THE STORY OF A SCARLET CORD
Joshua i: 1, to ii: 24.
FTER the death of Moses, while the children of Israel were
still encamped upon the east bank of the river Jordan,
God spoke to Joshua, and said:
"Now that Moses my servant is dead, you are to take his
place and to rule this people. Do not delay, but lead
them across the river Jordan, and conquer the land
which I have given to them."
Then God told Joshua how large would be the land which
the Israelites were to have, if they should show
themselves worthy of it. It was to reach from the great
river Euphrates, far in the north, down to the border
of Egypt on the south, and from the desert on the east
to the Great Sea on the west. And God said to Joshua:
"Be strong and of a good courage. I will be with you as
I was with Moses. Read constantly the book of the law
which Moses gave you, and be careful to obey all that
is written in it. Do this and you will have good
Then Joshua gave orders to his officers. He said, "Go
through the camp, and tell the people to prepare food
for a journey; for in three days we shall pass over the
river Jordan, and shall go into the land which the Lord
has promised us."
To say this was very bold; for at that time of the
year, in the spring, the Jordan was much larger than at
other times. All its banks were overflowed, and it was
running as a broad, deep, swift river, down to the Dead
Sea, a few miles to the south. No one could possibly
walk through it; only a strong man could swim in its
powerful current; and the Israelites had no boats in
which they could cross it.
 On the other side of the river, a few miles distant,
the Israelites could see the high walls of the city of
Jericho, standing at the foot of the mountains. Before
the rest of the land could be won, this city must be
taken, for it stood beside the road leading up to the
Joshua chose two careful, brave, and wise men, and said
to them, "Go across the river, and get into the city of
Jericho; find out all you can about it, and come back
in two days."
The two men swam across the river, and walked over to
Jericho, and went into the city. But they had been
seen, and the king of Jericho sent men to take them
prisoners. They came to a house which stood on the wall
of the city, where was living a woman named Rahab; and
she hid the men.
But these strange men had been seen going into her
house, and the king sent his officers after them. The
woman hid the men on the roof of the house, and heaped
over them stalks of flax, which are like long reeds, so
that the officers could not find them. After the
officers had gone away, thinking that the two spies had
left the city, the woman Rahab came to the two men, and
said to them:
"All of us in this city know that your God is mighty
and terrible, and that he has given you this land. We
have heard how your God dried up the Red Sea before
you, and led you through the desert, and gave you
victory over your enemies. And now all the people in
this city are in fear of you, for they know that your
God will give you this city and all this land."
"Now," said Rahab, "promise me in the name of the Lord,
that you will spare my life, and the lives of my father
and mother, and of my brothers and sisters, when you
take this city."
And the men said, "We will pledge our life for yours,
that no harm shall come to you; for you have saved our
This woman's house stood on the wall of the city. From
one of its windows Rahab let down outside a rope, upon
which the men could slide down to the ground. It
happened that this rope was of a bright scarlet color.
The two spies said to Rahab, "When our men come to take
this city, you shall have this scarlet rope hanging in
the window. Bring your father, and mother, and family
into the house, and keep them there while we are taking
the city. We will tell all our men not to harm the
people who are in the house where the scarlet cord
 hangs from the window; and thus all your family will be
safe when the city is taken."
Then the two men, at night, slid down the rope and
found their way to the river, and swam over it again,
and told their story to Joshua. They said, "Truly the
Lord has given to us all the land; for all the people
in it are in terror before us, and will not dare to
THE TWO SPIES LET DOWN BY A ROPE
One fact was a great help to the Israelites in their
plans for taking the land of Canaan. It was not held by
one people, or ruled over by one king, who could unite
all his people against the Israelites. There were many
small nations living in the land, and each little
tribe, and even each city, was ruled by its own king.
So it would be easy for the Israelites to destroy them
one by one, so long as they kept apart and did not band
themselves together into one army.
The Israelites were now a strong and united people,
trained for war, and willing to obey one leader, so
that all the twelve tribes were ready to fight as one