When Rahab came back from the kitchen, she saw that the inn was brimming with patrons. It was a busy night, and between the full moon and the new wine, the crowd was getting rambunctious. But that was to be expected from the clientele that came to Rahab’s. For hers was a house of ill repute, and the men that frequented the inn weren’t exactly looking for a quiet evening.
Rahab went table to table, making the rounds. And it was when she was refilling the empty glass of a wealthy garment trader, that she saw the two strangers slip through the door, seemingly unnoticed. Even from across the room she could feel their nervousness as they hid in the shadows. Casually Rahab approached the men, trying not to arouse suspicion. And as she got nearer she recognized the manner of their clothing, and immediately knew the men were from Israel.
Rahab had heard the stories about these people called Israel, and their mighty God. The God who had delivered His people out of Egypt and who went before them, conquering lands and destroying kings. And right then and there, Rahab had a choice to make. For surely these men were spies, which meant war was coming to the city. Would she put her faith in Jericho’s army, or in the God that had brought these two men to her doorstep? With a slight nod of her head, Rahab motioned for the men to follow her upstairs.
As they reached the roof, Rahab pulled away a few stalks of flax, making room for the men to hide underneath. And before covering them up she said, “I’ve heard of the great miracles performed by your God, and the mighty kingdoms He brought low. I can only guess that Jericho is next. Who can stand against the Lord your God? For He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. So when you return to your people, remember me before your Lord. And promise me you’ll spare my family when you take the city.”
Somewhat shocked yet pleased by the faith of this pagan woman the men answered “It will be our lives for yours if we don’t deal with you kindly and faithfully.” And with that Rehab left to return to her duties at hand. And no sooner had she returned downstairs, when messengers of the king bolted through the door. The Israeli spies had been spotted and seen entering the inn. Coming up to Rahab, the messengers demanded answers.
She should have been frightened. Lying to the king meant certain death. But for a reason she didn’t yet understand, Rahab wasn’t afraid. She answered the men saying, “Yes I saw who you’re looking for. They left through the gate shortly before dark. Leave now and you’re sure to catch them!” Then as quickly as they entered, the king’s messenger left in pursuit of the Jewish strangers.
Running back upstairs, Rahab got the men and lowered a scarlet rope over the city wall for the two to escape. They instructed her to keep the rope tied in the window so when they returned, no harm would come to her or her family. As she watched them run off in the distance, Rahab said a silent prayer to a God she didn’t know, but in whom she had place her faith. And from that moment on, Rahab’s life was changed forever.
A short time later, Israel attacked and defeated Jericho. But because of that scarlet rope tied in faith, the city laid in ruin, but Rahab and her family were spared. But that wasn’t the end of God’s rewards. Because of her faith, even though Rahab had a stained past, God gave her a glorious new future, including a new people, a new husband, and a new life. For Rahab eventually married Salmon, one of the spies who she had hidden at her inn. Salmon was a prince of the house of Judah. And their marriage turned the once harlot into a respected member of one the most prominent families of Israel, and a direct ancestor of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.