We shall be taking a series, (beginning with Rahab the prostitute: Meaning, Characterstics, Lessons), discussing four (4) mystical women.
They were ordinarily, most unqualified to be the ancestral Mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ, but for divine election, unusual faith (e.g Rahab: the prostitue) and perseverance, they were enlisted!
There were four unlikely women who were Ancestresses of the Messiah, in the most unlikely of circumstances, they were enlisted in the genealogy of Jesus amidst much debate. The truth, however, remains the same…
Truly, they had somewhat spotty reputations, with little or no individual or societal relevance. Nevertheless, they exhibited certain distinct traits worthy of note and emulation. They include: Rahab, Ruth, Tamar and Bathsheba, two of which made it to the Honorary Hall of Faith in scriptures.
We shall begin with the Canaanite Woman called Rahab. She lived on the outer walls in the Ancient city of Jericho.
RAHAB: The Prostitute in Jericho
Jericho was that fortified Canaanite City in the Jordan valley, renowned for its gigantic walls weighing thousands of tonnes. The walls of Jericho were one of the oldest city walls discovered by archeologists. It proved a stronghold directly in the path of the advancing Israelites who had just crossed the Jordan River (Joshua 3:1-16).
Jericho was one of the principal seats of idol worship, being especially devoted to Ashtaroth, the goddess of the moon. The vilest and most degrading in the religion of the Canaanites was centered therein!
Jericho was encompassed by two great walls (as seen in great cities, at that time), The City was teeming filled with moral and street vagabonds.
An inner wall that houses a central compartment consisting of the palace, temples, and important infrastructures that are inhabited by the wealthy sect, while the poor and disreputable people lived in the outer wall.
Therefore, somewhere in the outermost parts of the outer wall lived a popular prostitute called Rahab: the wayfaring prostitute and her extended family.
However, movements of foreigners into the outer wall of the city (through the gates) have been curtailed, even the inhabitants of the town must shut down their outlets within a time frame at dusk… as the people of Jericho feared greatly. The dreaded Israelites were subtly advancing towards their territory. Obviously, horror was clearly written on many faces. Nevertheless, they had much faith in their gods and their giant-sized walls.
“Rahab” : Meaning and
The name “Rahab” means “open wide, insolence or fierceness”... A poetical name applied to Egypt in (Ps 87:4, 89:10).
Rahab was the wayfaring prostitute who must make a living!
In Canaanite society, her profession was probably respectable enough.
Characteristics of Rahab the
Moreover, she was well-known for attending to the sexual needs and comfort of both the wealthy and weary! This was Rahab’s stock-in-trade!
Rahab made a living by accommodating idle and unscrupulous wayfarers alongside travelers, in running a tavern (bar).
With the imposed curfew in the City, Rahab needed more tact for more money, She must, however, make ends meet, having to fend for her large family whom she loved so much, hence she took to harvesting stalks of flax for making linen for clothing as a part-time occupation. Times were hard! Women were even more grateful to receive their sons and husbands back home as soon as the sun cast its face low to embrace twilight.
Nonetheless, a few people frequented Rahab’s tavern; those undeniably loyal to wine and wild sex!
No doubt she longed for a better life. Her homeland was full of violence and depravity, including incest and bestiality. (Leviticus 18:3, 6, 21-24).
The prevalence of such evils in the land had much to do with religion. The temples promoted ritual prostitution and the worship of such demonic gods as Baal and Molech. Their activities included the burning of children alive in sacrificial fires.
But what was the way out?
The tavern business was not as lucrative as it used to be. The dreaded Israelites were gradually advancing towards their territory. Worse still, her home would be the first point of attack!
She nursed these thoughts and silently craved for answers as she went about her daily activities…
To be continued….
Jericho was a city renowned for its walls. One look at the great city leaves one in so much awe at the much celebrated gigantic walls, which became a physical source of pride to its inhabitants.
There are ‘walls” in our lives, existing before our birth, or that we have built around our lives, which have become strong, so strong that we fail to embrace changes. These walls, could be patterns, lifestyles and behavioral tendencies which often beclouds our mindsets, preventing adjustment to Kingdom patterns.
Rahab, a woman born into the depraved system is the subject of study for the next episodes following. A woman with great prospects, but a prostitute!
It is not enough to be indifferent about happenings in our immediate environment. Although, she had no solutions, she was not lackadaisical nor insensitive about the depravity of city, in spite of its renowned walls. We should seek for solutions, as Kingdom Ambassadors.
Thanks for reading, God bless you!
IT IS IN BEING SAVED THAT YOU ARE SAFE!
NEXT POST: Rahab: A most Unlikely Helper