The Gospel in Joshua… The Story of Rahab

It’s not what you know but who you know that matters.

The similarities between the Books of Joshua and Revelation are striking. In fact some call Joshua a model for Revelation, especially where it describes the battle of Beth Horon in chapter 10. The Israelites were confronted by a coalition of 5 Amorite kings led by someone who called himself Adoni-zedek, or Lord of Righteousness (a model of the anti-christ?). There were signs in the sun and moon as in Rev. 6:12, 8:12, and 16:8-11, and large hailstones fell from the sky as in Rev. 8:7 and 16:21. The 5 Amorite kings hid in caves for fear of the Israelites just as in Rev 6:15 the kings of the earth will hide in caves for fear of the wrath of the Lamb. At the end of Joshua, the land is dispossessed of its usurpers, at the end of Revelation the earth is dispossessed of its usurpers and as I indicated last time, the name Joshua is derived from the same Hebrew root as Yeshua, the Hebrew name for Jesus. But to me the most dramatic similarity is hidden in the story of Rahab. Hence the title of this article.

The Gospel in Joshua

As the Israelites gathered along the east bank of the flooded and swollen Jordan, they were closely watched by the people of Jericho, only a few hundred yards from the river’s western shore. They had heard how the Lord had parted the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape the Egyptian army, and how He had helped them to utterly defeat the 2 Amorite kings east of the Jordan. In Rahab’s own words, “When we heard of it our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and earth below.” (Josh 2:11). Then the people of Jericho stood aghast as the God of Israel stopped the flow of the raging river, allowing them to cross on dry ground.

When Joshua sent 2 spies into Jericho they found their way to Rahab’s home and sought refuge there, which she granted in return for their guarantee of safety for her and her family. They agreed and told her that if she marked her home with a scarlet cord, she and anyone in the house with her would be spared in the coming battle (Josh 2:12-21). On the day of battle the city was captured and everyone within its walls died, except for Rahab and her family. She had gathered her family in her home and marked it with the scarlet cord as they had agreed. Before burning the city to the ground, Joshua had the 2 spies go to Rahab’s home and bring her and all her family out to dwell among the Israelites. (Josh 6:22-25). By the way, can you picture this? Her house was built into the city wall, which of course came tumbling down at the shout of the Israelite army. Of all the massive stone work protecting the city of Jericho, only that portion containing the home of Rahab was left standing. What a witness to the power of God, who “knows how to rescue Godly men from trials, and to hold the unrighteous for the Day of Judgment while continuing their punishment” (2 Peter 2:9). (See also 1 Thes. 1:10)

By Grace We Are Saved, Through Faith

The name Rahab means proud, but among the people of Jericho, all of whom knew of the God of Israel, only Rahab humbled herself before the 2 spies and confessed Him as “God in Heaven above and Earth below.” And speaking of the spies, what about them? Except for reporting that all the people of Jericho were scared to death did the spies bring Joshua any intelligence that helped develop the battle plan? No, the Lord had already determined the battle plan and they contributed nothing to it (Josh 6:2-5). So what was their true purpose in His plan? Seems like they were really 2 witnesses sent to hear Rahab’s confession, save her from destruction, and give her a place among the Lord’s people.

From that time on, Rahab dwelt with the Israelites. She married a man from the tribe of Judah named Salmon and had a son whom they named Boaz. Boaz took a gentile bride from Moab named Ruth and they had a son named Obed, who had a son named Jesse who had a son named David who became King of Israel (Ruth 4:13-22). And 26 generations later, two distant cousins who were both descendants of King David (and therefore of Rahab and Salmon) married and became the earthly parents of our Lord Jesus. And so when you read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew, you’ll find Rahab listed there (Matt 1:5).

It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know That Matters

Everyone in Jericho had heard about the God of Israel and all but Rahab were destroyed on the day of battle. Rahab’s faith saved her. When she believed in her heart that only One Who is God in Heaven above and Earth below could have done the things she had heard about, He went to great lengths to reveal Himself to her, sending 2 witnesses to testify of His power and love. Immediately after confessing Him as God, she was marked with a sign that guaranteed her security (Ephe. 1:13-14), called out from all the others in Jericho (Rom. 8:29-30), hidden on the day of battle (Isa. 26:20-21 & Rev. 3:10), and brought alive into the family of the Redeemer (1 Thes. 4:16-17). Just like you and me.

And now you know the adult version.