Rahab Helps Israel

Key Verse: “As soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token.”
—Joshua 2:11,12

Selected Scripture:
Joshua 2; 6:22-25

UNDER THE LEADERSHIP of Joshua, the time had come for the Israelites to cross the Jordan River and enter the land of Canaan—the land which had been promised to their forefathers. There were, however, many heathen peoples living in the land, so God gave instructions to Joshua to conquer and take these regions, until all the land which had been promised to Israel was theirs. One such area, Jericho, is the focus of today’s lesson.

Jericho was a walled city so, prior to crossing the Jordan, Joshua sent two spies to scout out the area in advance of any attack by the Israelites. Upon their arrival at Jericho, the spies came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, most certainly an overruling of God. Word got around that spies from Israel had been sent, and were lodged at Rahab’s home, resulting in the king sending men to Rahab, saying, “Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.” (Josh. 2:3) Rahab hid the spies on the roof of the house, and told the men sent from the king that, indeed, there had been two men who came to the house, but they had since left the city and she did not know where they were. The king’s men left the house, pursuing after the spies for three days, but never finding them. Upon their departure, Rahab went up to the roof and told the spies that they were now safe.—vss. 4-8,22

The account does not indicate that God condoned Rahab’s lie to the king’s men, saying that the spies had left when, in fact, they were on her roof. To the contrary, God could have just as easily delivered the spies if she had told the truth of the matter. We are told that “a lying tongue” is one of the things that God hates. (Prov. 6:17) Despite her mistake in this regard, however, Rahab displayed great faith in the God of Israel, saying, “I know that the Lord hath given you the land.” (Josh. 2:9) Further, in our key verses Rahab says that the God of Israel was the only true God in heaven or on earth.

Rahab requested of the spies that, in exchange for her keeping them safe as well as her silence in the matter, she and her family might be saved when Israel’s attack on Jericho would take place. The spies agreed, the sign of this ‘covenant’ being that Rahab would hang a scarlet string down from her window, thus giving indication of the keeping of her part of the promise. The Israelites, upon seeing this when the attack came, would then save her and all her family alive. (vss. 12-21) All of this came to pass, as agreed, when Jericho was attacked, and Rahab and her family were saved.—chap. 6:22-25

Rahab’s faith as well as her works are attested to in the New Testament as examples to us. “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” (Heb. 11:31) “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?”—James 2:25

Dawn Bible Students Association
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