Bible References: Joshua 2.2-22; Matthew 1.5; Hebrews 11.31.
Heart of Story: A Jericho prostitute, Rahab, saved the lives of two spies that Joshua sent into the Promised Land. She is in the genealogy of Jesus Christ and the Hebrew Hall of Faith.
Back Story: For 40 years the Israelites wondered outside of Canaan (Promised Land). Moses died and Joshua became the Israelite leader. Joshua determined to lead the Israelites into Canaan. His plan was to cross the Jordan River in the vicinity of Jericho. Joshua realized that the Israelites had to capture the strong, walled city of Jericho. They could not move further into Canaan with the might of Jericho at their backs. Joshua sent two men into Canaan to spy out the land around Jericho and the city.
Story Line: Rahab’s home/place of business was beside the Jericho wall. Because Rahab had many men visiting her home, she heard all the news. Rabab knew the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt; she knew the mighty kings and armies they defeated. She was aware of their strength and rightly attributed it to their God.
Rabab surmised that the Israelites would assail and conquer Jericho. She determined to save herself and her family. When the Israelite spies came to her business, she hid them from the king’s envoys on her roof under flax. Then, she lowered them over the wall from her roof top. Her agreement with the spies was that if she hid them and helped them to escape, the Israelites would not kill her or her family when they conquered Jericho. The spies gave Rahab a red rope to place on her door. When the Israelite army saw the rope, they would not enter the home or kill anyone in it.
Pondering Relationships: Some Bible scholars have tried to sanitize Rahab. The averred that she did not live in or run a house of prostitution; instead she ran an inn. Thus, the two spies came to an inn that Rahab owned. Other scholars want to gloss over Rahab’s huge lie to the king’s messengers when she told them that the two spies left her home. In reality, Rahab was a prostitute and a liar.
The reality is that Rabab was a harlot. Although she did not likely live with her family, she loved them. Her agreement with the Israelite spies included that her family would be spared killing if they were in her home. We have no idea how many family members believed her and entered her home for protection.
Rabab embraced the Israelite God. Despite her former profession, she married Salmon of the tribe of Judah. She was the mother of Boaz and grandmother of King David.
Reflection: This morning I looked around my church congregation. There were about 400 of us. All are sinners saved by Jesus Christ’s grace. Rahab was a former pagan harlot saved by grace
Copyright: August 12, 2018; Carolyn A. Roth
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