Rahab’s Red Reputation

In my last post, I completed the story of Tamar, the first woman listed in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1.  The next woman is Rahab.  If you thought Tamar wasn’t tame, wait until you read about Rahab’s red reputation.  Her story, like Tamar’s is one of redemption but in a very different manner.

Joshua is now leader of the Israelite People

Let’s begin with a little background story: The Israelite’s are still wandering in the desert.  They have yet to dwell in the land God promised them due to their disobedience.  Moses sends out 12 spies, in Numbers 13:1-33, one from each tribe.
Caleb and Joshua, two of the twelve, bring back a good report about the land but, because the other 10 spies bring back a bad report, the people do not want to enter the promised land. As a result, the Israelite’s stay another 37 years in the desert before entering the promised land. Joshua is now leader of the Israelite people.  In Joshua chapter two, he sends out two spies to Jericho once again. “Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.” You are about to witness how Rahab’s red reputation turns into Rahab’s red redemption. First you need to know what sort of woman she is and what her people are like whom the Israelite’s are about to conquer.

The People of Jericho Worship the Goddess Asherah

The people of Jericho are Canaanites, who, among other gods, worship the goddess Asherah. She is the female counterpart of Baal and is the goddess of fertility.  A man who wants the blessing of more flocks, crops and children, pays and has sex with a temple prostitute of the goddess Asherah.  In other words, prostitutes are highly regarded in Canaanite society. Rahab’s red reputation as a prostitute is not the same as a reputation she would have today. Rahab owns an Inn on the outer wall of Jericho.  It is prime real estate.  She can see the comings and goings of everyone.  What better place for the two spies to check out the city albeit a risky one.

The King of Jericho Sent Word to Rahab

Joshua 2 continues with the story of Rahab and the two spies:  ‘It was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.”  But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.  It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.”  But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.’  

Rahab Has an “In” with the King

It is obvious from this passage that Rahab has an ‘in’ with the king, further proof that she is a woman of influence.  The spies are seen going into her Inn but when questioned by the King’s men, they not only believe her but they also follow her instructions. What sort of reputation do you have dear one?  Has it been tarnished?  Maybe it’s because of false accusations, maybe it’s because of your own mistakes.  It doesn’t matter to God who you are or where you’ve been or even where you’re at right now.  He is waiting to hear from you and if need be, forgive you.  If you have been sinned against, He asks you to forgive.  He is able and will bring vengeance in His time dear one.  You can trust Him no matter what the circumstance.  As I continue to share the story of Rahab, you will see how God uses her faithfulness and brings her into His family tree.  You will also find out why the colour red is so significant. God wants you too to be in His family dear one.  Will you ask Him?