Has your faith caused you to take actions that might cause an endangerment on your own life? Have you ever made a risky move that might even end your life because you believe so strongly in your God? This is the story of Rahab, a Gentile woman directly in the lineage of the Messiah, Yahusha, yet her career was one of prostitution. Let’s read Joshua 2 and discuss….
“And Joshua, the son of Nun, sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went and came into a harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. 2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, men of the sons of Israel have come here this night to spy out the land.
- I find it interesting that they come to Rahab’s house. Why? Did they know she was a prostitute? Had they somehow known of her previously? Maybe they knew other men who were her customers? Did they look for places to stay and everyone said, “No,” and then were directed to her place? Was this their planned cover to hide within a ‘sinners’ house where they could be assumed to be customers? And once they got there, did Rahab assume they were paying customers or how long did it take her to realize they were not there for her services but had other plans?
3 Then the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that have come unto thee, who have entered into thy house; for they are come to spy out all the land.
- Obviously, someone spilled the beans that Rahab had strangers as customers and so some men sent from the king came knocking at Rahab’s door within the dark of the night, that same night as we find out in the next verses. And, we also learn that the spies were still within her household when the guards came knocking.
4 And the woman had taken the two men and hidden them and said thus, It is true that some men came unto me, but I did not know where they came from. 5 And at the time of shutting the gate, when it was dark, these men went out, and I do not know where the men went; pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.
- Rahab, at some point after the spies came to her, realized who they were. Obviously the spies felt comfortable enough to share their true intentions with her. She must have conveyed a sense of trustworthiness in this short amount of time as she could have screamed or did something drastic to get people to come to her home to immediately remove these strangers. We also must realize that the spies didn’t seem to care about her profession and being in association with her. They didn’t care what it might have looked like to the outside world. It would have been interesting to hear her conversation with them.
6 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house and hid them among the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. 7 And the men pursued after them along the way to Jordan unto the fords; and as soon as those who pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.
- We realize that Rahab intentionally lied to the guards, and she must have been good at it because they believed her and followed her instructions. And, we realize that Rahab trusted these spies more than her own people, and so much so that she risked her own life in hiding them. If they would have been found, Rahab would have probably been killed for treason.
8 And before they went to sleep, she came up unto them upon the roof;
- Not only was Rahab hiding them for a few minutes, but she let them stay there throughout the night to get some rest, which would have greatly increased her risk as the guards might have come back after their pursuit ended in folly. Her normal hours were the night, so she probably would have had other customers coming which would have also increased her risk of being found out. She wasn’t looked too favorably upon by her own town, obviously, so any little thing would have been her demise.
9 and she said unto the men, I know that Yahweh has given you this land because the fear of you has fallen upon us and all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10 For we have heard how Yahweh dried up the water of the Red sea for you when ye came out of Egypt and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites that were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.
- After she distracted the guards, she went back to the spies to explain herself further. In them telling her their true intentions, she had not yet up to this point even acknowledged her agreement with their plans and her reasons, but now it seemed her time to make sure they were aware. First, she calls the God of Israel by name, Yahweh, so this God was not an unknown God to her. This is huge! She also sensed within her community that her own people were afraid of Israel because of Yahweh and all that He did for them. The stories obviously spread to her own town and they heard about the incredible things that Yahweh did for them and none of their gods were ever able to do such feats. And, she doesn’t give credit to the people of Israel for winning the battles of other nations, but she attributes these victories directly to their God, Yahweh. She must have realized that these victories were not humanly possible and they must have had help. So, we see here that she recognizes the authenticity and authority of the God, Yahweh, above the other gods of her nation. This God was a God of action to her and more real than anything she had seen.
11 Hearing this has melted our heart, neither has there remained any more spirit in any man because of you, for Yahweh your God is God above in the heavens and in the earth beneath.
- Yahweh had opened up Rahab’s eyes to see that He was truly the God Almighty and that none of her people’s traditions and teachings to her of the other gods held any water to this god. So we see that even though Rahab had been brought up learning about and worshiping other gods, that she was opened to the truth, even if it meant going against everything she had previously believed to be true. She was willing to change; she had a teachable spirit, humble and not full of pride.
12 Now, therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by Yahweh since I have showed you mercy that ye will also do the same unto my father’s house, of which thou shalt give me a true sign, 13 and that ye will save alive my father and my mother and my brethren and my sisters and all that they have and deliver our lives from death.
- Rahab realized that these men were authentic followers of the true God, so she knew that if she could get them to promise in Yahweh’s name, that fear would have been upon them to follow through on their commitment, but she also had to trust in the fact that these men actually feared Yahweh and were honest with her. She seemed to also believe in “what goes around comes around,” so since she showed mercy to them that they, in turn, should show mercy to her. She also shows just how much she cared about her immediate family as she wanted a promise for them to be safe first, and included herself last in her request. In her request, she also acknowledged the fact that she knew that Yahweh would once again fight for Israel and that her town was guaranteed to be demolished as the other nations had been.
14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours if ye do not declare this our business. And it shall be when Yahweh has given us the land, that we will deal with thee according to mercy and truth.
- Rahab received the confirmation that she desired from the spies and needed to trust their words to be true.
15 Then she let them down by a cord through the window; for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. 16 And she said unto them, Go to the mountain lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers have returned; and afterwards ye may go your way. 17 And the men said unto her, We will be exempted of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear in the following manner.
- Rahab gives the spies further instructions to help them to survive. She showed here that she was wise in discernment and understood that more care needed to be taken so that the spies had a greater chance to not being discovered. She had already went out of her way to spare them, and she wanted to follow through with even more care and concern for them. We also see that the men followed her instructions and trusted her wisdom in this way (verse, 22).
18 Behold, when we come into the land, thou shall have bound this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by, and thou shall have brought thy father and thy mother and thy brethren and all thy father’s household home unto thee. 19 And it shall be that whoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his own head, and we will be guiltless; and whoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head if any hand touches him. 20 And if thou should declare this our business, then we will be exempted of thine oath which thou hast made us swear.
- The spies gave Rahab a good plan, and instructions with it, to keep them alive as they promised to keep everyone safe that was within her house, as identified by scarlet thread hanging in her window. They put the ball in Rahab’s court, basically, telling her that anyone she brought into her home would be safe, so she had some choices to make in this situation. Whom did she love and treasure and trust? She would need to then tell her loved ones about these spies and what was going to happen and she would need to convince them that this was true and have them not want to spill the beans with anyone else in the town. So, even though her family knew of her prostitution, they must have had to look beyond what she was doing and trust her character above what the town said of her. They must have loved her and valued her, even still. Some families would have shunned a child as this, but this family proved later that they did not have those views of her.
21 And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed; and she bound the scarlet line in the window.
- Rahab followed the instructions of the spies. She obeyed what was told to her and didn’t stray from the directions.
22 ¶ And they went and came unto the mountain and abode there three days until their pursuers had returned; and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way but did not find them. 23 So the two men returned and descended from the mountain and crossed over and came to Joshua, the son of Nun, and told him all the things that had befallen them.
- We see here how the spies also followed Rahab’s exact instructions and did not stray from her directions. They trusted in her wisdom.
24 And they said unto Joshua, Truly Yahweh has delivered all the land into our hands; and also all the inhabitants of the land are faint before us.” Joshua 2
We see the story concluded in Joshua 6 when it came time to overtake the city
“16 And when the priests had blown the shofarot the seventh time, Joshua said unto the people, Shout, for Yahweh has given you the city. 17 ¶ And the city shall be anathema unto Yahweh, even it, and all the things that are in it; only Rahab, the harlot, shall live, she and all that are with her in the house because she hid the messengers that we sent.“
21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and ass, with the edge of the sword. 22 But Joshua said unto the two men that had spied out the land, Go into the harlot’s house and bring the woman out of there with all that she has, as ye swore unto her. 23 And the young men that were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brethren and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred and put them outside in the camp of Israel. 24 And they burnt the city with fire and all that was in it; only the silver and the gold and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. 25 And Joshua gave Rahab, the harlot, her life and also to her father’s household and to all that she had; and she dwells in Israel even unto this day because she hid the messengers, whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” Joshua 6
What an amazing story of redemption for a Gentile woman and her family, who later would be brought into the family of Israel, and who would be in the direct lineage of the Messiah, King of the Jews.
What could we see were the character traits of this amazing woman, who didn’t let her traditions, peers, or way of life affect what she knew to be true?
- Trustworthy & faithful
- Inspired (by Yahweh)
- Driving by truth
- Unaffected by her peers
- Used by Yahweh because of all of this
What an example for us as women of Yahweh to inspire us to strive for each of these traits.