Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel. Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the LORD’s house. But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day. – Joshua 6:22-25
We are not told why Rahab and her family were initial brought to “a place outside the camp of Israel.” One likely guess is that they would have been considered ceremonially unclean until priest declared them clean. What we do know is that this was a temporary arrangement, for we are told in verse 25 that “she lives among the Israelites to this day.” That expression, “to this day,” comes up a number of times in the history books and it is worth paying attention to why the author might be saying that. Adolph Harstad writes:
This affirmation with “to this day” serves several purposes:
1. It shows that what the author writes about Jericho’s destruction and Rahab’s rescue is a historical reality. Rahab’s presence among Israel – as well as that of her descendants – verifies the account.
2. It emphasizes God’s grace in snatching a former prostitute from the flames of destruction and bringing her securely and permanently into His chosen nation. …
3. Josh 6:25 shows that God graciously calls other peoples to be incorporated into Israel, His chosen covenant people and OT church. At the same time, Israel should not feel smug about its selection. Rahab the Canaanite prostitute and later Ruth the Moabite become part of Israel and are even in the direct line leading to the Savior!
Matthew 1:5 reveals that Rahab and a man named Salmon were the parents of Boaz, the great grandfather of David. Jewish tradition says that Rahab became the ancestress of eight prophets and priests and that Jeremiah was from her line. [While we cannot know whether this extra-biblical tradition is entirely accurate, we can know that the LORD grafted a Caananite prostitute into His family and made her an important person in redemptive history. He can do that for you, too!].
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 33
Q. 33. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.