Joshua 2: 3 Lessons From the Most Famous Prostitute in History

Rahab is easily the most famous prostitute in history.

But she did not gain her fame by the ways we might think. She did not entertain kings or subvert kingdoms with public scandal. She chose a different path, and the world has never been the same. Here are three things we can learn from her story:

1) There is more than one way to change the world.

Who doesn’t think sticking it to the Man isn’t cool?

We often think that history hinges on the people who took public stands against oppression. The people who raised their voices and rallied the masses and built the armies. They made themselves heard and made themselves known.

History celebrates these loud-mouths. And to be fair, they got a lot done.

But Rahab shows us that this is not the only way to change history. Sometimes you speak truth to power. Other times you lie to its face.

These are the “backdoor” ways (to quote a new friend of mine) of influencing. These are the subtle, overlooked, and often forgotten moments that change the world. But make no mistake, Rahab’s fib, just like the ones from the Hebrew midwives, are every bit as important as Joshua’s conquests and Moses’ victories.

2) Ask BIG

Rahab knows the stakes are high. Destruction is nigh. This is not the time to play it safe. So Rahab makes the biggest ask of her life.

The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.’

She wants to ensure the safety of not only herself, but her entire extended family. That’s a tall order. But she makes it. What does she have to lose?


And that is why she asks. She sees an opportunity to save generations of her family line and she takes it, just like Miriam did. I wonder what her family thought of her profession? I wonder what they think now.

3) People Will Rise to the Level You Expect of Them

Look back at that quote.

Do you see what Rahab does? Do you see what she requires of these men?

She tells them to influence the way the entire Israelite army will behave. She calls them to lead.

She also tells them to deal kindly and faithfully with her family and to deliver them from death. Who else do we know that does that kind of thing?

Oh yes, that’s right. God.

That is the kind of stuff God does. He is faithful. He is kind. And he delivers his people from death (more on that in a moment). She Expects these men to act like the God they worship.

She also expects them to treat her like she is one of their people. She is not. But she expects to be treated like one. She calls them to live out the implications of the law they have been given.

As you read Joshua 2, what do you like about Rahab’s story?


4 responses

  1. Rahab is one of the examples given in the Eldrege’s Captivating (I don’t believe the midwives or Miriam were included, but those are great examples) of women who stepped out of their station and were honored by God for it. As a woman I find their examples beautiful and challenging and encouraging.

  2. I like many things: like how she appears to naturally be expecting destruction, and how far she goes to actually put the lives of not only herself, but her family on the line. She’s a risk taker who “puts it all on the line.” What a shame that we are so often the exact opposite. We like to play it safe. But then I think back to Rahab, and she does end up playing it safe anyways, knowing that be asking she would be recieving!

  3. Rahab is the second of the 4 women referred to in Matthew’s genealogy of Christ. ( The first was Tamar in Genesis 38) It is interesting to note the circumstances surrounding the mention of each of these women. Two more to come

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