‘A New Thing’ Series Class 3 — Rahab


  • Why are we looking at Rahab as part of this ‘a new thing’ series?
  • She is the first non-Isrealite in the genealogy of Jesus:

“and Salmon the
“and Salmon the
“and Salmon the
father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,” (Matthew 1:5 NRSV)

  • It doesn’t get much better than that!
  • There are several ‘unlikely’ people in that list.
  • There are several reasons she should not be in that list, but they are the same reason she is in the list.
  • First, a review of what happens in Joshua 2 & 6
  • Joshua 2.1-24
  • Joshua 6.17
  • Joshua 6.22-25

1. She is a Gentile

  • God’s desire has always been for everyone to know him
    “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”” (Genesis 12:3 NRSV)
    “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:6-7 NRSV)
  • Jesus saw this as pertaining to his own day

“and he said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.”” (Luke 19:46 NRSV)

  • Paul recognised the significance of the arrival of the Messiah

“Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.”” (Romans 15:12 NRSV)

  • Rahab prefigures the hope that all modern-day Gentiles have that, by faith, we are included in the people of God.

2. She is a woman

  • Rahab as protector
    • In the Old Testament men are protectors; so are women. [[Abigail]] protects her husband and the men in her household from a violent death (1 Sam. 25). [[Rahab]] protects the male spies (Josh. 2). [[Esther]] protects her people, the Jews, from being massacred (Esth. 2:19 – 9:19).
    • She is one of two heroines in a window heading off danger: Rahab and Michal, societal opposites.
“Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the outer side of the city wall and she resided within the wall itself.” (Joshua 2:15 NRSV)
“So Michal let David down through the window; he fled away and escaped.” (1 Samuel 19:12 NRSV)
  • Rahab as a woman of dignity
    ‘We think of the courageous life of [[Sarah]] (Gen. 12–23), the faith of [[Rahab]] (Josh. 2), the commitment of [[Hannah]] (1 Sam. 1–2), the devotion of [[Ruth]] (Ruth 1–4), [[Abigail]]’s gentle but firm rebuke of David (1 Sam. 25), the humble faith of both the widow of Zarephath (1 Kgs. 17) and the Shunammite woman (2 Kgs. 4), and the risk-taking faith of [[Esther]] (Esth. 1–10).’ Blomberg, Craig . Two Views on Women in Ministry (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) (p. 272). Zondervan Academic.
  • Jesus treats women with dignity
    • “She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying.” (Luke 10:39 NRSV)
    • Rahab prefigures the promise of the Spirit that all are equal before God
      “‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:17-18 NRSV)

3. She has a questionable profession

  • Rahab as host
    • Hosts the undesirable?
    • Hosts spies, people of God, beachhead of kingdom, ‘temple’
    • Place of faith and salvation
    • Like Jesus in reverse – hosting those who make her life more complicated
      “And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”” (Mark 2:15-17 NRSV)


What does Rahab learn?

  • God cares about the Gentiles (those far from God)
  • God keeps his promises (salvation)
  • God is powerful (more so than any earthly power)
  • God is full of grace (no matter what others think of her, or she thinks of herself)

What do we learn?

  • The importance of honouring the marginalised – if God does it, and Jesus, so should we. He wants them in his family.
  • Not to look down on ‘sinners’, but to seek to show them the love of God.
  • No human barrier can stop anyone from becoming a God-follower.
  • To have vision for those (apparently) furthest from God

New Thing point

  • Her decision to have faith in God took her and her family on a new counter-cultural journey into uncharted territory.
    ‘It must have been an interesting period for Rahab’s extended family, all squashed into her house, like a mini-ark, on the edge of a terrorised city, waiting for the unknown.’ Amanda Kaner
  • Is God taking you and/or your congregation into the unknown, so as to do a new thing?

Questions for reflection and discussion

  • Who do you personally know that is as far from God as it is possible to be?
  • What would it take for you to pray for their salvation and believe it to be possible?
  • What will help you to remain faithful and confident on God despite the uncertainties of the new thing God is doing?
Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: [malcolm@malcolmcox.org](mailto:malcolm@malcolmcox.org). If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://[www.malcolmcox.org](http://www.malcolmcox.org/). Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review. “Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11) God bless, Malcolm