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14. Joshua 2: “The Story of Rahab as a ‘Real-Life’ Parable”

Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening Service on 11/17/2011

(edited August 2019)


God had called Moses to lead His People out of slavery in Egypt across the Red Sea.


Now, in this passage from the Scriptures, the Lord is calling Joshua to lead His people on into the Promised Land. But they would have to deal with hostile forces, starting at the city of Jericho.


Verses 1-24: “And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.  And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.  But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.

“And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.  For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token:  And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.  Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee. And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.  And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window. And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not.  

“So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them: And they said unto Joshua, Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.”


That is a large portion of Rahab’s story, at face value, directly from the Book of Joshua. She is an amazing person, don’t you think? How could her society relegate her to prostitution? NO ONE should have to live at that level, ever.


God saw much more in her. In the end we are not what others think we should be, or even what we think of ourselves. It is what God thinks of us that matters most (or should matter most!). And the Lord has placed Rahab right in the middle of His plans for Israel and ultimately for the whole world.


Tonight, I want to view all this as a kind of parable for our day. Remember, though a parable is usually the longer way to present a teaching, the purpose is to make something difficult easier to grasp by comparing it to something that is more familiar. In a parable, people and things often become representative of the people and concepts that are being taught.


Here are the comparisons that I meditated on this week while studying this passage:






The spies witnessed to Rahab about a conqueror to come.

All believers are “under orders” to witness in our world about the Triumphant return of Christ.


Joshua’s name translates, literally, to “Jesus.”

That is exactly who Joshua represents. Jesus is leading us today to our “Promised Land” of Heaven.


Rahab’s name means “arrogant.”

Initially Rahab represents us in our unsaved and sinful state. Rahab was grossly “underemployed” as a harlot. So all of us must forsake sin and self by allowing Christ into our hearts. Only then can we discover the full potential God has in store for each of our lives.


Jericho was blocking the progress of God’s People.

This represents our entire world system today and the spiritual warfare we all must face daily.


Rahab had to choose what side she was going to be on.

Like her, our lives depend on whether we choose to receive or refuse Christ.


Rahab believed what she was told and entered into a covenant with the spies.

Believers enter into a covenant with God by believing the Gospel, today. The Cross is our scarlet thread. That being the color of the blood of our Savior.


During the battle Rahab had to “remain in the house” to survive.

Salvation, God’s Word, and obedience through faith offer us protection as spiritual battles rage around us.


Was Rahab actually accepted by the Lord and the Children of Israel?

The answer is a resounding YES. And not as a harlot, or a slave. Like all believers today, Rahab became a treasured member of God’s Family!


The New Testament reveals the glorious changes that faith brought to Rahab’s life. I don’t believe she was ever underemployed or undervalued again. Matthew 1:5 and Luke 3:32 reveal that she became the great, great-grandmother of King David. That’s right, she went on to be positioned squarely in the lineage of Jesus Christ!


That would be more than enough honor for anyone, right? But there’s more.  She is also listed as a “Hero of the Faith” in the 11th chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews. And just look at the company she is placed along side of there. This was her true destiny.  And just like her, it is our faith in God that can overcome those obstacles that seem to shut us out from our finest destiny. I hope you are inspired, as I have been this week, by the final outcome this wonderful, faithful woman had. Read it for yourself:


Hebrews 11:24-32

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;  Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets…”