<<a ‘heathen’ woman who helped Israeli spies>>

Rahab lived at the time of the Conquest of Jericho, dated about 1406 BC. She was a prostitute whose house formed part of the wall surrounding Jericho and was convinced God would give the country to the Israelites. In return for hiding and protecting the two Israeli spies from the authorities a deal was made for her and her family’s safety. She probably risked her life to harbour them prior to the destruction of the city – which was the first to be taken in the conquest of the Promised Land. Although she told a lie saying the men had left, when in fact they were hiding up on the roof, she is commended in the Bible for her faith and action (Heb 11:31; Jas 2:25). When the walls literally fell down all the inhabitants were put to death except Rahab and those sheltering with her in her home – indicated by a red cord left hanging out the window.

She married into the Jewish race and became an ancestor of King David and so of Jesus (Mt 1:5). Her story is mentioned in Joshua 2:1-21, 6:17-25. 

Lessons from her life: * As a prostitute, she would have been shunned by society in general, yet she is the only person actually named in the sizable city of Jericho. She was the means of saving not only herself but also her family from death when the Israelites conquered the city, then later became the Mother of Boaz (Josh 6:25). Our sinful past is not a handicap to being used by God if in faith we get in step with His purposes, and wholeheartedly give ourselves to being available to Him, leaving our old sinful lifestyle. Instead of rejecting someone because of their past, why not give them a chance and help them to become somebody in God’s economy? We all have a past that we should be working with God to clean up.  

* Based on the reports of the God who powerfully worked on their behalf, she was sure it would only be a matter of time before the Israelites were victorious, and so wanted to join the winning side. ‘I’ve shown you a favour, I want one in return’ and a deal was struck. She followed this up by giving them an escape plan which, if adhered to, would ensure both parties were winners (Josh 2:8-21). Do I go beyond what is expected to ensure things are successful?

* As soon as the spies left she tied the red cord, the sign of her location in the window so the Israelites would clearly know where they were, thus leaving unharmed the only people that would survive in the city of Jericho (Josh 2:21, 6:17). She attended to this as a priority, not procrastinating for it was a matter of life and death. Do I act promptly or delay things (even important ones) until the last moment – however that maybe too late?

See also: Boaz, Jericho, lying, Promised Land.