Hope from a Harlot


Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope for His lovingkindness,

Psalm 33:18

In our first Advent post we looked at the candle of hope through the life of Ruth… as we continue to look at the female ancestry, according to the flesh, of our Savior this Advent, let me first ask you, where do you think Boaz, the husband of Ruth, got his heart for her?

Have you ever pondered why this man… this mature wealthy upstanding Israelite, would be willing to risk it all for this destitute young widow from Moab? 

Could it possibly be that because this man Boaz was the son of a woman from Jericho named Rahab?

Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. 

Joshua 2:1

Rahab in the Hebrew is rachab and it simply means a harlot in Jericho. The word origin is a verb and means enlarge, to be or grow wide or large, make room, make open wide. It can also be translated as extends, rejoice, relieved, speaks boldly.

Ponder with me for a moment on this woman we all know only by, hey- she’s a harlot in Jericho. I doubt seriously that her mother gave birth to this young woman, and held her in her arms and looked up to her husband with his proud beaming eyes and said, honey, let’s name her Rahab, she will be the best whore Jericho has ever known!

We will never know, this side of eternity, the name by which she was called when she was carried by her father and held closely to her mother’s chest… but we know that she loved her family. She loved them so much that she was willing to risk her own life and dignity to provide for them and to save their lives.

Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.”

Joshua 2:12-13

We also know that she feared the Lord our God. She has heard about the God of Israel. She had heard what happened in Egypt. What we see in her, is that she placed no faith or allegiance to the gods of Jericho… she was a woman who seemed to recognize pretense when she saw it. Yet, she also recognized truth.

I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, 

Joshua 2:9-12

This woman was known as a harlot in Jericho, but she displayed the original verb form of this name by which she was called…

She was not out just for herself, she expanded the scope her hope of salvation to her whole household. She was out to enlarge not to belittle. Her door was open wide to the spies… not for business… but for protection. She was willing to make room in her home for them and she was not afraid to ask that their doors be opened wide for her and her family. She was not afraid to ask these men who were enemies of her land to make room for her and her whole family in theirs. She spoke boldly.

I am sure she also breathed relief and rejoiced when the spies said…

 “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the Lord gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”

The men said to her, “We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household. 

Joshua 2:14, 17-18


So Rahab gathered her family and she hung that cord of scarlet in her window and she waited for the hope of their salvation…

How fitting it would be that one day her son, whom she would name Boaz, would take for a wife a Moab widow named Ruth… whose name meant cord.

He would be this woman’s hope as that scarlet cord that hung in the window of a home in Jericho was his mother’s.

Who better than he, would know not to judge a woman by her circumstances but judge her by her heart. Who better than he would not be turned away from a foreigner, but would be willing to open wide and make room for her in his heart and home. Who better than he would see this woman through eyes of mercy and grace…

How beautiful it is that God records their names, these particular names, for us, in the lineage of His Son. His Son who takes a bride of sketchy background and harlotry ways and redeems her and gives her HOPE. Who with arms open wide and a heart enlarged, speaks boldly on behalf of His bride, His family- the children of God- and makes room for them in the land of Eternity…

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

John 14:1-3

Rahab knew what it was to make room and to have room made… and I have no doubt that within the heart of her son she spoke the same truth… take them as they are son… extend hope, extend grace, extend mercy, trust in the One True Living God… and obey Him, love all as you have been loved… let God be God… when you see a chance to save, to help, to restore, to redeem… do it… make room.


Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.

Psalm 4:1