Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 11

The faith of Rahab, the prostitute

Hebrews 11:31

There was an important reason why God allowed his people, the Israelites, to take possession of Canaan. The people who lived there before the Israelites were very wicked. God had allowed them to continue to live there for several centuries. But in the end, God always punishes sin (evil deeds). See Genesis 15:13-16.

But God saves people who have faith (active belief and trust in God). He does that whichever nation they come from. He even saved a few people in Canaan, because they had faith.

Rahab was a harlot, that is, a prostitute. A prostitute is a woman who offers her body to men for sex. She owned a house in Jericho. Jericho was an important city for trade; many traders passed through it. Rahab offered them food, a place to sleep, and sex. That was how people in Canaan behaved.

One day, two men came to Rahabís house. They only wanted a safe place to sleep for the night. But the king of Jericho sent a message to Rahab that she must hand these men over to him. The Israelites had established a camp on the other side of the river Jordan from Jericho. These two men had left that camp in order to explore Canaan. They were collecting information that would help the Israelite army.

When Rahab heard this, she decided to protect the two men. She hid them. And she told the kingís officials that the men had already left.

She explained why she protected the men in Joshua 2:8-13. People had told her how God helped the Israelites during their journey to Canaan. So she believed that their God is the real God. He rules heaven and earth. She had shown kindness to the Israelite men, and she asked them to be kind to her, too. She asked them to save her life, and the lives of her family, when they attacked Jericho. She was sure that God would give them success.

Rahab was not a good woman, but she did have faith (active belief and trust in God). She was trusting God to save her, and she wanted to join Godís people. And God did these things for her, because of her faith.

When the Israelites attacked Jericho, they saved Rahab and her family. She joined the Israelites, and she married one of them. Israelís royal family came from her family. And Jesus came from that family, too.

You can read more about Rahab in Joshua chapter 2, Joshua 6:22-25, and Matthew 1:5-6. Her life is a wonderful example of how God can save people from every nation. He even saves people who are from the most wicked nations.

Next part: Faith in the Books of Judges and Samuel (Hebrews 11:32)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.