Hall of Faith: Rahab, She Changed

Rahab was in the promised land when the Israelite’s took possession of the land. She and

Rahab lived in the Promised land

her family are the only people saved during the invasion.

The story of Rahab is found in the book of Joshua.

The name Rahab means spacious.

Rahab’s story is found in that of the Israelite’s. The chosen people of God are searching out the promised land. Spies have been spent into the land and they come upon the house of a woman named Rahab.

Rahab met with the Israelite spies

When we first meet Rahab in Joshua 2,the first thing we are told of her is that “they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab.” The first thing we learn is that Rahab is a harlot. Three times in her story, it is mentioned that she is a harlot. If something is mentioned three times, then it seems likely she was definitely a harlot. {Three is God’s perfect number}.

A first Century historian tried to clean up her story by saying she “owned an inn”. However, if we take the scripture at it’s word, she was a prostitute. She may or may not have owned an inn or rented rooms.

Rahab hid the Israelite spies

The two spies sent by the Israelite’s, stayed at the home of Rahab, which was on the city wall. She was one of the first to receive news from outside the wall as travelers stopped at her house. She knew a lot of what was happening in their area and town and had probably heard many stories of the Israelite’s over the years. She is clearly perceptive, well informed, quick on her feet and intelligent.

Soldiers were sent to capture the spies, but Rahab protected them and hid them under bundles of flax on the roof. Rahab quickly made up a story about them escaping, which sent the soldiers outside the wall looking for them and gave the spies time to flee.

Rahab misled the soldiers

In Joshua 2:9-13, Rahab tells the spies:

  • I know the Lord sent you
  • We have heard of you and all God has done for you {Red Sea, defeating the Amorites, etc}
  • The Lord is your God

Then she asked them to show her kindness and protect her household. She asked for a sign that their lives would be spared.

The spies promise to protect anyone in her household and tells her to hang a red chord

Rahab asked the soldiers for protection

from the window.

Rahab lived in a world full of corruption and pagan worship and had not been raised worshiping God. However, she had faith in the God of the Israelites she’d only heard about. She also showed an example of unselfish love by thinking of her father, mother, brothers and sisters. She could have only thought of saving herself, but sought to also save her family.

The Bible History Old Testament commentary says, “Thus far the device of Rahab had

Rahab helped the spies escape

succeeded. So soon as night settled upon the city, she repaired to the roof, and acquainted the spies, who were ignorant of any danger, with what had taken place. At the same time she explained the motives of her conduct. They must indeed have listened with wonder, not unmingled with adoring gratitude, as she told them how they, in Canaan, had heard what Jehovah had done for Israel at the Red Sea, and that, by His help, the two powerful kings of the Amorites had been “utterly destroyed.” The very language, in which Rahab described the terror that had fallen upon her countrymen, was the same as that uttered prophetically forty years before, when Moses and the children of Israel sang the new song on the other side of the Red Sea.”

Rahab marked her home for protection

The next mention of Rahab appears in Joshua 6, when the  Rahab hung the red chord from the window and her entire household was saved. She showed her faith with her actions, by hanging the chord. She trusted and believed that the Israelite’s would save her as promised.

In Joshua 6:25, we are told that Joshua saved her and her entire family.

While Rahab’s profession is mentioned three times in the book of Joshua, but she is also mentioned three times in the New Testament.

The first time is in Matthew 1, where she is one of only five women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. We discover in this genealogy that she is the wife of Salmon and mother of Boaz. From the book of Ruth, we know that Salmon was the father of Boaz, who married Ruth and became the great-grandparents of David.

The second time is in the Hall of Faith, in Hebrews 11. “By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with them that were disobedient, having received the spies with peace. “ This passage makes it clear that Rahab was obedient to God and received by the Israelites.

The third time is in James 2:25, “And in like manner was not also Rahab the harlot

Rahab and her family were protected when the Israelite’s stormed the city

justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way?”

Justified means being marked for good or legitimate reason and declared or made righteous in the sight of God.

So, while she began with a life of sin, she became righteous in the sight of God. Her heart was changed by God and she lived a life that was pleasing and faithful to Him.

Our commentary says, “We are now in circumstances to appreciate the faith by which the harlot Rahab perished not with them that were disobedient, when she had “received the spies with peace,” a faith which, as St. James argues, evidenced itself “by works”

What can we learn from Rahab?

Rahab was saved by the Israelite’s and married and became an ancestor of Jesus

1. Rahab knew how to survive

2. Rahab was brave and courageous

3. Rahab was quick thinking, strong and smart

4. Rahab was unselfish and thought of others

5. Rahab took risks

6. Rahab listened and pondered all she heard about the Israelites

7. Rahab trusted in a God because she heard stories of his promises

8. Rahab acted in faith and obedience

9. Rahab changed her life and heart

Rahab changed from a one of the world to a woman of faith. Three times her sin were mentioned, but they were erased by her faith and her obedience was rewarded. Her change was so complete that she was listed in the Hall of Faith.

Just as Rahab’s faith covered her sins, so can faith in the blood of Jesus cover our sins. Regardless of what we’ve done or how bad we feel it might be, God can change us in the same way that He changed Rahab. All we have to do is have faith.

How has God changed you?


For other articles of Rahab: Rahab, the Harlot and Second Chances: Rahab

Pictures courtesy of FreeBibleImages.org

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