The Remarkable Story of Rahab in the Bible: From Harlot to Heroine in Joshua’s Conquest

The story of Rahab is one of the most unexpected and inspiring tales found in the Bible. A woman of ill repute living in Jericho, Rahab played a crucial part in the Israelite conquest of the Promised Land. Defying all odds, she came to embody faithfulness, courage, and salvation, making Rahab a timeless figure in the annals of Christian history.

Despite her humble beginnings, Rahab’s story demonstrates the limitless power of faith and God’s boundless ability to transform anyone’s life. It is a testament to the idea that God can use even the most unlikely of individuals to fulfill His divine plan. In this in-depth exploration of what Rahab did in the Bible, we’ll delve into her actions, motivations, and the incredible impact she made on the history of the Israelite people.

Key takeaways:

  1. Rahab hid the Israelite spies sent by Joshua, protecting them from the soldiers of Jericho.
  2. She professed her faith in the God of Israel and asked for protection for herself and her family.
  3. Rahab’s house was spared during the conquest of Jericho, thanks to the red cord she hung from her window.
  4. Rahab played a vital role in the Israelite’s victory in Canaan, demonstrating immense faith and courage.
  5. Rahab’s legacy lives on in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, emphasizing God’s ability to redeem and transform lives.
The Remarkable Story of Rahab in the Bible: From Harlot to Heroine in Joshua's Conquest

The Spies in Jericho and Rahab’s Decision

Harboring the Israelite Spies

As the Israelites, led by Joshua, prepared to enter and conquer the Promised Land of Canaan, Joshua sent two spies into Jericho to gather intel on the city’s defenses and its inhabitants. Rahab, a prostitute, provided shelter for these spies within her home – Rahab’s house, which was built into the city wall, offered a discreet and secure hideout (Joshua 2:1).

A Declaration of Faith

Upon discovering the presence of the spies, the king of Jericho demanded their location. However, Rahab made the bold decision to deceive the king’s soldiers, stating that the spies had already left the city (Joshua 2:4-5). Risking her life, Rahab then told the spies that she believed in their God, and requested protection for herself and her family during the imminent Israelite conquest of Jericho (Joshua 2:8-13).

The Covenant and the Scarlet Thread

In response to Rahab’s faith and assistance, the spies promised to protect her and her family during the invasion. Rahab was instructed to tie a red cord (or scarlet thread) to her window, signaling her alliance with the Israelites and securing her family’s deliverance. The spies then escaped through the window and returned to Joshua with valuable information, praising God for leading them to Rahab (Joshua 2:14-21).

The Fall of Jericho and Rahab’s Salvation

The Conquest of Jericho

Following the spies’ return, Joshua led the Israelites to Jericho, ready to claim the Promised Land. God instructed them to march around the city once each day for six days, then seven times on the seventh day, with the priests blowing the trumpets and the people shouting. Miraculously, the walls of Jericho collapsed at the sound of the trumpet and the people’s cry, allowing the Israelites to enter the city and conquer it (Joshua 6:1-20).

Rahab and Her Family’s Deliverance

Amidst the chaos of Jericho’s fall, Rahab and her family remained protected in her home, thanks to the red cord hung from her window. Following their instructions, the Israelite spies sought out Rahab’s house and safely evacuated her and her relatives (Joshua 6:22-23). Rahab’s faithfulness to the Israelites and their God ultimately led to her and her family’s deliverance from the destruction of the city.

A New Life for Rahab

After Rahab’s rescue from the ruins of Jericho, she and her family were welcomed into the Israelite community. Rahab left her past behind and embraced a new life with the people who shared her faith in the one true God. She went on to marry Salmon, an Israelite, and became an ancestor of both King David and Jesus Christ, proving that no one is beyond the reach of God’s redemptive power (Matthew 1:5-6).

Rahab’s Legacy: Faith, Redemption, and the Lineage of Jesus

Testament to the Power of Faith

Rahab’s life serves as a shining example of the transformative power of faith in God. Despite her seemingly unworthy past as a harlot in a pagan city, Rahab’s belief in the God of Israel changed the course of her life and allowed her to play a pivotal role in the Israelite’s conquest of Canaan.

Red Cord Symbolizing Salvation

The red cord Rahab used to mark her house and ensure the safety of her family became a powerful symbol of salvation for generations to come. It represents the blood of Christ, which brings redemption and deliverance from sin for all who believe.

An Unbroken Lineage

As a direct ancestor of Jesus Christ, Rahab’s place in biblical history is not only unexpected but also significant. Her inclusion in the lineage demonstrates that God is faithful to those who trust in Him, regardless of their past or societal status.


As we look back on the incredible story of Rahab, we see a powerful testament to the grace, mercy, and redemptive power of God. Rahab’s decision to harbor the Israelite spies, and her unwavering faith in their God, led to her deliverance and transformation from a woman of ill repute to a key figure in Israel’s success in the Promised Land.

Rahab’s story is a reminder that salvation is possible for anyone, regardless of their past, through faith in God. Her remarkable journey from harlot to heroine serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations of believers, proving that even the most unlikely of individuals can play a crucial role in God’s divine plan.

About The Author

Scroll to Top