By faith the harlot Rahab
The Targum on ( Joshua 2:1 ) calls her (atyqdnwp atta) , "a woman, that kept a victualling house": this paraphrase is taken notice of by Jarchi and Kimchi on the place, who interpret it, "a seller of food": and even the Hebrew word (hnwz) , is so explained by a considerable Jewish writer F16; and this may rather seem to be the sense of the word, and to be her proper business, from the spies going to her house, as being an house of entertainment; and from Salmon's marrying her, which might be thought strange that a prince of Israel would, had she been a person of ill fame; to which may be added, the encomiums of her for her faith and works, both by our apostle, and by James: but yet, the constant use of the word, in this form, the testimonies of two apostles, and her making no mention of her husband and children, when she agreed with the spies, confirm the generally received character of her, that she was an harlot. Some Jewish writers say
F17 that she was ten years of age when the Israelites came out of Egypt; and that all the forty years they were in the wilderness, (htnz) , "she played the harlot"; and was one and fifty years of age when she was proselyted. She is called an harlot; not with respect to her present, but past life. In the Greek text, she is here called Raab, as also in ( James 2:25 ) and so in the Septuagint in ( Joshua 2:1 Joshua 2:3 ) . Rachab, which exactly answers to the Hebrew word (bxr) , ( Joshua 2:1 ) and by Josephus F18 "Rachabe". This woman was a wonderful and singular instance of the free, sovereign, distinguishing, powerful, and efficacious grace of God; being one that sprung from Canaan, and was of the nations that were abhorred; but, being called by grace, became an eminent believer: she believed that the God of the Israelites was God in heaven and on earth; that he had given the land of Canaan to them; she received the spies, and hid them through that faith; she caused them to swear by the Lord, that they would show mercy to her, and her family; and gave credit to them; and observed their instructions: and so she
perished not with them that believed not;
the inhabitants of Jericho, who were unbelievers, and disobedient, and all perished by the sword: but Rahab perished not, neither temporally, nor eternally; her temporal salvation was an emblem and type of her spiritual salvation; her receiving the spies was an emblem of a soul's receiving the Gospel, and the ministers of it; the scarlet thread, that was hung out, was an emblem of the blood of Christ, by which sins, though as scarlet, are made white as wool; and the saving of her whole family is an emblem of the complete salvation of all the elect, soul and body, by Christ:
when she had received the spies with peace;
and had hid them, for some time, in her house, and then let them down by the wall; and who, at the taking of the city, saved her, and hers, according to their promise and oath: the number of these spies were two, according to ( Joshua 2:1 ) . The Jews F19 say one of them was Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the high priest; and others F20 of them say they were Phinehas and Caleb.
F16 R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 24. 1.
F17 T. Bab. Zebachin. fol. 116. 2. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 7. 2.
F18 Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 2.
F19 Laniado in Josh. ii. 1.
F20 Tanchuma apud Masum in ib.