When Rahab is mentioned in the Bible the time in history is approximately BC 1451, (Josh. 1). Moses had died (the rebellious Israel had to die off in the desert sojourn, which was stated by Jehovah 40 years earlier; Numbers 14), and Joshua was instructed by Jehovah to lead the Israelites into the land that He had promised to give them.
In Josh. 2, Joshua sends 2 spies to Shittem to look over the land especially Jericho. They stay with Rahab, who is described as a prostitute. Verses 2-3 record that the king of Jericho was told about the Israelite spies, so he sent a message to Rahab instructing her to bring them to him. However, Rahab had hidden them. She deceived the king's men by telling them that the spies had left. In fact she had hidden them on the roof under straw. She then told the spies she knew Jehovah had given the land to the Israelites, (showing her own relationship with the Almighty by this time, and showing her trust in Him, as she put her life in danger by hiding the spies). She told them she had heard Jehovah had dried up the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to cross when they were pursued by the Egyptians. She also knew that they totally destroyed the 2 Amorite kings Sihon and Og of Nephilim stock. She also related that the Canaanites were afraid because of all they had heard about what Jehovah had done for the Israelites; and she asked that she and her whole family would be protected when Israel invaded. In verse 14 the spies promise her safety when Jehovah gave them the land. She then lowers them down by a rope through a window in the wall of the city. She told them to hide 3 days in the hills before returning to Joshua. For her own protection when the invasion started she was told to tie a scarlet cord in the window, which she helped them escape through, (she didn't know at that time, that she would be in the genetic line of the Messiah; and that the line from Adam to Jesus the Christ was to be dubbed "the scarlet thread"). Also, she must assemble all her father's family together under her roof for safety, then they would not be harmed.
After 3 days the spies returned to the Jordan and to Joshua, and they told him all that had happened to them. Joshua soon realises that by the information Rahab had given the spies, the Canaanites were full of fear, and that would enable him to confidently conquer the land.
We are told in Josh. 4: 13, that there were 40,000 armed fighting men that crossed the Jordan ready for battle. They were enabled in crossing the Jordan by Jehovah holding back the waters while the army crossed. The priests holding the Ark of the Covenant stood in the middle of the Jordan on dry land, during the whole crossing. Also, 12 men, one from each tribe carried a stone, to a pile (alter) which was to be a memorial to show that the people of Israel passed over the Jordan. The waters then returned to normal.
In Chapter 6, Joshua leads the Israelites to victory, including the miracle of Jericho's defeat and walls falling; and verse 17 records that only Rahab the harlot and her family survived. In verse 21 it is clear that all the inhabitants were killed by the Israelites. Rahab and her family were saved because of her earlier actions, and her faith (Heb. 11) and the promise to her by the 2 Israelite spies. She and her family then became Israelite citizens.
Num. 13:16-33 records that the land had been spied out before some 40 years earlier by 12 Israelites, one of whom was Joshua, (verse 16). They had found that the land was indeed flowing with milk and honey, however, the people were frightening, some of whom were giants (Nephilim). Because of this the Israelites were very fearful and turned against Moses. Num. 14:33-39 states that Jehovah punished them by making them wander 40 years in the wilderness, and He declared that all the men would die, only the children born in the wilderness would enter the Promised Land. However, Joshua and Caleb because they declared that if Jehovah delighted in the Israelites He would give them the land, showing their faith, lived to enter the Promised Land. (It is interesting to note that Joshua is the Hebrew - 'Jesus' which points to the yet future, when Jesus Messiah will rescue them, and lead them into the greater Promised Land)!
Matt. 1:5 records that Rahab was the wife of Salmon and the mother of Boaz, who was the husband of Ruth and the great grandfather of King David. Therefore Rahab was in the genealogy of the Messiah; (in human terminology, this has become known by Christians as the "scarlet line, from Adam to Jesus the Christ").
It is interesting to note that Salmon was a nephew of Aaron, (Com. Bible genealogy chart, page 365) and therefore would have inherited wealth, which would explain how Boaz was able to marry Ruth and provide for her and purchase the land attributed to her, for him to fulfill the "Kinsman Redeemer Law". By furthering the Jewish line through her, which led to King David, and ultimately the Christ, Messiah.
In Heb. 11:31 Rahab is praised for her faith. When she had heard all that the Almighty had done to and for the Israelites, she believed that it was the One True God that had done those things. For someone brought up in a Canaanite land with the influence of false gods and Nephilim, this was an exceptional realisation for such a woman. Not only did she believe in the God of Israel but she put her faith into action by saving the 2 Hebrew spies, James 2:25. If this had been discovered she would undoubtedly have died.
Summary: The nationality of Rahab is uncertain, however it is clear that she lived amongst the Canaanites, (Nephilim influence, but her seed was not corrupted by Nephilim, or she would not have been in the genetic line of Jesus) as a prostitute in the land close to Jericho. She was most certainly therefore a Gentile. If that is correct it would mean there are two Gentile women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ, Ruth being the second, but that the "seed line" was maintained through their man; from Adam to Mary the mother of Jesus. Rahab is continually described as Rahab the harlot, even though it is clear from the study that she acknowledged the Almighty as the God of Israel, and is recorded for her faith (in Heb. 11), and her works in saving the 2 Hebrew spies.
Rahab's confession of faith in Jehovah and her accurate information about the Almighty's triumphs over powerful enemies are astounding. That the hearts of the Canaanites were melting in fear was vital information to the spies.
As she is in the genealogy of the Messiah, she must have been an unusual woman to have turned from her previous life to one where she not only acknowledges the Almighty, but is used at a very important time in Jewish history, just as they had been led out of the wilderness into the land promised to them.
It is clear that the Almighty knew her heart and knew she was genuine in looking to and for Him. She was richly rewarded by being in the genealogy of the Messiah, and being recorded for her faith in the Word of God.
Comments: It is interesting to note that when the Almighty destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, their sin could not have been purely immoral human sexual acts as many people think, but much more as we are told in Gen. 6, when the "sons of God (fallen angles) went with the daughters of men" producing the Nephilim, see: Nephilim; and Nephilim, who were they, and why: Clearly the line which led to Christ Messiah, had to be free of the Nephilim seed, but as is clear from the story of Rahab, fallen man can be forgiven any sin when it is acknowledged.
Clearly the record of Rahab having been a prostitute is written in the Bible for a reason, and for us to marvel at the love, grace and forgiveness of the Almighty to any who put their trust in Him.
The situation today in the world is akin to this story!
Sin abounds, false religions and gods are prominent; and the only way to the One True God is through Christ Jesus' death on the cross of Calvary; "all who will may come" Rom. 5:12-21!
The same faith as Rahab must be in place in the heart of the person, as we all are sinners like her!
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