2 Spies & a Harlot


Moving on with our exploration of Joshua, we read in Chapter 2 about the two “spies” sent into the land of Canaan, specifically into the city of Jericho, and there, within its walls was a thread of destiny cast toward the future…

There they logged in the house of a woman named Rahab. Traditionally Rahab has been labeled as a harlot, but I would like to mention, at least in passing, that this may simply be a mistranslation and that she may in fact have simply been an inn-keeper.¹ The linguistics behind the difference in these two professions is fuzzy at best, and also she is not described in any way that would seem to indicate such an ill-reputed profession. In any event, it was worth mentioning.

Ultimately, word gets to the king of Jericho that these two Israelite spies have entered the land, and have come unto Rahab to lodge in her inn. Know this, he sent his people to Rahab to gather these spies, but Rahab (a woman convinced by what she had heard that the Lord was the one and true God) covered for them, misdirecting their would-be captors off on a false lead. In return for her actions, she and the spies made a pact, whereby she and her family would be spared alone out of Jericho. Hebrews 11:31 speaks volumes of Rahab’s purity of faith, saying “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” Oh how we all should believe on the Lord so freely, taking Him at His word, and trusting in His faithfulness to us!

To signify to the Israelite warriors which house was to be spared, she was to hang a scarlet thread or cord from the window.


Amazingly, this thread figuratively stretched all the way to Bethlehem, many generations later, as she, Rahab the harlot, saved by her faith in God, was a direct ancestor of our Lord Jesus Christ! She came to be the mother of Boaz, who in the book of Ruth, takes a gentile bride, thereby establishing a theme that will carry on until the end of eternity, whereby our own Redeemer will take for Himself a gentile bride (i.e. the church).


  1. Rahab the Harlot,” Robin Ngo , biblicalarchaeology.org, 01/09/2016


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