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.

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23 thoughts on “Prophet Pearls #37 – Shlach (Joshua 2:1-24)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!!!)

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

  6. 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…..

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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”?

  10. 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!!!

  11. 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.

    • 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

    • 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?

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

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