From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

RAHAB (‘wide’). 1 . The story of this woman, called a harlot, of Jericho is given in   Joshua 2:1-24 . The two spies sent out by Joshua to view the Promised Land come first to the house of Rahab, in Jericho. The king hears of it, and bids Rahab bring them forth; but she asserts that they have left her house and that she does not know where they have gone; she had, however, previously hid them among stalks of flax upon the roof. After their pursuers have left, Rahab comes to them, professes her belief in Jahweh, and adjures them to spare her and her kinsfolk when the attack on Jericho is made; this they promise shall be done; and after arranging that a scarlet thread is to be hung from her window, in order to denote which house is to be spared when the sack of the city takes place, the two spies escape from her house by a rope (  Joshua 2:1-24 ). The promise is duly kept, and Joshua spares her when the city is burned (  Joshua 6:22-25 ). In   Matthew 1:5 Rahab is mentioned in the genealogy of our Lord.

2 . A name for the Dragon , applied also to Egypt. This name is not the same as that just considered, which is written Rachab in Hebrew, while this is written Rahab . It is the name given to a mythological monster who is frequently referred to in the Bible. In   Isaiah 30:7 the old myth that Jahweh in the beginning subdued Rahab (= TÄ•hôm , the ‘Great Deep,’ the Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] Tiamat ) is employed to show that Jahweh will in like manner subdue Egypt (cf.   Psalms 87:4 ), and that it is therefore vain for Judah to trust to it. The words in RV [Note: Revised Version.] , ‘Rahab that sitteth still,’ imply that Rahab had been subjugated, but not annihilated, i.e. it was believed that Rahab was still living somewhere in the depths of the sea; the final destruction is referred to in   Revelation 21:1 ‘And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more .’ The next reference to Rahab is in   Isaiah 51:9-10 , a very important passage, which shows distinctly that Rahab, the Dragon, the sea or the ‘Great Deep’ ( TÄ•hôm ), are all names for one and the same monster. The belief is also expressly stated that in ‘the days of old’ there was a conflict between Jahweh and Rahab, and that the latter was overcome. Further references to the Rahab-myth are to be found in   Psalms 89:9-10 ,   Job 9:13;   Job 26:10-11; it is important to note how in all these passages the myth is treated as well known, it is taken for granted that the reference is perfectly understood. [See, further, Dragon, Leviathan, Sea.]

W. O. E. Oesterley.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [2]

The memorable woman of the city of Jericho, of whose faith the Holy Ghost hath given such honourable testimony,  Hebrews 11:31. Her name is derived from Raah, and signifies proud. And if there be aught upon earth to make sinful dust and ashes proud, surely the faith this woman possessed formed the strongest temptation to it; when we consider who she was, what she was; where she lived, and how she acted in the cause of the Lord. Her history is as great and striking, in the illustrious actings of her faith, as any in the records of truth.

She was one of the inhabitants of Canaan, a Gentile, an alien, and by nature an enemy to the commonwealth of Israel, "without hope, and without God in the world." Moreover, she was, as we say, a publican, and an harlot, not only kept an inn, exposed to numberless temptations, but a woman of notoriously known for such a character. She lived also in the accursed city of Jericho, a city devoted to destruction before the Lord, and of peculiar malignity of evil in the Lord's sight. And yet with all those disadvantages, this Rahab, this harlot, was a believer in the Lord God of Israel! Oh, the wonders of distinguishing grace! And what tends yet more to raise our views of the Lord's peculiar manifestation and love to this poor harlot, is the consideration that from the stock of this woman, after the flesh, the Lord appointed the future advent of his dear Son. By her marriage to Salmon; from whom sprang Boaz; and by the marriage of Boaz with Ruth, sprang Obed; and from Obed, Jesse; and from Jesse, David; and from David, after twice fourteen generations after the flesh, sprang Christ. (See  Matthew 1:1-17) What subjects of wonder the glorious redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ involves in it! Here, as in a thousand instances beside, we learn that the Lord's ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts! I pray the reader to give a diligent attention to her history,  Joshua 2:1-24 throughout.

We meet with the mention of another Rahab,  Psalms 87:4. And in  Psalms 89:10, Rahab is said to be broken in pieces: by which is meant most probably, Pharaoh and his host. We find, and not unfrequently, names figuratively used to denote the Lord's enemies. Thus the Psalmist elsewhere saith, "Thou brakest the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness." ( Psalms 74:13-14) Here is an evident allusion to the destruction of Pharaoh; and his host in the Red Sea; and afterwords causing the people, when at any time in their wilderness-state, to meet with difficulties, that the recollection of this mighty deliverance might become food to their faith, to help them through any present trouble.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [3]

The name Rahab appears in English versions of the Bible as belonging to a woman who features in the book of Joshua, and to a mythical sea monster that features in the poetical books. But in the Hebrew Bible the two do not share the same name. There is a difference in spelling.

A woman in Jericho

Before Joshua opened his attack on Canaan, he sent two men to spy out the first city they would meet, Jericho. In Jericho the men met Rahab, a prostitute whose house was attached to the city wall. Rahab had heard sufficient of Israel’s God to fear his power, but she believed in his mercy to save her. She protected the spies from the local authorities, and in return asked protection for herself and her family when the Israelites attacked Jericho ( Joshua 2:1-14;  Hebrews 11:31).

Rahab further demonstrated her faith by being obedient to the instructions that the spies gave her. She protected the spies as requested, and did as they had told her in preparation for Israel’s attack. As a result the Israelites preserved her and her family when Jericho fell, and accepted them into Israel as part of the nation ( Joshua 2:15-24;  Joshua 6:17;  Joshua 6:22-25;  James 2:25). If this Rahab is the person of that name who married Salmon, she was mother of Boaz and an ancestor of Jesus the Messiah ( Matthew 1:1;  Matthew 1:5-6).

A mythical sea monster

Rahab the mythical sea monster was considered by people of the Middle East to symbolize the forces of chaos over which God had victory in creating an orderly world ( Job 9:13;  Job 26:12;  Job 38:8-11). Poets at times wrote about God’s overthrow of Egypt in the Red Sea as if it were the overthrow of the sea monster Rahab ( Psalms 89:9-10;  Isaiah 51:9-10). From this there developed the poetical usage of ‘Rahab’ as another name for Egypt ( Psalms 87:4;  Isaiah 30:7).

Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

Ra'hab. (Wide).

1. 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 told 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, Jesse's 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.

2. 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.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [5]

 Psalm 87:4 89:10 Isaiah 51:9

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).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

The English word Rahab represents two different Hebrew words:

1.  Joshua 2:1-21   6:17-25 . Her faith, in doing this, is commended in  Hebrews 11:31   James 2:25 . The Jews and many Christians endeavor to show that Rahab was only an honest innkeeper; but more probably the designation of "harlot" given to her in our Bible is correct. If she had at some time led a dissolute life, she had evidently repented; and she afterwards became a worshipper of Jehovah, and the wife of Salmon, a prince of the tribe of Judah,  Ruth 4:21   Matthew 1:4 .

The penitent publican and sinner are always welcome to Christ; and many such a one, through the renovating power of grace, will shine gloriously in heaven, while the unbelieving moralist will perish in his sins.

2.  Psalm 87:4   89:10   Isaiah 30:7   51:9 . In the last of these passages, Egypt is further symbolized as a ferocious sea-monster; but it is doubtful whether the word Rahab itself is ever used to denote a sea-monster.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [7]

was a hostess of the city of Jericho, who received and concealed the spies sent by Joshua. The Hebrew calls her Zona,  Joshua 2:1 , which Jerom and many others understand of a prostitute. Others think she was only a hostess or innkeeper, and that this is the true signification of the original word. Had she been a woman of ill fame, would Salmon, a prince of the tribe of Judah, have taken her to wife! Or could he have done it by the law? Beside, the spies of Joshua would hardly have gone to lodge with a common harlot, they who were charged with so nice and dangerous a commission. Those who maintain that she was a harlot, pretend that she was perhaps one of those women who prostituted themselves in honour of the Pagan deities; as if this could extenuate her crime, or the scandal of her profession if she was a public woman. It is also observable that such women are called kadeshah, not zona, in the Hebrew. Rahab married Salmon, a prince of Judah, by whom she had Boaz, from whom descended Obed, Jesse, and David. Thus Jesus Christ condescended to reckon this Canaanitish woman among his ancestors. St. Paul magnifies the faith of Rahab,   Hebrews 11:31 . Rahab is also a name of Egypt,  Isaiah 30:7;  Isaiah 51:9 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

Rahab ( Râ'H Ăb ), Large. 1. A woman of Jericho, who received and concealed two Hebrew spies. In the siege of the city Rahab and her family were spared by the Hebrews from the general massacre of the inhabitants.  Joshua 2:1-24;  Joshua 6:17-27. She is called "a harlot;" but the proof of her reformation is found in the eminence of her faith.  Hebrews 11:31;  James 2:25. She subsequently married Salmon, a prince of Judah, and became an ancestress of David, and appears in the genealogy of Christ.  Ruth 4:20;  Matthew 1:5. 2. Rahab, Pride. An appellation for Egypt, designating the insolence and violence of its princes and inhabitants.  Psalms 87:4;  Psalms 89:10;  Isaiah 51:9.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [9]

RAHAB. —The mother of Boaz, and thus an ancestress of our Lord ( Matthew 1:5).

‘These names [those of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba] are probably introduced as those of women in whose case circumstances were overruled by the Divine providence which, as it might have seemed, should have excluded them from a place in the ancestral line of the Messiah. They were in a sense forerunners of the Virgin Mary’ (W. C. Allen, Com. ad loc. ).

The ‘faith’ of Rahab is extolled in  Hebrews 11:31, and her ‘works’ in  James 2:25.

Holman Bible Dictionary [10]

 Job 9:13 Job 26:12 Psalm 89:10 Isaiah 51:9 Psalm 74:12-17 2 Psalm 87:4 Isaiah 30:7 Rahab-hem-shebeth  Psalm 40:4

Morrish Bible Dictionary [11]

A poetical name, signifying 'insolence,' given to Egypt.  Psalm 87:4;  Psalm 89:10;  Isaiah 51:9 . The same word occurs in  Isaiah 30:7 , where the R.V. reads "therefore have I called her Rahab that sitteth still."

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

the form, in the A. V., of two names quite different in the Hebrew.

I. (Heb. Raechab ', רָחָב , Wide; Sept. ῾Ραχάβ [and so in  Matthew 1:5, "Rachab"], ῾Ραάβ ; Josephus, ῾Ραχάβης , Ant. v, 1, 2.) A woman of Jericho at the time of the Eisode, whose name has become famous in that connection (Joshua 2) and in Jewish lineage (B.C. 1618). In the following accounlt of her we chiefly follow the Biblical and other ancient authorities, with additions from modern sources. (See Exode).

1. Her History. At the time of the arrival of the Israelites in Canaan she was a young unmarried woman, dwelling in a house of her own alone, though she had a father and mother, and brothers and sisters, living in Jericho. She was a "harlot," and probably combined the trade of lodging- keeper for wayfaring men. She seems also to have been engaged in the manufacture of linen, and the art of dyeing, for which the Phoenicians were early famous; since we find the flat roof of her house covered with stalks of flax put there to dry, and a stock of scarlet or crimson ( שָׁנַי , Shani ) thread in her house a circumstance which, coupled with the mention of Babylonish garments at 7:21 as among the spoils of Jericho, indicates the existence of a trade in such articles between Phoenicia and Mesopotamia. Her house was situated on the wall, probably near the town gate, so as to be convenient for persons coming in and going out of the city. Traders coming from Mesopotamia or Egypt to Phcenicia would frequently pass through Jericho, situated as it was near the fords of the Jordan; and of these many would resort to the house of Rahab. Rahab, therefore, had been well informed with regard to the events of the Exodus. She had heard of the. passage through the Red Sea, of the utter destruction of Sihbon and Og, and of the irresistible progress of the Is.aelitish host. The effect upon her mind had been wht one would not have expected in a person of her way of life: it led her to a firm faith in Jehovah as the true God, and to the conviction that he purposed to give the land of Canaan to the Israelites. When, therefore, the two spies sent by Joshua came to her house, they found themselves under the roof of one who, alone, probably, of the whole population, was friendly to their nation. Their coming, however, was quickly known; and the king of Jericho, having received information of it while at supper, according to Josephussent, that very evening, to require her to deliver them up. It is very likely that, her house being a public one, some one who resorted there may have seen and recognised the spies, and gone off at once to report the matter to the authorities. But not without awakening Rahab's suspicions; for she immediately hid the men among the flax-stalks which were piled on the flat roof of her house, and, on the arrival of the officers sent to search her house, was ready with the story that two men of what country she knew not had, it was true, been to her house, but had left it just before the gates were shut for the night. If they pursued them at once, she added, they would be sure to overtake them.

Misled by the false information, the men started in pursuit to the fords of the Jordan, the gates having been opened to let them out, and immediately closed again. When all was quiet, and the people were gone to bed, Rahab stole up to the house-top, told the spies what had happened, and assured them of her faith in the God of Israel, and her confident expectation of the capture of the whole land by them an expectation, she added, which was shared by her countrymen, and had produced a great panic among them. She then told them her plan for their escape: it was to let them down by a cord from the window of her house, which looked over the city wall, and that they should flee into the mountains which bounded the plains of Jericho, and lie hidden there for three days, by which time the pursuers would have returned, and the fords of the Jordan be open to them again. She asked, in return for her kindness to them, that they should swear by Jehovah that. when their countrymen had taken the city, they would spare her life, and the lives of her father and mother, brothers and sisters, and all that belonged to them. The men readily consented; and it was agreed between them that she should hang out her scarlet line at the window from which they had escaped, and bring all her family under her roof. If any of her kindred went out-of-doors into the street, his blood would be upon his own head; and the Israelites, in that case, would be guiltless. The event proved the wisdom of her precautions. The pursuers returned to Jericho after a fruitless search, and the spies got safe back to the Israelitish camp. The news they brought of the terror of the Canaanites doubtless inspired Israel with fresh courage, and within three days of their return the passage of the Jordan was effected. In the utter destruction of Jericho which ensued, Joshua gave the strictest orders for the preservation of Rahab and her family; and, accordingly, before the city was burned, the two spies were sent to her house, and they brought out her, her father, and mother, and brothers, and kindred, and all that she had, and placed them in safety in the Israelitish camp. The narrator adds, "and she dwelleth in Israel unto this day;" not necessarily implying that she was alive at the time he wrote, but that the family of strangers of which she was reckoned the head continued to dwell among the children of Israel. May not the three hundred and forty-five "children of Jericho" mentioned in  Ezra 2:34;  Nehemiah 7:36, and "the men of Jericho" who assisted Nehemiah in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem ( Nehemiah 3:2) have been their posterity? Their continued sojourn among the Israelites as a distinct family would be exactly analogous to the cases of the Kenites, the house of Rechab, the Gibeonites, the house of Caleb, and perhaps others. (See Jericho).

As regards Rahab herself, we learn from  Matthew 1:5 that she became the wife of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, and the ancestress of Boaz, Jesse's grandfather. The suspicion naturally arises that Salmon may have been one of the spies whose life she saved, and that gratitude for so great a benefit led, in his case, to a more tender passion, and obliterated the memory of any past Disgrace attaching to her name. We are expressly told that the spies were "young men" ( Joshua 6:23) Sept. Νεανίσκους , 2, 1; and the example qf the former spies who were sent from Kadesh- Barnea, who were all "heads of Israel" ( Numbers 13:3), as well as the importance of the service to be performed, would lead one to expect that they would be persons of high station. But, however this may be, it is certain, on the authority of Matthew, that Rahab became the mother of the line from which sprang David, and, eventually, Christ; and there can be little doubt that it was so stated in the public archives from which the evangelist extracted our Lord's genealogy, in which only four women are named viz. Thamar, Rachab, Ruth, and Bathsheba who were all, apparently, foreigners, and named for that reason; for that the Rachab mentioned by Matthew is Rahab the harlot is as certain as that David in the genealogy is the same person as David in the books of Samuel. The attempts that have been made to prove Rachab different from Rahab (chiefly by Outhov, a Dutch professor, in the Biblioth. Bremens. iii, 438: the earliest expression of any doubt is by Theophylact, in the 11th century) in order to get out of the chronological difficulty, are singularly absurd, and all the more so because, even if successful, they would not diminish the difficulty as long as Salmon remains as the son of Nahshon and the ancestor of Boaz. However, as there are still found those who follow Outhov in his opinion, or at least speak doubtfully (Valpy, Greek Test. with English notes, on Matthew i, 5; Burrington, On the Genealogies, i, 192- 194, etc.; Kuinil, on Matt. i, 5; Olshausen, ibid.), it may be as well to call attention, with Dr. Mill (p. 131), to the exact coincidence in the age of Salmon, as the son of Nahshon, who was prince of the children of Judah in the wilderness, and that of Rahab the harlot. and to observe that the only conceivable reason for the mention of Rachab in Matthew's genealogy is that she was a remarkable and well-known person, as Tainar, Ruth, and Bathsheba were. The mention of an utterly unknown Rahab in the line would be absurd. The allusions to "Rahab the harlot" in  Hebrews 11:31;  James 2:25, by classing her among those illustrious for their faith, make it still more impossible to suppose that Matthew was speaking of any one else. The four generations, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, are, nevertheless, not necessarily all consecutive. (See David).

There does not seem, however, to be any force in Bengel's remark, adopted by Olshausen, that the article ( Ἐκ Τῆς ῾Ραχάβ ) proves that Rahab of Jericho is meant, seeing that all the proper names in the genealogy which are in the oblique case have the article, though many of them occur nowhere else, and that it is omitted before Μαρίας in  James 2:16. (See Genealogy Of Jesus Christ).

The Jewish writers abound in praises of Rahab, on account of the great service she rendered their ancestors. Even those who do not deny that she was a harlot admit that she eventually became the wife of a prince of Israel, and that many great persons of their nation sprang from this union. The general statement is, that she was ten years of age at the time the Hebrews quitted Egypt; that she played the harlot during all the forty years they were in the wilderness: that she became a proselyte when the spies were received by her; and that, after the fall of Jericho, no less a personage than Joshua himself made her his wife. She is also counted as an ancestress of Jeremiah, Maaseiah, Hanameel, Shallum, Baruch, Ezekiel, Neriah, Serial, and Huldah the prophetess. See Talm. Babyl. Megillah, fol. 14. Colossians 2 : Yuchasin, 10:1; Shalshalet Hakabala, 7:2; Abarbanel, Kimchi, etc., on  Joshua 6:25; Mitzvoth Toreh , p. 112; Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. ad Matthew i1:4; Meuschen, N.T. Talmud , p. 40. (See Joshua)

2. Rahab ' S Character. This has been a subject of deep interest and no little controversy. In the narrative of these transactions, Rahab is called זוֹנָה , Zotih , which our own, after the ancient versions, renders "Harlot." The Jewish writers, however, being unwilliig to entertain the idea of their ancestors being involved in a disreputable association at the commencement of their great undertaking, chose to interpret the word "hostess," one who keeps a public-house, as if from זוּן , "to nourish" (Josephus, Ant. v, 1; ii and vii; comp. the Targum, and Kimchi and Jarchi on the text). Christian translators, also, are inclined to adopt this interpretation for the sake of the character of a woman of whom the apostle speaks well, and who would appear, from  Matthew 1:4, to have become, by a subsequent marriage with Salmon, prince of Judah, an ancestress of Jesus. But we must be content to take facts as they stand, and not strain them to meet difficulties; and it is now universally admitted by every sound Hebrew scholar that זוֹנָה means "harlot," and not "hostess." It signifies "harlot" in every other text where it occurs, the idea of "hostess" not being represented by this or any other word in Hebrew, as the function represented by it did not exist. (See Frisch, De Miuliere Peregrina tp. Heb. [Lips. 1744].) There were no inns; and when certain substitutes for inns eventually came into use, they were never, in any Eastern country, kept by women. On the other hand, strangers from beyond the river might have repaired to the house of a harlot without suspicion or remark: the Bedawin from the desert constantly do so at this day in their visits to Cairo and Bagdad. The house of such a woman was also the only one to which they, as perfect strangers, could have had access, and certainly the only one in which they could calculate on obtaining the information they required without danger from male inmates. Thnis concurrence of analogies in the word, in the thing, and in the probability of circumstances ought to settle the question. If we are concerned for the morality of Rahab, the best proof of her reformation is found in the fact of her subsequent marriage to Salmon: this implies her previous conversion to Judaism, for which, indeed, her discourse with the spies evinces that she vas prepared. Dismissing, therefore, as inconsistent with truth and with the meaning of זוֹנָה and Πόρνη , the attempt to clear her character of stain by saying that she was only an innkeeper, and not a harlot Πανδοκευτρία , Chrysostom and Chald. Vers.), we may yet notice that it is very possible that to a woman of her country and religion such a calling may have implied a far less deviation from the standard of morality than it does with us ("vitae genus vile magis quam flagitiosum:" Grotius), and, moreover, that with a purer faith she seems to have entered upon a pure life. (See Harlot).

As a case of casuistry, her conduct in deceiving the king of Jericho's messengers with a false tale, and, above all, in taking part against her own countrymen, has been much discussed. With regard to the first, strict truth, either in Jew or heathen, was a virtue so utterly unknown before the promulgation of the Gospel that, so far as Rahab is concerned, the discussion is quite superfluous. The question, as regards ourselves, whether in any case a falsehood is allowable say to save our own life or that of another is different, but need not be argued here. The question, in reference both to Rahab and to Christians, is well discussed by Augustiue, Contr. Mendacium (Opp. 6:33, 34; comp. Bullinger, 3d Dec. Serm. iv). With regard to ler taking part against her own countrymen, it can only be justified but is fully justified by the circumstance that fidelity to her country would, in her case, have been infidelity to God, and that the higher duty to her Maker eclipsed the lower duty to her native land. Her anxious provision for the safety of her father's house shows how alive she was to natural affections, and seems to prove that she was not influenced by a selfish insensibility, but by an enlightened preference faor the service of the true God over the abominable pollutions of Canaanitish idolatry. If her own life of shame was in any way connected with that idolatry, one can readily understand what a further stimulus this would give, now that her heart was purified by faith, to her desire for the overthrow of the nation to which she belonged by birth, and the establishment of that to which she wished to belong by a community of faith and hope. Anyhow, allowing for the difference of circumstances, her feelings and conduct were analogous to those of a Christian Jew in Paul's time, who should have preferred the triumph of the Gospel to the triumph of the old Judaism, or to those of a converted Hindu in our own days, who should side with Christian Englishmen against the attempts of his own countrymen to establish the supremacy either of Brahma or Mohammed.

This view of Rahab's conduct is fully borne out by, the references to her in the N.T. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us that "by faith the hlarlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace" ( Hebrews 11:31); and 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). In like manner Clement of Rome says, "Rahab the harlot was saved for her faith and hospitality" (Ad Corinth. 12).

The fathers generally ("miro consensu:" Jacobson) consider the deliverance of Rahab as typical of salvation, and the scarlet line hung out at her window as typical of the blood of Jesus, in the same way as the ark of Noah and the blood of the paschal lamb were a view which is borne out by the analogy of the deliverances, and by the language of  Hebrews 11:31 ( Τοῖς Ἀπειθήσασιν , "the disobedient"), compared with  1 Peter 3:20 ( Ἀπειθησασίν Ποτε ) . Clement ( Ad Corinth. 12) is the first to do so. He says that by the symbol of the scarlet line it was "made manifest that there shall be redemption through the blood of the Lord to all who believe and trust in God," and adds that Rahab in this was a prophetess as well as a believer a sentiment in which he is followed by Origen (in lib. Jes., Hon. iii). Justin Martyr, in like manner, calls the scarlet line "the symbol of the blood of Christ, by which those of all nations who once were harlots and unrighteous are saved;" andl in a like spirit Irenaeus draws from the story of Rahab the conversion of the Gentiles, and the admission of publicans and harlots into the kingdom of heaven through the symbol of the scarlet line, which he compares with the Passover and the Exodus. Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine (who, like Jerome and Cyril, takes  Psalms 87:4 to refer to Rahab the harlot), and Theodoret, all follow in the same track; but Origen, as usual, carries the allegory still further. Irenaeus makes the singular mistake of calling the spies three, andl makes them symbolical of the Trinity! The comparison of the scarlet line with the scarlet thread wmhich was bound round the hand of Zarah is a favorite one with them. See Ireneus, Contr. Her. 4:xx; Just. Mart. Contr. Tryph. p. 11; Jerome, Adv. Jovin. lib. i; Epist. 34 ad Nepot.; Breviar. in Psalms 86; Origen, Comm. in Matthew 27; Chrysost. Hon. 3 in Matt., also 3 ins Ep. ad Roml.; Eph. Syr. Rhythm 1 and 7 on Nativ.; Rhythm 7 on the Faith; Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechet. Lect. ii, 9; 10:11. Bullinger (5th Dec. Sermn. vi) views the line as a sign and seal of the covenant between the Israelites and Rahab.

The Jews, as above observed, are embarrassed as to what to say concerning Rahab. They praise her highly for her conduct; but some rabbins give out that she was not a Canaanite, but of some other Gentile race, and was only a sojourner in Jericho. The Gemara of Babylon mentions the above-noted tradition that she became the wife of Joshua a tradition unknown to Jerome (Adv. Jovin.). Josephus (Ant. v, 1) describes her as an innkeeper, and her house as an inn ( Tcarayw ylov), and never applies to her the epithet wropvq), whlic is the term used by the Sept.

See the Critici Sacri, Thesaur. Nov. i, 487; Simeon, Works, ii, 544; Gordon, Christ as Made Known, etc. ii, 268; Ewald, Gesch. Isr. ii, 246; Niemeyer, Chara'k. iii, 423 sq.; Abicht, De Rachab Meretrice (Lips. 1714); Caunter, Hist. and Char. of Rahab [insists that she could not have been a harlot] (Lond. 1850); Hocrmann, Rahab's Erettung (Berl. 1861). (See Joshua).

II. (Heb. Ra ' Hab , רִהִב , Strength; Sept. ῾Ραάβ ,  Psalms 87:4; Τὸ Κῆτος ,  Job 16:12; Ὑπερήφανος ,  Psalms 89:10; omits  Isaiah 51:9). A poetical name signifying "sea monster," which is applied as an appellation to Egypt in  Psalms 74:13-14;  Psalms 87:4;  Psalms 89:10;  Isaiah 51:9 (and sometimes to its king,  Ezekiel 29:3;  Ezekiel 33:3; comp.  Psalms 68:31) which metaphorical designation probably involves an allusion to the crocodiles, hippopotami, and other aquatic creatures of the Nile (q.v.). As the word, if Hebrew, radically denotes "fierceness, insolence, pride," when applied to Egypt, it would indicate the national character of the inhabitants. Gesenius thinks it was probably of Egyptian origin. but accommodated to Hebrew, although no likely equivalent has been found in Coptic, or, we may add, in ancient Egyptian (Thesaur. s.v.). That the Hebrew meaning is alluded to in connection with the proper name does not seem to prove that the latter is Hebrew, but this is rendered very probable by its apposite character and its sole use in poetical books. (See Behemioth).

The same word occurs in a passage in Job, where it is usually translated, as in the A. V., instead of being treated as a proper name. Yet many interpreters, comparing this passage with parallel ones, insist that it refers to the Exodus: "He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud" [or "Rahab"] (26:12). The prophet Isaiah calls on the arm of the Lord, "[Art] not thou it that hath cut Rahab, [and] wounded the dragon? [Art] not thou. it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a wayn for the ransomed to pass over?" (51:99, 10; comp. 15). In Psalms 74 the division of the sea is mentioned in connection with breaking the heads of the dragons and the heads of Leviathan ( Psalms 74:13-14). So, too, in Psalms 89 God's power to subdue the sea is spoken of immediately before a mention of his having "broken Rahab in pieces" ( Psalms 89:9-10). Rahab, as a name of Egypt, occurs once only without reference to the Exodus: this is in Psalms 87, where Rahab, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, and Cush are compared with Zion ( Psalms 87:4-5). In one other passage the name is alluded to with reference to its Hebrew signification, where it is prophesied that the aidl of the Egyptians should not avail those who sought it. and this sentence follows: רִהִב הֵם שָׁבֵת , "Insolence (i. c. the insolent'), they sit still" ( Isaiah 30:7), as Gesenius reads. considering it to be undoubtedly a proverbial expression. (See Crocodile).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [13]

rā´hab  :

(1) ( רחב , rāḥābh , "broad"; in Josephus, Ant. , V, i, 2,7, Ῥάχαβ , Rháchab  ;   Hebrews 11:31 and   James 2:25 , Ῥάαβ , Rháab ): A zōnāh , that is either a "harlot," or, according to some, an "innkeeper" in Jericho; the Septuagint πόρνη , pórnē , "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 (Josh 2:1-24). True to their promise, the Israelites under Joshua spared Rahab and her family ( Joshua 6:16 ff 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 ( Jewish Encyclopedia , under the word). Naturally then the other translation of zōnāh , deriving it from zūn , "to feed," instead of zānāh , "to be a harlot," has been preferred by some of the commentators.

(2) ( Ῥάχαβ , Rháchab ): 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 Heb on   Matthew 1:5 .

(3) ( רהב , 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  Psalm 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;  Psalm 87:4; compare  Psalm 89:10 ). The Talmud in Bābhā' Bathrā' speaks of rahabh as sar ha - yām , "master of the sea." See also Astronomy .

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

Rahab, 1

Ra´hab, a name signifying 'sea-monster,' which is applied as an appellation to Egypt in;;; (and sometimes to its king,; , comp. ); which metaphorical designation probably involves an allusion to the crocodiles, hippopotami, and other aquatic creatures of the Nile.

Rahab, 2

Ra´hab, properly Rachab (large) a woman of Jericho who received into her house the two spies who were sent by Joshua into that city; concealed them under the flax laid out upon the house-top, when they were sought after; and, having given them important information, which showed that the inhabitants were much disheartened at the miracles which had attended the march of the Israelites, enabled them to escape over the wall of the town, upon which her dwelling was situated. For this important service Rahab and her kindred were saved by the Hebrews from the general massacre which followed the taking of Jericho (;; comp. ).

In the narrative of these transactions Rahab is called zonah, which our own, after the ancient versions, renders 'harlot.' The Jewish writers, however, being unwilling to entertain the idea of their ancestors being involved in a disreputable association at the commencement of their great undertaking, chose to interpret the word 'hostess,' one who keeps a public house. But the word signifies harlot in every other text where it occurs, the idea of 'hostess' not being represented by this or any other word in Hebrew, as the function represented by it did not exist. There were no inns; and when certain substitutes for inns eventually came into use, they were never, in any Eastern country, kept by women. On the other hand, strangers from beyond the river might have repaired to the house of a harlot without suspicion or remark. The house of such a woman was also the only one to which they, as perfect strangers, could have had access, and certainly the only one in which they could calculate on obtaining the information they required without danger from male inmates. If we are concerned for the morality of Rahab, the best proof of her reformation is found in the fact of her subsequent marriage to Salmon: this implies her previous conversion to Judaism, for which indeed her discourse with the spies evinces that she was prepared.