And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel: and the LORD was with them.…
In this verse, where it is said that the spies met this man coming out of the city, somewhat is to be noted by occasion of the man and somewhat from the spies. By the man first, going in his simplicity out of the city (whether to save his life or upon some other necessary occasion), meeting with these spies, and falling into such a fright thereby, that either he must lose his life or betray the city (for the spies said to him, "Show us the way into the city and we will show thee mercy"). We may see what straits and difficulties we meet with in this life; for that peril which we neither fear nor once think of, may befall us, even to the hazarding of our lives, much more of our undoing, or the loss of the best of God's blessings that we enjoy, as wife, children, goods, dec. The Shunammite's child went into the field in the morning well, but died at noon. This we have to learn by occasion of the man. Now of the spies. The spies offered him kindness, if he would show them the way into the city; in that they dealt kindly with him, rather than roughly and cruelly, seeking such a matter at his hands, they did as became them. But he being one of the cursed nations, how could they promise him mercy? For though they did so to Rahab before, yet she turned to their religion; and so did the Gibeonites serve them as bondmen, and embraced their religion also. But no such thing can be said of this man, for he went unto the Hittites, out of the seven cursed nations, and dwelt there. I answer, we must interpret the laws of God against the Canaanites, and concerning the rooting them out, by mitigating them with this equity, that if they made peace with Israel, they should not root them out. And this appears by that which is written in Joshua, that these nations were rooted out, seeing none of them save the Gibeonites, made peace with the Hebrews. And this being so, teacheth all men to deal even with the bad kindly, and to be harmless toward them. And again, oh that we could deal pitifully, kindly, and lovingly with the miserable and the afflicted; and that all the gentlest means were used to reclaim offenders, of whom there is hope, such as are as this man of Bethel was, in great distress, which is not done but very rarely, and therefore is there much hardness of heart in those to whom it is neglected, and wilfulness, that carrieth them to all profaneness and impenitency.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel: and the LORD was with them.