“The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below.”
BAD GIRL OF THE BIBLE, RAHAB
Joshua, the leader appointed after the death of Moses, stood near the river Jordan. The body of water God had told him to cross over to enter the promised land of Canaan. But first, he knew he had to learn more about this land and selected two men to scout the area. Their main objective was to investigate Jericho the largest city in Canaan. Conquering the city of Jericho would greatly aid the Israelites in settling in Canaan.
The two men appointed by Joshua went to Jericho and upon entering the city, they meet a woman named Rahab. Rahab was the local innkeeper and a prostitute. In ancient times, prostitutes commonly ran inns that were also brothels.
Tired and weary they spent the night at the inn. The king of Jericho had heard about these two men and their arrival. Knowing they had stayed at Rahab’s inn, he sent word to Rahab to hand over the men. Rahab instead told the king’s messengers that the men had stayed at her inn, but had left the city and she didn’t know where they went or where they were from. Rahab even went on to suggest that they look for the men on the trail out of Jericho.
The king’s men left the city in pursuit of the two men. Meanwhile, Rahab hid the two men under a pile of flax on the roof. She had heard about them and not only that, knew they were men with the Israelites. She knew the story of the exodus from Egypt and the power of the God that had led the Israelites for the last few decades. She knew their God was of great power. She exclaimed to the men, “The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below.”
She also learned that the Israelites would be invading her city and asked that they deal with her and her family kindly. Including her father and mother. The two men agreed and she helped lower them down the city walls on a crimson cord. Before leaving the men asked her to do three things to ensure her safety during the invasion. The first was to tie the crimson cord she used to help them escape onto her front door. Then gather her family, including her parents into her inn. Finally, they asked her to stay indoors during the battle.
She complied with their requests and was saved during the battle, which the Israelites won.
We can all wonder, why is the story of a prostitute in the Bible and why did God use Rahab. It does seem a little odd, but there is much more to this story.
Later, Rahab would marry Salmon, an Israelite. Here is where the story takes a twist. Through her marriage to Salmon they have a son named Boaz. Yes the same Boaz who married Naomi from the story of Ruth. Boaz and Naomi had a son named Jesse the father of King David. Rahab was David’s great grandmother, and becomes part of lineage that led up to King David.
Rahab isn’t done with her twists and turns in the Bible, she is also, mentioned in the first chapter of Matthew as part of the long lineage of Jesus. A connection from the past to the arrival of Christ on earth.
From the role of prostitute to a well-connected heroine of the Bible. An amazing transformation in her life, all from recognizing the sovereign power of God.
Some will claim the battle of Jericho is a metamorphical statement about how God conquers evil. Some will take the story literally. Whatever the real interpretation is doesn’t matter in evaluating Rahab. A woman of ill repute who changes her life and becomes part of the long history of the Bible is the story.
Her story is also our everyday story. Each day we are also confronted with choosing the right path. Each day we try, but sometimes fail. Each day we are given a new chance in life. And with this chance we can rewrite our own story of faith.
Perhaps our story will go viral, like Rahab’s, but more likely told only through the story of our friends and loved ones.
God picked Rahab, because she was a prostitute to show the importance of our future as Christians. God doesn’t define us by our past, but by our future. By the direction we take going forward in life. Not who we were, but who we are going to become.
While this story reads like a book with a wonderfully connected plot, it is a message for all who believe in God to never give up in believing in our own possibilities.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
Photo by Jakob Owens
We love giving credit to budding photographers to help them gain more exposure.