What Rahab was is not of as much importance as what she became. Interpreters differ as to the real character of Rahab. One source brings up the point that Rahab and her household were escorted to safety "without" the camp of Israel.
Joshua 6:23 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.
This "without has special significance, for the camp of Israel was "holy" and no "unclean" person was allowed to enter. This would seem to indicate that Rahab was indeed a harlot or that one of her family members was an "unclean" person. As will be shown later, Rahab's devotion to her family would not allow them to be separated from each other.
Rahab and her family, however, finally were received into Israel, apparently by marriage. Jewish tradition makes her the wife of Joshua. Another tradition has it that she became the wife of Prince Salmon, who could have been one of the spies who appealed to her for aid. If so, she became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth, and their son Obed bore Jesse, the father of King David, through whose line is traced the Christ.
In the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1:5) we find the name of Rachab, along with names of three other women, Ruth, Thamar (Tamar), and Bath-Sheba. There is some question as to whether this was Rahab, the harlot, but most scholars identify Rachab and Rahab as one and the same person.
Josephus and some of the Rabbis refer to Rahab not as a harlot but as an innkeeper, to whose house the spies went for lodging (Joshua 2:1). One source stresses the point that persons who kept inns in these early times "this was about the fourteenth century B.C., according to W.F. Albright" were not always the most moral persons. Sometimes they were called harlots.
Myself, I prefer to see Rahab as an innkeeper, because I find it hard to believe that either Joshua or Prince Salmon would marry a harlot.
The Bible deals with human beings in search of God. Many of them are far from perfect, but among the greatest are those who, like King David, rose above their wrongdoings and became godly despite them. Even though Rahab was called a harlot, she later became a woman of such faith that she could declare to the enemy, "The Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath" (Joshua 2:11).
The Book of Hebrews enrolls Rahab among the faithful along with Sarah. These are the only two women mentioned by name in the famous roll call of the faithful. The harlot Rahab is commended because by faith she "perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace" (Hebrews 11:31).
James, speaking of how character can be transformed, says, "Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and has sent them out another way" (James 2:25).
Other qualities in Rahab's character are quite evident from the Scripture. She was an industrious woman. She wove fine linen and dried the flax on her rooftop. It was among the stalks of flax drying in the sun that she hid the spies until after nightfall, when the city gates were closed. Then she let them down from the outside wall by a cord from her window, probably a heavy rope of linen she had woven herself. Rahab, we also know, had a deep devotion to her family and friends. She was clever and alert as well. She had an agreement with the spies whom she was aiding that she would use the same scarlet cord by which they would be let down from the walls of Jericho. During the battle this red cord would designate her house to the army of Joshua and guarantee it protection. It was agreed that all of her family, in order to be safe, must remain indoors with her during the attack.
Rahab also must have been very courageous to be willing to risk her own life in order to protect enemy spies whom she believed to be on a Godly mission. She had heard of the Israelite crossing of the Sea of Reeds, when the waters parted before them, also of their victories over the Amorites. So strongly did she believe in the Israelite cause that she could say confidently to enemy spies, "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" (Joshua 2:9).
The walls of Jericho fell and the city burned and Joshua declared, "The city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent" (Joshua 6:17).
While the city was in flames, Rahab and her family departed from it. They were saved from the total destruction of their city because Rahab had been willing to prove her faith as well as to declare it.
On more than one occasion Christ, in an effort to correct hypocrisy, said that even harlots would enter the kingdom before those whose works appeared more pious than they actually were (Matthew 21:31).
As stated earlier what Rahab was is not of as much consequence as what she did and became.
To me being a Heroine of Jericho is about a Woman's devotion to her family and friends. Her search for God and most of all her "Faith" in God.
Being a Heroine of Jericho is not about the Woman you were when you joined, but about the Woman you become after you join.
As it is with the Heroines of Jericho so it is with the Knights of Jericho and more. Not only is it our duty to have devotion to family and friends, to search for God and have "Faith" is God, it is also our duty to be the protectors of all that is good in the Heroines of Jericho.
Yesterday I was what I was,
Today I am that I am,
Tomorrow I will be what God makes me.
Byron E. Hams
Past Grand Joshua
Heroines of Jericho of Missouri Jurisdiction, PHA
The Holy Bible
All of The Women of The Bible by Edith Deen
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