A Covenant For Even Rahab
Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth . . . (Joshua 2:12)
One of the most powerful biblical illustrations demonstrating how the covenant equals covering occurred in the life of a harlot named Rahab. Despite her profession, Rahab is heralded as one of the great people of faith, even appearing in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11:31).
Her story begins with her lucrative business, which was situated in a prime location in Jericho: “her house was on the city wall, so that she was living on the wall” (Joshua 2:15). Twice we are told that Rahab’s house was on the wall. That is critical information as we see her story unfold further in tomorrow’s devotional. When Joshua sent spies into Jericho, they wound up in her home, most likely as a location that would not draw unnecessary attention with regard to foreigners. However, the king got word of the spies and sent emissaries to track them down.
Rahab faced the decision of her life: risk sudden death for not admitting to harboring spies and being found out by the emissaries, or risk the potential disaster looming over Jericho from the Israelites’ one, true God.
Rahab chose to fear God rather than man, thus hiding the spies and providing them a way of escape (Joshua 2:9–11). As a result, Rahab asked for a covenant with the Israelites in our verses for today.
The Hebrew word Rahab used when addressing the spies is chesed.This word translates as “loyalty” or “faithfulness.” Appearing more than two hundred times in the Old Testament, the word chesed refers to the attitudinal approach toward an agreement, or a covenant. The word chesed is used more than any other word in defining a covenantal connection, in particular God’s covenantal covering of Israel.
Reflection: What part does our goodness play in God’s choosing us to be under His covenant? How is it good that God has chesed love for His chosen people? How does chesed in the Old Testament prepare us for God’s grace shown through Jesus Christ?