Scripture tells us without explanation that the spies went to Rahab’s house. She is identified not only by her name, but also by her reputation because she is referred to as a harlot.
Possibly she was known as a harlot because of her former life. Perhaps she had reformed and became an innkeeper, but to the community she would always be known as a harlot.
Whatever the case, God led the spies to Rahab and her house because it was there they would find safety. In any other house in Jericho and under the care of any other person, the two spies would never have escaped the city.
Jericho’s king, knowing Israel was just on the other side of the Jordan and believing spies were in Rahab’s house, demanded that she turn over the men to him.
Rahab hid the men on her roof and told the king she had seen them, but without realizing they were spies. At dark, when the city’s gates were closed, Rahab said she had seen the men slip out of Jericho.
Should there still be doubt that God prepared this woman to receive the spies, we are given her words of acceptance of the men: “I know that the Lord hath given you the land.”
Moreover, Rahab gave encouraging words for the spies to take back to Joshua by telling them, “all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.” Most importantly for Rahab, she confessed her faith in God.
Finally, she showed firm conviction that God would give victory to Israel when she asked for protection for her family and herself when the time would come for Israel’s invasion of Jericho.
The promise was kept, and Joshua made sure Rahab and her family were protected.
What makes Rahab a special person? Her name is found in our Savior’s family tree, and surely that makes her distinct, but this woman with a past is cited elsewhere as an example of a genuine believer.
In the book of Hebrews we are told she did not die at Jericho because of her faith, and in the book of James we are told Rahab showed her faith by her works. May we all demonstrate faith in the Lord Jesus by our good works.
— The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church, Lumberton, N.C. firstname.lastname@example.org.