Vol 2 - No 18, January 31, 2006
(A parenthesis in the defeat of the enemy: the faith of Rahab the harlot:)
"By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace." Hebrews 11:3131 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
. Why was it that only one family was saved out of all Jericho, and that of a prostitute? (Joshua 2:11 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.
1 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.
) The verse itself, Hebrews 11:31, answers the question. Rahab was the only one in Jericho that believed God's Word. However, it is interesting to note that she would not have had the opportunity to exercise her faith had not Joshua sent spies into Jericho in the first place.
Over 40 years prior to this incident, shortly after Israel had been freed from Egypt, God spoke to Moses and told him to choose one prominent leader from each of the 12 tribes to search out the land of Canaan and report back - Numbers 13:1 & 21 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.
. That mission was disastrous because 10 of the 12 men turned out to be nay-sayers and reported that the land with its well fortified cities and imposing inhabitants could not be conquered. Instead of placing their faith in God's Word the adults of Israel believed the report of the 10 spies and their lack of faith doomed them to death during the next 40 years in the wilderness. Thus, in retrospect, we see that God's instruction to send the 12 leaders into the land was actually a trial, which Israel failed. God knew the hearts of that nation and He used that trial to judge those without faith and thus sanctify the corporate body of Israel.
Forty years later the sanctified Nation was operating by faith and preparing to take the Promised Land. There is no record that God instructed Joshua to send spies into Jericho so it appears Joshua did this on his own initiative. But instead of choosing a leader from each of the 12 tribes as God had commanded 40 years prior Joshua sent two (2) spies "secretly" to view Jericho - Joshua 2:1. We must assume that "secretly" refers to the fact Joshua did not inform the people of Israel about them because otherwise it would be redundant to label spies as being sent "secretly."
Upon entering Jericho the two spies took lodging in Rahab's house but someone told the king and he sent messengers demanding she give them up. Rahab told them that the spies, who she hid under some stalks of flax on her roof, had left and the king should quickly send out a search party to pursue them, who she reported were on their way back to the Jordan River. As soon as the search party left and the City gate was closed for the night Rahab told the spies she knew the Lord had given Israel the land because the inhabitants thereof were terrified of Israel after having heard about them passing through the Red Sea and their other victories. Rahab acknowledged the God of Israel was the one true God and asked the spies to swear by the Lord that the lives of her father, mother, brothers and sisters would all be saved. The spies assured her it would be so because she had saved their lives, but only if continued to keep them secret. Rahab's house was on the wall of the city and she let the spies escape out her window and down the wall. She told them to hide out in the mountains for three days until the search party from Jericho returned and then they could make their way back to where Israel was camped. The spies told her to tie a red ribbon in her window and bring her family into her house where they would be safe when Israel attacked. - Joshua 2:1 - 221 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.
2 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.
3 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.
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.
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.
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.
22 And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not.
(We should note here that there is no conflict with the fact Rahab was saved by faith as indicated in Hebrews 11 and what the Apostle James writes: "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." James 2:24 - 2624 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
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.
. Rahab's faith was expressed by the actions she took.)
Even though God apparently did not tell Joshua to send the spies it is obvious he was in God's will to do so. One benefit of sending them was the news they brought, which bolstered Israel's confidence: "Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us." - Joshua 2:2424 And they said unto Joshua, Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.
. Another benefit totally unknown to Joshua when he sent them was that by doing so he established the circumstances that gave Rahab the opportunity to express her faith in God's Word and be a part of carrying out God's plan for mankind.
As already noted in Faith Studies Vol 1, No 21(published 12/9/04) Rahab is one of only two women of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11, the other being Abraham's wife Sarah. Sarah's character was good, Rahab was a prostitute, but both, like all the men mentioned therein were recipients of God's grace. After Jericho fell Joshua sent the two spies to rescue Rahab and her family but when they brought them out of the ruin we read "they left them without the camp of Israel." Joshua 6:22 & 2322 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.
23 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.
. They were uncircumcised, un-sanctified Gentiles and therefore they could not dwell with God's people so had to dwell outside the camp. But Rahab ultimately had another place in God's plan for we learn from Matthew 1:55 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
& 65 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
: "And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her (that had been the wife) of Urias." Rahab was King David's grandmother and therefore she was in the blood line and part of the pedigree of our Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew 1:1 - 251 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;
5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;
8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;
9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;
10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;
11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;
13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;
14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;
15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;
16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
, Luke 3:3232 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson,
& Ruth 4:18 - 2118 Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron,
19 And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab,
20 And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon,
21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,
, because the pedigree of both Joseph and Mary were from King David. See Matthew 1:1616 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
for Joseph and Luke 1:2727 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
, 32 & 69 for Mary. The pedigree of Christ lists only four (4) women: Tamar (Matthew 1:33 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
), Rahab and Ruth (Matthew 1:5) and Bathsheba (Matthew 1:66 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
Only one of these four (4) women was of good character and both Ruth and Rahab were Gentiles but this is in keeping with Christ's condescension in taking human nature. The natural man likes to look back at the best and highest achievers in his pedigree. If people tell you about their ancestors they normally disclose those who were brilliant in accomplishment, valiant in battle or great leaders of men. They usually don't tell you about their great grandfather who was hung for stealing horses. But it was by God's design that Jesus Christ had little to boost about His ancestors. He could say: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." - Matthew 11:2929 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
It was written of Jesus: "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." - Matthew 2:2323 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
. Nazareth was greatly looked down upon by Israelites - John 1:45 & 4645 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
. George Williams' Student Commentary (page 698) states that the Old Testament Prophets all predicted that the Messiah, in his first advent, would be despised; that is, He would be a Nazarine; and so it came to pass. The Apostle Paul explains that the condescension marked by Christ's first advent also marks our Christian lives today when he writes: "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, (yea), and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." - I Corinthians 1:27 - 29.
God loved and was merciful to Rahab, who had been a heathen idol worshipping prostitute, and He she was used fulfill His purposes in more ways than one. All she did was believe His Word and act in that faith, doing what needed to be done and she was saved. This is the same principal we have seen throughout these studies. The challenge for us today is to heed God's Word directed to us today, such as: "Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits." Romans 12:1616 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.