Interesting Bible People:Rahab
From Jericho to Israel's God
This is the story of a girl who was a gentile, a non-Jew, who staked everything on joining the people of God, because she saw something she wanted in this God.. She wanted something better in her life and she was prepared to risk all for it.Come along with me as I retell this Bible story. I am a local preacher with the Methodist church in Britain, for me the Bible and its people have so much to teach me about my life and I hope yours.
This photo is mine.
Old Friends of Mine
I was brought up in the English countryside and lived beside the little chapel my family attended. The Bible characters I write about here on Squidoo are lifelong friends to me. They are a part of my history and long term friends. They teach me so much and I hope you will come to love them too.
Rahab the prostitute
"Whatever is that woman talking about now," you say. "What self respecting Bible could have a story about a prostitute?" Well actually Jesus said that the prostitutes would go into heaven before the religious people, especially the ones high up like bishops and cardinals.
You see God looks at what we are like inside, whether we are kind and caring or the ones making finicky rules for everyone to follow. Whoever we are we need the forgiveness that can only be found in Jesus, but it's the ones who make the rules who wont accept this. When you know your life isn't going the right way you are more likely to welcome Jesus into your life.
The ones who make the rules think they are alright already. This is the story of an outcast and a foreigner who found acceptance in God who brought her through trouble to salvation and a new life.However we may be maligning Rahab as the word translated as prostitute can mean an inn keeper. So now I will tell you the story of Rahab.
Once Upon a Time, a Girl called Rahab
The Israelites had been wandering in the wilderness for forty years. Now the Lord God had brought them into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua.
The people who already lived in the land were hearing alarming stories about them from travellers journeying through the land. Rahab the prostitute loved to listen to these stories although they were frightening. It seemed these people had a God who was greater than any other God. There was no way of beating him or His people.
Two Strangers in Rahab's House
One day two strangers came to Rahab's house. Nothing unusual in that you may say. Rahab made them welcome. They didn't seem interested in her usual wares they were just intent on asking questions about Jericho. Oh didn't I tell you that's where Rahab lived.
You know that song "Joshua fit the battle of Jericho,Jericho,Jericho." They mentioned their God and then Rahab realized which God. The God she was so interested in. She would like him to be her God too.
"Hide those Men, Rahab"
Now it was Rahab who was asking the questions. She wanted to belong to this God and have his protection too.
There was a noise in the street. Rahab realized there was danger for her two guests. She told them to go up on the roof where they would find a huge heap of flax. "Get right in under it and hide yourselves she said." The men obeyed. There was a knock at Rahab's door. There was the equivalent of our police at the door but with no regulations to hold them back.
They looked in and said,"Where are the men you had in here?" Rahab laughed,"Which men were that, I see so many?" "Those foreigners," they said. Quite coolly she said,"Oh, the foreigners, they went away ages ago." A young lad was sent to look at the roof and soon came back to say there was nothing up there. "Quick he said let's get the horses and join the search out into the countryside."
Rahab was most likely a prostitute because she had been designated as such according to the religion of the Caananites to whom she belonged.
She probably had no choice in the matter. The gods of the Caananites were brutal, lawless beings who required the use of prostitutes in their ceremonies and also the burning of children. This was a truly horrible religion. No wonder Rahab was fascinated by hearing about the God of Israel who was so different in his care for the Israelites. His laws were wholesome and health-giving.
There is still a settlement at Jericho today. It is in fact the oldest known settlement on earth. It is also at the lowest altitude on the earth.
See these stories too
The Plot Thickens
What will happen next?
Is there hope for Rahab?
"Please Save Me," said Rahab
As darkness fell Rahab fetched the spies down from the roof. Her house was a part of the outer wall of Jericho and she told the men she would let them down by a rope and they must go and hide for a few days in the country until the hue and cry had died down and then return to their people.
She knew these people intended to conquer her land and that nothing would stop them because their God was so mighty. She pleaded with them to save her and her family. The rope was red and the men said if she was to be saved she must keep the rope hanging from her window so that they could save her. All her family must stay in her house and not go out in the streets. Rahab said she would do this and helped them through the window.
Rahab is Saved
Time passed and then they could hear the sound of marching feet. The Israelites were coming. Rahab called all her family into her house. This was going to be for them what the ark had been to Noah.
The tension must have been palpable as each day the Israelites marched around Jericho. The temptation to leave the house must have been almost unbearable. Rahab sat by her window as the Israelites went past, her hand resting on the red rope. She was not only trusting the Israelites she was trusting far more in their God.
The final day of marching came. Round they went but this time six times and then a final seventh time. Everything was at fever pitch. Rahab's family were fretting and showing signs of bolting. But Rahab utterly at peace calmed them and forbad them to leave. Then the ram's horns sounded, a terrible eerie noise.
All around the walls of Jericho were splitting apart, but Rahab's house stood firm. The two young spies appeared on the scene and Rahab and her family were taken to safety and from then on lived with the Israelites
Jericho was shut up
In tension the people stood.
They could see the Israelites coming.
They did not mean them good.
The Israelites circled the city once,
Then pitched their tents for the night.
The people of Jericho wondered at their tactics,
Wondered when they would fight.
Each day for six days
The circumnambulation went on.
It was so eerie for the citizens,
Who wished the Israelites gone.
And then the seventh day dawned,
Jericho saw them circle round,
But then again and then again,
Till six times round Jericho's mound.
And then again a seventh time,
With the ram's horns wailing as before,
But then a ram's horn blast
And a shout through the air did soar.
Around the citizens the walls began to crumble,
Falling down with such a rumble.
The Israelites entered to carry out slaughter.
Than Rahab was saved, once Jericho's daughter.
Jericho Down The Centuries
Jericho is the oldest city to have been continuously lived in, in the world. Damascus and Byblos contend this status but there is no doubt Jericho is one of the oldest habitations.
It has a natural spring. Herod had a winter palace near by and built an aqueduct from the spring to provide water for the palace. The Romans built a road past it. Later the magnificent Hisham Palace was built there with a mosque, fountains and mosaic floor. A monastery was built there in the 12th century, Greek Orthodox. Previously the Crusaders had built one there.
To the south of Jericho is Qumran famed for its dead sea scrolls. It is amazing that this was once the city where Rahab lived and from which she escaped. It is also amazing that we have such a detailed story in our Bibles, preserved for us down many centuries. We can still learn great truths from this story of a gentile woman who was loved by God, who saw that she was rescued from her former life to become part of the people of God.
Women in the Bible
Who is your favourite Bible woman?
A Timeless Story
This is a story that has stood the test of time. The events took place thousands of years ago and yet it is fresh and vibrant and has much to teach us. It is a story of spies and intrigue. A story of rescue. A story of God's love for all who will put their trust in him.
A Canaanite women belonging to a race despised by the Israelites finds refuge among them because of her faith. No one is too much of an outcast for God; he welcomes all who will come to him. This is the same in our day as it was in Rahab's time.
Are you stuck in Jericho where you are un-appreciated and unhappy? Perhaps it's time for you to get out and follow the good God you have heard about. Are you stuck in a stale life when you could have the abundant life that Jesus offers? It takes courage to break free, but it is well worth it.
Let's Clear Up This Matter Of To Whom Rahab Was Married
If you look in Matthew 1 v 5 you will see it says,"Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab." So Boaz father was Salmon and mother was Rahab. If you look at verse 4 you will find Salmon's father was Nashon and his grandfather Amminadab. Now if we go to Ruth 4 v 18 you will see Salmon's family set out again.
For one more interesting connection see Exodus 6 v 23 where it says, "Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon." So Aaron the first High Priest and Elisheba were Aunt and Uncle to Salmon.
It's amazing what you can find from your Bible if you really look. A good friend of mine found these references for me.
So Rahab married into the family of Judah which was also connected to the priestly family of Aaron. I still find it tantalising not to know if Salmon was one of the two spies who visited Rahab in Jericho. Rahab was accepted in Israel because she had faith in God. Her genetic origins were immaterial. All who have faith in God are Abraham's children.
What Happened to Rahab in the Nation of Israel?
There is a Jewish tradition that says Rahab married the leader of Israel, Joshua. I like to think she married one of the two spies.
Who do you think Rahab married ?
So Rahab was Ruth's Mother-in-law
Wasn't that kind of God to give Ruth such a sympathetic mother-in-law. Like Ruth, Rahab had turned her back on her original tribe and cast in her lot with the Israelites, simply because she had come to believe in their God.
Having an originally non Israelite mother Boaz would have been sympathetic to the foreigner Ruth. He saw what a good woman she was and fell in love with her. These two had a son Obed who became the father of Jesse, who became the father of the great king David.
An Acrostic on Rahab's Name
Reliable helper of the spies
Accepting of God
Habitant of Jericho
Adoring the God of Israel
Believer in God.
God seems to choose
The strangest people
To set His love upon.
A Canaanite woman
Of dubious reputation,
Is taken under His care,
Rahab by name.
God chooses whom He will.
Pray He will choose you.
If you pray and search
After Him with all your heart,
That will be a sign
That He has chosen you
And put that desire in your heart.
Rahab longed to belong
To the God of Israel.
He put that desire in her heart
Because He chose her.
Two ways of thinking
What do you think of Rahab?
Do you like Bible Stories?
Do you find Bible stories helpful?
Such an Improvement in Rahab's Life
Rahab wanted a better life
With a God who really cared
And so she turned her back
On the life she had so far shared.
Now she could be an honest wife,
With Salmon at her side.
Bringing up a family
With God her heavenly guide.
No longer a ritual prostitute,
Instead in a kingly line.
Leading up to David
And later to Jesus divine.
Rahab showed her faith in God by putting the red cord in her window and by gathering her family together in her house. She put her life and the lives of her family in the hands of God.
Do we put that much faith in God? Have we put all our trust in him and turned our back on our old life? God rewards such faith. He will not disappoint us. Just as Rahab had to stay in her house so we have to hide ourselves in Jesus, the only Saviour..
Men in the Bible
Who is your favourite man in the Bible?
What Sort of People Does God Want to Worship Him?
From looking at Naaman and Ruth in other lenses and Rahab in this, we can see some common traits, that make them the sort of people God wants as His worshipers. They all three when they heard about the Israelite God were so taken by the wonder of Him that they were prepared to turn their backs on previous beliefs and life styles.
Naaman was glad to be healed of leprosy but he was much more delighted to have found the true God. He turned his back on Rimmon his past god and wanted Israelite earth to take home, probably to build an altar where he could worship God.
The women showed even more desire to serve God even though it meant giving up their homes and everything they were used to. Both went to live with the Israelites and fully participated in the life and worship of their new country.
These three show us that the God of Israel was never intended to be just for the Israelites but also for the gentiles. It is as Paul says in the New Testament that Abraham is the father of all who believe. It is not a matter of who we are by birth but a matter of belief and now it is belief in Jesus the Messiah and Son of God that is the one thing that pleases God.
You may have done bad things in your life, but if you turn away from that and turn to Jesus, God will accept you. Similarly if you think you have lived a blameless life and think you are good enough on your own, God will not accept you.
A Prayer That We Might Be Like Rahab
O Lord make us strong and courageous like Rahab, that when we see the right way is to worship you, we might set our sights on nothing else, turn our back on our past and turn steadfastly toward you.
May we also influence our families to go your way too. Thank you that you rescued Rahab from the ruins of Jericho and similarly you can rescue us from the ruins we have made of our own lives. Having found you may we hold on to you with all our might, knowing that there is no one else who can satisfy us as you can. Amen
Not Just Rahab
It was not only Rahab who was saved from Jericho, but also her family. We too can have a good effect on families as we pray for them and tell them of what Jesus has done by dying on the cross.
Never give up on your family, they too can be reached by the love of God.. By joining Rahab in her house her family were expressing their belief that God would save them too. If they had not believed they would have stayed away from her house.
As christians we want our loved ones to come to the Lord too. We should always be looking for seeds of belief in them and treat them with tender care. We can never write anyone off as beyond redemption. Let's follow Rahab's example and pray for our loved ones.
Safe in Jesus
The story of Rahab keeping in her house to be safe, reminds me of the safety we have when we hide in Jesus. He is the safe place that God has provided for us to be secure from his just anger against sin. Just as Rahab had to keep inside her house so we must keep safe in Jesus and not think of trying some other remedy. We can invite our family to share this safe haven too.
Rahab in the New Testament
As we have seen previously Rahab is spoken of in Matthew as being one of the ancestors of Jesus. She is also mentioned in the book of Hebrews, where along with such great men as Abraham and Joseph she is commended for her faith. This was no ordinary lady but some one whose faith was spoken of down the centuries and still is today. You can find the verses from Hebrews in the link below.
Forty years before the spies in this story went to spy on Jericho, Moses had sent out twelve spies to see if the Israelites were able to conquer the land. One of those spies was a very young Joshua and another Caleb. These two brought back a good report of the land, but the other ten said that there were giants in the land and they could not possibly conquer Canaan.
They had been told God would give them the land, but they had believed their own fears, rather than what God had told them. Consequently the Israelites were not allowed to enter Canaan for another forty years. Only Joshua and Caleb and a new generation were able to enter Canaan. If God promises you something believe him or you may spend forty years in the wilderness too.
Rahab in the Book of James
There is another mention of Rahab in the New Testament, in the book of James. James has been talking about people who say they have faith and yet they do not do good things. He then uses Rahab as an example of somebody who was saved by the good way she treated the spies. Of course she also had faith and her faith in the God of Israel was what prompted her to deal well with the two spies. You can read the passage from James in the link below.
The characters in the Bible are not cardboard cut-out people. They are real, with emotions like ours and problems like ours. Rahab had heard of the conquering Hebrews and their God and she made a decision to put all her trust in the God of the Hebrews. It was not an easy decision and one she could not have made if the spies had not visited her but someone else. God was at work here sending the spies to this women who was learning to believe in him. There are no such things as co-incidences, for god is in control of all and working his purposes out.