The Story of Rahab in the Bible

Who Was Rahab in the Bible? 

Rahab was a prostitute who changed the course of history and transformed her family’s future.

She followed God’s way intensely and was rewarded for her faith and faithfulness. She was saved from destruction. Her life took a turn for the better and she is included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. 

Through Rahab’s actions, we learn about the choices that we make and the consequences they can have. She made the right choice and the results were in her favor.  

Rahab’s story is relatable because it’s a story of redemption. It reminds us of God’s grace.

No matter what your background is, the Lord can transform your life. God’s plan is for us to have a bright future regardless of our past. 

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The Story of Rahab in the Bible

Rahab is an important woman in the Bible. Her name made it into the list of people recognized for their faith in Hebrews 11. She may have been a harlot yet her past didn’t determine her future. 

Rahab’s story demonstrates how God can use anyone no matter their circumstances or background for his important plans. .She found favor from God which changed her life. She played a significant role in the story of Jesus. 

Who Was Rahab in the Bible

Rahab is mentioned in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. She was a harlot and a Canaanite who resided in the city of Jericho.

This was the most important Canaanite fortress city. She lived in a pagan city where the people worshipped false idols. 

Rahab was defined by her trade and what she did for a living. Joshua asked two spies to check out the land and they took refuge in Rahab’s house. 

“Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.” Joshua 2:1 NIV

Once the King of Jericho heard about the Israelite spies, he told Rahab to bring them out.

Instead, Rahab told the King’s men who had been sent that the spies had left always and they should chase after them. She put her life at risk for these spies. 

In the meantime, she had hidden the spies on the roof under the stalks of flax.

She told them that she had heard about the God of Israel and that when they came to destroy the city, they should remember her and her family and not destroy them.

Seeing the Israelite spies and interacting with them, she knew something was going to happen. 

Rahab strategically let the Israelite spies down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the outer wall of the city.

She instructed them to hide in the hills for three days before crossing the Jordan River and going back to where the rest of the Israelites were camping. 

When the city of Jericho was destroyed later on, it was only Rahab and her entire household who made it alive.

Her courage in helping the spies paid off and her faith in God led her to become saved. 

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Where in the Bible is the Story of Rahab

We find Rahab’s story in the Book of Joshua. She is introduced in Joshua 2. The Israelites were camped at Shittim, in the Jordan Valley across from Jericho.

At that time, the Israelites were enemies with the people of Canaan and their plan as directed by God was for them to take over Canaan which was the promised land.

Moses had died and Joshua had just taken over as the new leader of God’s people. He sent spies into the land to check it out before possessing it. 

After the spies left Rahab’s house and Jericho, they gave a good report to Joshua that the people feared them and the Lord had surely given them the land to possess. 

The story of Rahab continues in Joshua 6. Here the Israelites were told by the Lord to go around the city for seven days on the seventh day they went around it seven times.

When the priests sounded the trumpets and the army shouted, the city wall of Jericho fell to the ground. 

The Israelites took over the city and destroyed everything and everyone except Rahab and her entire family.

As per the spies’ instruction, she had tied a scarlet cord in the window as a sure sign that it was her house and was easily identified.

Her entire family was there and they were all rescued from destruction and went to live among the people of Israel. 

“But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.” Joshua 6:25 NIV 

What is Rahab Known for in the Bible

Rahab is known for her faith. She knew of the Lord and all his works.

She had heard about the Red Sea miracle when the Lord had led the Israelites out of Egypt by parting the water of the Red Sea. 

She heard how the Lord also helped the Israelites in battle to completely destroy their enemies.

That by itself caused her and her people to fear the true God because they knew without doubt that he was powerful. 

Rahab’s faith was strong because she believed in the God she hadn’t seen but only heard of.  She trusted in God’s way even though she had not experienced him for herself.

This led her to have faith and be included in Hebrews 11 list of the heroes of faith. 

“By faith, Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” Hebrews 11:31 ESV

Rahab is also known as she was included in the lineage of Jesus Christ.

She went on to marry and have a son Boaz who was Ruth’s kinsmen redeemer. This is where King David and then later Jesus came from. 

“And Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” Matthew 1:5-6 ESV 

What Does Rahab Symbolize

Rahab symbolizes grace, forgiveness, and redemption. She got a second chance in life.

Her past life was completely wiped clean by God’s grace and she was saved from the destruction of her city.

She represents God’s powerful plan to save our souls by his grace and mercy. 

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].” 2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP

God doesn’t hold your past against you. No matter what your background is by God’s grace you can be transformed and start a new life. 

Through God’s mercy, Rahab was rewarded for her faithfulness. She saved the spies and was rewarded when her own life was saved. 

In Christ, we are all one. We are all chosen and loved by him. Rahab was not an Israelite therefore not part of the chosen people of God.

She was a Gentile just like us. Yet by God’s grace, she was welcomed into the kingdom of God.

Not only that but she played a significant role by becoming part of the genealogy of Jesus. 

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:28-29 NIV 

Characteristics of Rahab 

We can certainly learn a few key lessons from Rahab’s life through her character. She was an extraordinary woman who can teach us so much about life. 

We can be encouraged and inspired by this brave woman’s personality. Let’s look at some of the outstanding characteristics of Rahab!

  • She was a woman of faith 

This is by far her greatest admirable characteristic. Rahab had faith in the God of Israel after hearing of his great works.

She believed in his power, gave her heart to him, and trusted him with her future. 

  • She loved and cared for others 

She loved her family and asked the spies to promise that they would show kindness to her and her entire family when the time came for them to destroy the land.

By hiding the spies she also showed care and that she didn’t want them to be harmed. 

  • She was a selfless woman 

Rahab could have chosen to save herself from the King’s wrath and released the spies but she didn’t.

She saved them.

Later on, she could have agreed to only save herself when God’s people came to destroy the city of Jericho. Instead, she pleaded with them to save her and her entire family and household. 

  • She had courage 

Rahab took strangers in and disobeyed the King’s instructions to bring them out. She was brave, courageous, and fearless.

  • She was intelligent 

Rahab was a quick thinker. She quickly made a plan of hiding the spies on the roof when the King’s men were looking for them.

Later she let them go down on a rope and told them to hide in the hills for three days before crossing the Jordan River. She was well-informed about her surroundings and her people. 

  • She was resourceful 

She had flax on her roof where she hid the spies. Flax was used to make fabric and linen. She was a woman of means and likely a businesswoman. 

  • She was hospitable 

Rahab welcomed strangers and protected them while in her house. She was generous and shared what she had with them. 

  • Rahab was a risk-taker 

Rahab could have been killed for hiding the two Israelite spies yet she chose to take a risk.

She became loyal to strangers who served a powerful God instead of being loyal to her people who worshipped false gods.  

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What Does the Story of Rahab Teach Us

Rahab’s faith wasn’t based on her experience but on what she heard about the God of Israel.

As Christians, our faith is based on what we hear about God from the Bible and we can believe that it’s true.

The Lord is faithful and the same God who performed the Red Sea miracle can do the same in your life today. 

Rahab’s story teaches us that our faith has to be followed by good works and action. She saved the Israelite spies from being captured.

She also acted in faith by putting the scarlet cord on her window in the hope that she would be saved along with her household. 

She didn’t know if the two spies would keep their word but she chose to act in faith and hoped they did. In our own lives, God instructs us to believe in him and act in faith. 

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This powerful story reminds us of what Jesus Christ did on the cross.

Our slates are wiped clean and we have been redeemed. We’ve been saved from destruction and our eternity is guaranteed.

We are forgiven by God’s grace and our past and background no longer matter to God.  

He has a plan for each of us and will use us in a mighty way for his purpose. 

We can be encouraged by the story of Rahab. She is no longer known for her past but remembered for her legacy and what she did for God’s people. She left a legacy and we can too.

Her story gives us hope in the God who loves and saves us by his grace and mercy.

Our lives are changed forever when we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts and allow him to transform us from the inside out. 

Read about more amazing women of the Bible:

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