The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleJoshua 2:6
But she had brought them up to the roof of the house…
Before the messengers came; though Abarbinel thinks it was after they
were gone, when she took them from the place of their concealment, and
had them to the roof of the house, where she thought they would be safe
and secure, should the messengers return, or others come in search of
them, who would not, as she imagined, look for them there:
and hid them with the stalks of flax;
that is, under them, or "in flax
of wood", or "a tree" F2; which may with as much propriety, or more,
be called a tree than hyssop, (1 Kings 4:33) ; as it is in the Misnah F3.
Moreover, there was a sort of flax which grew in the upper part of
Egypt towards Arabia, as Pliny says F4, which they called "xylon", or
wood, of which were made "lina xylina": though the words may be rightly
transposed, as by as, "stalks of flax", which are large and strong
before the flax is stripped or beaten off of them; the Targum renders
it bundles of flax, or handfuls and sheaves of them, as they were when
cut down and gathered:
which she had laid in order upon the roof;
to be dried, as Kimchi
observes; and Pliny F5 speaks of flax being bound up in bundles, and
hung up and dried in the sun; which was done that it might be more
easily stripped and beaten off; and the roofs of houses in those
countries being flat, were very fit for such a purpose;
(See Gill on 22:8); and these being now laid there were very
suitable and convenient to conceal the men under them. This seems to be
in favour of Rahab, as being a virtuous and industrious woman; see
(Proverbs 31:13,19,24) .
F2 (Ueh ytvpb) "in linis ligni", Montanus; "vel arboris", Vatablus.
F3 Sabbat, c. 2. sect. 3. & Bartenora in ib.
F4 Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 1.
F5 Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 1.