A Red Cord
15Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. 16 And she said to them, “Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.” 17 The men said to her, “We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. 19 Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. 20 But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear.” 21 And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window. 22 They departed and went into the hills and remained there three days until the pursuers returned, and the pursuers searched all along the way and found nothing. 23 Then the two men returned. They came down from the hills and passed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they told him all that had happened to them. 24 And they said to Joshua, “Truly the LORD has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us.”
The two spies are in the hands of Rahab and because of her faith, that is a fairly safe place to be, for she knows the city and the actions of those pursuing the spies. She now strikes a bargain with the men that will save her family and send a positive report back to Joshua.
The small detail that is interesting in this story is that the spies tell Rahab to place a scarlet cord outside of the window to her home. That will be the sign to the Israelite army to protect the people inside. One cannot help but think of the blood of the sheep that was placed over the doorways of the Children of Israel during the Passover 40 years earlier in Egypt. I doubt if that is just happenstance.
The spies return to Joshua a few days later to make a great report. They are able to share that the people of Jericho are living in fear of God’s people. God’s reputation for protecting them has gone ahead of them and now Jericho stands in fear of what will happen to them, and rightfully so. This time, God’s people believe in His power to save them and the time has come to take the land that has been promised to them as an inheritance.