Rahab, the mother of Boaz, is mentioned next (v. 5). Rahab’s story might be a little more famous than Tamar’s, but still can be easy to forget. Joshua 2 details Rahab’s loyalty and bravery that ultimately save not only her life but also her entire family.
As with Tamar, to fully understand Rahab’s purpose and significance in God’s plan we need to look at the bigger picture. The Israelites had just crossed the Jordan River, making their way to the Promised Land, but the fortress of Jericho stands in their way. Before setting out to conquer it, Joshua sends two spies to scout the land.
Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute living in Jericho, has two strangers visit her establishment. Realizing they are spies, she knows an attack on Jericho is imminent. When the king hears of two strangers visiting, he sends his men to Rahab, asking her to turn the Israelite spies over to them. Hiding the men on her roof under stalks of flax, she tells the king’s soldiers the Israelites were there and left, claiming she didn’t know who they were. The soldiers search her home but don’t find the men.
The daughter of the King
After the king’s men leave to pursue the spies, Rahab tells the Israelites, “I know that the LORD has given you the land” (Josh. 2:9). She goes into detail about the stories she has heard about God and the miracles He performed for His people. She admits Jericho has been afraid of the Israelites and their God since word reached them of their escape from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea.
Before helping the men escape out her window, Rahab asks that they promise her safety because she rescued them. The spies declare, “When we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down” and anyone in the house will be saved (Josh. 2:18–21). The scarlet cord is a sign of God’s protection, similar to the lamb’s blood the Israelites used in Egypt to escape the final plague. And true to their word, Rahab and her family are spared during the siege of Jericho.
Joshua 6:25 tells how Rahab “has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” Because of her faithfulness and loyalty to Israel, God blesses Rahab. He goes beyond saving her and her family — He makes her a mother in the lineage of David through her son Boaz.
Rahab seems to be the epitome of a sinful woman, a pagan prostitute in a city condemned by God. By the world’s standards, she is dirty and unclean, but in God’s eyes she is wiped clean, forgiven. She’s no longer Rahab the prostitute — she’s Rahab the daughter of the King.
Don’t miss the first two parts of this series: introduction and Tamar.