Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:
Josh. 2:4-5—There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: And it came to pass about the time of the shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not.
This clever deception did serve to spare the lives of the two spies, but it has clouded the question of doing evil so that good may come. Was Rahab’s lie justified? Many present theologians tend to justify this lie by saying that she did what was right in that situation. But such “situational ethics” lead to the justification of the end for the means. Rahab’s lie was wrong; but there is not a single note of condemnation in the narrative of Joshua; and it may be unwise for any commentator to piously do that which the eyewitnesses failed to do.
However, several observations should be made. First, Rahab was a pagan woman living in a pagan society. The degree of ethical consciousness displayed by the early Phoenicians and Canaanites was very low indeed. No doubt Rahab was absolutely unaware that telling this lie was a sin. She was humanly no more concerned over this falsehood than she was over her own occupation. Secondly, nowhere do we find a reference that either the spies, or later Joshua, ever condoned this lie. A lie by any other name, even if it is little and white, is nevertheless a lie. The spies did not ask Rahab to lie for them, nor did they commend her for this action. Thirdly, although there appears to be seedlike faith in Rahab, nevertheless there is no clear reference to her faith in the true God of Israel until after the lie was told. The deception, which was almost matter-of-factly and routinely carried out, was not at all ethically troublesome to Rahab before her confession of faith in Jehovah. One can only assume that the situation would have been different after that confession. (Jerry Falwell, exec. ed., Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, gen. eds, KJV Bible Commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, © 1994)
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