Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. (Hebrews 11:1-2)
Rahab is introduced to us as a prostitute. Some Bible versions render that as Rahab the harlot. Not sure why harlot sounds more damning in my mind that prostitute. Anyhu, madam is one day minding her own business (insert Tabitha Brown’s voice) when two Israelite men entered her house. I have wondered how this exactly take place.
- Were the men running from someone and entered into the nearest open house?
- Did the men enter her house because it was the house of a prostitute?
- If they entered the house because it belonged to a prostitute, was there signage?
- How did that signage look like?
- Was the open for business sign on?
Whatever made then enter into Rahab’s house, I might never know; but enter they did. The King of Jericho is made aware that some two Israelite spies have come into his city. We are told that immediately the soldiers make a beeline to Rahab’s house. Again, maswali chungu nzima ninayo.
- Why Rahab’s house?
- Did they search other places ama the snitch told the King where the spies were hiding?
Rahab we are told hides the spies and lies to the soldiers that they already left. She then lets the two spies out of Jericho through her widow which was at the wall, how convenient, and tells them to hide for three days before crossing the Jordan back to their base camp. But before she lets them go, Rahab goes ahead and informs them that she knows exactly who they are, why they are there and who their God is. She then asks for a favour in return, that when they come to attack Jericho, because she knew they could come, that they spare her.
An agreement is made that features a scarlet cord, the same one she uses to let the men down the wall. The word scarlet reminds me of my late Maternal Grandmother Sarah Wanjiku. She always featured that term in her prayers:
Ona angĩkorwo mehĩa maĩtũ nĩ matũne ta mĩrĩ ya gakarakũ, woĩgĩre nĩũgatũtherĩa tũhane ta gũoya wa ngondũ
(Even if our sins are as red as scarlet (as red as the beetroot), you promised to wash us and make us as white as the wool from sheep)
Rahab the prostitute is the other woman apart from Sarah who is included in the Hebrews Hall of Faith. I am so glad that she is listed there and mentioned by name. She might have practiced a looked down upon trade, still looked down upon, but God looked upon her with mercy. She knew who He was. She made a deliberate and conscious decision to put her trust in Him. She decided to side with God and the people God called His. It was a good bet, it paid up 100% and over. Because this harlot Rahab not only gets saved when Israel attacks Jericho, she ends up right into the genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth!
So now FAITH, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13