The scarlet cord, tied in her window, beckoned for men to come.
The marketplace was bustling with travelers from foreign lands. The two spies slipped unnoticed through the gates and made their way to the house upon the outer walls.
The knock at the door was quiet but expectant. Rahab hadn’t planned on any customers this evening; however, she quickly combed her thick, dark hair in front of the hall mirror and retied the veil around her head. As she peeked through the glass in the window, her dark eyes spied the outline of two men.
As a member of the world’s oldest known profession, prostitution, she was used to townsmen coming to her door at all times of the day or night. Her business afforded her a house of her own and a lucrative income. But if her family hadn’t lost their land and livelihood, she wouldn’t have chosen this occupation. It still bothered her when the women at the well or marketplace shunned her.
The sound of another knock brought her mind back to the present. Rahab opened the door and ushered the men inside.
“What kind of services can I provide for you?” Rahab asked in her deep, sultry voice.
“Do you have any rooms … we can stay in for the night?” the taller man haltingly inquired.
When she heard his voice, her mouth dropped open. “You are not from Jericho; you are two of the Israelite spies camped at Shittim.”
She hoped none of her nosy neighbors had observed them coming into her home. Just in case, she closed all the shutters to the windows.
“Please come quickly before you are discovered,” she quietly whispered. She led the men out the door, around the side of her house, and up the steps to her flat roof.
“If you remain hidden under these bundles of flax, you should be safe,” she cautioned.
Maybe nobody had seen the men enter, she thought. They would now be difficult to find hidden as they were—they were like needles in the flax stalks. So she quietly descended the stairway and went to bed.
All of the sudden, she heard threatening voices at her door.
“Open up, by order of the king.”
She quickly opened up the door a crack.
“It has been reported to the king that two men entered your premises. They are scouts trying to gather information for an Israelite invasion,” one of the emissaries barked out.
“Yes, the men came to me,” she replied coyly, “but I had no idea that they were spies. They got what they needed, and left, just before the city gates were closed for the night. If you hurry, you can probably still catch them.”
Unfortunately, lies were part of her business. She had kept many men’s secrets whispered under the guise of the night. However, in this case, she just wanted to protect the spies in her care.
After the soldiers were gone, she slipped back upstairs and talked to the two spies.
“I know that the Lord has given you our land, and that our people are very afraid. For we have heard how the Lord performed a miracle and parted the Red Sea for you, when you came out of Egypt, and how you destroyed the kings of the Amorites, Sihon and Og.”
“Now, then, I will help you escape on one condition-- you must save the lives of me and my family.”
“Your lives will be spared, if you spare ours,” one of the spies told her.
“How will you be able to see my house when the city is sieged?”
“If the scarlet cord is hung out the window of your home, and if everyone remains inside during the attack, you and your family’s lives will be saved,” promised the spies.
“And if you tell the authorities, we will be released from our promise.”
“Of course,” Rahab answered. “You can trust me. Your God will prevail. I am doing this for Him--and for my loved ones.”
One by one, the men slid down the wall, using the rope, and jumped to the ground. After they were a safe distance away, Rahab pulled the heavy rope back into her house. Then a few moments later, she put the crimson ribbon back in its place in the window.
The scarlet cord, tied in a knot, hung fluttering in the wind—a symbol of redemption and the hope of deliverance.
**Fictional account based on Joshua 2 and by further reading about Rahab on the Internet, especially "You're Israelites, Aren't You? / Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
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