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Sunday, February 12 2012
The Faith Of Rahab
The account of Rahab and the agreement that she made with the Israelite scouts that Joshua had sent to Jericho is one of the most well-known of Bible History. But why did she do it? What was it that she knew about the Israelites, not only before they got to Jericho, but even before they crossed the Jordan River? And moreover, what was it that actually saved her life?
As we will read further, Rahab stated to the scouts that "we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed." Among those who were devastated along the way were the Moabites, on the other side of the Jordan River across from Jericho, as recorded earlier, in the account of Balak and Balaam (see Balaam's Donkey).
"22:1 And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan [see also Beyond Jordan] by Jericho.
When one considers the size of the Israelite military force that was approaching, it's easily understandable why the king of Moab was so concerned (and why the Pharaoh of Egypt had come to regard them as such a security threat within his kingdom; see Why Were The Israelites Made Slaves In Egypt? and The River Of Moses) - 601,730 "that are able to go to war."
"26:2 Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel [see also Are Levites 'Jews'?], from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers' house, all that are able to go to war in Israel. 26:3 And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, 26:4 Take the sum of the people, from twenty years old and upward; as the LORD commanded Moses and the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt." (Numbers 26:2-4 KJV)
"33:50 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, 33:51 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan [see also A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan]; 33:52 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: 33:53 And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. 33:54 And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man's inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.
Not all of the Israelite tribes had to cross the Jordan River to receive their part of the Promised Land. Two and a half of the tribes were assigned lands east of the Jordan River (see the map), from battles already won (notice where the LORD-commanded borders of "Israel" actually were; they did not extend to the Nile River, where the Israelites were commanded to leave in the Exodus, nor to the Euphrates River of Babylon, where the LORD commanded Abraham, and his Messianic descendants, to leave - see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees and Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates). The eastern tribes did nevertheless cross the Jordan to assist the other tribes to take their lands west of the Jordan, just as the other tribes had already assisted them to take their lands east of the Jordan.
"34:13 And Moses [see also Moses Of Midian] commanded the children of Israel, saying, This is the land which ye shall inherit by lot, which the LORD commanded to give unto the nine tribes, and to the half tribe: 34:14 For the tribe of the children of Reuben according to the house of their fathers, and the tribe of the children of Gad according to the house of their fathers, have received their inheritance; and half the tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance: 34:15 The two tribes and the half tribe have received their inheritance on this side Jordan near Jericho eastward, toward the sunrising." (Numbers 34:13-15 KJV)
Moses did not cross the Jordan River (see Why Did Joshua Lead Israel Across The Jordan?). Moses died east of the Jordan, but is nevertheless buried in the Israelite territory that was already taken (see the map above).
"32:44 And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun. 32:45 And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel: 32:46 And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. 32:47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
"By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not"
The first Israelites to cross the Jordan were the two scouts sent by Joshua. So "they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there" (many have debated as to whether "harlot" is the correct translation of the original Hebrew word; some insist that it means "innkeeper").
"2:1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there." (Joshua 2:1 KJV)
The scouts were spotted and a search was made for them. Rahab not only hid them, but diverted those who were searching for them.
"2:2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. 2:3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.
Rahab then stated not only her awareness of all of what the Israelites had done since they left Egypt, including the devastation of the Pharaoh's army and the crossing of the "Red Sea" (see The Night Crossing), but also her knowledge of, and faith in, the LORD - while her fellow citizens of Jericho perished for their lack of it ("11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace" Hebrews 11:31 KJV).
"2:8 And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; 2:9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 2:10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 2:11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. 2:12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have showed you kindness, that ye will also show kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token: 2:13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death." (Joshua 2:8-13 KJV)
So an agreement was made; life for life.
"2:14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.
The crossing of the Jordan by the Israelites then took place. The Levites, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, led the way, according to the instructions given to them by the LORD.
"3:14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; 3:15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) 3:16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. 3:17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan." (Joshua 3:14-17 KJV)
"5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
The taking of Jericho began as a siege, as the LORD had instructed them to do. Jericho was however destined to fall by the power of faith ("11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days" Hebrews 11:30 KJV), just as Rahab was given, by faith, to survive it.
"6:1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. 6:2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. 6:3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. 6:4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 6:5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him." (Joshua 6:1-5 KJV)
The city was taken. Faithful Rahab of Jericho was saved by her faith.
"6:20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. 6:21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.
Fact Finder: When did faith originate?
This Day In History, February 12
881: Pope John VIII crowned Charles (known as "Charles the Fat") as king of Italy (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).
1294: Kublai Khan, the "conqueror of Asia," died at age 80.
1429: The French were defeated by the English at the Battle of Herrings (or Rouvray).
1502: Vasco da Gama set sail from Lisbon, Portugal on his second voyage of exploration to India.
1541: Santiago, Chile was founded by Pedro de Valdivia.
1554: Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for 13 days, was beheaded on Tower Hill at the age of 17.
1586: Augustus I died at age 60. As elector of Saxony and the leader of Protestant Germany, he reconciled his fellow Lutherans with the Roman Catholic Habsburg Holy Roman emperors (see The Holy Roman Empire), thereby helping to bring the initial hostility of the Reformation in Germany to an end.
1733: English philanthropist James Edward Oglethorpe arrived with the first colonists at (what was later known as) Savannah, Georgia.
1818: Chile became independent from Spain.
1851: Edward Hargraves discovered gold at Summerhill Creek in New South Wales, triggering the Australian gold rush.
1895: China surrendered at the Battle of Weihaiwei, ending the Sino-Japanese War.
1912: The Manchu dynasty under Pu Yi abdicated in China and a provisional republic was established under Sun Yat-sen.
1924: Tutankhamen's sarcophagus was opened to reveal his coffin, 15 months after the tomb was first discovered.
1935: The Macon, the last U.S. Navy dirigible, crashed off the coast of California, killing 2 people.
1947: The Sikhote-Alin asteroid strike in eastern Siberia. An iron-nickel asteroid with a mass estimated at 100 tons streaked through the sky as a multicolored bolide brighter than the sun itself (one witness said that it looked like a piece of the sun had broken off). The asteroid shattered while still in the air and scattered meteorites over a wide area. Investigators located 106 craters and pits, the largest recovered meteorite weighed 3,845 pounds / 1,745 kilograms (see The Blood Moon Prophecy).
1953: The Soviet Union broke off diplomatic relations with Israel after a bomb exploded at the Soviet Legation in Tel Aviv.
1955: President Eisenhower sent the first U.S. "advisors" to become involved in the Vietnam War (which was actually a civil war between the Vietnamese people whose single country had been partitioned in 1954, by the colonial French at the end of the First Indochina War, into North and South Vietnam).
1986: The Channel Tunnel treaty between Britain and France was signed.
1994: More than 100 people walked the English Channel Tunnel in a sponsored walk for charity. They became the first humans to walk from France to Britain since the Ice Age.
1999: The U.S. Senate failed to pass two articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton. He had been accused of perjury and obstruction of justice by the House of Representatives.
2004: The city of San Francisco, California began issuing "marriage" licenses to same-sex "couples."