Rahab’s Legacy

Read: Joshua 2:1-12

I know that the LORD has given you the land. (v. 9)

Sometimes it takes hundreds of years for a story to pay off. The book of Joshua begins with the peculiar story of the God-fearing prostitute Rahab, who protected spies sent to scout out Jericho. Rahab had heard about the mighty acts of Yahweh and showed amazing faith. Her family was then spared (Joshua 6:22-25) when Joshua took Jericho. She might have become a historical footnote, but she reappears in the New Testament.

Matthew’s Gospel begins with a genealogy of Jesus. Although in a patriarchal society, one might expect all the names in a Jewish genealogy to be men, Matthew lists four women. Instead of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah, the recognized matriarchs of Israel, Matthew lists Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba (Matt. 1:3-6). These four women were also non-Israelites, and each had some element of what we might politely call “irregularity” about her. In Rahab’s case, it was her way of earning a living. Jesus’ genealogy indicates that the gospel goes beyond every barrier.

Rahab appears again in the New Testament’s “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11:31, and then one more time, as an example of works in James 2:25. It’s not often that someone is held up in the Bible as an example of both faith and works, and the fact that her means of livelihood was prostitution is staggering. The full historical scope of Rahab’s story—over centuries—is a gospel story of faith in action. —Jeff Munroe

As you pray, thank God no barriers keep you from the good news.

About the Author

Jeffrey Munroe is the Executive Vice President of Western Theological Seminary and, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.

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