We are trying to get a Biblical handle on why some people find image and status so important. Literally, some cannot live and exist without being recognized as being worthy, important and perhaps a cut above others. I found this illustration and thought it quite provocative … “The trouble is that too many people, Are spending money, They haven’t yet earned, For things they don’t need, To impress people they don’t like.” It was interesting that within Jesus’ Bloodline we found (yesterday) that a deceitful, revengeful, angry daughter-in-law got even with Judah, prostituting herself with him (unknowingly) and from the pregnancy Perez become part of the lineage to the Messiah. Today we consider …
Rahab, a Prostitute or Perhaps an Innkeeper
Commentators differ as do those who translate the Bible. To me it seems she was an innkeeper, owning a guesthouse for travelers … but perhaps she offered other services as well. Joshua had taken over the leadership of Israel after Moses’ departure (death) and his task was to infiltrate the “Promised Land” of Canaan and conquer it for Israel to settle there, for that is the land God gave on oath to Abraham. Joshua’s first target was Jericho. He sends to spies into that city who are housed at
Jos 2:1 “the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.”
The king of Jericho received intelligence that these spies were housed at Rahab’s house and sent word to her to expose the spies. She sends word back to the king that the spies were there but they left the previous night before the city gates were closed. She had actually
Jos 2:6 taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.
The king’s men pursued the men “outside the city”. It seems like many others had heard how Israel had conquered and destroyed kings and their cities on the Trans-Jordan side (eastern) and were approaching Canaan … but before the spies slept, Rahab says:
Jos 2:8 “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. 10 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. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will 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.”
What knowledge she had of Israel’s God … the true God … even saying He is “God in heaven above and on the earth below”. But perhaps most staggeringly for a pagan is that she uses God’s real name … LORD. This translation is from the Hebrew, Yahweh into Greek, Jehovah into English, LORD. She has a holy fear of the true, living God, the God of Israel. The spies give her an assurance that as long as she helps protect them, she and her family will be safe. As she helps them escape, she wisely gives them instructions about their flight:
Jos 2:16 “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.”
Further agreements or negotiations may be found in verse 17-21. Once they returned to home base they found their leader Joshua and reported:
Jos 2:24 “The LORD has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”
An important word about Rahab and her family is found in Joshua 6:17:
Jos 6:17 “The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent.”
After the destruction of Jericho, we read:
Jos 6:23 “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 her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.”
Without a doubt, one can easily see what a remarkable, brave woman Rahab was … but more than that, even as a pagan she was intentionally serious and interested in the God of Israel … of which she became part! She married Salmon of the tribe of Judah and together they parented Boaz.
Mat 1:5 “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab.”
This information is helpful and important because here we find that Salmon was of the tribe of Judah. Remember the promised Messiah would come from the lineage of Judah … and Boaz was the bloodline through whom the Messiah’s Bloodline would continue.
But what is so striking apart from Rahab either being an innkeeper or an innkeeper and a prostitute is, she was a pagan … yet she believed in the LORD. Through faith she was saved and became part, not just of physical Israel, but part of Abraham spiritually!
And then consider Boaz … he was literally a “mix breed” … his blood was not pure “Israelite” … yet mother, a pagan Canaanite and son of mix blood are mentioned in Jesus’ earthly Bloodline. So again, image, status, power, money, possessions, education, nationality carry absolutely no weight before God. Salvation is strictly by grace through faith. God was gracious towards Rahab, her family benefitted.
Today, He uses the exact same strategy. All are guilty and hopeless and helpless … but in mercy He reaches into some hearts, drawing them through “irresistible grace” all the way through to total salvation. If he did this with Rahab … surely He can do this with anyone eager and interested in Him whose is LORD, and in His salvation through Jesus Christ!
Thank You, Father that again we see it is not through whom we are but who You are that salvation is possible through Jesus. Amen.