Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Joshua 1-3; Mark 16
8 Before the spies bedded down, Rahab went up to them on the roof.9 She said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land. Terror over you has overwhelmed us. The entire population of the land has melted down in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Reed Sea in front of you when you left Egypt. We have also heard what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites on the other side of the Jordan. You utterly wiped them out.11 We heard this and our hearts turned to water. Because of you, people can no longer work up their courage. This is because the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below. 12 Now, I have been loyal to you. So pledge to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal loyally with my family. Give me a sign of good faith. 13 Spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, and sisters, along with everything they own. Rescue us from death.” (Joshua 2:8-13, Common English Bible)
Let’s not mince words. Rahab was not the kind of girl a guy would want to bring home to meet the family. She was a prostitute. Even in a considerably more liberal society than that which existed in Rahab’s day, we still would not be very welcoming of a prostitute to Sunday dinner. Most of us, should we encounter someone like Rahab on the street would either ignore her or…. well, you get the idea.
In many parts of the Middle East, then and now, prostitution is and was considered a capital offense, at least for the woman. What is clear to some Biblical scholars is, she was apparently very good at what she did and she was popular among the upper class of Canaan. At least to some degree, it would seem feasible when the King of Jericho sent word to her to send the spies out. That he seems to have known something of Rahab would indicate that she was well known for a woman in her line of work. That being said, the exact details of her work will remain unclear.
What is clear, however, is that Rahab knew the information the Hebrew spies were seeking. It is also clear she wanted no part of her or her family getting caught in the crossfire between the Hebrew forces and the forces of the King of Jericho.
Rahab went out on a limb. She told the spies that she knew of the work of God already done and to hear her explain it in our lesson, she and all she knew were scared senseless. She shared her information as a way to save her family from the rush of the Israelite army.
The spies came to an agreement with Rahab. In return for her information, the spies would protect Rahab and her family from the army. As we continue reading through Joshua, when we reach chapter six in a couple of days, Joshua sends the spies back into Jericho to bring Rahab and her family out. Joshua would allow Rahab and her family to live because of the information she shared.
Legend holds that after Rabah and family joined the Israelites, she converted to Judaism and married a prominent leader, officially ending her days as a prostitute.
Rahab risked everything to help Israel. Had she been caught, there would be little doubt the King of Jericho would have her executed. I feel certain she feared that possibility. And, as far as the king was concerned, few would actually miss her. At the same time, she clearly feared the advance of the Israelite army. So, she stepped out in faith and made the Israelites very possible task (after all, they did have God fighting for them) a whole lot easier.
God honors promises. In this story, God honored the promises others made, the two spies and it gave new life to a woman who probably felt pretty beaten down in life. It was new life for her and her family. Though the world will remember few prostitutes within a short time of when they are gone (if it actually lasted any time at all), we still remember Rahab today. Faith, big faith, is a powerful thing.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved