When Joshua, along with the Israelites was going to take the city of Jericho they had some help from an unlikely source. Her name was Rahab, and she was a prostitute. Not exactly the first type of person who comes to mind when you think of those God would use to accomplish His mission. When you look at the story, Rahab was the right person to play a part in the defeat of Jericho.
Two men were sent out from the Israelites to spy out the land.
So they went and entered the house of a prostitute names Rahab and stayed there. Joshua 2:1b
When you think about it, it makes sense that the men would go to a prostitute’s house as a safe place to hide out. Since Rahab was a prostitute it wouldn’t be an odd thing if men, whom she didn’t know, were going into her house. The king of Jericho quickly found out that spies were in his land, and he knew they had gone to Rahab’s house. Rather than give these spies up, Rahab chose to protect them. She hid them on the rooftop until the coast was clear for their escape. Rahab risked her own safety to protect these men because she knew that the land was to be theirs.
Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. Joshua 2:8-10
All the people of Jericho knew the reputation the Israelites had. The Israelites were conquering lands right and left, and they could be next. Rahab could have been faithful to her country, but she recognized the true God that was with the Israelites.
When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD you God is God in heaven above and on earth below. Joshua 2:11
Rahab knew that the Israelites would be successful in conquering Jericho. She made the choice to turn from her ways and acknowledge their God, the true God.
Rahab took a risk in protecting the Israelite spies in order to protect not only herself, but also her family for the time when the Israelites would defeat the city. The spies agreed to this protection.
“Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land.” Joshua 2:14
They devised a plan to signify where she and her family would be so they could protect her. A scarlet cord was to be tied in the window that the men used to escape from. All of Rahab’s family was to be gathered in her home for protection. The acts of Rahab literally saved her whole family.
The day came when Joshua led the Israelites to Jericho to take over the city. It must have taken faith for Rahab to believe that she and her family would be saved because of an oath she had made with the spies.
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. Hebrews 11:31
Because Rahab’s home was in the city wall, they would have seen the army marching around the city day after day. The faith that Rahab had must have been tested. When the walls of the city came down, her faith paid off for her and her family.
Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to ber. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel. Joshua 6:22, 23
Rahab and her family were saved, but at the same time they lost everything they had and their homes. Everyone else in the city was killed. They would have been left with nothing, but their lives.
But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho – and she lives among the Israelites to this day. Joshua 6:25
Rahab not only ended up living among the Israelites and serving their God, she married into the Israelites as well. Rahab married Salmon and became the mother of Boaz.
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. Matthew 1:5, 6a
This is significant because it means Rahab is in the genealogy of Jesus. Rahab went from being a prostitute to being a significant person in Christian history. Rahab was remembered among the Jews for what she did. James says of her, “In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?” (James 2:25.) Now that is a transformation and redemption story.
For the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. Joshua 2:11b