By Pr Isaiah White
In Hebrews 11, there is a list of people considered by many as heroes of faith. The list has many heroes; some are obvious given their reputation, and others are unlikely individuals.
One of the unlikely heroes of faith is Rahab. Probably, the Rahab mentioned in Hebrews 11 is not the Rahab mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:5.
Who Rahab is not
The Rahab in Hebrews 11 is one that lived in the early stages of the conquest of Canaan long before people like Boaz and Jesse existed.
To prove this, let us break down the time frames presented in the scriptures.
There are 480 years from Exodus to the fourth year of the reign of Solomon (1 Kings 6:1), that is; if you put the 300 years of the period of judges in perspective.
So, if we subtract 40 years each for the reigns of Saul and David, it provides approximately 400 years from Exodus to the crowning of King Saul.
Providing a total of about 410 years for Exodus to the birth of David.
Let us assume that Rahab, the harlot, is the one mentioned in Matthew 1:5 and did marry Salmon and gave birth to Boaz 40 years after the spy incident.
That would mean from Exodus to the birth of David, would be 410 years.
If we subtracted the 40 years they spent in the wilderness before the conquest and 40 years until the Birth of Boaz, that would leave us with 330 years.
This would mean Boaz, Obed and Jesse, who are mentioned in the lineage in Matthew 1 would, on average, have fathered their chosen sons at 110 years of age!
This, after the age limit of Genesis 6:3 and Psalm 90:10, would be too old to bear children (Genesis 17:1,17).
So, the Rahab in Hebrews 11 cannot be the same in Matthew 1:5. Secondly, the Rahab in Hebrews 11 was not a morally upright person.
Many would assume those mentioned on the list of Heroes’ faith are morally upright people.
Rahab was not, but still a believer. So, the morality virtue of believers is not a determinant of believers in God (Romans 2:14).
Who was Rahab?
Rahab was the prostitute from Jericho who saved the Israelite spies from being caught by the authorities of Jericho.
She sent the spies’ pursuers on a wild goose chase. Her actions allowed the spies to safely escape the city and return to their people with information on Jericho.
She was a prostitute and one on the Christian wall of fame.
Faith in action
Have you ever aspired to be like Rahab the harlot? Why is a prostitute mentioned among giants of the faith like Noah, Abraham or Moses? It is because of faith in action.
Hebrews 11 has this to say about Rahab’s faith: “By faith, the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31).
One might ask; was the faith of Rahab exhibited in the act of hiding the spies?
The answer is no. Her faith was demonstrated in her Godly fear. This is where we discover her faith:
“I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.
For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.
And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath (Joshua 2:9-11).
While fellow Canaanites were afraid and decided to fight God, Rahab was afraid and deiced to surrender and join the side of God.
Godly fear means recognising the immense power of God and recognizing ourselves as insignificant in comparison to Him.
Despite this, God still chose to send His beloved and only begotten Son to die for our sins. Because of this, God deserves our highest respect and reverence.
Rahab recognises that this God has set in motion spiritual laws that, when we choose to break, they will break us instead.
Because Rahab feared God, she was able to begin developing godly wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 15:33).
Rahab feared God and as a result, her life and the life of her family were spared from the destruction of Jericho (Proverbs 10:27, 14:27). That is faith in action.
The writer is a life coach and theologian.
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