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Basic Information

The story of Rahab is found in the second chapter of the Book of Joshua. The Children of Israel, after having wandered in the Wilderness for forty years, were finally entering the Promised Land. Joshua, who led the people after the death of Moses sent two spies into the city of Jericho, one of the chief cities of the region.

The spies went into the house of a woman named Rahab, who was a prostitute. At least that's what most translations call her. One of the rabbinnical commentators of the Middle Ages says she was a food seller, and the word used to describe her in the Hebrew text could also be interpreted to mean "innkeeper." Of course, she could have been both.

While the spies were there, men from the city guard showed up looking for the spies. Rahab hid the spies up on the roof of her home under piles of flax which were drying after being harvested, and told the guards that the men had already departed.

After the guards left, Rahab told the spies that she had heard of the Israelites and of the mighty deeds the Lord had performed in delivering them out of Egypt and in defeating some of the neighboring cities. Everyone in Jericho is worried that the Israelites are going to take their city too; which is why the king of the city was so worried about spies. In ancient times it was common for a besieging army to massacre the population of a city once it fell. Rahab says she will help the spies escape if they will promise to spare her and her family. The spies agree, and arrange for Rahab to hang a scarlet cord from her window so that the Israelites will know to do this.

When the army of Israel did defeat Jericho, Joshua honored the spies' promise and spared Rahab's family, and she eventually settled down to live among the Israelites. According to the geneology in the Gospel of Matthew, Rahab married a man of the tribe of Judah and became the great-grandmother of King David. She is mentioned elswhere in the New Testament as an example of faith.


Game and Story Use

  • An NPC like Rahab might provide information or aid to the PCs
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