Folklore would have it that she climbed the stairway to the roof of her two-story house, never to be seen again. A myth easier believed than accepting she was a traitor.
Of course, there were the ‘jealous lover’ theories, the disappearance over a broken heart, the illegitimate baby, but none of these were true; and stories with bits and pieces didn’t help her reputation. It wasn’t until The Scrolls were discovered, and her name appeared in the Messianic line that the truth was known of … well … her services, and the impact it would have for a future King.
It had begun one early evening.
Rahab was busy lighting incense of sandalwood and rearranging candles as she prepared for the night’s work. The subtle scent of rose gratified her senses as she admired blue and crimson silks upon her perfumed bed – a knock on the door interrupted her luxurious routine. Her languid stride belied wry amusement; but it was two strangers asking for shelter, not her services.
Fear quickened her heart – These men are different! Fire burned in her soul – I cannot do what they ask! Wind spoke to her spirit – But … time is money!
Rahab yielded to the task.
Stalks of flax were drying on her roof so she offered them safety under bundles still warm from a full day’s sun. It promised to be a cool night. She brought them food, mats and blankets.
No sooner had she descended the stairway than she heard another urgent knock. Rahab ignored the interruption. An unanswered summons meant her bed was occupied – but the door continued to rattle. Her silken robe fluttered loose as she flung open the door inciting weak protests from indignant men – men of the king’s court. They pushed her aside with such disdain their own elegant robes wafted essence of Nard mingled with aromatic spices. They shook off its allure – they had a message from the king of Jericho to deliver, "Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house because they have come to spy out the whole land."
She stared at them for a few seconds and dared walk out the door without speaking a word. She took them along the city wall and led them to the gate. "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I do not know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them."
The king’s men left towards the fords of Jordan as Rahab closed the gate. Bridled fear eased its grip as she leaned against the wall. She took a few moments to calm the furious beating in her chest. I must warn the men of God!
Quick steps on stone alerted the men to Rahab’s arrival, but she spoke of her own fears before them, "I know that Jehovah has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you … for Jehovah your God is God in Heaven and on the Earth below. Now then, please swear to me by Jehovah that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you.”
"Our lives for your lives!" the men assured her. "If you do not tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when Jehovah gives us the land."
Come morning, Rahab ascended with a plan. "Go to the hills so the king’s men will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return to the city, and then go on your way."
After they packed their provisions, they presented Rahab with a cord made of scarlet wool, speaking this oath, “Tie this cord in the window through which you will let us down and we will know this oath is binding when we return.”
"Agreed," she replied. "Let it be as you say." She then let them down by rope through her window.
Rahab and all her family were later whisked away before the fiery destruction of Jericho.
So Rahab, who submitted time to God, became one of three women to be mentioned by name in the genealogy of Christ; for she bore Boaz in Israel, who became the Great-grandfather of King David.
The value of a prostitute’s time?
Story adapted from Joshua 2:1-22 and Joshua 6:22-24
Author’s note: Nard has intense, warm, fragrant, musky notes. It exhibits a wide range of fragrances among the root-type perfumes. From Biblefragrances.net
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