Joshua 2: 1-7
After Moses’ death, it fell to Joshua to lead the Israelites the final few steps to the promised land. His first action was to send two spies across the Jordan and into Jericho, where they stayed in a house on the city walls belonging to a prostitute called Rahab. Somehow the King of Jericho found out, and sent his men to get them. Rahab, cool as a cucumber, says:
“Yes they were here. I didn’t know where they had come from. They left at dusk just before the city gate was closed. Go quickly. You may still catch them.”
The men race off. Rahab had somehow learned how the Lord had promised the land to Israel, how he had dried up the Red Sea, and destroyed the Amorite Kings Sihon and Og. She had come to have faith, and at great personal risk, had hidden the spies under piles of flax on her flat roof. They in turn promised to spare her and her family when the invasion came:
“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.”
She lets them down by a rope and tells them to hide in the hills for three days. She brings her relatives into the house and, as a marker to the invaders, ties a scarlet cord to the window. The spies tell Joshua the Lord has given the whole land into our hands; the people are fearful.
A few days later the Lord dries up the Jordan as the Israelites cross over, 12 men collect stones from the river bed, one for each of the tribes of Israel, and the priests bring over the ark of the covenant. Finally, at Gilgal, Joshua circumcises those men who had been born in the 40 years since they left Egypt. When they’ve healed he marches around Jericho for seven days, on the final day blowing his trumpets and shouting. The walls collapse and the Israelites ransack the place. The two spies rescue Rahab and her family and the city is burned.
Later Salmon, an Israelite, who may have been one of the spies, marries Rahab, and she bears a son Boaz. Click here for the story of how Boaz came to marry Ruth.
Salmon and Rahab, and Boaz and Ruth are all in the lineage of Jesus (1 Chronicles 2: 11; Ruth 4:20,21; Matthew 1:4). Rahab is cited as an example of redemption in Paul’s epistles to the Hebrews 11: 31, and to James 2: 25.