First of all, dump what you think you know about Rahab, images colored not only in the misogyny of the time but also because this woman represents an option that the Bible will simply not choose. Who is this spy the helps open the door to the Land of Promise to the newly and aggressively arriving Israelites? The way that is chosen so many years ago is one of tremendous violence. But the story tells of one person in a city which is growing more and more afraid, who overcomes fear, welcomes the aliens, gets to know them enough to help understand and help. It suggests a very different approach than making everyone in a town an enemy and idolater and an evil that must be completely destroyed.
We will explore the acts of faith and surprise that open the doors to a land of promise even for us. We cannot read this story without paying attention to a conflict that is still going on in the exact same landscape, and I can’t help but wonder that the choice to demote the place and power of Rahab in this story is perhaps a part of the decisions that have created so much violence for so long.
This also shows something of the complexity of our scriptures. The Bible in this case just doesn’t eliminate the story, but incorporates a very different choice in with the ones that were actually made.