Purpose of the Spies in Yehoshua 2


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Why Send Spies?

Chapter 2 describes Yehoshua's dispatching of spies to Yericho, their near discovery by the king's officers, and their narrow escape with the aid of Rachav.   At first glance, it would seem that the stealth with which Yehoshua sent the spies confirms that their purpose was a covert military operation designed to discover the weak points in Yericho’s fortifications. However, if Yehoshua conquered Yericho through a Divine miracle in which the walls came tumbling down, why was such a mission necessary?  Why risk lives for superfluous military intelligence?  Moreover, the text never describes any investigation of the city's ramparts, and upon their return the spies share no strategic information.  Was their mission aborted before accomplishing its goal, or did it have a different purpose to begin with?

Interactions with Rachav

The spies' implementation of their mission raises several question as well:

Divine or Human Conquest?

Many of the above questions connect to a larger issue: what is the relationship between the description of the conquest of Yericho in Chapter 6 and the espionage mission of Chapter 2?  While Chapter 2 speaks of human preparations for conquest, Chapter 6 emphasizes Divine intervention. Details such as the scarlet cord seem forgotten and the human efforts of Chapter 2 appear irrelevant in face of Hashem's miracles. How are we to understand the apparent inconsistency between the chapters?