Brave Women of the Bible: Rahab the Prostitute

Its interesting that Rahab is mentioned, by name in Joshua chapter 2. She is not of Jewish descendance and is in fact described as a prostitute or harlot as some versions of the Bible describe her from Jericho. But she was brave and because of her bravery her whole life and the life of her family was changed.

Its noteworthy that in the beginning of Joshua Chapter 1 God is commanding Joshua to be strong and courageous.  Joshua 1:6-7 AMP ” Be strong and confident and courageous, for you will give this people as a an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers ( ancestors) to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, be careful to do everything in accordance with the entire law which Moses my servant commanded you…”

Our God is not a God of fear. 365 times in the bible he tells us not to be afraid. He tells Joshua twice here and I’m sure more times. When I feel anxiety and fear rising up these are two verses I often will say to myself.

In Joshua chapter 2, Joshua sent two men as scouts into “the land” to scout Jericho the walled city.  They met a prostitute named Rahab and lodged in her home. The King of Jericho found out that the spies were from Israel and were lodging with Rahab and sent a message to her demanding her to bring out the men to him. But Rahab had hidden the men on the roof of her home under some stalks of flax that were drying up there. She told Kings men that that the spies had come to her home but she didn’t know where they were from and when it was time to close the city gate the men left and she didn’t know which way the went. She urged the kings men to pursue the spies quickly. The kings men pursued the spies on the road to the Jordan river and as soon as the kings men left the gate of the city was shut.

It says in verse 9 that Rahab came back on the roof and said to the men, ” I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror and dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted in despair because of you,” She tells the men that they had heard of the Exodus out of Egypt and battle with the Amorites. She tells them that because of all Israel has done the people of Jericho’s “hearts melted (in despair) and a fighting spirit no longer remained in them,” verse 11. Rahab and the entire people of Jericho were frightened of the Israelites.  So Rahab who was already pretty brave hiding the scouts and lying to the king performed another pretty brave act. She asked the Israelite scouts to swear an oath that she and her household would be spared from the destruction the Israelites would bring when they came.

Rahab’s house was on the Jericho wall. She had a window that she lowered the scouts through safely to the other side of the wall. She agreed to tie a scarlet cord in the window they came down when the Israelites came into the land to attack and to have her family safe inside her house. If she did this the Israelite scouts promised she and her household would be spared. Rahab now had to act on faith. Faith in the Israelite’s promise and in a God she probably didn’t know very well.

In Joshua Chapter 6 is the story of the victory of Jericho. If you remember the Israelite’s marched around the walls of Jericho for 6 days blowing trumpets and on the 7th day they marched around the city 7 times and the walls fell down. In verse 17 after the walls have fallen Joshua commands that the city and everything in it would be destroyed except for Rahab and her family because she hid and protected the scouts that were sent.

Rahab was more than spared, she got a second chance at life. Rahab married Salmon a Israelite from the tribe of Judah and became grafted into the Jewish tribe. They had a son named Boaz who another brave woman from another country named Ruth married. And because of all this her name is mentioned again in the first chapter of Matthew as part of the genealogy of Jesus.

Later in Matthew in the Beatitudes it reads, “blessed are those who are poor in spirit for there’s is the kingdom of heaven.” ( Matthew Chapter 5)  Rahab, a prostitute would have been considered poor in spirit but because of God’s mercy and her obedience to be brave she leaves a beautiful legacy.




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