Modern Jericho is under the thumb of the Palestinian Authority—which means it is a third-world country; trash and poverty are all you see. The historic Jericho, the archeological site to visit, is there. To say the Palestines don’t take care of it would be an understatement.
When visiting Israel – like some will do with Empower Texans in 2020—you’ll find the Jericho stop to be the least impressive despite the amazing history of the place.
When the Israeli spies were sent by Joshua to scout out the region before crossing the Jordan, they were aided by Rahab. Many believe her to be a prostitute or a madam. Either way, she would appear to some as an unlikely ally for the Israelites on many fronts—and especially not a convert.
Yet she was also convinced that the God of Abraham had indeed given the land to the people of Israel, and so she aided the spies. She asked only that the lives of her family be spared in the battle to come.
In most reasonable scenarios, Rahab had to assume her survival—and the survival of her family—was unlikely. She put herself and everyone she loved at great risk, but still she chose the path of righteousness. It would have been more convenient to ignore the call of God, to turn the spies over to her civic betters.
You know the rest of the story from the Book of Joshua. The city was locked down, the people of Israel marched around it, the walls fell, and everyone inside was slaughtered. Except Rahab and her family; they were protected. Not just protected, but saved. Not just saved, but sanctified.
The victory at Jericho was a big deal, no doubt. But the salvation and sanctification of Rahab is the miracle we overlook. She is listed in the lineage of Jesus, and called out in the New Testament book of Hebrews for being a model of the faith.
A quick aside. The people of Israel were warned in Joshua 6 not to rebuild Jericho or be cursed. That curse came to fruition many years later. In 1 Kings we learn Heil of Bethel, an ally of King Ahab, rebuilt the city and it cost him the life of two of his sons.
Rahab did the right thing, and was willing to suffer for it. We should do likewise. Is it too much to suggest that each of us should model our lives not after sanctimonious politicians who think they can disobey the word of God, but instead a faithful harlot?