by Jodi Hiser
Rahab covered her body with a robe and tied the strings tightly around her. She crossed her arms into her chest and looked up at the man that towered above her. His name was Hassan, a regular customer.
“I’m on military watch starting tonight, but I’ll stop by next week,” he said. He sat on the edge of the bed and pulled on his boots. “Our king has decided to send my group of soldiers to the wall for double duty.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pouch of coins and threw them on the bed.
Rahab eyed the money pouch, but didn’t move to grab it. She nodded silently to him, and watched him walk out the door.
She stared at the pouch of money and then hastily put it away. Every coin in that bag repulsed her.
She suddenly felt the need to wash. She poured a large pitcher of water into a basin and scrubbed herself as clean as she possibly could manage, then changed into a clean tunic and tied ribbons of a fresh robe around her waist. She twisted her hair into a tightly woven bun and fanned the afternoon’s heat away from her neck. Next, she surveyed her home. His smell still lingered in her bedroom. Quickly, she stripped the linens off the bed and threw them in a pile to be scrubbed for the next day. She grabbed new linens from her shelf and remade her bed.
But nothing had changed. No matter what she did, she couldn’t wipe away the filth; she couldn’t remove the grime that clung to her insides. She felt sick and stifled.
Running to the window, she parted the cloth that hung as its covering and leaned out for some fresh air. She hung her head and drew in a deep breath. Oh, what had she become? Over the past six years, she had done what she needed to do. She had gritted her teeth and paid the awful price. Her job was the only way to pay her family’s debts; it was the only way to escape peril for everyone she loved. It hadn’t been her choice. But she wasn’t without food or clothing, and her father and brothers weren’t in debtor’s prison. She had a roof over her head, too, even though it was considered part of the slums. She wasn’t starving or worse, dead. So, why all of a sudden the deep disgust?
She leaned her elbows on the windowsill and stared outside. From her house in the city wall, she could see the Jordan River in the far distance. She could see swift white-caps peaking on the horizon, flowing turbulently inside the hearty waters. The river seemed to match the turbulence of her own heart.
As she stared at the river, she pondered the things she had heard spoken by various city officials over the past month. She looked again at the river and remembered the stories of a foreign people called the Israelites, and an amazing journey across the Red Sea where they crossed on dry land many years before. She had laughed when she had first heard this story, thinking it had been a fantastical legend. But then she saw the seriousness in the eyes of the men who told the stories. Apparently, these people had a powerful God that could blow apart the waters and lead His people to safety.
Then just today, Hassan told her the very same Israelites had recently crushed their neighboring Amorite kings, obliterating everything in their path. Apparently their God had done that too. This God seemed to have the power to bring victory to His people in battle. She had heard the fear in Hassan’s voice as he told her the story.
Her mind raced. Could her home city of Jericho be next?
Rahab breathed in the air, as full as her lungs could fill. “Our king…” Hassan had said to her today.
She whispered the words into the air. “My king?” She knew the king of Jericho cared not if she lived or died, if she ate or went hungry, if she was paid or in poverty. Her life to him was expendable; she was trash to him. He had demanded her father’s debt to be paid in the form of her body, which left her lifeless and hopeless–a shell of the person she had been long ago.
She closed her eyes and thought back to her childhood. Memories flooded through her mind like the tumultuous waters of the Jordan: memories of playing games in the courtyard with her brothers, of running and skipping with her friends, of cuddling in her mother’s lap while she listened to stories, and of sitting by her father at the evening meal. Nothing in her life had turned out the way she hoped or wished or dreamed it could be. She was disgusted at what she had become. And it was all because of the demand that her king decreed her father to pay.
“He is no longer my king,” she said out loud.
And that was when she knew it.
She couldn’t live this life anymore. She knew many debts were yet unpaid, but she didn’t care. She simply couldn’t live another minute like this. She looked frantically around her room and eyed the cloth with which she had decorated her window. The heavy material was a crimson color; red for the color of passion, or so the men had told her. She took a knife from a basket and hastily cut the fabric into strips. If she could fashion a rope out of this strong material, she could escape in the middle of the night and run away; she could escape this life and the wretched filth that continually chased her into a black darkness of despair.
With the same technique she had used to braid her hair into intricate designs for the king’s men, she now braided an intricate rope out of the crimson cloth. She worked quickly, hand over hand, tightening as she went, checking to make sure it was strong. She looked out the window again and measured the length of distance in her head. As the hours went on, she knew she had created enough rope to escape out her window and out of the city forever. As she finished the end knots of her rope, the sunset had begun, and dusk was approaching. Suddenly, a loud burst of rapid knocks pounded upon her door.
Rahab shook her head. No more clients. Not tonight. Not ever. She stashed her rope in the corner and stood beside her closed door.
“I am closed for the evening,” she said, feigning a syrupy tone. “Come back tomorrow.”
Another voice met her on the other side. “Please, we ask to enter for just one evening.”
We? she thought. She shook her head. She didn’t like where this was going.
“I’m sorry. But as I said, I am closed for the evening.” She closed her eyes and hoped against all hopes they would go away.
“Please. We have nowhere to turn, and we are desperate for help,” said the first voice.
Something in the way those words were spoken made Rahab take a step back. The accent was foreign. It wasn’t a man from Jericho, or even close to Jericho. And no one here in this city said ‘please’.
But no. Nothing must thwart her plan tonight. She was going to escape. She had given and given and given of herself. She wouldn’t do it anymore.
“I’m sorry. You must go. I cannot help you,” she said softly through the closed door.
“Please,” quavered the second voice outside her door. “Please, in the name of the God of Israel, the name of the One True God, we beg of you to open this door and help us.”
Could it be? The people of the powerful God were outside her front entrance?
Rahab took a deep breath. Releasing the lock, she opened the door.
“I’m sorry, but I fear you may not want my help when you know who I am,” said Rahab, holding the door open for her visitors to step in.
The two men entered and quickly shut the door behind them. One man was older; he had a touch of gray hair at his temples, and a few sprinkles of gray in his beard. The other was closer to her age; his dark curly hair clung to his temples, damp and disheveled, as if they had been running for a long time. His face was clean-shaven, a clear symbol that he was unmarried. Both men wore olive-colored tunics, most likely to be camouflaged in the green hills, and their sandals were caked with mud.
The men looked around and noticed the markers of her profession in the room: her lavish bed, a few feathered pillows that had been a gift from the king, a plethora of candles that were lit around the tables and floor, the bottle of perfumed oil next to the bed, and the robe that she wore. The younger man blushed and looked at his feet. The older man’s countenance hardened and he looked straight into her eyes.
“We care not for your profession,” said the older man. “We have no need for that. We simply need to be hidden. Some of your soldiers have been tracking us.”
The younger man, still ablush, looked at her with a softened expression. “Please, we will pay for your kindness. We simply need a place to hide so that we may not be caught. Our mission is from Joshua, the chosen leader of the Almighty God, and he has sent us on this errand. Please…you must hide us until the danger is past, and then we will leave and never return.”
Perhaps it was the kindness in the young man’s tone. No one had spoken to her like that since she was a girl. Or maybe it was the tenderness of his eyes as he looked at her, not as a harlot, but as a human being.
“Follow me,” she said. Picking up her robe, she led them up a narrow stairway tucked inside the corner of her room. As they climbed up, she could feel a strange presence enveloping her. It was something fierce and fearful and freeing and joyful all at once. They followed her up the winding staircase two flights to the roof. A narrow passage sat in between the roof floor and the roof coverings of gathered flax.
She turned to them. “I don’t want your money.” It is now or never, she thought. A guaranteed escape for helping the enemy. But they didn’t feel like the enemy. It felt as if she had belonged with them all her life.
She took another deep breath. “I don’t want your money. I know the Lord has given you this land, and that the terror of your people has fallen upon this city, and that all the inhabitants are fainthearted because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea when you came out of Egypt.”
She held out her hands in the dark sky toward the Jordan River that flowed beyond them. “And we heard what you did to the two kings of the Amorites, who were on the other side of that Jordan, whom you utterly destroyed.”
Something like a burning fire glowed inside her chest when she remembered the stories she had heard. She felt strong and weak at the same time; exhilarated and terrified, desperate and confident. “The hearts of Jericho have melted; no courage remains in the people because of you.” She looked straight at the men who stood beyond her, looking with wide eyes at her proclamation.
“And I know the Lord your God…He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath!”
The burning sensation continued to radiate within her. It was as if she had never lived until this very moment.
“Now, therefore,” she said in hushed tones, “I beg of you, swear to me by the Lord since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”
The two men looked at one another and talked in their own language with hasty, choppy sentences. They ended their abbreviated conversation with head nods to one another.
The elder looked satisfied.
The younger smiled from ear to ear, nodding at Rahab as he spoke. “Our lives for yours,” he said quietly and slowly, “as long as none of you tells this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”
Her heart skipped a beat. A way out! An escape from the life she so desperately longed to leave behind. “Then you must hide here,” she said. She pulled apart bunches of flax from the top coverings of the roof and revealed a floor of cold tile underneath. “Lie here until I know the time is safe.”
The men scooted themselves down. She grabbed the bundles of flax, arranging them over the men to conceal them completely. Just as she was finishing her task, a loud pounding from downstairs jarred her, making her jump inside her skin. Someone was trying to knock down her door!
“Stay here and stay quiet!” she whispered to the men that she had hidden.
Rahab raced down the stairs to try and redirect whatever muscle was on the other side of her door.
Bang! Bang! Bang! The door almost rocked and rattled completely off of its frame.
“Just a moment! I am getting dressed!” she called, trying to buy her some time. She made it down the stairs and hastily looked around the room.
And then she saw them: footprints! The men’s dirty sandals left footprints across her floor!
Bang! Bang! Bang!
“We know they’re in there!” shouted a voice from behind the door. “Open up!”
Rahab grabbed the dirty bed linens from the pile in her corner and wiped the floor, swishing the cloth across the cold stone as fast as she could, all the way down the length of her room and towards the staircase. Finishing her chore, she threw the soiled linens back to the corner and on top of the scarlet rope she had made and opened the door as calmly as she could.
Standing in the doorway was Hassan, the soldier that had been in her bed just that afternoon. A company of soldiers stood behind him.
“Well good evening, sirs,” she said in her fake syrupy voice. “I am sorry, but I am closed for the evening.” With every ounce of inner strength she had, she painted a seductive grin upon her face. “You can come back tomorrow. I’ll be open for business then.”
The soldiers pushed past her through the door and surveyed the room.
Hassan went to the window and looked out and down the city wall. His head circled around the items in her room. His eyes stopped at the pile of linens in the corner. His eyebrow went up and he looked at her.
“Just cleaning house at the end of the day,” she said quietly. “I change my linens daily.” She looked at him with a knowing look.
“We are looking for two men,” Hassan said, looking past her and scanning the room. “They’re part of the enemy and they’re spies. Two witnesses said they came here—to you!” he growled, looking down at her like a dog looks at his bone.
While the soldiers around him began to search her house, Rahab shuddered. She had to think fast, or the men on the roof would be found out. And then what? Death for all three of them!
“Well, yes…two men did come to see me.” She slowed her rapid breathing that threatened to give away her fear. She tried to feign disgust in her voice. “I had no idea where they came from. I told them exactly what I told you, that I was closed for the day, and to come back tomorrow. They left just as it was getting dark, as the gates were being shut, but I don’t know which way they went. If you pursue them quickly, you may just overtake them!” She waved her arms to the window, pointing to the outer gates, trying to put on a good act to convince them that they must go and find these missing men.
Hassan looked at her with scrutinizing eyes.
“Time is of the essence, Hassan, if you want to catch them, you should go now! Jericho’s safety depends upon it!” she waved her arms again.
He called his men, and they filed out of the room. As Hassan left through her door, he whispered in her ear, “If I find out that you are telling me falsehoods, you will have more to worry about than soiled linens,” he hissed.
She bristled as he slammed the door behind him.
Rahab slid to the floor and pulled her knees up to her chest. It took her a moment to calm the shivers that had overtaken her. Would the God of the Jews really save her? Oh, what had she gotten herself into?
She sighed a long sigh and bowed her head. “Oh God of the Jews, if you can hear my voice, please save me from this place. Please save my family from danger. Please save me…” She gulped and wiped a rogue tear that escaped from her eye. “Please save me from… me.”
Tears rolled down her cheeks. Could she dare to dream? Could this life of freedom actually happen to her—the filth of the city, the most wretched of women?
She couldn’t wallow in doubt. She had to believe it could be true so that she would have the strength to keep going.
She stood up, brushed off her robe, and ran up the stairs. She lifted the flax bundles and knelt down beside the two spies, lying as still as dead men. She held out her hand to help them up. “Quickly now, you must hurry,” she whispered. “Come with me.”
The men arose and followed Rahab back down the stairs and into her common room. They watched as she retrieved the scarlet rope from underneath the pile of soiled linens. She unwound its coils, proud of the strength and thickness of the rope she had made. Taking them to her window, she bid them to look outside.
“The city gates are already closed for the night,” she said. “But if you climb outside my window, you will be outside the city walls. I sent away the soldiers who were at my door. They will find you if you stay closer to the city. So please, get to the hills lest they find you.”
She pointed outside her window to the northern hills that lay beyond Jericho. “Hide out there for three days until the pursuers have returned back into Jericho. Then you may go back to your people and back to your leader Joshua.”
Reaching above her window, she attached her homemade rope to a firm iron hook that was built into the wall. She released the rope, letting it unfurl outside and down the city wall to safety.
“You must go now, but please…” Her breath caught up inside her and she stopped. “Please remember your vow to me and my family.”
The two men looked at the rope and then one another. The older man spoke first. “We will keep this oath of yours that you have made us swear, if, when we come into this land, you bind this scarlet cord in this window, and if you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home.” He looked down at the scarlet rope that hung from the window. “And so it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. But whoever is with you in this house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.”
Tears rolled down Rahab’s cheeks, and she didn’t really know why. She wiped them away with one swish of her hand. “According to your words, so be it,” she said.
The older of the two men was first to lower himself down on the rope, inching down bit by bit. As soon as he was halfway down the wall, the younger man climbed out of the window and held onto the scarlet rope. “My name,” he said in a whispered tone, “is Salmon.” He smiled up at her.
“Rahab,” she said with a quivering voice, pointing to herself.
“I will come back, Rahab,” he whispered. “And I will look for you and your family.”
He gave a final wave and inched down the rope.
Rahab leaned over her window and watched the two men scale down the city wall, down to the ground, and then run out of sight.
As soon as they had cleared the area of the wall, Rahab picked up the rope and pulled it inside, winding it back up into her apartment. Hand over hand, quick as lightning, she drew the rope back into her room.
With the knife that she had used to cut her window coverings, she sliced a large piece of the rope, long enough to span the entire length of her window. Using the same iron hook at the top of her window, she fastened the scarlet cord, letting it dangle down the center of the open space, marking her apartment within the city walls.
She stepped backwards and slumped to the stone floor. She had an insurmountable task before her. How would she convince her family to wait with her in this wretched slum of a place?
Rahab awoke early the next morning, groggy and confused. The events of the previous day sketched across her mind in fuzzy bits and pieces. Had it all been a dream? She stretched her arms and yawned, willing her tired legs to stand up and move. As she ambled across the room for a cup of water, she saw its presence in the window: the scarlet cord. At that moment, her mind refocused into a clear memory of the night before. It hadn’t been a dream. They said they would come for her. They said they would rescue her.
But once this so-called rescue occurred, what would happen then? Escaping this life should have been everything that she could have ever wanted. But another longing lingered; a deeper desire clung to the core of Rahab’s heart.
More than escaping this wretched place, Rahab wanted to belong—not drift upon the outskirts of a community— but truly belong to a people that she could love and that would love her back.
She sighed a weary sigh. That dream was just a myth. Once Joshua’s people found out who she really was, they would throw her out on the next highway. And then where would she go? If only she could convince them to let her stay. She knew their God was the one true God. She felt it with every fiber of her being. But would their God accept her? Would the Hebrew people accept her?
She tucked a strand of dark curls around her ear and studied the scene out her window. Could she just escape now? Make a run for it? Scale the city wall and never turn back?
If the Israelite army had obliterated the Amorites, they would certainly find her and destroy her. Besides, her only ticket to a safe escape was to camp right next to that red cord.
She mustn’t dwell on all the questions. She had a job to do right now. She had to convince her family to arrive at this place soon, when the imminent battle would begin. She would count the days until that battle, and today was the very first day.
Thankfully, the men of the city were occupied with battle preparations, leaving her alone to complete her mission. She quickly changed into a clean tunic and wound her hair up in a twist of curls that rested on the top of her head. Covering her face with a veil, she stepped out into the streets and closed the door behind her.
Rahab spent that first day visiting with her parents, and then her three brothers and their families. With each visit, she made sure that she wasn’t detected or followed, for fear of being discovered as a traitor. In hushed whispers and hasty explanations, she shared the story of the Israelite spies and told them the secret information of the impending attack. She implored them to believe in the promise that the spies had made to her—the promise that they would protect anyone that dwelled at her house within the city wall.
By the end of the day, she had convinced her whole family to journey to her home, each by a different route, on the day of the Israelite attack. The plans were set. The arrangements were made. Now all they had to do was watch and wait.
While Rahab kept a constant vigil at her window, four long days rolled by. On the fifth day, nagging doubts plagued her mind, making her unsure of the silence and stillness outside. She wondered when the Israelite armies would be on the move. Why were they waiting so long?
A sinking feeling hit her heart and slithered down her spine. What if the spies never made it back? What if they had been captured and killed? What if the Israelite army decided to retreat? A cold sweat broke out upon her body, and she felt a squeezing inside her middle. What if her rescuers would never come?
She took a deep breath and willed herself not to give up. She couldn’t let herself go there. Not yet.
On the seventh day, something happened.
Great companies of Israelite soldiers appeared at the far side of the Jordan River. She watched out her window with wide eyes and bated breath as the river magically parted, with miniature walls of water on either side. Gasping at what she saw, she ran to the roof for a clearer view. She stared in amazement as the Israelite army and all its men crossed over the riverbed on dry land!
But her rescue didn’t come on that day. She sat on her roof with disappointment as the army set up camp near Gilgal and remained quiet.
They remained there for five more excruciating days.
Finally, on the twelfth day, the Israelite army was on the move again. She detected soldiers, dressed for battle, stepping into formation towards her city! Thousands and thousands of them marched towards the doom that had been promised for Jericho. This was it! She must go retrieve her family!
Grabbing her cloak and her head covering, she dashed into the streets. She ran to each family dwelling, popping her head into their homes, sharing the message that their plan was coming together. She stayed only long enough to receive head nods from her family members before she ran out the door to the next dwelling.
By the time Rahab had arrived back at her house in the city wall, her parents were waiting for her with bundles that they had packed. As the next hour ticked by, her brothers had made it to her home with their wives and children in tow. The apartment felt full. And there were no places to sit. The children congregated on the floor. The adults crowded around the window.
They watched as the Israelite army marched around their city. Although thousands of men in military formation impressed them all, nothing seemed to happen; no progress was made. The soldiers marched in a circle around their city and went back to camp that afternoon.
Rahab’s family looked at her with expectant glances. She knew what they were thinking: That was it? That was the imminent attack? Perhaps she got fed wrong information; perhaps she was sadly gullible, accepting a false story.
Rahab shook her head. “I know what you all are thinking. And it isn’t true. Those men were honest. And an attack on this city will happen.”
“But what do we do until they get the courage to attack?” asked Rahab’s eldest brother, clearly uncomfortable in her house. He had always felt ashamed of her, despite the fact that her job was not her choice.
“We’ll wait it out,” she said. “Surely the attack will happen tonight. Or tomorrow maybe?” Rahab tried to sound more confident than she felt. What was taking them so long?
That night, her family spread out on the floor of her apartment, resting on blankets that they had brought with them. No one slept much. Everyone was on edge.
By the next morning on the thirteenth day, the family ate their morning meal in haste, thinking the attack would be at any moment. The games that the children had been playing were beginning to lose their appeal, and cranky temperaments began to rise. The adults still crowded around the window and frowned as they watched the very same military formations march around their city in one complete circle and return to camp.
“That’s it, we aren’t staying to watch them exercise. I’m not waiting around like this,” said Rahab’s oldest brother. He gathered his blankets from the floor. His wife collected the children.
“But you can’t leave!” said Rahab. “The men told me that NO one outside this house will be spared!”
“We’ll be in our own home, where it’s comfortable,” he said, and their family left.
“I agree,” said her second brother. “This is a waste of time.” And with that, he too picked up his family and left.
On the fourteenth day, she watched her youngest brother and his family leave also. No one was impressed that the Israelite army only knew how to march in a circle and do nothing else. The fear of attack waned. The desperation was gone. Even her parents went back to their home and to their normal life.
Rahab’s doubts surfaced again, this time on a much deeper level. Why did she ever believe those men? Was this some sick and cruel joke that the God of the Hebrews played upon other people? How could she have ever thought she could escape this life, this destiny? How could she have ever entertained the idea that she might belong to that people and to their God?
She sank to the floor and wept. It wasn’t fair.
It wasn’t fair to have been born on the wrong side of this wall.
She took a long draught of wine and willed herself to sleep.
The next day, and the next were all the same. Each day, the army would arrive by the wall in formation, march around their city once, then retreat back to their camp. It made no sense, and Rahab didn’t care anymore. She was alone. Her family had deserted her. The spies had lied to her. She would rather die than live another day.
But finally, on the eighteenth day, something different happened. The army arrived, marching around the city their definitive one time, but they didn’t go back to camp after that first march. They kept marching! They circled the city twice, then three times, then four…
Something in Rahab awakened. She looked at the silly red cord that still hung in her window and something inside her burned brightly again. Somehow, she knew today would be different. Today there would be change. Maybe the spies had lied to her…maybe it really was a hoax…but she had one small shred of hope that had begun to fan a small flame in her belly, and she was willing to let hope live inside her…just this one day. She grabbed her cloak and ran out the door.
By noon, she had arrived back at her apartment in the city wall with her whole family in tow. Somehow, they also felt the urge to come. Something within them knew that today would be unlike the others.
They stood quietly at the window as the army continued to march…and march.
And then all of a sudden, the soldiers halted, each at a post around the wall. The sun shone brightly in the top of the sky, glaring down foreboding rays of heat that proclaimed the ruination that was to come. In the far-off distance, Rahab could hear horns blasting.
“This is it!” shouted Rahab. “Grab your children! Keep them close! We must be here! By the scarlet cord!”
Her family huddled close together around the window, holding tightly to one another’s hands, no one speaking a word. Rahab heard the Israelite voices come together in a deafening shout like the rush of a mighty tornadic wind or a torrent of angry rain. Shivers ran up and down Rahab’s back and her hair raised on end. This was the moment she had been waiting for; the moment she had been longing for.
Almost as if her eyes saw things in a slower motion, she numbly looked to the right and to the left, watching rocks fall on either side of them. Chaos broke loose. People were screaming; the unnatural sounds of splitting rocks filled the air. The city wall was crumbling, but the tiny room in which they stood remained steadfast. She watched in horror as every fortified area collapsed in ruin, except for the place of the window with the scarlet cord.
Rahab watched with widened eyes and quickened breath as she saw the man that she had met—Salmon was his name—climbing up and over a great heap of fallen rock. He was scaling the rock to come to her.
“I told you I would come back for you!” he cried over the loud rumble of falling rocks and the sharp clanging of swords. “We need to get you and your family out of here!” He motioned to her family who all stood stock still with gaping mouths and confused expressions. “Follow me, everyone!”
With one sweeping motion, Salmon removed his outer cloak and spread it over Rahab, shielding her from tiny debris that fell from the air. He led her out first, descending down the fallen rock, with her family behind them like a row of ducklings.
They ran, and ran, and ran. It felt so good to run! As Rahab ran, the fire in her belly grew into a bursting flame that radiated and pulsed inside her. By the time they reached the Israelite camp, Rahab was winded, but beaming. The promises had proved true; she and her family were safe! She was safe and free from the terrible life that had enslaved her. She turned around and looked in the distance at the mighty Jericho, burning to the ground, flames licking the crumbled walls and devouring everything inside. She turned her back upon the city and walked away with Salmon, covered and protected underneath his cloak. Never again would she go back. Her heart belonged to Someone else.
The spring sunshine shone brightly over her head as she rocked and hummed. The birds sang in melody across the green pastures, answering back in echoing harmonies. A small herd of cattle loped around the fields to the north, feeling the warmth and energy from the sun.
Rahab sat lazily on her favorite portico chair, listening to the songs of the birds and feeling a warm breeze across her face. It had been three years since that monumental moment when she stepped beyond the window with the scarlet cord and into a new life.
Three amazing years.
She was once a wretched harlot from the slums of Jericho, bound in the chains of inner darkness. And now, here she sat, in the warmth of the summer sun: a completely different woman.
She remembered the day she walked out of Jericho. She remembered the satisfaction she felt when she sank into a hot bath, washing away the filth of her past. The women of the community had given her new, clean linens made with beautiful colors of purple and white that covered her from head to toe. Over the next many months, she had learned the ways of the Hebrew God and felt the balm of forgiveness for her past.
She closed her eyes and smiled. She still couldn’t believe it… the Hebrew people had welcomed her as one of their own, giving her a place to live and belong. And Salmon had given her a gift that she never thought possible—he had made her his cherished wife.
Rahab closed her eyes and patted her rounded belly. She thanked God for His healing. As she sat in peaceful meditation, she felt two strong arms envelop her in a gentle embrace. She looked up to see her husband behind her. Salmon’s warm hands patted her ever-growing middle, making their babe inside of her turn a somersault. Salmon came around and sat beside her with a smile, still holding his hand upon her belly, connecting himself to the little one that grew inside her.
“I was thinking…” he said.
“Yes?” she said, smiling.
“If our child turns out to be a boy,” he paused for a moment, clearly enjoying her full attention. “…what do you think of the name Boaz?”
Rahab nodded her head. “Boaz..,” she said, feeling the way it flowed off of her tongue. “Boaz…I like it. It is a strong name. A strong name for a strong child, who will grow up to proclaim the strong love of the Lord!”
The babe within her gave a mighty kick.
She looked out towards the east and smiled. “Boaz it shall be.”