Saving Rahab the Harlot, and God’s Amazing Grace (Joshua 6)

Scripture reading – Joshua 6

Having crossed the Jordan River, Joshua and the nation of Israel faced the challenge of waging war with the inhabitants of the land God had promised Israel for an inheritance. The first fortified city to conquer was ancient Jericho, whose high walls made it a strong fortress, and a city that had to be conquered before the people could take possession of the land.

Israel was two million strong by some estimates, and the news of how Israel’s God had divided the waters of the Jordan, giving way for the people to cross on dry ground, terrified the kings of the Amorites and Canaanites, and their hearts “melted, neither was there spirit in them any more” (5:1). With an assurance the LORD would be with him (6:13-15), Joshua was ready to face the battles that were ahead.

Preparations for the Battle of Jericho (6:1-5)

Fearing an imminent attack upon the city, the king of Jericho shut the gates to the city, and none were allowed to go out or come in (6:1). Israel’s encampment was surely visible from the towers on the wall, and the campfires of that multitude no doubt dotted the hillsides and the plain of Gilgal as far as the eye could see.

The LORD came to Joshua, and assured him the city, and its leaders were already given into his hand (6:2). The marching orders Joshua received were surely unlike any that an army of warriors had ever received. Rather than a prolonged siege of the city, or an assailing of the walls, Joshua was to command an army to march around the walls in silence.

The Silent Procession, and the Walls Fell Down (6:6-21)

The soldiers of Israel went before seven priests, who carried seven “trumpets of rams’ horns,” followed by priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant (6:3-4). Once a day, for six days a silent procession of warriors, was to go before seven priests bearing trumpets, who walked before the priests carrying the Ark.

Joshua had instructed the people as the LORD had commanded. Rising early on the seventh day, the parade of soldiers and priests once again encircled the walls of Jericho seven times in silence (6:5-12). After the seventh time, the silence was shattered by the priests who blew the trumpets (6:16, 20a). Confident the LORD had given Israel the city as He had promised, the people shouted, and “the wall fell down flat,” allowing the people to rush straight into Jericho (6:20b).

Remember the LORD had accursed all that was in Jericho, save the gold, silver, iron, and brass of the city that the LORD had claimed (6:18-19), and that was to be placed “into the treasury of the house of the LORD” (6:24). All the living beings of the city were to be destroyed, “both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword” (6:21).

Rahab the Harlot: A Testimony of Grace (6:22-25)

Joshua had warned the people that all that was in the city was accursed, with one exception: “only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent” (6:17).

When the walls fell down, the men who had been spies, and found safety in Rahab’s house, were commanded to “Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, [and they] brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel” (6:22-23). The author of Hebrews described that event from the point of faith, writing: “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31).

Rahab the harlot was not spared Jericho’s destruction because she merited God’s favor. She was a had been heathen, a prostitute, and would have been numbered among those whom Israel was to destroy.  Why was she spared?

She believed, and confessed the God of Israel was the True God, and Israel was His people (6:9-12). She had welcomed the spies into her home, and when the army of Israel surrounded the city, she tied a scarlet rope around her window as a symbol of her faith that she and her family would be spared.

Rahab, and God’s Amazing Grace

Rahab’s faith was rewarded by God! Not only was she spared the destruction of Jericho, she would become the mother of Boaz, and was the great-great grandmother of David. How amazing is God’s grace? Rahab is named in the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5).  What a testimony of saving grace! She was spared death, by the same way all who are saved are spared.

Ephesians 2:8–98For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith