by Deborah Horscroft

Rahab does not seem like the type of person to be included in the genealogy of God’s son, or the book of Hebrews list of the faithful, but she is mentioned in both.

The first thing we learn about Rahab in Joshua chapter 2 is that she is a prostitute. The next few things are that she is a traitor and a liar. But as the story unfolds we realise that Rahab has heard of the true God who is the “God of Heaven and Earth”. Like all the people of Jericho, Rahab has come to fear the God of the Israelites. But alone among these Canaanite people living in Jericho, Rahab asks to be saved from the coming destruction and puts her faith in the Lord, risking her life to defy her own king and hide the Israelite spies.

The sign chosen by the spies is a scarlet cord, not to show Rahab lives in a “red-light district”, but as a symbol of the Passover which the men celebrate as they prepare for battle. Like the slaves in Egypt, the cord in Rahab’s window marks her as one who will be passed over on the day of destruction, to be redeemed when salvation comes. In his first letter, Peter reminds his readers that they, like Rahab, are to see themselves as “strangers in the world”.

Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:17-19)


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