their minds in some measure, that they should forget all former instances
of divine severity against them in the same cause, and not discern the
imminent destruction that was prepared for them, the principal cause
from whence they precipitated themselves into the punishment which
they had deserved, was the efficacy of that blindness and hardness of
heart wherewith they were plagued of God. And herein, as was said,
we have the most signal example and instance of the power of unbelief,
confirmed by judiciary hardness of heart, that is upon record in the
whole book of God ; nor doth any monument of an equal folly and
blindness, remain among other memorials of things done in this world.
And we may observe, that,
Obs. IV. God knows how to secure impenitent sinners unto their
appointed destruction, by giving them up unto hardness of heart, and
an obstinate continuance in their sins, against all warnings and means
of repentance. — The devils are reserved for judgment, under the chains
of their own darkness. See Rom. i. 24, 28, 21).
VER. 30.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 503
Obs. V. God doth not give up any in a judiciary way unto sin, but
it is a punishment for preceding sins, and as a means to bring on them
total ruin and destruction.
Obs. VI. Let us not wonder that we see men in the world, obstinate
in foolish counsels and undertakings, tending unto their own inevitable
ruin, seeing probably they are under judiciary hardness from God, Isa.
vi. 9, xxix. 10, xix. 11 — 14.
Obs. VII. There is no such blinding, hardening lust in the minds or
hearts of men, as hatred of the people of God, and desire of their ruin.
— Where this prevails, as it did in these persecuting Egyptians, it de-
prives men of all wisdom and understanding, that they shall do things
against all rules of reason and polity, (which commonly they pretend
unto) brutishly and obstinately, though apparently tending unto their
own ruin and destruction. So it was with these Egyptians ; for
although they designed the utter extirpation of the people, that they
should be no more in the world, which they attempted in the law for the
destruction of all the male children, which in one age would have totally
exterminated them out of Egypt, yet now they would run themselves
on imminent universal destruction to bring them back again into Egypt.
Obs. VIII. When the oppressors of the church are nearest unto
their ruin, they commonly rage most, and are most obstinate in their
bloody persecutions. — So is it at this day among the antichristian
enemies of the church. For notwithstanding all their pride and fury,
they seem to be entering into the Red Sea.
Lastly. The event of this essay or undertaking of the Egyptians,
was, that Karetro^ i)oav, ' they were drowned,' they were swallowed up.
The account hereof is given us so gloriously in the triumphant song of
Moses, Exod, xv. that nothing needs to be added in its farther illustra-
tion. And this destruction of the Egyptians, with the deliverance of
Israel thereby, was a type and pledge of the victory and triumph which
the church shall have over its antichristian adversaries, Rev. xv. 2 — 5.
Ver. 30. — In this verse, the apostle adds another instance of the
faith of the whole congregation, in the sense before declared. For al-
though respect no doubt be had unto the faith of Joshua in an especial
manner, yet that of the whole people is expressed.
Ver. 30. — Yliarei tci Tei\y) Itpt^w tTTtcre kvkXivSevtci tin tTTTa i)/.itncic.
Ver. 30. — By faith the -walls of Jericho fell doivn, after they were
compassed about seven days.
The apostle, in those words, gives us a compendium of the history of
the taking and destruction of Jericho, which is at large recorded in the
sixth chapter of the book of Joshua, with what was spoken before con-
cerning the spies in the second chapter. I shall not need to report the
story, it is so well known. Only I shall observe some few things,
wherein the faith of the people did concur unto this great work of divine
providence, when I. have a little opened the words.
The thing ascribed unto their faith is the fall of, ret Tu\n, 'the walls
of Jericho.' The city itself was not great, as is evident, because the
504 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XI.
whole army of the Israelites did compass it seven times in one day.
But most probably it was fortified and encompassed with walls of great
height and strength, with which the spies sent by Moses out of the wil-
derness were terrified, Num. xiii. 28. And in all probability the Israel-
ites were destitute of any engines of war for the casting of them down,
or making a breach in them. And because the king of the place neither
endeavoured to hinder the passage of the Israelites over Jordan, which
was but a few miles from the city, when he knew that they designed his
destruction, nor did once attempt to oppose them in the field before
they sat down about the town, as did the men of Ai, it is probable that
he placed his confidence in the strength of the walls, and their fortifi-
cations. And it is uncertain how long it was besieged by the Israelites
before God showed unto them the way of demolishing these walls. For
the town was beleaguered by Joshua, it may be, for some good while
before he had the command to compass it, Josh. vi. 1.
These walls, saith the apostle, en-eae, 'fell down.' They did so unto
the very ground. This is signified in that expression, rr s nnn rrxnnn 5?sm,
Josh. vi. 20, ' And the wall fell down under it ;' which, although it doth
not prove that the wall sunk into the ground, as some of the Hebrews
judge, (yea, that notion is inconsistent with the words whereby its fall
is expressed,) yet it intimates the utter casting it down flat on the earth,
whereby the people went over it with ease into the city. And therefore
this fall was not by a breach in any part of the wall, but by the dejec-
tion of the whole. For the people being round about the city when it
fell, did not go from one place unto another to seek for an entrance, but
went up into the city every one straight before him, in the place where
he was, which utterly deprived the inhabitants of all advantages of
defence. Yet need not this be so far extended, as that no part nor par-
cel of the wall was left standing, where the fall of it was not of any
advantage unto the Israelites. So that part of it whereon the house of
Rahab was built was left standing; for in the fall of it, she, and all that
were with her, must have been destroyed. But the fall was such as
took away all defence from the inhabitants, and facilitated the entrance
of the Israelites in all places at once.
This, saith the apostle, was done after they were compassed about,
£7Tt ittto. TjjUfjoac, ' seven days.' 'Compassed about,' that is, by the
army of the Israelites marching round the town in the order described,
Josh. vi. 2,3, &c. And this was done seven days. The first command
of God was to have it done six times in the space of six days, ver. 3.
But an especial command and direction was given for that of the seventh
day, because it was then to be done seven times, ver. 4. This seventh
day probably was the Sabbath, and somewhat of mystery is no doubt
intimated in the number of seven in this place. For there were to be
seven priests going before the people, and seven trumpets of rams'
horns to sound with, and the order was to be observed seven days ; and
on the seventh day the city was to be compassed seven times, which
thing was of divine designation. The reader may, if he please, consult
our discourse of the Original and Institution of the Sabbath, wherein
these things are spoken unto. The apostle takes no notice of the com-
passing it seven times on the seventh day ; but only of its being com-
VEIL 30.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 505
passed seven days. And some things' there are wherein the Israelites
did manifest their faith herein.
1. It was on the command of God, and his promise of success therein,
that they now entered the land of Canaan, and began their work and
war with the siege of this strong town, not having, by any previous
fight, weakened the inhabitants. Here they made the first experiment
of the presence of God with them in the accomplishment of the pro-
mise made to Abraham.
2. They did so in their readiness to comply with the way prescribed
unto them, of compassing the town so many days with the noise of
trumpets, without the least attempt to possess themselves of it. For
without a respect by faith unto the command and promise of God, this
act was so far from furthering them in their design, that it was suited
to expose them to scorn and contempt of their adversary. For what
could they think of them, but as of a company of men who desired in-
deed to possess themselves of their city, but knew not how to do it, or
durst not undertake it. But this way was prescribed unto them of God,
to give them a distinct apprehension that the work of the conquest of
Canaan was his, and not theirs. For although he required of them
therein to use the utmost of their courage, prudence, and diligence, yet
he had taken upon himself the effecting the work itself, as if they had
contributed nothing thereunto. And the compassing of the city once
every day for the space of six days, and the entrance into it on the
seventh, had respect unto the work of the creation. For God was
now entering into his rest with respect unto his worship, in a new way
of settlement and solemnity, such as he had not erected or made use of
from the beginning of the world. Hence he frequently calls it ' his
rest,' as hath been declared in the exposition of the fourth chapter,
Fs. xcv. 11, exxxii. 8, 14; Heb. iii. 11, iv. 3, 11. And it was a type
of the new creation, with the rest of Christ thereon, and of believers
in him. Therefore would God give here a resemblance of that first
work in the labour of the six days, and the reward they received on the
seventh. Besides, hereby he took possession as it were of the city for
himself, not intending to allow the people any share in the spoil of it;
for it was wholly devoted.
3. In the triumphant shout they gave, before the walls stirred or
moved. They used the sign of their downfall before the thing signified
was accomplished, and triumphed by faith in the ruin of the walls,
n Idle they stood in their full strength.
Wherefore the apostle might justly commend their faith, which wa>
acted against so many difficulties, in the use of unlikely means, with a
constancy and persistency unto the time and event designed. For,
Obs. I. Faith will embrace and make use of means divinely pre-
scribed, though it be not able to discern the effective influence of them
unto the end aimed at. On this consideration was Naaman induced to
wash himself in the waters of Jordan for the cure of his leprosy,
2 Kings v. 14.
Obs. II. Faith will cast down walls and strong towers, that lie in
the way of the work of God. It is true we have no stone walls to
demolish, nor cities to destroy ; but the same faith in exercise is required
506 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [cil. XI.
of us all in our concerns, as was in Joshua, when he entered on the
conquest of Canaan, as the apostle declares, ch- xiii. 5. And there are
strongholds of sin in our minds, which nothing but faith can cast to the
Ver. 31. — Hitherto we have had the examples of men, with one
woman only in conjunction with her husband. In this verse, the apostle
• puts a close unto his particular instances, in that of one single woman,
accompanied with many eminent circumstances, as we shall see.
Ver. 31. — Utarei 'Paa|3 17 iropvri ov avvawcoXsTO rotg a.TruBr)oa
Sf^a/xevfj tovq KaracncoirovQ /isr' £(pi}V))C«
Ver. 31. — By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with them that
believed not, (or were disobedient,) when she had received the spies
The story concerning this Rahab, her faith and works, is at large
recorded in the second and sixth chapters of Joshua. What concerns
the exposition of these words, and the great instance of the grace of
God and efficacy of faith in them, may be comprised in some observa-
1. This'Paaj3, Rahab, was by nature a Gentile, an alien from the
stock and covenant of Abraham. Wherefore, as her conversion unto
God was an act of free grace and mercy in a peculiar manner, so it was
a type and pledge of calling a church from among the Gentiles ; as they
were all, who were converted unto God after the outward confinement
of the promise unto the family of Abraham by the covenant, and the
2. She was not only a Gentile, but an Amorite, of that race and
seed which in general was devoted unto utter destruction. She was
therefore an instance of God's sovereignty in dispensing with his posi-
tive laws, as it seems good unto him ; for of his own mere pleasure he
exempted her from the doom denounced against all those of her original
3. She was 'an harlot,' 1771-opvrj; that is, one who for advantage
exposed her person in fornication. For what the Jews say, that rr:iT
signifies also a victualler, or one that kept a house for public entertain-
ment, they can prove by no instance in the Scripture, the word being
constantly used for ' a harlot.' And she being twice in the New Tes-
tament, where she is highly commended, called expressly iropvr], which
is capable of no such signification, it must be granted that she was a
harlot, though it may be not one that did commonly and promiscuously
expose herself, rwrr, nobile scortum. But that also she kept a public
house of entertainment, is evident from the spies going thither, which
they did, as unto such a house, and not as into a mere stew. And
herein we have a blessed instance both of the sovereignty of God's
grace, and of its power. Of its freedom and sovereignty in the calling
and conversion of a person given up by her own choice to the vilest of
sins ; and of its power, in the conversion of one engaged in the serving
VER. 81.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 507
of that lust, and the habitual course of that kind of sin, which of all
others is the most effectual in detaining persons under its power. But
nothing, no person, no sin is to be despaired of, in whose cure sovereign
almighty grace is engaged, 1 Cor. vi. 9 — 11.
4. She was converted unto God before the coming of the spies unto
her, by what she had heard of him, his mighty works, and his peculiar
owning of the people of Israel. For God had ordained and designed
that the report of these things should be an effectual ordinance, as to
terrify obstinate unbelievers, so to call others to repentance, and to con-
version from their idols ; unto which end no doubt it was effectual on
others as well as on Rahab, as it was on the Gibeonites in general.
For he declares, that he did and would do such things to make his
power known, and his name exalted, that others might know that he
alone was God; and that by grace he had taken Israel to be his people.
Hence those who perished, are said to be ' unbelievers ;' she perished
not, TOiq cnrt&vaacTi, ' with them that believed not,' or who were dis-
obedient. For they had a sufficient revelation of God and his will to
render their faith and obedience necessary, as we shall see in the account
that Rahab gives of herself; the things whereof were known to them as
well as unto her, and that by the same means. And had they believed
and repented, they might have been saved. For although this, as unto
the event, could not be with respect unto entire nations, (although their
lives also might have been spared, had they, according to their duty,
sought peace with Israel on God's terms,) yet multitudes of individuals
might have been saved who perished in their unbelief Wherefore,
although their destruction was just, upon the account of their former
sins and provocations, yet the next cause why they were not spared
was their unbelief. And therefore are they so described here by the
apostle, ' those who believed not.' And their destruction is ascribed
unto the hardening of their hearts, so as that they should not make
peace with Israel, Josh. xi. 19, 20. Wherefore,
Obs. I. Although unbelief be not the only destroying sin, (for the
wages of every sin is death, and many are accompanied with peculiar
provocations,) yet it is the only sin which makes eternal destruction in-
evitable and remediless. And,
Obs. II. Where there are means granted of the revelation of God
and his will, it is unbelief that is the greatest and most provoking sin,
and from whence God is glorified in his severest judgments. Therefore
the apostle, mentioning the destruction of the Canaanitcs, passcth by
their other sins, and represents them as obstinate unbelievers. And,
Obs. III. Where this revelation of the mind and will of God is most
open, full, and evident, and the means of it are most express, and suited
unto the communication of the knowledge of it, there is the highest ag-
gravation of unbelief. If the inhabitants of Jericho perished in their
unbelief, because they believed not the report that was brought unto
them of the mighty works of God, what will be the end of them who
live and die in their unbelief, under the daily constant preaching of the
gospel, the most glorious revelation of the mind and will of God for the
salvation of men ! Heb. ii. 3.
Obs. IV. Every thing which God designs as an ordinance to bring
508 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [cil. XI.
men unto repentance, ought to be diligently attended to and complied
withal, seeing the neglect of it, or of the call of God therein, shall be
severely revenged. Such were his mighty works in those days, and
such are his judgments in all ages.
5, Rahab, upon the first opportunity, made an excellent confession
of her faith, and of the means of her conversion to God. This confes-
sion is recorded at large, Josh, ii, 9 — 11. She avows the Lord Jeho-
vah to be the only God in heaven above and in the earth beneath ;
wherein she renounced all the idols which before she had worshipped,
ver. 11. And she avows her faith in him as their God, or the God of
Israel, who had taken them to be his people by promise and covenant,
which in this confession she lays hold on by faith : ' The Lord your
God, he is God.' And she declares the means of her conversion, which
was her hearing of the mighty works of God, and what he did for his
people, ver. 10. And she adds moreover the way and means whereby
her faith was confirmed, namely, her observation of the effect which the
report of those things had upon the minds and hearts of her wicked
countrymen: 'Their hearts hereon did melt, and they had no more
courage left in them.' As she had an experience of the divine power
of grace in producing a contrary effect in her, namely, that of faith and
obedience ; so she plainly saw that there was a hand of God in that
dread, terror, and fear, which fell upon her countrymen. Their hearts
did melt, faint, fall down ; and it is an infallible rule in all a'ffairs, espe-
cially in war, Qui animis cadunt, excidunt omnibus rebus bonis ; 'they
that fall in their hearts and spirits, fall from every thing that is good,
useful, or helpful.' By the observation hereof was her faith confirmed.
So on the first occasion after her conversion, she witnessed a good con-
fession. Hereby the rule is confirmed which we have, Rom. x. 10.
Obs. V. It is in the nature of true, real, saving faith, immediately,
or at its first opportunity, to declare and protest itself in confession be-
fore men. Or confession is absolutely inseparable from faith. Where
men, on some light and convictions, do suppose themselves to have
faith, yet, through fear or shame, do not come up to the ways of ex-
pressing it in confession prescribed in the Scripture, their religion is in
vain. And therefore our Lord Jesus Christ, in the gospel, doth con-
stantly lay the same weight on confession as on believing itself, Matt. x.
33 ; Luke ix. 26. And the fearful, that is, those who fly from public
profession in times of danger and persecution, shall be no less assuredly
excluded from the heavenly Jerusalem, than unbelievers themselves,
Rev. xxi. 8.
6. She separated herself from the cause and interest of her own peo-
ple among whom she lived, and joined herself unto the cause and inte-
rest of the people of God. This also is a necessary fruit of faith, and
an inseparable concomitant of profession. This God called her unto,
this she complied withal, and this was that which rendered all that she
did in receiving, concealing, and preserving the spies, though they
came in order unto the destruction of her country and people, just and
warrantable. For although men may not leave the cause and interest
of their own people to join with their enemies, on light grounds or
reasons, since the light of nature itself manifesteth how many obliga-
VER. ol.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 509
tions there are on us to seek the good of our own country : yet where
the persons whereof it consists are obstinate idolaters, and the cause
wherein they are engaged is wicked, and in direct opposition unto God,
there an universal separation from them in interest, and a conjunction
with their enemies, is a duty honourable and just, as it was in her.
Wherefore, although it may seem something hard, that she being born
and living in the town, a citizen of it, and subject of the king, should
studiously and industriously receive, conceal, give intelligence unto, and
convey away in safety, spies that came to find out a way for the total
destruction of the place ; yet she, on the call and command of God,
having renounced an interest in, and relation unto that wicked, idola-
trous, unbelieving people, whom she knew to be devoted to utter destruc-
tion, it was just and righteous in her to be assisting unto their enemies.
Obs. VI. This separation from the cause and interest of the world, is
required in all believers, and will accompany true faith, wherever it is.
I speak not of the differences that may fall out between nations, and the
conjunction in counsel and actions with one people against another ; for
in such cases, we cannot desert our own country without perfidious
treachery, unless warranted by such extraordinary circumstances as Ra-
hab was under. But I intend that wicked, carnal interest of the world,
and corrupt conversation, which all believers are obliged visibly to se-
parate themselves from, as a necessary part of their profession.
7. She showed, testified, manifested her faith by her works. She,
ce^a/nivi] tovq KaraaKOirovg fitr apr/vjjc, ' received the spies with peace.'
In these few words doth the apostle comprise the whole story of her
receiving of them, her studious concealing them, the intelligence she
gave them, the prudence she used, the pains she took, and the danger
she underwent in the safe conveyance of them to their army ; all which
are at large recorded, Josh. ii. This work of hers is celebrated here,
and also James ii. as an eminent fruit and demonstration of that faith
whereby she was justified ; and so it was. That it was in itself lawful,
just, and good, hath been declared ; for what is not so cannot be ren-
dered so to be on any other consideration. Again, it was a work of
great use and importance to the church and cause of God. For had
these spies been taken and shun, it would have put a great discourage-
ment on the whole people, and made them question whether God would
be with them in their undertaking or not. And it is evident that the
tidings which they carried unto Joshua and the people, from the intel-
ligence which they had by Rahab, was a mighty encouragement unto
them. For they report their discovery in her words : They said unto
Joshua, 'Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land;
for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us,' Josh,
ii. ,'21. And it was a work accompanied with the utmost hazard and
danger unto herself. Had the matter been discovered, there is no doubt
but that she and all that she had had been utterly destroyed. And all
these things set a great lustre upon this work, whereby she evidenced
her faith and her justification thereby.
And as this instance is exceedingly apposite unto the purpose of the
apostle, to arm and encourage believers against the difficulties and dan-
gers which they were to meet withal in their profession, so it is sufficient
510 . AN EXPOSITION OF THE [cH. XT,
to condemn multitudes among ourselves, who, after a long profession
of the truth, are ready to tremble at the first approach of danger, and
think it their wisdom to keep at a distance from them that are exposed
to danger and sufferings.