The Women of Jesus // Part 2
Last week, we began a series called the Women of Jesus which focuses on the women found in the Matthew version of the genealogy of Jesus. Remember who they are?
Last time, we studied the life of the first woman listed: Tamar. Tonight, we move to the second on the list: Rahab.
Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.” Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.” (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.) Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate.
Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For 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 the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”
So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.” Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall. And she said to them, “Get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward you may go your way.” So the men said to her: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.”
Then she said, “According to your words, so be it.” And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window. They departed and went to the mountain, and stayed there three days until the pursuers returned. The pursuers sought them all along the way, but did not find them. /// Joshua 2:1-22 (NKJV)
Tamar, who we studied last week, was a good woman who was lied to and forgotten. The Bible tells us that the woman, Rahab was a harlot. She operated an inn which included, as the old folks would say: “a house of ill repute”. Her house/inn was part of the city wall of Jericho. Jericho was an Amorite city. On the way to the Promised Land, the children of Israel asked for safe passage through Amorite territory. The Amorites refused and attacked the Israelites. The Israelites defeated the Amorites east of the Jordan. God told Moses that they would wipe out the Amorites completely. God told Abraham (Gen. 15:16) that He was watching the sin of the Amorites and would hold them accountable for it. The word “harlot” used to describe Rahab is the Hebrew word “zonah”. Remember how Tamar disguised herself as a “kadeisha” or temple prostitute? Well, Rahab was simply a loose woman. The book of James describes her using the Greek word “porne” defined as a woman who sells her body for sex. Rahab, as an Amorite and a prostitute was destined for destruction. As a prostitute, Rahab would be privy to a lot of information from travelers. She told the Israelite spies:
“We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites.” /// Joshua 2:10
The rest of the city of Jericho heard this story and hardened their hearts. Rahab heard the story and heard the voice of God in it.
“For the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” /// Joshua 2:11b
Then, she cried out for mercy. The NIV records verse 13 this way:
“Spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them--and that you will save us from death." /// Joshua 2:13 (NIV)
Her faith in the God of Israel caused her to assist the spies in their escape – lowering them from the inn window outside the walls of the city with a scarlet rope. The spies told her that if they saw the scarlet rope in the window, they would save her and those gathered in her house. Reminds me of something else:
The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. /// Exodus 12:13 (NIV)
Joshua 6:22-25 gives us the details of Rahab’s deliverance:
But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, “Go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.” And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel. But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. /// Joshua 6:22-25 (NKJV)
Hebrews, chapter 11 – lists heroes of the faith. Only two women are listed in that lineup. One is Sarah. The other is the former harlot of Jericho:
By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. /// Hebrews 11:31 (NKJV)
Rahab became a part of the family of the children of God. She married a prominent Israelite man of the tribe of Judah named Salmon. No longer known as the “harlot” she became the great, great, great grandmother of King David. Her grandson so many “greats” down the road I cannot count – the greatest King of Israel said these words:
Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him. /// Matthew 21:31-32 (NKJV)
- Joshua 2:1-22 (NKJV)
- Exodus 12:13 (NIV)
- Joshua 6:22-25 (NKJV)
- Hebrews 11:31 (NKJV)
- Matthew 21:31-32 (NKJV)
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