1. Exposition

What does the house of Joseph’s treatment of the man recall?

Judges 1:24 (ESV)

24 And the spies saw a man coming out of the city, and they said to him, “Please show us the way into the city, and we will deal kindly with you.”

That Joseph’s men dealt kindly with the man was likely connected to what Israel did for Rahab when Israel took Jericho. There are verbal correspondences between the two: 1) the formulation treat well (or show kindness) is found only in these two related accounts (Joshua 2:12 (2x), Joshua 2:14; Judges 1:24), which makes this text in Judges a deliberate allusion to that in Joshua; 2) as the Bethelite and his family are spared (more literally, sent away) after their city was put to the edge of the sword (Judges 1:25), so Rahab and her family were put in a place outside the camp of Israel after Jericho was struck with the edge of the sword (Joshua 6:21, Joshua 6:23).

Yet the differences are significant. Rahab had taken upon herself the initiative to ask for kindness (hesed), with an acknowledgment that Yahweh was preeminent and full of great deeds (Joshua 2:9–13); it was an indication that she had converted. She confessed her faith in the Lord! And after the divinely wrought victory over Jericho, she and her family were noted as residents of Israel from there forward: to this day (Joshua 6:25). In Judges 1:1–36, however, the man and his family are spared, yet there is no indication that he made any kind of alliance with the Israelites, or with the Lord. And his final action of building a new settlement elsewhere “becomes a scandalous symbol of the unwise covenanting of the house of Joseph with a foreigner. It was as if the hostilities and capture of Bethel by the Israelites had never taken place—the city had merely been transferred from one site to another—the spirit of Luz lived on.… What was necessary here was an understanding of God’s work, his power, and his strategy for success—and a cooperation with that work, that power, and that strategy.”1