we doubting him? We’ve got no doubt. We know that we’re cooked.”

Keith: Are you talking about the Numbers Israelites or the Joshua Israelites? I think the Joshua Israelites are a different generation. The Joshua Israelites are not taking the approach of the other ones. These guys didn’t come back and say, “Oh, it’s too big.” I think you’ve got to give these guys a different approach. These two that are here, these two spies that are here…

Nehemia: I don’t agree. And the reason I don’t agree…

Keith: What have they said that says to you they don’t have faith? What have they said that says to you that they’re not…?

Nehemia: Can we skip to verses 24 to 25?

Keith: Not yet. [laughing]

Nehemia: Okay. So you won’t let me answer.

Keith: Up until this point, she’s talking about them and she’s making this statement, “therefore,” and then she gets to 2:12 and she says, “Now, therefore, please swear to me by Yehovah, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you will deal kindly with my father’s household,” and then it says these words, and I guess I should let you... we can jump ahead.

Nehemia: So at the end, they’re repeating what she said. They should have known this before they went out as spies, that, “Look, we know, we read, we’re still singing the Song of the Sea. God melted the hearts of the Canaanites.” And look, you could say, well, maybe that was 40 years ago and maybe they forgot, and the point here is they didn’t forget even after 40 years.

Imagine - you’re a Canaanite. If you’re an Israelite, you’re going through these 40 years of agony in the desert with the manna, which is disgusting, and they’re sick of eating it. There’s no variety. But imagine you’re a Canaanite, and you know they’re wandering around that desert and they’re probably just a few days journey. We’re told they’re 11 days’ journey if they go straight. I think that’s what it says.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Anyway, even with the entire group, if they just went straight to Israel, you know, what are they, a week or two away?

Keith: Well, there are 12 in Numbers; they’re two in Joshua. I think these two...

Nehemia: Well, why are there two? Because he probably thought, “We tried the twelve, we only needed two of them.” [laughing] Maybe. I don’t know.

Keith: No, no, no. Anyway. Here I want to ask a question, because in the English it says here, “Will you deal kindly with my father’s household,” and then in English, it says, “and give me a pledge of truth,” it says here, “ot emet.”

Nehemia: What verse are you in?

Keith: This is Joshua chapter 2 verse 12.

Nehemia: Oh, okay.

Keith: It’s funny, because when I look at what she says here, it’s almost like I’m thinking, “Is she saying, ‘Give me a sign?’ Is she saying, ‘Give me something to let me know?’” In other words, you’re going to swear by Yehovah. She knows that’s a big deal. She knows about swearing in Yehovah’s name.

Nehemia: I’m telling you this woman knows biblical theology better than the Israelites. [laughing] Go on.

Keith: Anyway. So she says, “that you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me,” these words, “give unto me ot emet.”

Nehemia: “A true sign.”

Keith: “A true sign.” Yes.

Nehemia: That could be a miracle.

Keith: It could be a sign, a miracle.

Nehemia: Meaning, that same word in Hebrew could mean a miracle. Although what we see she gave is the red string.

Keith: We’re going to go on to that, “and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters and everybody that’s connected to me,” I want the whole house. I want everyone saved, “and all who belong to them.” She reminds me a little bit of Noah. Like bringing in the people. We see this idea of not just her. It isn’t just her. She’s saying, “Can you please help me with my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them,” Wow. How many people could we be talking about? Who knows how many. “And deliver our lives,” or save us, “deliver our lives from death.”

Now, tell me in verse 14 about these two unbelieving Israelites, what they say. No, I’m really frustrated with you about the Joshua generation!

Nehemia: He shouldn’t have sent them!

Keith: What are you talking about?!

Nehemia: He should not have sent these spies. After everything they experienced, he’s still playing the spy game? I’m sorry that’s...

Keith: You think it’s a spy game?

Nehemia: It’s a spy game.

Keith: Or is he going and saying, “Look, we haven’t gone this way yet. Go and look at the land.” He doesn’t say, “Go, and see...”

Nehemia: Yes, but they don’t say, “What’s the best approach to Jericho - is it from the north or the west?” What they say is, “Look, tell us, what’s the morale of the country? That’s what we want to know. Are you guys going to be able to stand up against us, or are you terrified?” He’s asking about the morale. That’s what the spies are asking about. And that’s because… I’m just reading this, and it seems to me they just don’t have enough faith in Yehovah.

Keith: The reason I’m going to disagree with you is the text says this, verse 14, “So the men said to her, ‘Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about…’” It shall come about! It shall come about! “…when Yehovah gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”

Nehemia: Yes, because that’s after they heard her testimony, and now they’re convinced.

Keith: You’re thinking… oh, jeez.

Nehemia: And this is the point - they weren’t convinced until they heard what she had to say.

Keith: You want to start a denomination, the Rahabite Denomination.

Nehemia: You’ve already got that one - they’re called Methodists.

Keith: [laughing] Oh! You take it back right on radio! You take it back! You apologize right now! The Methodists are not the Rahabites! Okay.

Nehemia: I don’t know what that means to you, but okay.

Keith: Anyway. She said to them, “Go to the hill country so that the pursuers will not happen upon you,” she’s really being strategic here, “and hide yourselves there for three days.” Three days.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: I love the three days; when the three days come up in Scripture over and over again… “I took three days and two nights for me to get my luggage. But on the third day, my luggage came. On the third day, it came about!” So she says to them, “three days.”

Nehemia: Whoa. Okay. So where did they flee? Give me a geography lesson.

Keith: To the hill country?

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: Wow.

Nehemia: So they’re fleeing...

Keith: They’re going to the north?

Nehemia: Well, no.

Keith: To the south? To the west?

Nehemia: The hill country is west, so they’re going west. And so, if you’re in Jericho and you’re fleeing in the direction of the hills, you’re fleeing to Jerusalem.

Keith: Toward Jerusalem.

Nehemia: So they were for three days somewhere in a cave hiding out somewhere, maybe not in Jerusalem, but in the area around Jerusalem.

Keith: You think they went that far?

Nehemia: Maybe not. I don’t know.

Keith: Because pretty soon, just beyond Jericho, the hills are there.

Nehemia: Oh, yes. The hills are within a few miles, even less than a few miles of Jericho. Today Jericho goes all the way up to the hills. Back then, it would’ve been – it’s not that far. Yes.

Keith: So you think they went to the Jebusite hill country? The Jebusites?

Nehemia: Like I said, I don’t know if they went that far, but maybe there’s a spiritual significance, “flee to Jerusalem”, I don’t know, “for three days”. I don’t know.

Keith: Sometimes you’re so conservative.

Nehemia: I’m throwing it out there.

Keith: Then you come up with this kind of stuff that makes me think that you really do get a little spiritual sometimes.

Nehemia: Where they are fleeing is in the direction of the Judean Desert.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: In that Judean Desert, there’s a lot that happens there. That’s a great place.

Keith: Well, “The men said to her, ‘We shall be free from this oath.’” We shall be cleaned from this oath, we will be released from this oath. What word do we have there? We’ve got to get to a Word of the Week.

Nehemia:Neki’im,” clean.

Keith: Yes. “We’ll be clean.” I mean is that something... do you like that word, or no?

Nehemia: I like that.

Keith: Okay. Can you tell us what it is?

Nehemia: I don’t want that to be the Word of the Week.

Keith: You don’t want that to be the Word of the Week?

Nehemia: No.

Keith: “The men said to her, ‘We shall be free from this oath to which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land,’” to take it because God gave it to us and walk out our faith, “you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down,” wait a minute, okay, “and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household.” These are the men of faith speaking. “It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house…” Man, it sounds like the angels back at the time of, you know, when he keeps Lot inside, but don’t go out. Anyway.

Nehemia: Or, the other association for me is the plague of the firstborn. And what did they put? They put blood at the entrance. And here there’s a red string.

Keith: Wow. And this, obviously, it’s not a string because he let them down by it. It must be a rope.

Nehemia: A rope, whatever, yes.

Keith: It can’t be a string, Nehemia! If you say string, how do you - these guys couldn’t be like ants, it had to be like some kind of big rope.

Nehemia: It’s a big string. I don’t know.

Keith: [laughing] “And his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head,” and this discussion of blood, the color, the red - pretty interesting. “…if a hand is laid on him. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free,” now, he says this again, “‘of the oath to which you made us swear. According to your words, so be it.’ So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord,” is what it says here.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: “The scarlet cord,” is that what it says? “The scarlet cord in the window.”

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: Now, let me know when this lack of faith is coming soon. So you better read the next verse and tell me about it.

Nehemia: All right. And that word for “cord,” is a word that also means “hope.”

Keith: Wow!

Nehemia: Which is interesting.

Keith: That’s a little bit of a pearl.

Nehemia: Yes. Should we make that the Word of the Week?

Keith:Tikva.” Oh, wow.

Nehemia: Let’s make that the Word of the Week.

Keith: Wow. Yes.

Nehemia: Yes. So the root is Kuf-Vav-Hei, and “tikva” means, in this case, a cord or some kind of a rope, but it also means hope.

Keith: Throw me a cord of hope.

Nehemia: Yes. And so for example, we read, was it in Isaiah, or recently, we read a thing about the entrance to hope, “petah tikva.” That’s that same word.

Keith: There’s something else about the word “tikva.”

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: Is it a name of a place?

Nehemia: That’s the national anthem of Israel. It’s called “Hatikvah,” “The Hope.”

Keith: Amen. “Hatikvah,” “The Hope.”

Nehemia: “The Hope,” the red string, the red rope. I don’t know.

Keith: Yes, the red string. Isn’t that something?

Nehemia: There might be something to that.

Keith: Can you sing that?

Nehemia: Kol od

Keith: No, no! I was just kidding.

Nehemia:Kol od balevav penimah, nefesh Yehudi homiyah, ulfa’atei mizrach…” he’s going to stop me.

Keith: No, no. I’m waiting for when the tone change comes.

Nehemia:…kadimah, ayin leTziyon tzofiyah”

Keith: Here it comes. Hit it, Nehemia. Are you ready?

Nehemia: “Od lo avdah tikvateinu, Hatikvah bat shnot alpayim, lihyot ‘am chofshi be’artzenu, Eretz-Tziyon Yerushalayim.”

Keith: “Lihyot am chofshi be’artzenu, Eretz-Tziyon yerushalayim.”

Nehemia: Dum, dum, dum, “lihyot am chofshi be’artzenu, Eretz-Tziyon yerushalayim.”

Keith: You know what? That’s the first time you have ever taken a song and didn’t change the key. I really am impressed!

Nehemia: I don’t even know what a key is. [laughing]

Keith: No, no. Usually what you’ll do is you’ll sing a song and then you’ll go into a completely different key. But you actually sang that song in key.

Nehemia: It’s the key to hope. I don’t even know what a key is. A key is some kind of singing note?

Keith: No, we’re not even going to edit it out. That was really good, Nehemia, seriously. You’ve got to give a translation for that.

Nehemia: Yes, tikvah.

Keith: “They departed and came to the hill country and remained there for three days until the pursuers returned, and the pursuers had sought them all along the road but had not found them.” We’re getting to the key here. Ready?

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: Because I’m waiting for it. “Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them.” Now, I’m still waiting for the verse. “Then they said to Joshua, ‘Surely the land is too big and we cannot go there for the giants are there.’” No! “They said to Joshua, ‘Surely Yehovah has given all of the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants, even through the words of the prostitute, Rahab, have told us that they have melted away before us.’”

Where is their lack of faith?! Why are you so tough on these two guys?!

Nehemia: They don’t know that Yehovah has given it to them until they hear what she has to say. They’re quoting her, almost verbatim! They learn from this prostitute, “We’re going to win.”

Keith: So that’s where they learned it from?

Nehemia: Yehovah has melted the…

Keith: They didn’t learn it from Joshua?

Nehemia: Apparently not.

Keith: Joshua didn’t select them? Hand-picked these two guys, because he had known before what had happened when they send the twelve.

Nehemia: I don’t think so.

Keith: He picks these two and he says, “Look, you guys are my right-hand men. Go into the land…”

Nehemia: I think Joshua is nervous. He doesn’t know...

Keith: You’ve got to be kidding me.

Nehemia: He says, “Look, I’ve never had a situation like this. I’ve never had a battle like this. We were attacked a few times. We had the Sihon and Og thing, but that was with Moses. I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know. If these people have the confidence and they can stand up against us, maybe we’ll fail.” And they go in and they find out, the people, their hearts have melted, and they know, even the prostitute in the inn knows, that Yehovah has given it into their hands. And if that’s the case, they’ve got no chance. That’s how I’m reading it. I don’t know. I could be wrong.

Keith: Okay. Well, we have a disagreement on this.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: I think that they are the Joshua generation and they went in and they saw the land, and they came out and reported about the land. And then I think he’s following right in the spirit of what was told to Joshua, “Do not let the Book of the Law depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do all that is written in it. Then you will make your way prosperous. You will have success. Be strong and courageous!” Joshua, “Be strong and courageous!” And he told those two, “Be strong and courageous!” And they came back with a good report.

And you know what? I wish we were going to the next chapter. I don’t know where Chapter 3 is in the Prophet Pearls, but I feel like we better do another one just to show how amazing it is.

But this story is amazing, Nehemia, because it’s talking about someone who’s outside of the people of Israel who’s brought in to the people... What’s the biblical testimony for Rahab? Where does she show up again? Is there another example where we can see her living out the fact that she’s…?

Nehemia: Now, we have to define Bible; are we talking about the Tanakh? Or are we talking about the New Testament?

Keith: Well, we know it’s in the New Testament. Do we have anywhere else in the Tanakh that she shows up?

Nehemia: Yes, in the Tanakh… let’s see, what have we got here? No, that’s it. We’re done with her, I think.

Keith: Wow.

Nehemia: Am I wrong? She’s only in the Book of… I mean, there’s 6:25, where the story is followed up, and she and her family are saved. So that’s the homework - go read chapter 6, where the actual Battle of Jericho takes place and the family is saved. But then the next place she shows up is in the New Testament… Certainly the Jewish people listening to this have no idea where she is in the New Testament.

Keith: We see her in Matthew, in the lineage of Jesus. Yes.

Nehemia: But not in the Tanakh.

Keith: Not in the Tanakh. No.

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: Pretty amazing. In fact, we have a couple of what they call questionable situations, where the women show up that are in that lineage, and they end up being one, Tamar, which we know. I don’t know if we ever talked about that with Judah and Tamar but also Rahab.

Nehemia: Yes, on the Original Torah Pearls I’m sure we talked about it.

Keith: Yes, we did.

Nehemia: Right.

Keith: So this is this is great. I will tell you something, Nehemia, and we’ll probably... Look, we’re going to turn the radio off and we’re probably going to have a little argument. I don’t think we will, but we’ve done two today. I’m sure you want to do some more. But we’re here in the city of Jerusalem during Purim, we’ve got a terrorist attack that took place, we started out with that.

I will tell you how I’m feeling. I don’t tend to take the approach that says because they’re out there it’s a bad time to be there. I actually say I like to enter in with the community and the reality while they’re going through it. So, can we go down into the city right now, where all this activity is taking place? Can we take a break and do that? Would you be willing to go with me on Purim down into the Old City of Jerusalem? I mean how often do you get a chance to do that?

Now, again, we’ve been working hard, and I’m asking on the radio here, would you get on the bus with me? I know this is a day where people would say, “Stay in your homes, don’t go out, the terrorists are on the move.” I say exactly the opposite. This is a time where I say, “We’re under siege. Guess what? This is the land that Yehovah chooses. This is Jerusalem. And on this day, I want to say to the terrorists, ‘Here I am! Okay? I’m here.’” I just want to know if I can have you come with me. That’s all I want to know.

Nehemia: Target the Methodist. [laughing]

Keith: [laughing] Okay. Well, can I pray?

Nehemia: Please.

Keith: Father, may we be like Joshua. Help us to be strong and courageous and not be afraid, but to go into the city and take the land. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be here. We don’t take it as a small thing. I want to say, today, for those five people that many of them, whether they’re in the hospital, or not in the hospital, or some in the process of healing, we pray that You would bring them back to a place where they can be healed and be able to do their work.

Thank you for the many people that are protecting those of us that are here. This is a city that’s in a difficult situation, and yet at the same time, in Your word it says, I think in English it says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” But I think in Hebrew it says, “ask,” and the word “to ask,” we’re asking for peace, we’re asking for protection. We’re asking for Your intervention on behalf of Your people that are here from all over the world, that have been brought here. You’ve planted them here. We pray for safety. We pray for Jerusalem to be the shining light that it is to be. And while we’re here help us to be ambassadors of that light. In Your name, Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

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  • Michael Griffin says:

    I’ve studied this so many times and after listening to this again, I realized a point that is very interesting. I feel that we can assume that if Rahab knew, most, if not all, the people in the city knew that if they tried to war and stand against the Israelites, they would fall. Yehovah revealed not only his true name to these people (Through whatever means necessary, we can’t put his ways in a box) but warned them of what was to come. How did he warn them? Did he do something akin to Balaam? If these people abandoned their ways and grabbed ahold to Yehovah, would they have just joined Israel instead of being killed in a war against them and therefore the ways of God himself?

  • Bill Avery says:

    Keith and Nehemia shalom! Concerning the two spies and Rahab. Keith I will have to say that you are “more” right this time than Nehemiah, ha ha. But you both missed the point. Although Keith you did touch on it at the end of the message. The whole purpose of the two being sent in, from Yehovah’s stand point, was the salvation of Rahab. She and her family would have perished had the deal not been made. If Israel had just attacked, she would not have been in the lineage of Yeshua.

  • Klodjana says:

    Perhaps the spies were sent to save that lady with all that faith, though! 🙂

  • Lucile says:

    Bwana Nehemiah, no army move without scouting. Today there are technogies but in those days that is the way it is done. Don’t forget Joshua was a miltary man he fought many battles. So no fear there. The scouts were just reporting accurately what has happened. The beauty for me is that the mighty acts of our Father on behalf of the children of Israel were known everywhere and Rahab was just witnessing to that and choose to join herself and her family to Him.
    I did the same upon hearing the gospel. Hallelujah.

  • Sylvia says:

    Shalom! I have to agree with Keith — even though Joshua is sending spies instead of using blind faith, the story of Rachab is wonderful, and I believe Yehovah wanted to save her, so He allowed Joshua to send the spies and “by chance” encounter her. Sometimes, Yehovah sends us on journeys without revealing the entire reason for them. Be blessed!

  • Nehemiah, Yehoshua had faith in YHVH. I respect your scholarship, but not your speculation on the two spies. May Yehovah bless you and show you the hidden things in not only His Torah, but also the prophets and writings.

  • Ted Craven says:

    The account of Jericho is so rich in prophetic overtones that I barely know where to begin. But I’ll start by noting that Jericho is described as “the city of palm trees”. And what do palm trees represent? On Palm Sunday and in the Book of the Revelation we have masses of believers welcoming Yeshua by waving palm fronds. So palm fronds seem to represent believers and since trees are used elsewhere in the Bible to represent nations, palm trees would represent nations of believers. The word for date palm is “tamar” and it is derived from a verb meaning to be erect or upright. Psalm 92:12 says: “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” And in Exodus 15:27 it says: “And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.” Elim seems to be a picture of the New Jerusalem where 70 nations of believers are ministered to by the 12 tribes of Israel.

    So it seems that Jericho “the city of palm trees” represents the community of believing nations or Christendom. And it is very unsettling that Jericho is completely destroyed by the incoming Israelites who I think may be types of the angels of Revelation lead by Yeshua (Joshua). But recall that the Israelites had standing orders from Deuteronomy 20:19 not to destroy the trees of a city that they were besieging. And palm trees are naturally very resistant to fire, so I think that all the palm trees survived the capture of Jericho.

    Rahab is clearly a type of the believer. The scarlet cord represents the blood of Yeshua, the hope of all believers. She had flax drying on her roof. Flax is used to make linen and white linen is what believers wear. Rahab was not raptured in this account, but she was holed up in a house on the top of the wall. And when the walls fell, her house was spared and she and her family were suddenly elevated high above the chaos and destruction.

    There is much more in the account of Jericho that helps to open up the Book of the Revelation. For example the daily marches around Jericho seem to relate to the seals. And the final seven marches around Jericho on the last day seem to relate to the trumpets.

  • Would the Temple be nearer the city of David and the Forte Antonia be a 40 acre piece of HIGH land with walls that WERE not torn down. ??

  • mike banner says:

    1) idk wat flax is but ‘ hiding him’ in the flax reminded me of the reeds moshue was hid i as well…2) Ya’ll clearly dont know prostitutes (PTL!)…but they hear from ALL men, so wud be best informed on the hearts of men, knowledge of their lands (Red Sea), victories n defeats.

  • auntganny says:

    Awwww, I loved the song, too! You did basically stay in the same key! : ) I thought if only one could have accompanied your song on the piano, every note would have been perfectly in tune!! : ) You do have a nice voice, Nehemia.

    Keith, maybe he changes keys on other songs because they are pitched out of his range. He pitched this song really low; the key was basically in A Flat Minor (the first note started on a G…but he settled on the key of ‘A Flat minor’ [assuming the recording speed is accurate…])….though in the very last section of the song it started barely sliding up into the next key above it..but not too noticeable…. Nicely done! (Said by a music teacher who has great “hope” and loves working with students who can’t sing on tune! There is always HOPE! They can do it!!!)

  • BRON says:

    Actually, if you study flax, it is used for linen, which is different to cotton… sure Yahovah had something to say about that………Thanks

    • donald murphy says:

      flax can also be a death trap. on the farm, our grandparents warned against playing in its storage building. it is very slippery like quick sand.

  • BRON says:

    Can we stop over spiritualising please. Flax is a plant, linseed, that was used to make linen and you could eat it. She hid the spies under this plant that was stored in the roof…..

  • I think this is a picture of the end times with the two witnesses and the whore represents the Western Christian church. Those that provide protection to Israel and declare Yahovah God are saved.

  • daniel says:

    I don’t know where Nehemia gets the idea that Spying = Evil. Can’t find anything in scripture that indicates it’s forbidden or a sin. Numbers 13 says YHVH told Moses to send the spies; it was only in the hearts and minds of the ten that clouded or spoiled their report. Intelligence gathering is just that. We see it all through history as a means of survival for nations and small groups. Connecting the dots, puzzling the pieces and the final analysis requires real knowledge, experience and discernment. Maybe it’s because the poor field operative that gets caught as a spy usually pays for it with his life – after being tortured – leaves a negative connotation with many people. Maybe if we translated the word as ‘scout’ rather than ‘spy’ some folks won’t get a bee in their bonnet.

  • Charles Atkinson says:

    Assuming the spies were sent due to lack of trust in YHVH’s promise, what if Joshua’s heart was inspired to send the spies because YHVH knew Rahab’s heart was yearning for Him? So He inspired their sending to provide a means of salvation to one “lost sheep”?

  • YIshisLassie says:

    Lately I have been feeling very sad thinking how it seems like this business of spying by the Hebrew people and their descendants has endured down through the ages, even until our very own time. I just cannot wait until this dreadful behavior between nations comes to a stop … and most likely it will when Meshiach arrives. Come quickly!!!

  • Janice Williams says:

    What came to me was: Rahab the Harlot became a Prophetess of Yehovah.

  • Sarah says:

    Since Nehemia and Keith are speculating on how it was known that the two Israelite spies were outed, and how Rahab knew Yehovah’s name, and what was about to happen to Jericho, let me add my own speculation about what possibly went down.
    The spies entered the city during daylight hours, unnoticed among the hustle and bustle of commerce activity. They stopped at the inn because it was a good place to get a meal, and to listen in on conversations and local gossip about goings on in the city, and the concerns of the citizens, etc. The spies also probably learned that the townspeople had heard about the Israelites and were very apprehensive.
    Now Rahab, being a harlot, does what a harlot does. She is not in the business for pleasure–it’s a means of survival (for herself and possiblbly her family, as well). She is sagacious, a good business woman, knows men well, and sizes up the two young men. Rahab sidles over to the visitors, serves them food, and strikes up friendly conversation with them. She knows how to put men at ease.
    One of the young men is quite taken with her (and young men do what young men do); he is seduced. He is so enarmored with this lady, enjoying her attention, that he holds back nothing. He confirms what the townspeople have been anxiously discussing; she believes him. Rahab, being a clever survivor, knows what she must do; she hides the spies.
    Meanwhile, word of two strangers in town has raised suspicion, and reaches the king, who sends his men to Rahab’s place of business, demanding that the men be brought out. She covers for them, saying that they had already gone before the city gate closed. She sends the king’s men off on a wild goose chase, and goes up to the roof where the spies are hiding.
    Rahab pours out her heart to the men, tearfully expressing her fears, and confessing that Yehovah (yes, in their pillow-talk, the young man had told her the name of Israel’s God) is indeed God in heaven and on earth–and then reminds them that she had saved their lives! (Shrewd move, Rahab! You go, Girl!) They strike a deal! “Our life for yours, if you do not tell this business of ours…”
    Rahab and her family are spared, and are brought back to the Israelite camp. Rahab no longer has to be a prostitute; after the triumph over Jericho, she marries the young man who was so taken with her that he divulged state secrets to her in Jericho; and then she went on to become the mother of Boaz. (Matt. 1:5; Hebrews 11:31)

    Pure speculation! May not be true, but could be.

    • YIshisLassie says:

      That has always been my take, too, Sarah &; >

    • Jonah says:

      I also see Rahab as a brave woman with a heart of “jewish mother”, always prepared to protect her family at any cost. She hid HIM, her future husband Salmon, as she had greater fear of Creator than of her earthly king. Thus she became the grand-grand-grand mom of king David, and thanks to her, we also have Nehemia, halelujah!

  • Laurie says:

    I’m thinking that sometimes we need to hear some encouraging words. Like Gideon overheard a man telling a dream about a loaf of bread! I find this humorous, but to Gideon I think this really strengthened him. Only because it was from Yehovah. Who knows, maybe these guys needed some encouragement and our Father saw in this woman something no one else could and saved her in this manner along with giving these guys some encouraging words. Yehovah is a great orchestra of amazing things.

  • Alex says:

    Now looking back at the original Torah portion when Moses went through a similar event in Numbers 13, I have to agree that sending spies is always a lack of faith. It is confirmed in Deuteronomy 1:19. It is the whole reason why Moses ended up never entering the promised land.

    Originally, the Lord commanded them to take the land – Canaan. He told them not to be afraid or discouraged…… They came up with the idea of spies. Spying the land brought discouragement and ultimately death and a curse on all the adults of the nation!

    For Joshua to continue this tradition made of man and allowed by the Lord, I can only imagine the Lord rolling his eyes in exasperation after 40 years and showing mercy through Rahab.

    • daniel says:

      YHVH commanded Moses to send the spies in Numbers 13… Not sending them would be a lack of Faith and a lack of Obedience. Moses didn’t get to cross over because he struck the rock and was told to speak to it. If sending spies kept him out, how did Joshua get in?

      • auntganny says:

        Yes! I just saw that recently and was shocked, having been taught all my life that sending the spies was due to a lack of faith. and then I read, that Yehovah told them to do it.

        • auntganny says:

          Okay, correction….it was the first time that Yehovah told the spies to go into the land. But on the second occasion, Yehovah is already talking with Joshua and telling the people to go into the land, and there seems to be no rebuke from Yehovah when Joshua had the 2 spies go in first because Yehovah had already commanded it to begin with in the first spying command. The lack of a rebuke from Yehovah on the second spying is significant to me.

  • Carol Melville says:

    I enjoyed this midrash, and especially enjoyed singing HaTikva with Nechemia!

  • Sandra Iventosch says:

    You know guys, everyone has moments of doubt. I think the more important thing is that YHVH can use even the most unlikely source to edify and encourage us when those moments of doubt occur. A wise man will search any source to find the truth that he seeks, and YHVH can use any vessel to provide it!

  • Karen Powell says:

    Rahab hid them/him under the Flax. Flax is a plant that is dried,beaten,and spun into linen :0 Linen is used as a covering for God’s messengers. Angels,priests, called out.
    Unlike the events of Exodus.
    We get to see someone from outside of the multitude that came out of Eygpt who when given an opportunity to hear of the Lord’s Wonders and to leave the past ways behind accepts the opportunity to be a part of God’s people.

    Rahab willingly obeys without resisting, mumbling, or complaining.
    It doesn’t matter that she was a Harlot whether it was a physical and/or a spiritual harlotry. She was willing to take a risk. She put her faith into action voluntarily.
    She sided with The Lord over the earthly rulers of her own city.

    Unlike,the masses of Exodus.We have no record that a form of salvation was offered to anyone in Jericho other than those who were associated with Rahab.

    Even if the men had doubts. Rahab’s words are a reminder and a sign of the mission they are on. As she is repeating what the Lord had told to Joshua,and in turn what Joshua told them. It would have been a big mistake to have ignored it.