Joshua 6:25
And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive.—“By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not” (Hebrews 11:31). And so Jesus said to her who had ministered to Him in the house of Simon the Pharisee, “Thy sins are forgiven;” and again, “Thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace” Luke 7:48; Luke 7:50). “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works?” (James 2:25).

And she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day.—“Salmon begat Booz of Rachab” seems certainly to refer to her (Matthew 1:5), though why she is called Rachab in that place is not obvious. Rachab is not the usual form of the word, either in the LXX. or in the other passages of the Greek text where she is named. It is not simply a variation in the English spelling, but a difference in the original Greek.

Joshua

RAHAB

Joshua 6:25
.

This story comes in like an oasis in these terrible narratives of Canaanite extermination. There is much about it that is beautiful and striking, but the main thing is that it teaches the universality of God’s mercy, and the great truth that trust in Him unites to Him and brings deliverance, how black soever may have been the previous life.

I need not tell over again the story, told with such inimitable picturesqueness here: how the two spies, swimming the Jordan in flood, set out on their dangerous mission and found themselves in the house of Rahab, a harlot; how the king sent to capture them, how she hid them among the flax-stalks bleaching on the flat roof, confessed faith in Israel’s God and lied steadfastly to save them, how they escaped to the Quarantania hills, how she ‘perished not’ in the capture, entered into the community of Israel, was married, and took her place-hers!-in the line of David’s and Christ’s ancestresses.

The point of interest is her being, notwithstanding her previous position and history, one of the few instances in which heathen were brought into Israel. The Epistle to the Hebrews and James both refer to her. We now consider her story as embodying for us some important truths about faith in its nature, its origin, its power.

I. Faith in its constant essence and its varying objects.

Her creed was very short and simple. She abjured idols, and believed that Jehovah was the one God. She knew nothing of even the Mosaic revelation, nothing of its moral law or of its sacrifices. And yet the Epistle to the Hebrews has no scruple in ascribing faith to her. The object of that Epistle is to show that Christianity is Judaism perfected. It labours to establish that objectively there has been advance, not contradiction, and that subjectively there is absolute identity. It has always been faith that has bound men to God. That faith may co-exist with very different degrees of illumination. Not the creed, but the trust, is the all-important matter. This applies to all pre-Christian times and to all heathen lands. Our faith has a fuller gospel to lay hold of. Do not neglect it.

Beware lest people with less light and more love get in before you, ‘who shall come from the east and the west.’

II. Faith in its origin in fear.

There are many roads to faith, and it matters little which we take, so long as we get to the goal. This is one, and some people seem to think that it is a very low and unworthy one, and one which we should never urge upon men. But there are a side of the divine nature and a mode of the divine government which properly evoke fear.

God’s moral government, His justice and retribution, are facts.

Fear is an inevitable and natural consequence of feeling that His justice is antagonistic to us. The work of conscience is precisely to create such fear. Not to feel it is to fall below manhood or to be hardened by sin.

That fear is meant to lead us to God and love. Rahab fled to God. Peter ‘girt his fisher’s coat to him,’ and lost his fear in the sunshine of Christ’s face, as a rainbow trembles out of a thunder-cloud when touched by sunbeams.

We have all grounds enough to fear.

Urge these as a reason for trust.

III. Faith in its relation to the previous life.

It is a strange instance of blindness that attempts have been made to soften down the Bible’s plain speaking about Rahab’s character.

In her story we have an anticipation of New Testament teaching.

The ‘woman that was a sinner.’

Mary Magdalene.

‘Then drew near all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him.’

She shows us that there is no hopeless guilt. None is so in regard to the effects of sin on a soul. There is no heart so indurated as that its capacity for being stirred by the divine message is killed.

There is none hopeless in regard to God.

His love embraces all, however bad. The bond which unites to Him is not blamelessness of life but simple trust.

The grossest vice is not so thorough a barrier as self-satisfied self-righteousness.

A thin slice of crystal will bar the entrance of air more effectually than many folds of stuff.

IV. Faith in its practical effects.

Rahab’s story shows how living faith, like a living stream, will cut a channel for itself, and must needs flow out into the life.

Hence James is right in using her as an example of how ‘we are justified by works and not by faith only,’ and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews is equally right in enrolling her in his great muster-roll of heroes and heroines of faith, and asserting that ‘by faith’ she ‘perished not among them who believed not.’ The one writer fastens on a later stage in her experience than does the other. James points to the rich fruit, the Epistle to the Hebrews goes deeper and lays bare the root from which the life rose to the clusters.

The faith that saves is not a barren intellectual process, nor an idle trust in Christ’s salvation, but a practical power. If genuine it will mould and impel the life.

So Rahab’s faith led her, as ours, if real, will lead us, to break with old habits and associations contrary to itself. She ceased to be ‘Rahab the harlot,’ she forsook ‘her own people and her father’s house.’ But her conquest of her old self was gradual. A lie was a strange kind of first-fruits of faith. Its true fruit takes time to flower and swell and come to ripeness and sweetness.

So we should not expect old heads on young shoulders, nor wonder if people, lifted from the dunghills of the world, have some stench and rags of their old vices hanging about them still. That thought should moderate our expectations of the characters of converts from heathenism, or from the degraded classes at home. And it should be present to ourselves, when we find in ourselves sad recurrences of faults and sins that we know should have been cast out, and that we hoped had been so.

This thought enhances our wondering gratitude for the divine long-suffering which bears with our slow progress. Our great Teacher never loses patience with His dull scholars.

V. Faith as the means of deliverance and safety.

From external evils it delivers us or not, as God may will. James was no less dear, and no less faithful, than John, though he was early ‘slain with the sword,’ and his brother died in extreme old age in Ephesus. Paul looked forward to being ‘delivered from every evil work,’ though he knew that the time of his being ‘offered’ was at hand, because the deliverance that he looked for was his being ‘saved into His heavenly kingdom.’

That true deliverance is infallibly ours, if by faith we have made the Deliverer ours.

There is a more terrible fall of a worse city than Jericho, in that day when ‘the city of the terrible ones shall be laid low,’ and our Joshua brings it ‘to the ground, even to the dust.’ ‘In that same day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: we have a strong city, salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks,’ and into that eternal home He will certainly lead all who are joined to Him, and separated from their foul old selves, and from ‘the city of destruction,’ by faith in Him.

6:17-27 Jericho was to be a solemn and awful sacrifice to the justice of God, upon those who had filled up the measure of their sins. So He appoints, from whom, as creatures, they received their lives, and to whom, as sinners, they had forfeited them. Rahab perished not with them that believed not, Heb 11:31. All her kindred were saved with her; thus faith in Christ brings salvation to the house, Ac 14:31. She, and they with her, were plucked as brands from the burning. With Rahab, or with the men of Jericho; our portion must be assigned, as we posses or disregard the sign of salvation; even faith in Christ, which worketh by love. Let us remember what depends upon our choice, and let us choose accordingly. God shows the weight of a Divine curse; where it rests there is no getting from under it; for it brings ruin without remedy.Even unto this day - These words are rightly noted as implying that the narrative was written not long after the occurrences which it records. 25. she—Rahab

dwelleth in Israel unto this day—a proof that this book was written not long after the events related.

For that general command of rooting out the Canaanites seems to have had some exception, in case any of them had sincerely and seasonably cast off their idolatry and wickedness, and submitted themselves to the Israelites, as we shall see hereafter.

And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive,.... From perishing by the sword, as the rest of the inhabitants did. Kimchi says, some interpret it of his giving her food, and an inheritance by which she might live; and Josephus (f) intimates the same: he says, he gave her fields, and had her in great honour and esteem; and it is the notion of some Jewish writers, that he took her to wife, and that this is meant by saving her alive; which sense Kimchi disapproves of, as being foreign; besides, it was not Joshua, but Salmon, a prince in Israel, that married her, Matthew 1:5,

and her father's household, and all she had; that is, he saved alive all her relations, and it may be her cattle, if she had any; and those of her kindred also, as their sheep, oxen, and asses, when those of others were killed, Joshua 6:21. Some also understand this of intermarriages of principal persons in Israel with some of her father's fairly; but it only signifies that their lives were spared, when the whole city was destroyed with the edge of the sword:

and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; which may be meant either personally of Rahab, who was living and dwelt in the land of Canaan, when this history was written; and serves to strengthen the opinion that Joshua was the writer of it, and to explain the meaning of the phrase "unto this day", elsewhere used in this book; and to remove any objection from it against his being the author of it; or else of her dwelling there in her posterity, and so she might dwell in it unto the times of the Messiah, who sprang from her, Matthew 1:5,

because she hid the messengers which Joshua, sent to spy out Jericho; this was the reason of her and her father's family being saved alive; See Gill on Joshua 6:17.

(f) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 7.

And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she {p} dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

(p) For she was married to Salmon prince of the tribe of Judah, Mt 1:5.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. she dwelleth in Israel] These words do not necessarily imply that she was alive at the time the Book of Joshua was written, but that the family of strangers, of which she was reckoned the head, continued to dwell among the children of Israel. She married Salmon, of the tribe of Judah, and became the ancestress of Boaz, the husband of Ruth. See Matthew 1:5. Her reception into the Jewish Church, and her mention in the genealogy of Christ, were a pledge and earnest of the reception of the Gentile world, and of the grafting of the wild olive into the good olive-tree (Romans 11:24).

Verse 25. - Unto this day. This may either be interpreted of herself, or, according to s common Hebrew idiom, of her family (cf. Joshua 17:14-18; Joshua 24:17). For a fuller discussion of the bearing of this passage on the date of the Book of Joshua, see Introduction. There is no mention of Rahab's marriage in the Old Testament. Lightfoot ('Hebrew and Talmudicai Exercitations?' Matthew 1:5) mentions a tradition that she married Joshua! Dr. W. H. Mill, in his treatise on the genealogies of our Lord, defends the tradition St. Matthew has followed by showing that Salmon's age at the time gives immense probability to the statement. Some (see the Bishop of Bath and Wells' article in Smith's ' Dictionary of the Bible') suppose that Salmon was one of the spies. Joshua 6:25But Rahab and all that belonged to her Joshua suffered to live, so that she dwelt in Israel "unto this day." It is very evident from this remark, that the account was written not very long after the event.

(Note: Rahab is no doubt the same person as the Rachab mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, who married Salmon the tribe prince of Judah, to whom she bore Boaz, an ancestor of David (Matthew 1:5). The doubts which Theophylact expressed as to the identity of the two, and which J. Outhou has since sought to confirm, rest for the most part upon the same doctrinal scruples as those which induced the author of the Chaldee version to make Rahab an innkeeper, namely, the offence taken at her dishonourable calling. Jerome's view, on the other hand, is a very satisfactory one. "In the genealogy of the Saviour," he says, "none of the holy women are included, but only those whom the Scriptures blame, that He who came on behalf of sinners, being himself born of sinners, might destroy the sins of all." The different ways in which the name is written, viz., hee Rhacha'b in Matthew, andChaab in the Sept. version of Joshua, and in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25, is not enough to throw any doubt upon the identity of the two, as Josephus always calls the harlot Rahab hee Rhacha'bee. The chronological difficulty, that Salmon and Rahab lived much too soon to have been the parents of Boaz, which is adduced by Knobel as an argument against the identity of the mother of Boaz and the harlot Rahab, has no force unless it can be proved that every link is given in the genealogy of David (in Ruth 4:21-22; 1 Chronicles 2:11; Matthew 1:5), and that Boaz was really the great-grandfather of David; whereas the very opposite, viz., the omission from the genealogies of persons of no celebrity, is placed beyond all doubt by many cases that might be cited. Nothing more is known of Rahab. The accounts of the later Rabbins, such as that she was married to Joshua, or that she was the mother of eight prophets, and others of the same kind, are fables without the slightest historical foundation (see Lightfoot, hor. hebr. et talm. in Matthew 1:5).)

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