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Redefined and Redeemed Part 2 Rahab

Updated: Apr 11

She was seen as: Prostitute, Prominent, Pagan

Joshua 2:1-21

Rahab was probably a woman of influence in certain circles. The King of Jericho sent messengers to her directly, suggesting she had some pull and clout within the political sphere if only because of the secret liaisons she may have kept or was privy to. She had a home installed in the city wall near the gate. From her window, she could see the movement of military and mercantile. She had a large enough home to accommodate her parents, siblings, their families, and guests. It was positioned close to the ramparts with a roof large enough to dry large piles of flax and seasonal crops. She sat, secure in her lifestyle, protected within the strongest walls of any known city. What fear did she have of rag-tag wanderers from a distant land? She did fear them. She had heard their stories for decades. It had been 40 years since these nomads had left Egypt. She probably heard the stories of how the Red Sea dried up for them to cross over and knew of how other neighboring cities and kings were struck. Her own King was in a panic, reaching out to her for help. It was very real. War was imminent and could be devastating. Her main concern was for the safety of her family. All of them. She must have been seen as the leader of her family. She was at the forefront of their safety and defense.

It is interesting that her name means to act stormily. It is also used in the books of Job, Isaiah, and Jeremiah when speaking of a sea monster that terrifies. She was a force to be reckoned with. Yet, here she is, the one in terror. Her gods could not save her from what the God of Israel was capable of. The God that created the heavens and the earth is at her doorstep, about to bring vengeance on His enemies. This God she comes to believe in is very real, and her belief in what He can accomplish causes her to seek mercy and forgiveness as she helps His people. It was an act, a work, based on her faith. After she lets them down through her window, she ties a red ribbon to the sill and waits for the coming destruction. She certainly had faith that God would do to Jericho what He had done before to others. She begged for mercy from the scouts, and they pledged safety to her if she was genuine.

Rahab was being strategic. She had heard the stories of How the God of Israel had obliterated Egypt's agriculture, military, and economic strength four decades earlier, not to mention destroyed all the gods of Egypt in plagues that swept over the countryside. She undoubtedly heard of the battles between the Israelites, Amalekites Ammonites, and many others during their wanderings in the desert. This wandering band of military nomads was now at her doorstep. She was concerned for her life, her family, and her household. She placed all her strength, risked it all, and sought the mercy and protection of the God of Israel. Recognizing the track record of this god in comparison to all the surrounding gods of the lands, every action forward was to help them in their endeavors. Rahab was spared because she recognized the God of Israel as real and supreme. She believed, and it was accounted to her as righteousness. James 2:25 speaks of how Rahab’s faith was displayed through her actions. “was not even Rahab the prostitute justified by her actions when she welcomed the spies and sent them off on another route”?

Matthew 1 references Rahab. She is married to Salmon (some believe it is Joshua, others are unsure), but she is a leader/prince in the tribe of Judah, as mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2: 11,51,54, 55. Rechab is spelled slightly differently than Rahab in Hebrew and Greek, but it sounds the same. Her actions, based on her faith, won her acclaim for generations. Seeing the devastation of the fallen walls and the bodies of all those she had known killed by the Israelites within the city, she must have wondered if the leader of the Israelites would honor her pact with those spies. Joshua’s soldiers escort Rahab to Joshua. In front of everyone, he publicly spares her life. She eventually was accepted by the people as she lived among them and married a prominent leader in Israel since the days of Moses. Eventually, they had a son and called him Boaz. He plays a prominent role in the next story.

Rahab became a woman of prestige and position within the nation of Israel, not because of what she could perform for men or her hold of secrets against them, but because of her faith in the God of Israel. Regardless of her past and her nationality, she was welcomed in. She was eventually embraced and loved because of her faith. Ultimately, she became the great-great-grandmother of King David.

Have you ever been an outsider coming into a new culture or group of people or family structure? What challenges were you met with?

Rahab’s reputation was changed when she came to a saving knowledge of the God of Israel. She was one thing and became another. Do you need that kind of exchange in your life?

Are there other elements of Rahab’s life that impact you?


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