Women in the Bible: Rahab
Rahab is a prostitute who two spies stay with when they scope out Jericho. We don’t know if they seek her for her services or merely want to get out of public view.
When the king of Jericho commands Rahab to turn the men over to him, she commits treason. She hides the men and lies to the king that they already left, but she doesn’t know where they went.
Rahab knows God favors Israel and will give the city to them. So in exchange for her protecting the spies, she asks for the safety of her family when they raze the city. In her list of who’s included as family, she mentions parents and siblings, but not a husband or any children. After securing their promise of protection, she helps the spies escape.
Later, Joshua confirms Rahab and her family will be spared, while the rest of the city will be destroyed. She then lives with the Israelites.
Rahab in the New Testament
In the New Testament, Matthew reveals Rahab is one of Jesus’ direct ancestors and the great-great grandmother of King David (Matthew 1:5). She is honored as only one of four women mentioned in Jesus’ family tree.
Further, the book of Hebrews affirms her as a person of faith, one of only two women included in its impressive list (Hebrews 11:31).
Finally, James confirms she is righteous because of her actions in hiding and protecting the two spies (James 2:25).
While our reaction may be to judge this woman for her profession, God sees her differently, as a righteous woman of faith, rewarding her accordingly.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.