3 Lessons from Rahab in the Lineage of Jesus - Lisa Appelo (2023)

3 Lessons from Rahab in the Lineage of Jesus - Lisa Appelo (1)

What does your past whisper to you?

Let me suggest a few from my own whispers: shame, regret, condemnation, disqualification.

Maybe these whispers haunt you from choices you made years ago. Maybe those choices were yesterday.

Today, we’re looking at Rahab, the second woman in Jesus’ family tree of Matthew 1. You can find the first two devotions in the series here.

Rahab — a woman, a Canaanite, a prostitute.

It’s absolutely eyebrow raising that Matthew names Rahab in Jesus’ family tree.

And yet, there are vital gospel lessons from Rahab in the lineage of Jesus.

Rahab’s story starts in Joshua 2. After wandering 40 years, Israel was poised to take the land of Canaan and the first city in its sights was Jericho. Joshua sent two spies into Jericho who went into the house of Rahab, a prostitute whose home was on Jericho’s walls.

Surely with all the unknown men going in and out of the prostitute’s house, the Hebrew men wouldn’t be noticed. But they were, and when Jericho’s king demanded Rahab turn over the spies, she bravely hid them in piles of flax on her roof, telling the king’s men they’d already fled.

(Video) Rahab's Story Of Hope

That night, as the two spies were safely hidden on her roof, Rahab made a bold claim and request. We know the LORD has given you this land, she said, and Jericho is utterly helpless and hopeless.

But Rahab had one hope. One Who is Hope. “[T]he Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below,” she confessed and surrendered herself to God’s mercy.

She asked the spies to spare her life and her family’s lives when Israel attacked Jericho, just as she had spared the two spies. “Save us from death!” she pleaded. The spies promised to protect Rahab and gave her a scarlet cord to hang from her window. Safety would be guaranteed only those inside Rahab’s house.

As Jericho waited for attack, tension and fear were palpable. It grew worse as day after day the Israelite army marched silently around Jericho’s wall and then left.

Rahab kept the scarlet cord in the window of her house, where on the seventh day, the army advanced once more and marched seven times around Jericho’s thick walls. Suddenly, the Israelites let out a tremendous shout and the entire wall surrounding Jericho imploded on itself. Every bit of the city, its buildings, and its inhabitants were destroyed — except Rahab and her family.

“So the young spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, and brothers—everyone connected with her. They got the whole family out and gave them a place outside the camp of Israel.” (Joshua 6:23)

But God didn’t leave Rahab outside the camp. He brought her smack dab to the center of Jesus’ family tree.

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab.
Matthew 1:1-5

Okay, so Rahab was saved and brought into Israel. But why would God intentionally call Rahab out in Matthew’s lineage of Jesus?

3 Lessons from Rahab in Lineage of Jesus

1.God saves those with a past.

No matter what our past whispers to us, no matter what our past holds, our past is the reason Jesus was born.

(Video) Known By Name: Rahab Video Bible Study - Session 1 Preview

Rahab can come across in scripture as a shrewd businesswoman who chose her profession to make a good living.

But maybe she was more like the women my dear friend ministers to in the adult entertainment world.

Perhaps Rahab came from a place of deep brokenness or childhood trauma. Maybe her past was one of pain or abuse that left her trapped by disrespect and shame.

Maybe Rahab had been rejected or abandoned and made a desperate choice to meet her growling stomach. Night after night, choice after desperate choice had become a life she never intended.

What whispers did Rahab hear? Condemnation? Fear? Shame? Worthlessness? Too many mistakes, too much regret and too late for change?

The good news is that no choice we ever make, no scars ever inflicted, no drink taken or words flung or body misused can keep us from the saving grace of Jesus.

Our past is never good enough to earn God’s salvation nor shocking enough to keep us from it.

2. God uses those with a past.

Maybe you can nod and amen that God can save anyone with a past but here’s where you get stuck: believing that God can use anyone with a past as well.

Let Rahab’s story convince you.

God used Rahab mightily despite her past. In the first battle to conquer the Promised Land, God used Rahab to not only save the spies, but save her family.

(Video) The Mystery In The Scarlet Thread

But God had even more for Rahab.

God used Rahab to shape the character, faith and godliness of a son named Boaz, who would one day rescue a young Moabite widow.

I wonder what whispers might be keeping you from letting God use you mightily? What is the enemy bringing up from years ago or even last week to taunt that you’re disqualified?

Do not give the enemy ground that Jesus has already taken. Jesus’ own lineage shows how God powerfully uses us despite our past.

3. God redefines those with a past.

When scripture mentions Rahab, she’s almost always called Rahab the harlot except in Matthew’s genealogy. Matthew calls her Rahab, mother of Boaz.

God redefined Rahab —

from a fallen woman to a chosen woman,
from a bad girl to a bride,
from a mess to a mother and
from prostitute to progenitor of the Messiah.

God redefines you and me as well.

Our shame? There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… (Romans 8:1)

Our sin? If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:19)

(Video) Hebrews|Passion Translation|Living Faith

Our hopelessness? Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)

Our chains? Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)

Our self-contempt? See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)

Our fear? There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… (1 John 4:18)

Our rejection? But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Our disqualification? …and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. (Col 1:12)

Our ostracization? Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household….” (Eph 2:19)

Rahab’s name in Jesus’ family tree shines the HOPE of Christmas:

God saves those of us with a past.
God uses those of us with a past.
God redefines those of us with a past.

READ Day 4 of the HOPE of Christmas. Ruth: the Greatest Love Story Ever Told.

(Video) Are Black People The Descendants of Biblical Hebrews? | The Bisrat Podcast w/ Dr. Vince Bantu

3 Lessons from Rahab in the Lineage of Jesus - Lisa Appelo (2)


What can we learn from Rahab in the Bible? ›

Rahab risked her own life to help the two spies. She put her trust in God and took a risk to help God's people. Rahab reminds us that we can take risks for God, no matter how frightening or intimidating they may be.

What is the significance of the story of Rahab? ›

Rahab has a special function in the biblical narratives of Israel's existence in the land. When uncovering the men, she explains that she knows that God will give Israel the land (2:8).

What can we learn from the genealogy of Jesus? ›

Matthew tells us the two key people who are most important in this genealogy. "The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham." From this opening statement, we expect this family tree to help us understand not only the ancestral past of Jesus but also his identity and mission.

What did Rahab do to receive God's grace? ›

Rahab was redeemed from prostitution to become the ancestress not only of David the king but of Jesus the Messiah (Ruth 4:18-22; Matt 1:3-16). God's ability to redeem our past and grace our future exceeds our imagination.

What is the saving faith of Rahab? ›

A short time later, the army of Israel marched around Jericho for six days. On the seventh, they blew the trumpets and the walls fell. Rahab's faith—a belief that the spies were men of God—saved her and her family. This led to a series of amazing events.

What was the promise to Rahab? ›

The spies promised Rahab that her family would be safe. Then Rahab threw a rope out her window for the spies to use to escape. The spies returned to the prophet Joshua and told the Israelite army not to harm anyone in Rahab's house. Later, when the Israelites fought Jericho, they kept their promise to Rahab.

What was the courage of Rahab in the Bible? ›

When two Israelite spies came to town, Rahab turned the roof of her house into a hiding place for them—an act which took courage. The people of Jericho were terrified because they had heard of all the miraculous things God had done for His people after their escape from Egypt.

Why was Rahab courageous? ›

She had heard how God was protecting and leading the Israelites to victory. Even in that day, “news traveled fast!” The fear of the Lord led Rahab to have courage to help the spies. She dared to risk her life for the sake of the spies, knowing that if they were found in her house she would be put to death.

Who were two important descendants of Rahab? ›

  • Matt. 1.5 - Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,
  • Matt. 1.6 - and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.
  • According to the Bible King David is one of her descendants. And by extent Jesus is also in the list of her descendants.

Who are the key people from Jesus genealogy? ›

A messiah was promised from the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, Judah, Jesse, and David. The prophecies came to pass as recorded in the New Testament, and the genealogy of Jesus can be found in Matthew 1:2-16 and Luke 3:23-38.

Why is it important to study the genealogy of Jesus? ›

By linking Jesus' lineage back to Abraham, Matthew 1:1-17 brings our attention back to the promise of God's rescue plan for the world. This genealogy also emphasizes that Jesus descended from King David, making Him a royal figure and fulfilling the prophecy that the Messiah would come from the line of David.

What is the significance of 14 generations in the genealogy of Jesus? ›

The numbers may be linked to Daniel 9:24–27, which states that seventy weeks of years, or 490 years, would pass between the restoration of Jerusalem and the coming of the messiah. Since generations were commonly placed at 35 years, this means exactly 14 generations.

How is Rahab connected to Jesus? ›

In the New Testament

A different spelling of the name, Rachab (as transliterated in the King James translation of the Greek Ῥαχάβ) is mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew as one of the ancestors of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). She married Salmon of the Tribe of Judah and was the mother of Boaz.

How did Rahab know the Lord had given them the land? ›

Rahab had heard all the stories about the parting of the Red Sea and the battles won by the Israelites, so she knew their God had meant for them to inherit Canaan.

What was Rahab's reward? ›

Since Rahab the harlot brought the spies into her house and rescued them, God accounted this as if she had acted compassionately to Him. As her reward, her daughters married kohanim, the sons born to them served at the altar, and they entered the Temple and blessed Israel with the Tetragrammaton.

How do we know that Rahab had faith? ›

The NT rightly commends Rahab for her faith, emphasizing what she did for the Israelite spies: "By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient" (Heb 11: 31), and "Was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging ...

Who did Rahab betray? ›

Rahab hides the spies and lies to the King of Jericho about her knowledge of their presence in the city. Rahab brokers a deal with the spies to spare her life and the lives of her family in exchange for allowing the spies' access to survey the city.

How are Boaz and Rahab related? ›

Boaz is mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew as the son of Salmon and Rahab (seemingly Rahab of Jericho) and as an ancestor of Jesus.

Who is the descendants of Rahab? ›

Who are the 4 ancestors of Jesus? ›

Not surprisingly, Jesus' genealogy is an illustrious one, including Jacob, Judah, David, Solomon and Hezekiah. Somewhat unusually, however, the list includes four women from the Hebrew Bible.

Does the bloodline of Jesus still exist? ›

Ultimately, the notion that a person living millennia ago has a small number of descendants living today is statistically improbable.

Which woman is named in the genealogy of Jesus? ›

The author of the gospel of Matthew has interpolated women's names in the genealogy of Jesus: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, the wife of Uriah (Bathsheba) and Mary.

What does lineage mean in the Bible? ›

lin'-e-aj (patria): Found only once in Luke 2:4 (the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "family"), and signifying the line of paternal family descent.

Which tribe did Jesus come from? ›

Tribe of Judah - Wikipedia.

What does genealogy mean the study of? ›

genealogy, the study of family origins and history.

How many years is a generation? ›

A generation refers to all of the people born and living at about the same time, regarded collectively. It can also be described as, "the average period, generally considered to be about 20–⁠30 years, during which children are born and grow up, become adults, and begin to have children."

What names are missing in Matthew's genealogy? ›

Four omissions are usually mentioned: the three kings between Joram and Uzziah plus Jehoiakim between Josiah and Jeconiah. France sees five omissions, noting that not just Jehoiakim but his brother Jehoahaz as well are omitted between Josiah and Jeconiah.

What is the significance of 10 generations? ›

From Adam to Noah there are ten generations signifying perfection or completion. The structure of the genealogy also says something to us about history: God is sovereignly ordering and structuring creation. Nothing is by chance. Despite the curse of sin and death, God allows families to grow and to enjoy His blessing.

Who was the great grandmother of Jesus? ›

A pious, and ultimately, saintly woman named Ismeria was grandmother to the Virgin Mary, and great-grandmother to Jesus, according to a medieval legend.

Why did Rahab hide the two spies? ›

The two spies found their way to the house of a woman named Rahab. She had been a bad woman in the city but she had heard about the Israelite people and she decided to let the spies stay with her. Rahab knew that the King of Jericho would want to hurt the spies so she decided to hide them.

What is the connection between Rahab and Jesus? ›

In the New Testament

A different spelling of the name, Rachab (as transliterated in the King James translation of the Greek Ῥαχάβ) is mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew as one of the ancestors of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). She married Salmon of the Tribe of Judah and was the mother of Boaz.

What is the meaning of Rahab Hem Shebeth? ›

Despite the riches that the pack animals bring across the desert, Egypt would not help Judah at all, so one could call Egypt Rahab-Hem-Shebeth, which means “Rahab Sits Idle” or “Rahab the Do-Nothing.” Rahab is a name, but it is also the Hebrew word for pride, and is sometimes used as a title for Egypt (Psalm 87:4).

What does harlot in the Bible mean? ›

A woman who gives sex to men for money. Harlots were common at the time of the Bible. But the Bible teaches that this behaviour is wrong. Another word for harlot is prostitute.

What happened to the woman at the well? ›

Her continuing witness is said to have brought so many to the Christian faith that she is described as "equal to the apostles". Eventually, having drawn the attention of Emperor Nero, she was brought before him to answer for her faith, suffering many tortures and dying a martyr after being thrown down a dry well.

Who is the harlot in the Bible? ›

Babylon the Great, commonly known as the Whore of Babylon, refers to both a symbolic female figure and place of evil mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the Bible.

Who is the ancestor of Jesus? ›

Matthew began Jesus' lineage with Abraham and named each father in 41 generations ending in Matthew 1:16: “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” Joseph descended from David through his son Solomon.

Is Boaz the son of Rahab? ›

Boaz is mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew as the son of Salmon and Rahab (seemingly Rahab of Jericho) and as an ancestor of Jesus.

What did Rahab call God? ›

The tales of victories that instill fear in the residents of Jericho, cause Rahab to proclaim, “the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.” Rahab knows that victory is the Lord's, and she wants to be on the Lord's side!

What does Rahab rope mean? ›

When Jericho and its great wall came tumbling to the ground, it was a reminder to Rahab that she would be safe and sound. The cord kept her firm in faith and kept her eyes on the spies' promise. For Natalie's Sisters, this red cord symbolizes God's grace and mercy towards all of us.

What makes a woman a harlot? ›

Harlot is an old-fashioned word for a prostitute — a woman who has sex for money. These days, calling a woman a harlot is usually done humorously. This word is too old-sounding and unusual to be very insulting.

What makes someone a harlot? ›

har·​lot ˈhär-lət. plural harlots. old-fashioned, disparaging. : a person who has sex with someone in exchange for money : prostitute.

Who was the man God told to marry a harlot? ›

The Lord had Hosea marry a prostitute named Gomer. He took her as his wife, but Gomer kept wandering into the arms of other lovers. She was unfaithful. And yet the Lord told Hosea to keep going after her again and again, and bring her back home.

What lessons can we learn from the woman at the well? ›

When the woman believed, she immediately ran off to tell others. The filling not only filled her longing, but it gave her a new desire to use the energy to go out and live her purpose. To share the gospel, to become disciples. The woman at the well is an example of love, truth, redemption, and acceptance.

What is the main message of the woman at the well? ›

The story of the Samaritan woman, also known as the woman at the well, draws our attention to the central themes of the Gospel. By approaching her, Jesus demonstrates His care for all, regardless of their social standing. We can also be inspired by the Samaritan woman's excitement in sharing the good news of Jesus.

What is the lesson of the Samaritan woman? ›

Just as the Samaritan woman was looking to men to satisfy her soul, we also look to things outside of Christ to give our hearts meaning and purpose (John 4:14). However, as Jesus revealed Himself to her, he sought to show her that He was the never-ending water she was so thirsty for (John 7:38).


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