1. Joshua 2:22 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Did they really stay in the hills for three days?

Joshua 2:22 (ESV)

22 They departed and went into the hills and remained there three days until the pursuers returned, and the pursuers searched all along the way and found nothing.

In biblical narratives, three days seems to be symbolic rather than chronological. It can be used to mark momentous events (Exodus 10:22–23) or important transitions (Genesis 30:36; Joshua 2:16, Joshua 2:22; Joshua 9:16; 1 Kings 12:5). It also marks important journeys (Exodus 3:18, Exodus 5:3), especially into the wilderness (Exodus 8:27; Exodus 15:22; Numbers 10:33; Numbers 33:8).1 Thus, the three days are not necessarily referring to three complete twenty-four hour units. Jews counted inclusively, such that part of a day could be counted as a whole.2