Rahab lived in Jericho, but she feared the God of Israel. She protected the Israelite spies and asked them to remember and protect her family.
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God led Israel around in the wilderness for 40 years. During that time, the generation that had disobeyed God after leaving Egypt died.
As He led the people near the Jordan River, God called Moses, their leader, up to the top of Mount Nebo, just across from Jericho. Even though God had told Moses he would not be able to cross the Jordan and enter the land, God took him to a place where he could look across the river and see the Promised Land before he died.
So Moses died there. He was 120 years old. God chose Joshua to be Israel’s new leader. God wanted him to go into the Promised Land and take over the cities.
Jericho was the first city in their path. It was a well-fortified city with large walls around it.
Joshua sends spies to Jericho
Joshua sent two men to search out the land, especially Jericho. They came to the house of Rahab and stayed there. (Rahab was not living the right way at this time, but God was planning to use her for a special purpose.)
Someone in Jericho noticed the spies. The king was told, “Men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” So the king of Jericho sent his servants to Rahab. They told her, “Bring out the men who came to your house. They are spies!”
Rahab hides the spies
Rahab had taken the two men up on the roof and hidden them under some stalks of flax. She told the king’s men, “Yes, the men came to me. I didn’t know where they were from. They left when it was dark. I don’t know where they went, but if you hurry, you may catch them.”
The king’s men left to try to find the two spies.
What Rahab said was not true. It seems she did not understand God’s law about not lying then.
Rahab went up to the roof to talk with the two men. She told them that Jericho’s people had heard about Israel. They heard how God had delivered His people from Egypt and dried up the Red Sea so Israel could cross over.
She said, “I know that your God is God in heaven and on earth. I beg you, since I have shown you kindness, that you also show kindness to me and my family. Spare my parents, my brothers and sisters, and all that they have. Don’t let us die!”
The men told her that if she and her family kept this secret, they would be spared. They would be treated kindly and fairly.
Escaping through the window
Rahab’s house had been built on the wall of the city. So Rahab let down a rope through the window. The spies climbed down and were able to escape. The men told Rahab to hang a scarlet cord in the window so they would know which house was hers. They said, “Bring your family into your home.”
The men then said, “If you tell anyone about us, our agreement will be ended.” She agreed. She sent them away and left the scarlet cord in the window.
The spies escaped from the city. They hid in the mountains for three days until the king’s men quit looking for them. Then they returned to Joshua and told him all that had happened to them. They said, “God has delivered all the land into our hands. The people are afraid because of us.”
God stopped the Jordan River so that Joshua could lead Israel across—on dry land! This miracle was like when God led Israel across the Red Sea on dry land.
God delivered Jericho into Israel’s hands as He had promised. (The rest of this story continues in the Bible story “Joshua at Jericho: The Walls Fall Down.”)
Joshua remembered the promise to Rahab. He sent the two spies to her house and brought her and her family safely out of Jericho.
Rahab was allowed to live peacefully in Israel the rest of her life because she protected the spies. She helped Israel come into the Promised Land.
Later Rahab married a man named Salmon. They had a son named Boaz, who married Ruth. Boaz and Ruth had a son named Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David. This lineage continues down to the birth of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-16).
Rahab is mentioned in the Faith Chapter as being a woman of faith (Hebrews 11:31). Rahab is a good example of a woman who changed. She saw the many works of God and chose to trust God. As she learned His laws, she learned to obey God too.
Here are some questions to think about or talk about as a family:
- Who became the leader of Israel after Moses died?
- How many spies did Joshua send to Jericho?
- Whose house did the spies go to in Jericho?
- What did the woman do when the king’s men came looking for the spies? Did she know all of God’s laws then?
- How did the men escape from her house?
- What did the spies tell the woman to hang in her window so that she would be spared when Israel’s armies came to Jericho?
- Were Rahab and her family protected when the walls fell down?
- Did Rahab believe that God would save her and her family? Did she learn God’s laws and learn to obey?
Read more about Rahab in Joshua 2 and 6:22-25 and see the rest of the story in the Bible story “Joshua at Jericho: The Walls Fall Down.”