|Rahab led the two
men up to the roof. She carefully covered them from sight with the stalks
of flax that had been laid out to dry. She cautioned them to be as still
as possible until she returned.
The whole city was on edge. Rumors entered the city with every traveler. The Israelites were headed toward Jericho with thousands of fighting men. The citizens of Jericho heard accounts of how the God of the Israelites had rescued this slave people out of Egypt. They had heard the sea had parted before them! Travelers from Egypt told of the destruction and death that the LORD God of Israel had brought on Egypt including the deaths of every firstborn person out of every age group. Others told of the complete annihilation of the inhabitants of Heshbon and Bashan along with their kings, Sihon and Og.
All of Jericho was filled with fear. They depended on the thick, high walls around the city to keep invaders out. But could the walls hold back a people whose God had such power?
Not long after Rahab left the roof, messengers from Jericho’s king arrived and demanded: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.” (Joshua 2:3)
Rahab did not deny they had come into her house; but she sent the city officials chasing after the spies suggesting they had already gone out of the city gates. As soon as the search party went out of the city, the gates were closed. The Israelite spies were now imprisoned behind the walls.
Rahab returned to the roof as soon as she could without revealing the hiding place. She bargained with the spies. She offered to get them out of the city and promised she would not give them up to Jericho’s king. In return she wanted their promise to spare the lives of herself and her whole family.
Rahab had no doubt that she would die along with the rest of the citizens if they refused her offer. “I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.” (Joshua 2:9) “Our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” (Joshua 2:11)*
The spies agreed to spare her and her entire family as long as they remained in Rahab’s house and she left a scarlet cord hanging from her window to mark their location. Rahab lowered a rope from a window and the two spies climbed down and escaped.
She and her family remained safe inside the wall until it fell. They were given a place outside the camp of Israel to live. (Joshua 6:23) They continued to live among the Israelites. (Joshua 6:25)
The writer of Hebrews and the Apostle James honor Rahab as a person with living faith. (Hebrews 11:30-31; James 2:24-26) Every inhabitant of Jericho feared the power of God. But, while the city was preparing to resist God, Rahab surrendered to God, trusting him to save her from death. She had nothing but the word of two spies and the stories of travelers upon which to base her faith. Yet she trusted enough to be “considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction.” (James 2:24-25)
She was as good as dead, but through living
faith---faith that produces action---her life and the lives of her family
[You can read the full story in Joshua chapters 2 and 6.]
For the Scripture References and related
Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study
Guide: By Faith