Rahab, (Heb. Rahab; i.e., "broad," "large"). When the Hebrews were encamped at Shittim, in the "Arabah" or Jordan valley opposite Jericho, ready to cross the river, Joshua, as a final preparation, sent out two spies to "spy the land." After five days they returned, having swum across the river, which at this season, the month Abib, overflowed its banks from the melting of the snow on Lebanon. The spies reported how it had fared with them ( Joshua 2:1-7 ). They had been exposed to danger in Jericho, and had been saved by the fidelity of Rahab the harlot, to whose house they had gone for protection. When the city of Jericho fell ( 6:17-25 ), Rahab and her whole family were preserved according to the promise of the spies, and were incorporated among the Jewish people. She afterwards became the wife of Salmon, a prince of the tribe of Judah ( Ruth 4:21 ; 1 Chronicles 2:11 ; Matthew 1:5 ). "Rahab's being asked to bring out the spies to the soldiers ( Joshua 2:3 ) sent for them, is in strict keeping with Eastern manners, which would not permit any man to enter a woman's house without her permission. The fact of her covering the spies with bundles of flax which lay on her house-roof ( 2:6 ) is an 'undesigned coincidence' which strictly corroborates the narrative. It was the time of the barley harvest, and flax and barley are ripe at the same time in the Jordan valley, so that the bundles of flax stalks might have been expected to be drying just then" (Geikie's Hours, etc., ii., 390).
proud; quarrelsome (applied to Egypt)
large; extended (name of a woman)
Rahab, or Rachab
(wide ), a celebrated woman of Jericho who received the spies sent by Joshua to spy out the land, hid them in her house from the pursuit of her countrymen, was saved with all her family when the Israelites sacked the city, and became the wife of Salmon and the ancestress of the Messiah. ( Joshua 2:1 ; Matthew 1:5 ) (B.C. 1450.) She was a "harlot", and probably combined the trade of lodging-keeper for wayfaring men. Her reception of the spies, the artifice by which she concealed them from the king: their escape, and the saving of Rahab and her family at the capture of the city in accordance with their promise, are fold in the narrative of ( Joshua 2:1 ) ... As regards Rahab herself, she probably repented, and we learn from ( Matthew 1:5 ) that she became the wife of Salmon the son of Naasson, and the mother of Boaz, Jesses grandfather. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us that "by faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace," ( Hebrews 11:31 ) and St. James fortifies his doctrine of justification by works by asking, "Was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?" ( James 2:25 )
a poetical name of Egypt, ( Psalms 89:10 ; Isaiah 51:9 ) signifying "fierceness, insolence, pride." Rahab, as a name of Egypt, occurs once only without reference to the exodus: this is in ( Psalms 87:4 ) In ( Isaiah 30:7 ) the name is alluded to.
A zonah, that is either a "harlot," or, according to some, an "innkeeper" in Jericho; the Septuagint porne, "harlot"). The two spies sent by Joshua from Shittim came into her house and lodged there (Joshua 2:1). She refused to betray them to the king of Jericho, and when he demanded them, she hid them on the roof of her house with stalks of flax that she had laid in order to dry. She pretended that they had escaped before the shutting of the gate, and threw their pursuers off their track. She then told the spies of the fear that the coming of the Israelites had caused in the minds of the Canaanites--"Our hearts did melt .... for Yahweh your God, he is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath"--and asked that the men promise to spare her father, mother, brothers and sisters, and all that they had. They promised her to spare them provided they would remain in her house and provided she would keep their business secret. Thereupon she let them down by a cord through the window, her house being built upon the town wall, and gave them directions to make good their escape (Joshua 2:1-24). True to their promise, the Israelites under Joshua spared Rahab and her family (Joshua 6:16 the King James Version); "And," says the author of Josh, "she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day." Her story appealed strongly to the imagination of the people of later times. Hebrews 11:31 speaks of her as having been saved by faith; James, on the other hand, in demonstrating that a man is justified by works and not by faith only, curiously chooses the same example (James 2:25). Jewish tradition has been kindly disposed toward Rahab; one hypothesis goes so far as to make her the wife of Joshua himself (Jew Encyclopedia, under the word). Naturally then the other translation of zonah, deriving it from zun, "to feed," instead of zanah, "to be a harlot," has been preferred by some of the commentators.
Josephus, Ant, V, 1, 2, 7, so spells the name of (1) Septuagint and New Testament contra). The wife of Salmon and mother of Booz (Boaz) according to the genealogy in Matthew 1:5. Query, whether there was a tradition identifying (1) and (2); see Lightfoot, Horae Hob on Matthew 1:5.
(3) (rahabh, literally, "storm," "arrogance"):
A mythical sea-monster, probably referred to in several passages where the word is translated as a common noun "pride" (Job 9:13), "the proud" (Job 26:12; compare Psalms 89:10). It is used in parallelism with tannin, "the dragon" (Isaiah 51:9). It is most familiar as an emblem of Egypt, `the boaster that sitteth still' (Isaiah 30:7; Psalms 87:4; compare Psalms 89:10). The Talmud in Babha' Bathra' speaks of rahabh as sar ha-yam, "master of the sea."
See also ASTRONOMY.
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