Perhaps she was bored. Perhaps she wanted out from the confines of her parents‘ house. Perhaps she had been “soiled” by an over-arduous suitor. We don’t know. What we do know is that she was a harlot, a prostitute, a used woman – in today’s language, a whore. And her name was Rahab. Rahab must have been quite sought after, for she owned her own house. Conceivably it had been purchased for her by one of her customers. It was strategically built into the town wall of Jericho. She had the perfect view, and so did the men who desired her. She was beautiful, with long, dark, flowing hair, and eyes that glistened with unspoken invitations. Her clothing was provocative, yet she held herself as if she had no shame.
It was a sultry day. Rahab was most likely sitting on the rooftop, perusing potential customers, her raven black hair unbound.. With her red lips and kohl lined eyes she stood out as the person she was – a harlot.. Underneath her cool demeanor, there was a restlessness. She had heard rumors, from her prominent customers, that Jericho would soon be attacked. Maybe those thoughts led her to be more watchful as she peered down upon people entering the gate to the city.
Suddenly her eyes rested on two men, obviously foreigners from their appearance. Something clicked in her mind. She remembered the talk, every word. Oh those silly men, thinking women were beneath them, thinking that she would not understand the dangers, thinking she knew nothing about this God of the Israelites. But she remembered every word, and as she saw the two men, her heart began to pound. Suddenly she knew that she must protect them, but how? And why did she even care? Maybe this God was real, and if so, could change her life.
Rahab flew down the steps to her door, just as the two men were passing by. Giving her best seductive look (for she knew she was being watched), she invited the two men into her home. They were appalled! They knew who, no what, she was. Rahab swept between them, grabbing an arm with each hand.
“Quickly,” she whispered, “You are in danger. Let me help you.”
Rahab was correct; the spies were in danger. So she did what any self-respecting prostitute of the day would do. She hid them and lied about it, and by doing so, saved their lives. Fast forward a few days, and Rahab and her family were rescued through a deal made with the spies. In fact, Rahab, the prostitute joined the Israelites. Can you imagine the whispers around the cooking fires? I wonder how many wives watched their husbands just a bit more closely.
For you see, we tend to look at the outward appearance. We judge by what we can see with our eyes. Rahab was most probably ostracized by the women, but she remained faithful to God. He had saved her – literally – and she had no desire to return to her former life.
I love a good story with a happy ending, and Rahab’s story is one of the best. She ended up marrying one of the spies, and had a son named Boaz. But the most remarkable part of Rahab’s life is that she – a common whore – is listed in the genealogy of Jesus.
You see, God doesn’t look at your outward appearance. He doesn’t look at your profession. He doesn’t see your imperfections, your failures. God sees your heart. He sees what you can be, through Him. God used Rahab, a used woman, to be an earthly ancestor to Jesus. If He can do that for her, how can He use you?