Years ago, during my theology studies in college, I was intrigued by the narrative of Rahab as told in the Bible. The fascinating story of a prostitute who finds redemption and God’s grace sounded too good to be true, so I researched the subject. I interviewed several college professors and local clergy as part of my research. I gained insightful information during these interviews, from which I drew informed conclusions. Recently, in a class in the local community college where I teach theology, there was a heated debate about how everyone thought about the story of Rahab. As the lecturer, it was up to me to settle the debate. Equipped with the conclusions I had reached from the earlier research on the topic during my college days, I was better placed to give the class my educated opinion. So, who was Rahab, and how many times is Rahab mentioned in the Bible?
According to the Bible (New King James Version), twelve (12) verses directly mention the word Rahab, and two (2) other verses imply Rahab, making the number of times the term Rahab is mentioned or implied in the Bible to be fourteen (14). But out of these verses, the best description of Rahab – the prostitute -how she helped the Israelites and how her family was saved is best captured in the book of Joshua.
I invite you to join me as I discuss who Rahab was, why her story is important, where she is mentioned in the Bible, and more. Keep reading for more information.
The Bible, in Joshua 2:1, says that Rahab was a prostitute who hid the spies sent by Joshua into Jericho for a spying mission. She saved the spies from the king and enabled Joshua to conquer Jericho (Joshua 2:4-6). She was later spared when the city was destroyed (Joshua 6:17) to repay her kindness. She was related to King David (Matthew 1:5), therefore, a distant relative of Jesus Christ (because Jesus is a descendant of David, as mentioned in Matthew 1:6-17).
The term Rahab is mentioned in twelve verses by name in the Bible. These are Hebrews 11:31, Isaiah 51:9, Isaiah 30:7, James 2:25, Joshua 2:1, Joshua 2:3, Joshua 6:17, Joshua 6:23, Joshua 6:25, Matthew 1:5, Psalm 87:4, and Psalm 89:10. Note that there are two additional verses in Job 9:13 and 26:12 in which some Bible translations (like the American Standard Version, ASV) have translated some words to mean Rahab.
It is also important to note that the “Rahab” that appears or is implied in Isaiah 51:9, Isaiah 30:7, Psalm 89:10, Job 9:13, and Job 26:12 is not the name of a person (the prostitute in Joshua), but it means a monster of the sea.
The story of Rahab in the Bible can be split into two parts, Rahab the Prostitute (as told in Joshua) and Rahab the monster (as told in Isaiah).
The Bible says that Rahab knew that the God of the Israelites was the Real God (Joshua 2:11). She had heard about His mighty deeds, so she trusted whatever the Israelites were doing.
The Bible also tells us that Rahab hid the Israelite spies in defiance of her king. She told lies that saved the Israelites and their spying mission (Joshua 2:3-6). In a way, this action by Rahab shows that she helped the Israelites defeat Jericho.
It is also seen in the Bible that Rahab saved herself and her family by choosing the side of the Israelites. When Jericho was conquered, only she and her family escaped death (Joshua 6:17).
The Rahab mentioned in Isaiah and implied in Job posits a sea monster that was slain by God (Isaiah 30:17). Religious scholars suggest that this symbolizes how God delivered the Israelites from Egypt.
Rahab, the prostitute in the Bible, is important because:
- It shows that there is hope for the sinners. Rahab was a prostitute who was brought into the service of God by her Faith and trust in Him.
- God delivers on His promises. As the spies had promised, Rahab and her family were spared from death.
- God can raise the lowliest in society into essential people. Prostitutes were despised during the time of Rahab, but through her ancestry, Jesus was born.
Rahab, the monster, serves as a symbol that God can overcome anything. God delivered the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land.
The following are the Bible verses about Rahab, the prostitute.
- Hebrews 11:31 tells us that Rahab was saved from death.
- James 2:25 says that Rahab was part of God’s plan.
- Joshua 2:1, where Joshua sends the spies to Jericho, and they stay in Rahab’s house.
- Joshua 2:3, where the king tells Rahab to give away the men who came to her house.
- Joshua 6:17 tells us that the city will be destroyed and only Rahab will be saved.
- Joshua 6:23 shows us how Rahab and her relatives were saved.
- Joshua 6:25 tells us Joshua spared Rahab, her family, and all they owned.
- Matthew 1:5 tells us how Rahab was the great-grandmother of Jesse, David’s father.
- Psalm 87:4 tells us how Rahab and Babylon will be known.
The following are the verses about Rahab the monster.
- Psalm 89:10 tells us how Rahab was broken into pieces.
- Isaiah 30:7 tell us how Egyopt will be renamed Rahab.
- Isaiah 51:9 tells us to trust the Lord, who cut Rahab into pieces.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.