The Book of Joshua, chapter two. The Spying of Jericho and the Heroism of Rahab the Whore.
The Book of Joshua, ch2, Joshua sent two men to cross the Jordan and spy out the Land. They came to Jericho and entered the house of Rahab who was the owner of a lodging house as well as being a prostitute. Rahab hid the spies on the roof under flax branches. Rahab informed the spies that the fear of the God of Israel and of the Israelites was on all the inhabitants of Canaan which would be easy to conquer. Rahab then let the spies down over the wall by a rope.
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with Yair Davidiy
[Joshua 2:1] 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.
The woman owned a kind of inn. In those days lodging houses were frequently owned by prostitutes. A prostitute could also have access to information that other people would not have. The chances of suspicion were also lessened since it is not unusual for strange men to visit such women.
The Midrash Sifrei points out that it says later, FOR HER HOUSE WAS UPON THE TOWN WALL, AND SHE DWELT UPON THE WALL (2:15). She dwelt on the outskirts in a dwelling that linked the city with the region around it, convenient for "business".. Outsiders apparently seeking available female company would not usually have aroused undue suspicion. Even so the presence of the spies was discovered.
[Joshua 2:2] 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.
Somebody saw them and recognized them for who they were.
[Joshua 2:3] 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.
[Joshua 2:4] 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:
[Joshua 2:5] 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.
[Joshua 2:6] 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.
[Joshua 2:7] 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.
[Joshua 2:8] AND BEFORE THEY WERE LAID DOWN, SHE CAME UP UNTO THEM UPON THE ROOF;
[Joshua 2:9] 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.
The Commentators suggest that she had noticed diminished vigor amongst her visitors. It has been noted amongst primitive peoples in transition to another society where the male image is impaired that sexual vigor diminishes. Amongst primitive peoples this is immediately measurable but it also is applicable to all of us. Wives should be careful not to offend the masculine self-image of their menfolk. A famous (and brilliantly inspired, I saw him play once) football player in Israel once observed that he could tell which of the married players on his team were hen-picked and which were not. Also the feminization of society such as women fulfilling combat roles in the Army etc affects the functioning of males. It is not that the women cannot do it. They can. It is something else. Live and let live. Otherwise, in the end everyone suffers.
[Joshua 2:10] 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.
[Joshua 2:11] 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.
She acknowledged the God of Israel. According to tradition Rahab returned and repented. She was the ancestress of Jeremiah the prophet. She had not necessarily entered the profession of her own free will in the first place. According to reports a lot of prostitutes are forced into the business and the authorities do not really protect them or even want to. Maybe the society she was part of had made her what she was and her way of redemption was to join the destroyers of that society in a good sense? Maybe she had seen so much that she knew true goodness when she finally met up with it?
A large proportion of prostitutes were the victims of incestuous exploitation in their childhood. One sin leads to another. On the other hand one good deed also leads to another and good deeds are far more effectual. The bottom line is that whatever we do we do to ourselves.
[Joshua 2:12] 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:
[Joshua 2:13] 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.
She was concerned for her family. Some have suggested that she was not a native Canaanite but belonged to a family of sojourners.
[Joshua 2:14] 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.
[Joshua 2:15] 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.
[Joshua 2:16] 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.
According to tradition Rahab had been forced into prostitution by her own people at the age of ten. For forty years she worked in the "profession". When the spies arrived the spirit of prophecy came over her. She assisted them, saved herself and her family, converted and became an Israelite and married a Prince of Israel and bore children. Eight prophets and one prophetess of Israel were descended from this woman.
[Joshua 2:17] AND THE MEN SAID UNTO HER, WE WILL BE BLAMELESS OF THIS THINE OATH WHICH THOU HAST MADE US SWEAR.
[Joshua 2:18] 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.
LINE OF SCARLET THREAD -symbol of royalty?
[Joshua 2:19] AND IT SHALL BE, THAT WHOSOEVER SHALL GO OUT OF THE DOORS OF THY HOUSE INTOÂ 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 UPONÂ HIM.
[Joshua 2:20] AND IF THOU UTTER THIS OUR BUSINESS, THEN WE WILL BE QUIT OF THINE OATH WHICH THOU HAST MADE US TO SWEAR.
[Joshua 2:21] 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.
[Joshua 2:22] 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.
[Joshua 2:23] 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:
[Joshua 2:24] 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.
If we do the will of God the enemy will faint away before us.
See Also: Rahab.The Repentant Hooker