1. Exposition

What is ironic about the promise made by the spies to the man?

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.”

They assured him that in exchange for his help, they would deal kindly with him. The Hebrew word, hesed, frequently means loyalty, devotion, commitment. In other places where the noun appears in the idiom deal kindly with, it denotes fair and/or benevolent treatment as a reward for good deeds rendered as an act of allegiance (see Joshua 2:12, Judges 2:14; Ruth 1:8; 2 Samuel 2:5–6; 2 Samuel 9:1, 2 Samuel 9:3, 2 Samuel 9:7; 2 Samuel 10:2). Yet whereas the earlier spies had made this very promise to Rahab in exchange for her help, and she then allied herself with Israel, here the spies solicit the help of this unnamed man, who thereafter went his own way.1