“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient” ( Hebrews 11:31 )
Rahab had an understanding of God’s character; an understanding that many of His covenant people lacked. As terror spread throughout the land, because of the Israelites camped at the Jordan awaiting entrance into their Promised Land, Rahab made a deal with the spies hidden in her house and God honored it. The account of Rahab’s faith is an amazing story of redemption.
When Joshua sent spies into the land to bring back a report, they stopped at Jericho entering into Rahab’s house. As a prostitute, her house gave them opportunity to blend in. After hiding them on the roof, she redirected the king’s servants, who were looking for them, into the countryside on a wild goose chase. She reveals to the spies that the entire land was shaking with fear because their God’s fame and mighty works had preceeded them for decades ( Joshua 2:9-11 ).
Rahab’s next move was amazing, she asked the spies to exchange her kindness for a sign that she and her family would be spared when Jericho was defeated ( Joshua 2:12-13 ). Agreeing to her terms, they instructed her to keep the scarlet cord, on which they escaped in the window. Assuring that everyone remaining inside would be spared ( Joshua 2:17-20 ).
What is interesting about this, is that Rahab made this deal based solely on God’s grace. She was from Jericho, she was a harlot, she had no right to ask anything. Secondly, she put herself in grave danger by helping the spies and then remaining in the city surrounded by enemies who could turn on her if they knew her part in helping the Israelites. And yet, her token of this agreement and her life line was a scarlet cord hanging in plain view. This is a marvelous picture of redemption. She put her faith in the grace of God and God provided a way out giving her a reminder by the scarlet, blood-colored cord, ever present before her; reassuring her, redemption was drawing neigh.
As the city fell, Joshua gave the spies the honor of bringing Rahab, her family and all her possessions out from the midst of the destruction and into the Israelite community ( Joshua 6:22-25 ). She trusted God to save her because she had insight into God’s character trusting solely in His goodness and His grace. God responded to her faith and forever commemorated her in the lineage of the Messiah, Jesus Christ ( Matthew 1:5 ). Her story is one of redemption and restoration and will forever be celebrated in the Hebrews Hall of Fame.