"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Ancestors of Jesus 2

"Joshua fit de battle of Jericho... and the walls came tumbling down," we used to sing as children. But I don't remember being taught about the more colourful female characters involved in all of this.
Following my story on 19th December about Tamar, we now have another prostitute within the family tree of Jesus; this time it is Rahab.
"Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab...Matthew Chapter 1 v. 5)
We need to remember that in the Canaanite pagan society in which Rahab lived, a harlot or prostitute held a respected position in society. In fact Rahab was one of the few believers in God. (In the Epistle to the Hebrews chapter 11 v. 31: "By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.)
What spies? What is the story?
The Canaanites were generally morally depraved, lawless, brutal, and their pagan religion was all about fertility and sex, child sacrifice and th worship of serpents. The society was ripe for conquest by the people of Israel, probably fed up with wandering homeless in the desert for over forty years!
I love the beginning of this story as told in Joshua ch. 2 v. 1. Joshua sent out two spies from Acacia Grove - doesn't that just sound like some smart suburbia somewhere?! In fact it was East of the Jordan river, opposite Jericho, also known as Shittim. And the spies came and lodged at Rahab's house, which was also a public house, so lots of people coming and going would not have raised any suspicions.
Now the King of Jericho heard about the spies in his land and sent men to Rahab to apprehend them, but Rahab told them the men had left the city, although she was in fact hiding the spies on her flat roof amongst the flax being dried up there for making cloth and candle wicks. When the coast was clear, Rahab struck a deal with the spies; Save me and my family from death when you conquer us, and I will let you go and not in any way betray you. They agreed, but so that the Israel army would know which house to save they asked her to tie a scarlet cord out of the window on the city wall where she let them down by rope to make their escape.

And the men returned to Joshua and told him that Canaan was weak and the time was ripe to invade. So they did. And the army brought out Rahab and all her family to safety before they razed Jericho to the ground with fire, saving only valuable silver and gold, bronze and iron.

These photos are nothing to do with Jericho - they are in Brittany, but the city walls were very thick! In Jericho the walls were think enough to include housing within. That is how Rahab could let the spies escape - she lived within the wall and her window would have looked to the outside of the city.

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