Joshua 2, Rahab the Harlot

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I hope you are ready to eat this morning. This story of the two spies and Rahab the Harlot is so full of biblical imagery and we will see the gospel every where we look. Remember, the study in Joshua is type or picture of the spirit filled life, full of boldness and strength, empowered by God to possess the land he has promised us.
So to begin let’s read the chapter in its entirety but as we read let’s look for numbers and symbols and theme that sound familiar. Also, lets’ ask some questions and we answer them later.
Read 2:1 -24
What are some of the things that jump out at you?
2 spies, 3 days, why Jericho?, Was Rahab really a harlot?, Why go to a harlots house?, What was the 2 spies mission & were they successful, What is flax?, Is it ok to lie? Why a scarlet cord?

Vs 1 Joshua sends 2 spies,

there are many instance of 2 being sent out. witness, 2 angels and Jesus(Christophany) meet with Abraham, Jesus send his disciples out 2 by 2, Moses and Elijah meet with Jesus on the Mt of Transfiguration.
What was there stated mission.
Why was Joshua so interested in Jericho?
Remember, Joshua was one of the original 12 spies 40 years earlier but only he and Caleb were left. They had faith.
Perhaps he sent the secretly as he felt 2 was enough and wanted to avoid issues that arose previously.
He probably noticed it when he was a spy and new it was a stronghold.
I believe the main reason was God needed to save someone before he took the city.

Vs 1b, Rahab the Harlot

Was Rahab really a prostitute (Harlot)? There is some controversy about this. I was doing a word study and the Hebrew word for “harlot” is “zanah” and can mean : woman, wife, female animal, prostitute, harlot. Some have conjectured that she was an inn keeper and not a harlot at all. However, when you look at the new testament references the word for prostitute in greek “porne” is unambiguously used.


So to begin let’s read the chapter in its entirety but as we read let’s look for numbers and symbols and theme that sound familiar. Also, lets’ ask some questions and we answer them later.

This begs the question why go to brothel for lodging? The answer may be anonymity. The needed to go to a place were opposite of the TV Show Cheers theme song, nobody knows your name or asks.

Read 2:1 -24

What are some of the things that jump out at you?

Vs 2 -3 The king of Jericho finds out and confronts Rahab.

2 spies, 3 days, why Jericho?, Was Rahab really a harlot?, Why go to a harlots house?, What was the 2 spies mission & were they successful, What is flax?, Is it ok to lie?

This reminds me of the song “Bad Boys, Bad Boys” what you gonna do when they come for you? I like to use the analogy of a cup holding a liquid, you wont know whats in it until it is upset. its easy to be a christian when things are good. But what happens when the pressure gets put on. Will you pass the test? See In short faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone.

Vs 4 -6 Rehabs tall tale

There is a technical term for what is happening here, she is lying.
So does that mean that it is ok to lie? There are other examples of this, i.e. Hebrew midwives in , David in regarding the Showbread.
How are we to reconcile this? First, we know that “bearing false witness - lying is prohibited by the ninth commandment.
Next, God in no way is endorses this: David Guzic; says: Rahab's lie is not justified, but it does show courage.  Consider that she was a pagan sinner in a city and culture wholly given over to the worship of false gods and immorality, with no previous contact with the word of God or the things of God.  What is your excuse?
She hides the men under the stalks of Flax drying on her roof. But there is more to flax than is apparent on a quick reading.

FLAX (פֵּשֶׁת, pesheth). A plant whose stalk and fibers were used for spinning (Hos 2:5–9; Prov 31:13), producing rope (Judg 15:14), and creating garments of linen (Deut 22:11; Jer 13:1; Ezek 44:17). For more information on uses of flax, see these articles: Spinning; Weaving; Clothing

See Linen represents..Righteous acts of the saints = faith in Christ. So in essence the spies are covered by Jesus Christ as are the priests in the temple. forbade the mingling of wool with linen. Why? Wool symbolic of works (sweat) and Linen symbolic of God’s Grace. But we are not done with Flax.

Vs 8 -14 Rahab’s confession of faith

Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart..
This is Rahab’s moment of salvation. Notice she says V9“I know..v11 ..for your LORD(YHVH) is God, He is God in heaven and on the earth beneath.” She didn’t say He could or might be but He is! Job said “I know that my Redeemer lives..” Do you know our God is God? Be sure. Paul said, “I know Him in whom I have believed..”See
Note: Did you know that sometimes your enemies and the people around you see what God is doing in your life more than you do. Rahab recounts the victories of Israel and says they were common knowledge. How long ago had those things happened? 40 years.
In this section we see the words, Kindness and Kindly. The Hebrew word her is “khesed”. Has the meaning of “loyal love, loving kindness, goodness. , God is abundant in goodness “hesed” and keeps mercy (hesed). Aren’t you glad God loyal and merciful keeping His promises to us.

Vs 15 -21 The scarlet cord

So Rahab let them down through a window using a scarlet rope. Note her house is on the wall of Jericho. Where is probably the most dangerous place to be in Jericho, and where is the safest place to be in Jericho? On the wall in Rehabs home.
Factoid- harlots painted their window sill red. i.e. red light district.
Why a scarlet cord as opposed to a green or yellow one? The word for the color scarlet and how the color is made paint an interesting picture. Hebrew “shaw-ne” translated as scarlet or crimson. Which is the color of what? Blood. The dye color is made from the died body of the “coccus ilicis” worm. It get more interesting when you learn about the “coccus” worm’s life cycle. Go to This Psalm is prophetic and speaks of Jesus’s crucifixion. The worm in vs 6 is Hebrew “Towleah”
"When the female of the scarlet worm species was ready to give birth to her young, she would attach her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she would never leave again. The eggs deposited beneath her body were thus protected until the larvae were hatched and able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother died, the crimson fluid stained her body and the surrounding wood. From the dead bodies of such female scarlet worms, the commercial scarlet dyes of antiquity were extracted. What a picture this gives of Christ, dying on the tree, shedding his precious blood that he might 'bring many sons unto glory' (Hbr 2:10)! He died for us, that we might live through him! describes such a worm and gives us this picture of Christ. (cf. )" (Henry Morris. Biblical Basis for Modern Science, Baker Book House, 1985, p. 73)
The Scarlet cord was hung out of the window and left there as a sign that those in that home are covered under the covenant with the spies. Notice though that when the Scarlet Cord crosses the red window sill it forms a cross. What a picture. Additionally the Rope or cord was made of “flax” so in a sense the same salvation that protected the spies on the roof also covered the sinner’s (harlots) home.
The cross was also symbolized in the passover, blood on the lentils and the door posts, and in the camp of Israel in Numbers.
Note: Only those that at are in the house will be saved, just like Noah’s Ark or at the time of the Passover. There is no Salvation outside of Jesus Christ. See
A Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name given under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
among men by which we must be saved.”
vs17 “oath” is “sev-u-a” and means oath or curse. So when you give your word you are calling a curse upon your self if you do not perform it.

Vs 22 - 24 “3 days”

The term 3 days is significant in the bible as well. Jonah in the belly of the fish, Jesus in the grave, and the in Revelation the 2 witnesses. The book of Joshua has many parallels to Revelation. See there the two witnesses are killed and lie dead in the street for 3 and half days and then are resurrected on live TV. After which destruction follows. Here the spies disappear for three days but reappear in a few day s to destroy Jericho.

Final note

What was the spies mission? How much intelligence did they bring back to Joshua? None really, they went to save someone. You see their job was to be a spy but what they were was witnesses for God. You might be a teacher or contractor or salesman but your real job is to a witness of Jesus Christ.
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Rahab, let’s compare our view. What do we know about her? Sinner, harlot, liar. We seem as humans to focus on the bad. But how does God see Rahab?
 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[fn] And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
Listed next to Abraham and in the “hall of Faith”.
Lastly she is most honored as she is in the line of David and Jesus.
 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. 4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king.
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