Friday, December 17, 2010

Rahab: Canaanite woman becomes 2nd of three women named in Our Lord's lineage

Rahab was a pagan woman who lived in the City of Jericho. She was an unlikely addition to Our Lord’s family tree, and yet, Rahab is one of only three women mentioned in the Gospel account of Our Lord’s lineage.

Before Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land, he sent spies to check out the Canaanite Land. Rahab gave these men shelter, and when the king’s soldiers came to seize the Hebrew spies, Rahab sent them on a wild goose chase. She said they had already left Jericho, but if they hurried, they just might catch up with the spies. When the coast was clear, Rahab told the Israelite spies to head for the hills and wait a few days before they returned to Joshua and reported their findings.

Why had Rahab agreed to hide the men among some stalks of flax in her home? For some reason, Rahab had been given the grace to see that these men served a God far greater than any she had ever known. If she threw her lot in with them, she would be spared the destruction that would come eventually.

The spies guaranteed the woman safety in exchange for providing them a sanctuary. When the walls of Jericho fell, Rahab and her family were the only ones who survived.

But the story of Salvation History does not end there.

The Book of Joshua doesn’t tell us what happens to Rahab after the destruction of Jericho, but we read about it in I Chronicles 2:12. One of the spies, a man named Salma, marries Rahab. And they have a son named Boaz. And Boaz marries a woman named Ruth.

Ruth and Boaz become the great-grandparents of King David.

The Gospels name just three women in the lineage of the Messiah. All three are foreigners. Tamar, Rahab and Ruth.

With these women, God gives us the first glimpse into His plan for salvation, a plan that will extend to people of every nation.


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