Bible Study Moment

I’ve decided for a few weeks to write about some notable women in the Bible: first, Rahab.

Rahab appears mainly in Joshua 2. She is a resident of Jericho, a Canaanite, when Joshua has assumed leadership of the Israelites after the death of Moses. In Joshua 2:1 she is described as a harlot or prostitute. Fairly recently I read that if the Hebrew word or phrase used here was used to describe a man that he would be called an innkeeper. The Hebrew word or phrase talks about providing hospitality, which the earliest translators evidently thought since it was used in connection with a woman was a euphemism for sex. Innkeeper makes more sense to me since the verse is that Joshua has sent two spies and Rahab provides lodging for them.

Rahab hides the spies from the king of Jericho, and then helps them leave Jericho secretly. She explains that the people of Jericho have heard what the god of the Israelites has done to others and are afraid of the Israelites and their god. She asks to be spared when they conquer the city. An agreement is made that enables her and those in her household to survive the destruction of Jericho.

She and her household join the Israelites and she does become a wife and mother in the lineage of Jesus.


Mark Phillips