2. JOSHUA 2 THE CONVERSION OF A CANAANITE
Chapter 1 of Matthew’s Gospel contains an abbreviated genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth. Four women are
mentioned in this genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba. All are unsavoury characters for one
reason or another. All four reveal something of the strange and unexpected workings of providence in
preparation for the coming of the Messiah.
THE TELLING OF THE STORY OF RAHAB
Rahab is perhaps the most unsavoury of the four women who feature in Jesus’ genealogy. She was a
common prostitute, yet she came to saving faith in the God of Israel. Her confession of faith is the central
and most important part of the narrative.
THE STRUCTURE OF JOSHUA CHAPTER 2
A. Commission by Joshua (verse 1a)
B. Arrival/Concern: Protection of the Spies (verses 2-7)
C. Rahab’s Confession of Faith (verses 8-14)
B1. Escape/Concern: protection of Rahab and Her Family (verses 15-21)
A1. Return to Joshua (verses 22-24)
(adapted from Dale Ralph Davis, No Falling Words, page 25)
RAHAB’S REACTION (verses 1-11)
The people of Canaan were expecting Israelite intruders. They lived in fear of these people who had been
coming their way for forty years. Almost all of the Canaanites would have happily turned the Israelite
spies into the authorities, but Rahab protected them at risk of her own life. Why? Because Rahab had
been born again and was already a believer when the spies by God’s predestining providence came into
her care. She declared to the astonished spies: “the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above and in
RAHAB’S REQUEST (verses 12-14)
Rahab understood that God had given (note the past tense – even though this had not yet taken place) the
land to the people of Israel. She saw that God was judging her people and so she begged that her life and
the lives of her family members would be spared. She understood that their continued existence was a
necessary precondition for their salvation.
RAHAB’S REWARD (verses 15-24)
When Jericho fell to the invading Israelite army, Rahab and her family were spared as the spies had
promised. She was accepted as one of God’s people and indeed became an ancestor of the one who would
be her Saviour: the Lord Jesus Christ.