Rahab—Let’s make a Deal.

Rahab—Let’s make a Deal.

(Joshua 2; 6; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25)

The Bible bluntly calls her “Rahab the harlot.” But some have opted to translate “Harlot” as “Hostess” or “Innkeeper.” Nice try, as they say, but that is a deliberate mistranslation of the Hebrew word used (not to mention the Greek words in the New testament).What is their problem? It comes from the fact that Rahab is a direct ancestress of Jesus. In fact, she is the great-great-grandmother of King David (Mt.1:5). Thus, they seek to sanitise her reputation, lest someone think ill of Jesus’ lineage. When those two spies walked into her establishment, they didn’t need an introduction. She was well aware that their arrival in Jericho meant certain destruction of all that she held dear. She had heard of the crossing of the Red Sea on dry land, and the defeat of Sihon and Og. She knew that Jericho was the beginning of the end for Canaan. Everyone was petrified. But she had more sense than to disbelieve. The God of Israel has shown Himself great. So she negotiated a deal in His name. She promised to distract the king’s men away from the spies if they swore an oath to save her family during the sacking of Jericho. “Our lives for your lives,” the men assured her (Josh.2:14).Joshua kept his promise and Rahab’s family survived the fall of the walls of Jericho. She subsequently married Salmon. Some have suggested, based on the fact that it was not unusual for men of high ranking to be sent on such reconnaissance missions, that Salmon may have been one of the spies. Rahab is listed with the “Great crowd of witnesses” in Hebrews 11, and James holds her up in front of all who willfully uncouple action from salvation – as literal proof that “faith without works is dead!” (Jm.2:25-26).Remember, Jesus calls us to purity, not from it. (johnstaiger1@gmail.com)


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