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eTeacherBiblical Official Newsletter
Issue #98 - 03/12
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Eli Dahan

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Rahab- the harlot who saved the Israelites

We all know that the leader of the Israelites after Moses' death was Joshua, the meaning in Hebrew is G-d saved. However, Joshua wasn't the only one that helped the Israelites to be saved. The other one that helped was Rahab the harlot. As a Biblical Hebrew teacher I get a lot of questions during the week, before and after the classes that I have or after the Webinar that takes place on Thursdays. In the last Webinar we spoke about Joshua and how he conquered Jericho. But, it must be said that it is written in the Hebrew Bible, that he needed the help of G-d and the help of Rahab in order to destroy the city of Jericho.
Let us read what happened with Rahab, as written in Joshua 2:1-6-

Joshua

"וַיִּשְׁלַח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ-בִּן-נוּן מִן-הַשִּׁטִּים שְׁנַיִם-אֲנָשִׁים מְרַגְּלִים, חֶרֶשׁ לֵאמֹר, לְכוּ רְאוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, וְאֶת-יְרִיחוֹ; וַיֵּלְכוּ וַיָּבֹאוּ בֵּית-אִשָּׁה זוֹנָה, וּשְׁמָהּ רָחָב--וַיִּשְׁכְּבוּ-שָׁמָּה. וַיֵּאָמַר, לְמֶלֶךְ יְרִיחוֹ לֵאמֹר: הִנֵּה אֲנָשִׁים בָּאוּ הֵנָּה הַלַּיְלָה, מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל--לַחְפֹּר אֶת-הָאָרֶץ. וַיִּשְׁלַח מֶלֶךְ יְרִיחוֹ, אֶל-רָחָב לֵאמֹר: הוֹצִיאִי הָאֲנָשִׁים הַבָּאִים אֵלַיִךְ, אֲשֶׁר-בָּאוּ לְבֵיתֵךְ--כִּי לַחְפֹּר אֶת-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ, בָּאוּ. וַתִּקַּח הָאִשָּׁה אֶת-שְׁנֵי הָאֲנָשִׁים, וַתִּצְפְּנוֹ; וַתֹּאמֶר כֵּן, בָּאוּ אֵלַי הָאֲנָשִׁים, וְלֹא יָדַעְתִּי, מֵאַיִן הֵמָּה. וַיְהִי הַשַּׁעַר לִסְגּוֹר, בַּחֹשֶׁךְ וְהָאֲנָשִׁים יָצָאוּ--לֹא יָדַעְתִּי, אָנָה הָלְכוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים; רִדְפוּ מַהֵר אַחֲרֵיהֶם, כִּי תַשִּׂיגוּם. וְהִיא, הֶעֱלָתַם הַגָּגָה; וַתִּטְמְנֵם בְּפִשְׁתֵּי הָעֵץ, הָעֲרֻכוֹת לָהּ עַל-הַגָּג"
 

 "Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. It was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof"
This woman, whose name means wide or broad as an adjective in Hebrew, saved the two spies. She told them about their mighty G-d, who sent them out of Egypt and of the Emorites.
She also acknowledged that G-d is the only true G-d and for that she was saved, as written in Joshua 6:22-25-

 Rahab saved the spies

" וְלִשְׁנַיִם הָאֲנָשִׁים הַמְרַגְּלִים אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, אָמַר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, בֹּאוּ, בֵּית-הָאִשָּׁה הַזּוֹנָה; וְהוֹצִיאוּ מִשָּׁם אֶת-הָאִשָּׁה וְאֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-לָהּ, כַּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתֶּם לָהּ. וַיָּבֹאוּ הַנְּעָרִים הַמְרַגְּלִים, וַיֹּצִיאוּ אֶת-רָחָב וְאֶת-אָבִיהָ וְאֶת-אִמָּהּ וְאֶת-אַחֶיהָ וְאֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-לָהּ, וְאֵת כָּל-מִשְׁפְּחוֹתֶיהָ, הוֹצִיאוּ; וַיַּנִּיחוּם--מִחוּץ, לְמַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְהָעִיר שָׂרְפוּ בָאֵשׁ, וְכָל-אֲשֶׁר-בָּהּ: רַק הַכֶּסֶף וְהַזָּהָב, וּכְלֵי הַנְּחֹשֶׁת וְהַבַּרְזֶל--נָתְנוּ, אוֹצַר בֵּית-יְהוָה. וְאֶת-רָחָב הַזּוֹנָה וְאֶת-בֵּית אָבִיהָ וְאֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-לָהּ, הֶחֱיָה יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, וַתֵּשֶׁב בְּקֶרֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל, עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה: כִּי הֶחְבִּיאָה אֶת-הַמַּלְאָכִים, אֲשֶׁר-שָׁלַח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ לְרַגֵּל אֶת-יְרִיחוֹ."

" Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the harlot’s house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her.” So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; They also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel. They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. However, Rahab the harlot and her father’s household and all she had, Joshua spared; And she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho."

 According to the Jewish tradition Rahab converted to Judaism and married Joshua. She was considered to be one of the four beautiful women around the world among with Sarah, Abigail and Esther.
Her famous descendants were Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  In the New Testament we read about Rahab in Mattew 1:5-

" שַׂלְמוֹן הוֹלִיד אֶת בֹּעַז מֵרָחָב, בֹּעַז הוֹלִיד אֶת עוֹבֵד מֵרוּת וְעוֹבֵד הוֹלִיד אֶת יִשַׁי"

" Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse"
Her name also appears a sign for belief in Hebrews 11:31-

" בִּזְכוּת אֱמוּנָה לֹא נִסְפְּתָה רָחָב הַזּוֹנָה עִם הַסּוֹרְרִים, שֶׁכֵּן קִבְּלָה אֶת הַמְרַגְּלִים בְּשָׁלוֹם"

" By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace"
 

I wanted to thank James, who asked me the question in the last webinar about Rahab, the foreign woman who was smart enough to save and to be saved. Have a blessed week, Eli 
 

 
Main phrases of the post + transcription + translation

 

Hebrew

Transcription

Translation

זוֹנָה

zônāh

Harlot

אֱמוּנָה

'ĕmûnāh

Faith

רָחָב

rāchāv

Rahab

הָאִשָּׁה

Hā'ššāh

The woman

יִשַׁי

yišay

Jesse

יְהוֹשֻׁעַ

yəhôšu'a

Joshua

  מְרַגְּלִים

məraggəlim

Spies

 

 
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