Rahab the Prostitute

Profile of Rahab, Spy for the Israelites

Rahab Hides the Spies
Rahab Hides the Spies (Joshua 2), wood engraving, published 1886.

 ZU_09 / Getty Images

Rahab was one of those unexpected characters in the Bible. Even though she made her living as a sex worker, she was selected for high honor in the Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11.

She heard about the God of Israel and recognized him as the true God, the One worth risking your life for. And she did risk her life for him.

The Jews finally entered the Promised Land of Canaan after wandering 40 years in the desert. Moses had died and they were now led by Joshua, a mighty warrior. Joshua secretly sent two spies to scout out the fortified city of Jericho.

Rahab ran an inn built on the Jericho city wall where she hid the spies on her rooftop. When the king of Jericho learned the men had been to Rahab's house, he sent orders for her to turn them over. She lied to the king's soldiers concerning the whereabouts of the spies and sent them off in the opposite direction.

Then Rahab went up to the spies and pleaded for her life and for the lives of her family members. She made an oath with them. Rahab would keep silent about their mission and the Israelites would spare everyone in her household when they invaded the city. She was to hang a scarlet cord from her window as a sign, so the Jews could find and protect her.

In the miraculous battle of Jericho, the invincible city did fall. Joshua gave orders to rescue Rahab and all in her house. She and her family were adopted by the Jews and stayed with them.

Rahab's Accomplishments

Rahab recognized the true God and took him for her own.

She was an ancestor of both King David and Jesus Christ.

She earned a mention in the Faith Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11:31).

Rahab's Strengths

Rahab was loyal to Israel and faithful to her word.

She was resourceful in an emergency.

Life Lessons

Some scholars believe the red cord Rahab hung from her window represents sacrificial blood, the blood of animals in the Old Testament and the blood of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

Rahab had heard stories of how the Lord delivered the Jews from the hand of their enemy. She declared her faith in the one true God. Rahab learned that following him will change your life forever.

God judges us differently than people judge us.



Referenced in the Bible

Joshua 2:1-21; 6:17, 22, 23, 25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25.


Prostitute and innkeeper.

Family Tree

Son: Boaz
Great grandson: King David
Ancestor of: Jesus Christ

Key Verses

Joshua 2:11
...for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

Joshua 6:25
But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho--and she lives among the Israelites to this day.

Hebrews 11:31
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

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Your Citation
Zavada, Jack. "Rahab the Prostitute." Learn Religions, Aug. 28, 2020, learnreligions.com/rahab-the-prostitute-701175. Zavada, Jack. (2020, August 28). Rahab the Prostitute. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/rahab-the-prostitute-701175 Zavada, Jack. "Rahab the Prostitute." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/rahab-the-prostitute-701175 (accessed April 1, 2023).