What’s So Special About Rahab?

Author:  Beverly Hahn
In reading James 2, I came across a mention of Rahab. She is also mentioned in Hebrews 11 for her great faith, so I wondered, “What’s so great about Rahab that she’s mentioned?” Out of all the people James could write about that had great faith and works, why are only Abraham and Rahab mentioned? So I read the story of Rahab in Joshua chapters 2 and 6, wondering what she had faith about or in. Joshua 2:9-11 talks about her knowing the Lord had given the land to the Israelites. She says “we have heard” and goes on to tell about the Israelites former victories and how even the telling of them brought terror to the hearts of the enemy. So, she heard the testimony and believed it.
In Joshua 2:12-13 she doesn’t just want kindness for herself, but for her father, mother, brothers and sisters. I wondered if Rahab was the eldest child in her family, maybe with mom and dad who couldn’t work and she’s just trying to provide for them and her brothers and sisters, doing it the only way she can. Maybe she was caught in the circumstances of being the only one who can bring in the resources to keep the family together by becoming a prostitute. We don’t know from the story, but it’s clear she’s quite concerned about all of them.
Rahab gets the promise from the spies she’s helped that they’ll all be okay if she just lets down the scarlet cord and keeps them all in the house. Then in the taking of Jericho, Rahab watches, just like everyone else in the city. She sees the warriors, the priests and the ark of the covenant parade around the great city six times in silence. But possibly, when everyone else is watching and thinking these Israelites are a little touched, she’s looking and thinking, “Watch for it…watch for it…” She’s seeing it through the eyes of one who believes the testimony. Then it happens, trumpets are blowing, the Israelites are shouting and WHAM! The walls start falling.
Now think of this young girl. There’s dust, there’s screaming, there’s mayhem, and she’s got to keep her family together in the house! They’re all scared and probably crying, wanting to run like everyone else, but Rahab can’t afford to panic! She has to continue to believe the testimony of the Lord. If it isn’t true, they’re all lost. Joshua sends in two men to bring Rahab and her family out of Jericho. And we see later on she dwells in Israel from that time on.
So, she believes that this God is real. He’s done all these terrible things to His enemies, but what’s interesting is, even knowing that doesn’t cause her to think He’s awful and terrible. She sees that He’s good to His own people. Rahab wants IN! Rahab wants a God like this one! She probably had lots of other gods she could choose, but she chose Jehovah because He delivers His people. She doesn’t want to be part of the enemies that get destroyed – He’s the one she believes in and will serve. She believes that He’s the God who delivers out of destruction. What faith she had in a delivering, good God! She believed He was powerful to save her and her family. Oh, she believed Jericho would fall, but what faith she had in the midst of all the falling.
She waited, she kept in peace and she kept her family inside the house while rocks are falling all around her. When everyone else is panicking and running out of their houses, she stayed by the window with that scarlet cord knowing her redemption was near. She knew that the God she had chosen would be their Deliverer.