There are many women in the Bible who through their faith in God were able to accomplish heroic feats. Rahab of Jericho is a perfect example of the great faith and strength of women in the Bible. Living in the midst of a bustling city that defied God and reveled in sin, Rahab not only chose to put her faith in God but risked her own life for her beliefs. Her story is told in the book of Joshua.
The Attack on Jericho
And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. (Joshua 2:1)
The Lord had brought the twelve tribes of Israel out of Egypt in the Exodus to lead them to the Promised Land, the land God had set out for Israel to become a nation. The time had come to enter the Promised Land, but Satan, seeking to thwart God’s plans, had made sure nations who were enemies of God established themselves there in advance. The Canaanites, who worshipped false gods (fallen angels who masqueraded as gods), practiced child sacrifice and were part of the hybrid Nephilim offspring of fallen angels and women. As usurpers trying to undo God’s plan to save humanity, God instructed Joshua to start the invasion to retake the Promised Land with Jericho, which was famous for its high defensive walls that made it impenetrable by an invading army. War was coming and Joshua sent two spies to scout the land before the attack.
The spies arrived in the city and lodged in a house of prostitution where Rahab, a prostitute lived. Rahab’s “home” was built into the wall of Jericho and served as a perfect place for two Israelite spies to stay and gather information without drawing attention to themselves. But before the spies knew it, there cover was blown: And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country.
Rahab Saves the Day
And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.
With the word that spies from the enemy Israelites were in the city, the King of Jericho immediately summoned for Rahab to turn them over. Instead of giving into the King’s request, Rahab chose to help the spies:
4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: 5 And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. 6 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. 7 And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.
By lying to the King’s messengers and hiding enemies of the state, Rahab was literally putting her life on the line for two men she did not even know. Why did she do this? Her motives were quite revealing:
8 And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; 9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. 12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: 13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.
Rahab had heard about all of the miracles that The Lord performed in Egypt which led to the Exodus and the death of Pharaoh and his armies. She also heard about the victories that the Israelites under Moses won against other Nephilim-led mighty nations. As the book of Romans says: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). Rahab heard about God and believed in Him. So much that she would even defy her own King and risk death to protect God’s messengers. Notice that Rahab knew that Jericho was going to be conquered in verse 9 above. Despite its legendary defenses, she knew that her city was no match for the True God.
And in her profession of faith, she asked for mercy on herself and her family. This is the product of faith in God – the realization of the need for God. Rahab had no faith in her own ability or that of her mighty city to save herself. She put her trust in God and despite her sinful life and religion, asked for mercy. And God was happy to oblige:
14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. 15 Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. 16 And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. 17 And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee. 19 And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him. 20 And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. 21 And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.
Because of her faith, the spies were moved to have compassion on Rahab and swore to not only protect her, but her family ass well. And like the blood of the lamb used by the Israelites in the Passover, which signified to the avenging angel not to slay any child in that home, the scarlet thread Rahab used to let the spies escape would be the sign to mark that her home should be spared of punishment.
The Conquest of Jericho — Rahab Receives Grace
After serious spiritual preparation and instructions from God, Joshua led the battle against Jericho. After marching around the city each day for seven days, the mighty walls of the pagan city crumbled to the ground, leaving all of the enemies of Israel vulnerable to attack. As the Israelite army moved in to destroy their foes Joshua remembered Rahab:
And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. (Joshua 2:22-25)
For her faith in God over the false, evil beliefs of her people, Rahab and her family were spared from the destruction of Jericho. And there are several powerful themes that come from her story:
God wants our faith — It was faith that led to Rahab being spared. By hearing about the mighty works God had done, Rahab believed. Her belief was remembered centuries later when the New Testament book of Hebrews which reads: “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” (Hebrews 11:31) And not only did Rahab believe, she showed her belief by acting on it and protecting the spies. “James 2: 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
Your Past Is Not Important When you Believe in God – Rahab was a prostitute living in a brothel. Yet none of that mattered when it came to her salvation. Everyone has sins in their past and present. God’s plan for us all is to forgive us when we put our faith in Him. In Rahab escaping death and destruction, we see a picture of how faith can save anyone from the ultimate judgment of hell. And in her bold faith and willingness to follow God, we see how a believer with a sinful past can turn from their old ways. We will also note here that Rahab lied to protect the spies. This was a not “sanctioned” or permissible act. But it just shows that like all believers, new and old, Christians still sin. No Christian is perfect. Her action in lying was not excused but did not change the fact that she had genuine faith in God. Similarly, a true born again Christian may sin but it does not remove their eternal life.
A Foreshadow of the Rapture — The Rapture, which is the supernatural removing of all believers before the start of the end times Great Tribulation is foreshadowed by the account of the battle of Jericho and Rahab. Joshua, who as we detail in another study, is a foreshadow of Jesus Christ, made sure to remove the faithful Rahab and her family before bringing down judgment and wrath on Jericho. In the same manner, all believers who are alive at the time the end times judgments of Revelation are set to begin, will be removed from the Earth.
God’s Love is For All People – Rahab was not an Israelite. She was a part of a nation that hated God and His People. Yet that did not prevent her from receiving God’s mercy and doing great things for The Lord. So it is with us today. There is no special nation, gender or race who receive eternal life in Jesus Christ. All can receive it. Let this great woman of God be an example of the same mercy and rewards we can receive from The Lord. It just takes faith and like Rahab, have the courage to live your life like you truly believe.