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With New Testament Eyes: 24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window

By Henry Mahan


      Joshua 2:1-22: Joshua 6:17, 23, 25

      My interest in Rahab, the harlot, and her story is enhanced by the number of times she is mentioned in scriptures. Besides the attention given her in the book of Joshua, Matthew identifies her as the wife of Salmon (a prince of the tribe of Judah), mother of Boaz, and great-great grandmother of King David (Matt.1:5-6).

      Hebrews lists her in faith's hall of fame along with Abraham, Isaac, and Moses (Heb. 11:31). James gives two illustrations of true faith evidenced by obedience--Abraham and Rahab (James 2:20-25).

      Israel was camped across Jordan; and their commander, Joshua, sent two men to spy secretly the land. They would be taking, especially, the city of Jericho. Jericho was a large city-- the city nearest to them and first in importance, for it must be taken. Judging from information that we have, several things are evident. Rahab's house was upon or in the wall which circled the city (Joshua 2:15). Her house was one where a person could find food and lodging. This was why the spies stopped there (Joshua 2:1). It is mentioned several times that she was a harlot. In those times and countries, women who kept public houses and inns were also prostitutes.

      Word got to the king of Jericho that these Israelites were seen at Rahab's house, and the king sent word to her to deliver these men to him. She hid the spies up on the roof of the house and sent word to the king that, although the Israelites had been to her house, they had fled earlier and might be overtaken if the king would send someone after them, which he did. As soon as the king's men left Jericho to pursue after the spies, the gate of the city was closed. Rahab came up on the roof where the spies were hidden and set forth in such a beautiful manner her faith in the living God (Joshua 2:8-11). She then sought the mercy of the Lord to be upon her and her household when the people of God took the city (Joshua 2:12-13). The men promised her that she would be spared provided that she keep faith in not telling anyone of their business (Joshua 2:14), that she hang outside her window this scarlet line by which she let them down the wall (Joshua 2:18), and that she and her family remain inside the house while the battle raged (Joshua 2:18).

      Her house was upon the wall with the front toward the city for the entertainment of persons who came there, and the back was on the outside of the wall. She let the spies down the wall by the scarlet cord, and they fled in safety to the mountains.

      When Israel took the city, Joshua commanded that Rahab be spared (Joshua 6:17, 22-25).

      1. Rahab is a picture of God's mercy and grace to sinners

      She was a sinner by birth and by practice. All of the explaining by moralists and legalists will not make Rahab anything but what she was--a notorious sinner. But the Lord Jesus came to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15; Matt. 9:10-13; Rom. 5:6-8). His mercy is to the miserable and his grace for the guilty.

      2. Rahab is an example of electing, distinguishing, and efficacious grace.

      It was not by accident that the spies stopped at her house. They were led there by the Spirit of God. Her speech to the spies (Joshua 2:8-11) indicates a heart enlightened and taught by God. Faith is not the product of natural thought and logic; it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9). She was one of the Lord's own: and her testimony is proof of her knowledge of the true God, her faith in him, and shows her to be a believer (John 6:44-45).

      3. The scarlet cord she put out the window was an emblem of the blood of Christ, by which salvation is accomplished.

      That scarlet cord which she, by faith, dropped from her window is as decisive and clear a picture of Christ's blood as Abel's lamb, or the Passover blood on the door, or the sin-offering in the tabernacle. It is by his blood and faith in his blood that sinners have redemption, forgiveness, atonement, safety, and protection from the avenging justice and wrath of God. 'When I see the blood, I will pass over you.' When they saw the scarlet cord in the window of the harlot, they passed by her house and destroyed all others.

      4. Rahab and her family were told to come into her house where the scarlet cord was hung, and there only would they be safe.

      As the Israelites were told to stay in their houses where the Passover blood was sprinkled, Rahab and her family were to remain under the protection and safety of the blood of Christ. To venture without was to be destroyed (Joshua 2:18-19).

      Under the blood of Jesus, safe in the shepherd's fold;
      Under the blood of Jesus, safe while the ages roll:
      Safe though the worlds may crumble,
      safe though the stars grow dim;
      Under the blood of Jesus, I am secure in him.

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant

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