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Rahab? Doubtless he could; but he chose to act by means, and by the means of his people, and in this case by a Gentile believer, as a figure of the calling of the Gentiles to the blessings of God's true Israel.
The king of Jericho is informed that Israelitish spies were in the country-in the city—in the very house of Rahab. Could not the watchful Provi. dence of God have prevented this ? Could not the overruling power of Jehovah have kept it secret from the king of Jericho that spies were in the country_in the city-in the house of Rahab? Did Providence in this instance fight against itself? If we see the hand of Providence for Israel in the faith of Rahab, may not our enemies claim a similar Providence in manifesting the fact to the king of Jericho ? Such manifestation was God's purpose, and for God's glory, as well as the eventual success of the spies. It tried the faith of Rahab. It proved her faith and her ignorance of duty. It showed an important truth, that God's people often glorify him by their obedience, while in that very obedience there is sinful weakness. Rahab's faith and hiding of the spies are approved by God; her lying was the result of ignorance of duty or weakness of faith. There need not any singular defence be set up for Rahab. Every Christian needs a similar defence in many instances. Who is it who is perfect in the knowledge of the revealed will of God? Who is it, then, who commits not sins from ignorance of
Rahab hides the spies, and denies that they are in the house. But the danger is not over. Why does this lie succeed? Why did the king's mes. sengers take her word ? They should have died for their negligence. They should have searched every corner of the house. Would the police of any city, on such information, take the word of the most respectable householder ? The thing was of God, and the cautious are negligent, or forgetful, when it is God's purpose to keep them from suce ceeding. The messengers are deceived by Rahab, and go in pursuit where the prey is not to be found. The stalks of flax would have been no cover, had it been God's purpose to reveal. Who can hide when God would make manifest ? Who can discover what God would conceal? Who is it that may not see the work of the Providence of the Lord in the history of this matter ? " And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: And it came to pass about the
time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out : whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly ; for ye shall overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.”—Joshua ii. 1-7.
PUNISHMENT OF ADONI-BEZEK- -Judges i. 6.
“But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.” Cruel, cruel, cruel! It may be so; but it is of God. And in this point of view, it is right. The Ruler of the world in this affair executes an awful retribution. And he does it in the way of his Providence. There is no account of a command to punish in this way on this occasion. There is no evidence that the Israelites knew that Adoni-bezek had punished in this manner the kings whom he had conquered. There is no evidence that they intended this punishment to be retributive. What, then, suggested the manner of punishment to them in this instance ? Whatever it was, the Providence of the Lord secured its accomplishment. The tyrant himself confesses not only the justice of his punishment, but acknowledges that it was a retribution overruled by God. “ And Adoni-bezek
said, Three score and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God has requited me.” Hear this, ye foolish wise men. Hear the testimony of one of the kings of ancient Canaan. Hear the heathen recognising the Providence of God in the manner of his punishment, while ye see no Providence but as the effect of general laws. Your ignorance is below heathen ignorance. It is brutish. It would blaspheme the light of heathenism to say that it was heathenish. Of all men living there are no such enemies of the Divine character, as those who profess to fathom the nature of God, and determine a bound to his conduct. All the wisdom of philosophers could not discover how God could do this, while, at the same time, it was the uncommanded act of the Israelites. And that for which they cannot account, they will, in the
presumption of their ignorance, boldly deny. As they cannot see the way in which God can do such things, they will solve the matter by explaining it as if it were merely permitted or foreseen by God. But neither permission nor foreknowledge can warrant a thing to be ascribed to God, as his doing. I might permit or foreknow with the utmost certainty, what I could in no sense be said to do. Here, then, I may be asked, can God be said to do such things ? Were I to attempt an answer to such questions, I would be as presumptuous as the inquirer. God tells me that he doth such things. He tells me also that men do these things. I believe both assertions, though I cannot make the smallest approach to reconcile them. Does not God tell me in his word, that “ his ways are past finding out ?” If we could fathom all the ways of God, the Scriptures could not be his word.
THE KENITES INHABIT CANAAN WITH ISRAEL.
Judges i. 16.
“ And the children of the Kenite, Moses' fatherin-law, went up out of the city of palnı trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.” As Canaan was typical of the heavenly inheritance, and the sojourning of the Israelites in it was typical of the spiritual inheritance, why are we not to see the residence of the Kenites with them as a typical representation of the union of Gentiles with the seed of Israel in the kingdom of glory? When God puts the key into our hands, why should we fear to use it ? The New Testament shows us, in innumerable instances, that the Old Testament is a figure of the things of Christ. Is he a friend of either, who wishes as much as possible to keep the Christ of God from appearing in the history of Israel?