Rahab (was: `ad hayom hazeh)
ronning at nis.za
Tue Feb 8 15:22:52 EST 2000
> other than a concern for the reputation of the two spies whom Rahab hid,
> might have motivated the suggestion? [that Rahab was an innkeeper]
I think it was Josephus who said this. Not sure who else.
Probably due to the fact that a prostitute might also be an
"innkeeper." Maybe so, but that's a different issue than
what zonah, means, which as you point out is not at all
doubtful (so it's surprising the NIV even gives it as an
alternate possibility in a footnote).
The spiritual lesson of the chapter depends on zonah meaning
prostitute. V. 1 has two allusions back to Israel's past
where prostitution (or fornication, from root znh) is a
1. Shittim - the place where Joshua sent the spies from -
also the place where Israel began to "play the harlot" with
the daughters of Moab (Num 25:1) - also involved spiritual
harlotry against the Lord (they joined themselves to Baal of
2. The sending of the spies recalls Moses sending of the 12
spies, after which the nation rejected the plan of conquest,
wanted to go back to Egypt, and were sentenced to die in the
wilderness, to wander 40 years so their sons bear the
penalty of their fornications (zenutheykem; Num 14:33).
During which time Rahab was raised up - a Canaanite
prostitute, who becomes an Israelite spiritually, in
contrast to Israel the prostitute that perished in the
1. Works: like the midwives who lied to Pharaoh, like Moses'
mother who hid him
Rahab lies to king of Jericho, hides the spies
unlike Israel that perished (they wanted to stone the two
2. Faith: like Joshua 7 Caleb in her faith "I know the Lord
has given you the land"
unlike Israel the prostitute - "We'll all die - let's go
back to Egypt"
3. Reward: like Israel in receiving an inheritance in the
promised land (which her own father-in-law rejected
according to the genealogy in Matt 1)
unlike Israel that perished.
So, yes she was a prostitute - maybe an innkeeper too, but
beside the point.
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