The ‘SCARLET CORD’ makes ‘ALL’ the ‘DIFFERENCE’: Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall. So the men said to her: "We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father's household to your own home.” And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window. (Josh 2:15, 17-18, and 21)
As a precursor to the conquest of Canaan, Joshua sent two spies to check out the layout of the land (2:1). These two men would have been men of faith and courage, unlike the fearful ten spies who had spied Canaan 40 years ago with Joshua and Caleb. Of all the inhabitants of Jericho, they chose the home of Rahab, the prostitute since that would be a good camouflage for their visit. However, the news reached the king of Jericho, who confronted Rahab and demanded that she release the spies to the king. Rahab lied to the king risking her own life, and she was rewarded eventually for her faith in Jehovah!
What we see in this story is that Rahab was a woman of faith (Psalms 87:4) who confessed the greatness of Jehovah with these words: "...for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath" (2: 11b). She acknowledged her faith in Jehovah, and due to her confession, she and her entire family were spared from death and destruction even though she was an Amorite (see Gen. 15:16, 21) and a prostitute. Eventually, Rahab was spared from death even though her house was built on the walls of Jericho (2:15), which came crashing down eventually (6:20). The only way she was spared was because she tied a scarlet cord in the window of her house!
The scarlet cord reminds us of the blood of the lamb that was smeared on the doorpost, and the life of the firstborn of the family was spared from death. After Rahab was spared from death by Joshua (6:25), she got absorbed into the Jewish nation, and eventually married Salmon to become the great grandmother of King David, who was the ancestor of the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5). One key lesson here: God’s plans for us are far beyond any plans that we may have for ourselves!
This story portrays the Gospel, in which the city of Jericho can be equated to our world that is doomed for sure destruction in the near future. The spies represent the preachers of the Gospel, who call out that the judgment is coming soon. The scarlet cord represents the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for the remission of our sins, and Rahab represents the person who trusts Jesus Christ as his/her Savior. The scarlet cord (or, the blood of Jesus) makes all the difference in our lives!