In the first attempt, the spies’ testimony filled Israel with fear; in the second, it filled them with confidence. Now it’s the Canaanites who are fearful: “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’” (Joshua 2:24).
In the first, they asked, “Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:3) This time, everyone marches forward, following the path opened in the Jordan River miraculously by Yahweh’s Presence.
The first attempt ended with a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. In the
second, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh say to Joshua, “Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous” (Joshua
In the first, the name Hormah recalls the shame of defeat and the prohibition of entering the Promised Land. After the second, Gilgal has a monument of 12 stones taken from the dry path through the Jordan River, a testimony from the 12 tribes of Yahweh’s power (Joshua 4:24).
What a difference 40 years of discipline in the desert make, of discipline that yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it! (Hebrews 12:11)
There is also another surprising event, the conversion of a Canaanite. The
prostitute Rahab not only saved the lives of the two spies but also declared her faith in Yahweh and surrendered herself to His protection: “And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house” (Joshua 2:11-12).
Her faith is the same kind as that of Zelophehad’s daughters in Numbers 27. Remember that they requested their father’s inheritance when the Israelites had not gained even a centimeter of the Promised Land; they asked for it by faith in the future fulfillment of Yahweh’s promises. Rahab seeks refuge in Yahweh from the future judgment that will consume her city even though not a single arrow has been fired against it, and the Israelites have not even crossed the Jordan River swollen over its banks. Either in the reception of His promises or in protection from His jfuture udgment, these women exercise faith in Yahweh’s word and are rewarded. What stunning examples in comparison with Numbers 13 – 14!