The relationship of Rahab is not an issue in salvation, but it is essential to have our historical facts straightened out. Unbelievers sometimes use historical misinterpretations for excuses. Some “prayer warriors” have incorporated this deduction into prayers.
“And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king, and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias” (Mat 1: 5-6, KJV). Other versions of the Holy Bible refer to Rachab as Rahab. Spelling changes might have occurred since it is clear that Booz is the same as Boaz (Ruth 3:2) and Urias is the same as Uriah (2 Sam 11:3)
Some commentaries refer to Rachab in the genealogy of Jesus as Rahab the harlot. Some have incorporated this uncertain belief in prayers. The family reference edition of the Holy Bible (KJV), in A Concise And Practical Dictionary Of The Bible, distinguishes and describes Rahab thus:
Rahab (Heb “wide, broad’)
- In the OT, the name of the woman who sheltered Joshua’s men sent out as spies to Jericho (Jos 2:1, 6:22 references included by the author of this article)
- A mythological dragon conquered by Yahweh, as mentioned in several poetic passages of the OT. The dragon Rahab was used figuratively to designate Egypt (Ps 87:4, Ps 89:10 , Is 51:9 references included by author)
- In the NT a woman in the genealogy of Jesus (Matt 1:5 ref included by author)
References to women in the Bible are rare. Those mentioned were significantly involved in some notable events e.g. Eve, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Deborah, Ruth and Bathsheba.
Tamar: Pharez was born to Judah by Tamar (Gen 38:29). Tamar was not mentioned in the line of Jesus (Mat 1:3) but her story is significant to the illustration of the grace that God bestows on mankind. Tamar had virtue; notwithstanding that she deceived her father-in-law to perform the duty her brother-in-law should have performed. Judah denied her right of betrothal to her brother-in-law out of fear. In Gen 42:37-38 Jacob could not trust Benjamin to Reuben, his firstborn, even with Reuben’s two sons at stake; but he could trust him to Judah on Judah’s honour (Gen 43:8-11). Because of his deeds Jacob offered Judah, the fourth son, the blessings due to the first (Gen 49:1-12) thus, “…thou art him whom thy brethren shall praise…thy father’s children shall bow down before thee…The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet… and unto him shall the gathering of the people be…” (Gen 49:8-12, KJV). From him, that was so blessed came forth, “She had been more righteous than I” (Gen 38:26, KJV).
Rachab: Unknown, uncertain. Reference to her accomplishments may be available in other Hebrew historical records. The Bible did not declare that Rahab, the harlot, was married but that. “…she dwelleth in Israel unto this day…” (Jos 6:26, KJV). She possibly did not live much longer than Joshua. There is no record of her being married in Israel.
Ruth: Ruth was a Moabitess (Ru. 1:4). Moabites are descendants of Lot by his first daughter (Gen 19:37). Ruth (Ru 1:6 – 4:22) was an epitome of loyalty who stood by her mother-in-law in a period of need. She forsook her fetish idolatry for salvation. “…thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” (Ru 1:16, KJV). She stood for the expectation of God from widows to the surviving parents of their husbands. The Bible declared her marriage to Boaz (Ru. 4:13). Elimelech’s departure from the land of Judah to the country of Moab led to Ruth’s marriage with his son and her consequent widowhood.
Bathsheba: There was a marriage to David declared by the Bible (2 Sam. 11:27). Bathsheba must have looked well after the affairs of the household of King David for him to prefer her son Solomon to other males born before Solomon (1Ki.1:28-31); although not without the support of Nathan. Payment of due respect and honour unto her husband is reflected in her response “let my lord king David live for ever” (1Ki. 1:31, KJV). She was a victim of David’s lust and a benefactor of devotion to the king.
RAHAB THE HARLOT
Rahab came into focus during the first major assignment of Joshua (Jos 2:1) when she hid and took adequate precautions for the safety of the spies (Jos 2:4-24) but with a demand for the safety of her father’s household under oath (Jas 2:8-21).
Rahab’s father’s household was saved (Jos 6:21-25) “…and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy Jericho” (Jos 6:25b, KJV). There is no record of Rahab being married. References to Rahab in the NT states “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (Heb 11: 31, KJV; read also Jas 2:25)
Rahab the harlot was a matured lady in the early part of Joshua’s leadership of Israel. Joshua executed a lot of the responsibilities pertaining to settlement in the Promised Land:
- Leading the people to cross over the River Jordan (Jos 4:4-13)
- Defeat of Jericho (Jos 6:1-27)
- The defeat of Ai (Jos 8:1-29)
- Setback caused by Achan on the besiege of Ai (Jos 7:1-26);
- Conquest of Libnah, Lachish, Gezer, eglon, Hebron, Debir, the country of the hills (Jos 10: 29-43);
- The defeat of Makkedah (Jos 10:28);
- Conquest of cities of Libnah, Lachish, Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, Debir, the country of the hills (Jos 10:1 – 27);
- Defeat of the union of the Northern Kings Hazor, King of Shimron and King of Achshaph, Kings of the north of the mountain and of plains of Chinneroth and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west and to the Canaanites on the east and on the west and to the Ammonite and the Hittite and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh at the waters of Meron (Jos 11:1-9);
- The siege and occupation of Hazor and other cities that stood against Joshua (Jos 11:10-23);
- Defeat and occupation of lands east of Jordan, about R. Arnon, Gilead, Jabok, the coast of Og King of Bashan, Sihon King of Hashbon (Jos 12:1-6);
- Defeat and occupation of lands west of Jordan; Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon unto mount Halak, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites (Jos 12:7-8); and
- Proportioning of the land to the various tribes (Jos13: 8-21:45)
Jericho was destroyed about 1406 and Joshua died about 1375 BC (biblehub.com, 2018). This makes the period when Judges began to rule at least 31 years after the fall of Jericho. For Rahab to be a matured harlot she would be about forty years old, thus, making her at least 71 years after the death of Joshua.
After Joshua was a “space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet” (Acts 13:20). Rahab the harlot could not have given birth to Boaz who begat Obed, the father of Jesse. Jesse would be in the generation of Samuel and Obed in the generation of Elkanah, Samuel’s father and possibly Eli.
- The Bible specifically declared the marriages and remarriages of Tamar, Ruth and Bathsheba but that of Rahab was not. They were all victims of circumstances.
- Rahab, an idolatress and a harlot recognised the hands of God.”…I know that the LORD hath given thee the land…”(Jos. 2:8 – 11, KJV)
- She had concern for her father’s household “…Now…I pray thee, swear unto me by the LORD…ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house” (Jos. 2: 12,13,, KJV);
- She forsook idolatry and moved into salvation. “And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had, and she dwelleth in Israel unto this day” (Jas 6:25, KJV). If she was married the Book of Joshua would have recorded it; and
- There is a need to carefully consider the prayer points in use.
biblehub.com (2018). Bible Timeline. http://bibletimeline.info/genesis/1.htm
APPENDIX: PERIOD OF JUDGES