The second woman found in Jesus’ genealogy is Rahab, someone who can never seem to shake off her past. Even as she is listed among the faithful in Hebrews 11, she is referred to as a prostitute. In Rahab, however, God saw a woman who did what she had to do to save herself and her family. God saw the courageous choices she made to help the Israelite spies. In God’s vocabulary, maybe her name was not Rahab the prostitute, but Rahab the faithful, Rahab the courageous, Rahab the quick-thinking negotiator, or Rahab the wise. Join us as our worship series for the seasons of Advent and Christmas, Underdogs & Outsiders, continues with Rahab: God’s Working Woman (Joshua 2:1-21).
Joshua 2:1-21 (NRSV)
2Then Joshua son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So, they went, and entered the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and spent the night there. 2The king of Jericho was told, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to search out the land.” 3Then the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come only to search out the whole land.” 4But the woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from. 5And when it was time to close the gate at dark, the men went out. Where the men went I do not know. Pursue them quickly, for you can overtake them.” 6She had, however, brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax that she had laid out on the roof. 7So the men pursued them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. As soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.
8Before they went to sleep, she came up to them on the roof 9and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you. 10For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11As soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no courage left in any of us because of you. The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. 12Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith 13that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14The men said to her, “Our life for yours! If you do not tell this business of ours, then we will deal kindly and faithfully with you when the Lord gives us the land.” 15Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the outer side of the city wall and she resided within the wall itself. 16She said to them, “Go toward the hill country, so that the pursuers may not come upon you. Hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers have returned; then afterward you may go your way.” 17The men said to her, “We will be released from this oath that you have made us swear to you 18if we invade the land and you do not tie this crimson cord in the window through which you let us down, and you do not gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your family. 19If any of you go out of the doors of your house into the street, they shall be responsible for their own death, and we shall be innocent; but if a hand is laid upon any who are with you in the house, we shall bear the responsibility for their death. 20But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be released from this oath that you made us swear to you.” 21She said, “According to your words, so be it.” She sent them away and they departed. Then she tied the crimson cord in the window.