This Tuesday we will be reading about Rahab the Harlot. Please read chapter seven of Liz Curtis Higgs’ book Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn From Them and Joshua 2:1-21 and 6:21-25. In all of Scripture, Rahab may be the greatest story of redemption.
Rahab comes to us in the story of Joshua and Jericho. Moses dies at the end of Deuteronomy and leaves Joshua in charge to take the Promised Land. The first Canaanite city the Israelites come to is Jericho. Joshua sends out two spies into the city who find refuge in the house of a harlot named Rahab. (In the ancient world there were temple prostitutes and common prostitutes. To differentiate the two, the KJV and other translations use the word “prostitute” to denote a cultic prostitute and the word “harlot” to denote the common prostitute.) Rahab shelters Joshua’s spies because she knows that they are from God. At the fall of Jericho, Joshua orders that all living things in the city are to be killed and the city is to be burned. The only exception to Joshua’s order is Rahab and her family. They are spared the destruction.
Like most of the stories we have and will read, the story of Rahab could have ended in the Old Testament. However, both Matthew and Hebrews speak of Rahab. Matthew includes Rahab in Jesus’ genealogy. Matt. 1:5. Matthew traces Jesus’s genealogy back 42 generations to Abraham, and Rahab is one of only four women mentioned. According to Matthew, Rahab is Ruth’s grandmother-in-law and the great-great-grandmother of King David. Jesus is Rahab’s direct descendant.
In Hebrews 11 we have the great “Roll Call of Faith.” In this chapter the writer gives us the names of those in the Hebrew Scriptures who had faith “in the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 1:1). He lists seventeen specific faithful people we meet in the Old Testament. Only two are women – Sarah, the wife of Abraham, and Rahab. Rahab is also the only person mentioned after Sarah and Abraham who is not one of their descendants. As the writer states “By faith, Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given friendly welcome to the spies.” (Heb. 11:31).
In Scripture, Rahab goes from being a Canaanite common prostitute to being one of the greatest examples of faith and the direct ancestor of Jesus. Her story of faith and redemption may be the greatest told in all of Scripture.
Mrs. Higgs’ post of Rahab is HERE. Her discussion question this week is:
Transformed by God from harlot to brave heroine, Rahab is an inspiration for us all, demonstrating how we can leave behind our shameful pasts and walk forward in grace. Are there any Rahabs in your life—that is, women with a past who need to know they are loved by God no matter what their history? If you believe they’re forgiven completely, how might you communicate that truth to them with your words? And with your actions?
Dinner is at 6. The menu is chicken cacciatore. Film at 6:45. Hope to see you here, and please bring a friend.
O Lord, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in a day of trouble, to You nations shall come from the ends of the earth.Jeremiah 16:19