This was meant to be a sneaky look-see, but apparently the arrival of these two men stirred concern. Somebody ran to the king and tattled that strangers were staying at Rahab’s. We can surmise Rahab discovered the tattlers’ intention to inform the king, and she took action. But not in favor of the king. Instead, she hid the spies under stalks of flax on the roof. When the king’s messengers arrived, they demanded that Rahab turn the men over to them. And Rahab spun a tale that the men had already left the city. She encouraged the messengers to hurry and catch up to the men. The messengers fell for it—they took off in pursuit, and the city gates were closed behind them.
Now, the question arises…why did Rahab protect these Israelite men rather than honoring the king? It’s certainly an act of defiance, and if the truth had come out, she would have suffered severe consequences. Rahab must have weighed those consequences and made a choice. We’ll look more at the reasoning behind her choice on Thursday.