Rahab the Harlot Innkeeper

A Sleaford correspondent asks for our comments on the suggestion put forward in several quarters that Rahab was not a harlot, but an innkeeper, and sends notes on the subject for and against this suggestion.

Our correspondent adds: Now let us try and reason things out. From the fact that Rahab had sufficient flax drying on the roof with which to cover the two spies, it would appear that she manufactured linen, whilst the scarlet thread points to her being able to dye. Achan saw among the spoils of Jericho a “goodly Babylonish garment,” which suggests that these garments were being made in Jericho… It is quite possible that linen making was Rahab’s side trade, especially as Jericho was on the main route from Egypt to Phoenicia and Babylon, and she may have sold things to travellers passing through the city.

At that time it was the custom for women to run the inns. Jericho was a city of importance and a calling place for caravans and travellers to and from Egypt, so an innkeeper would no doubt be a busy person. A prostitute is one who wants easy money, and would hardly be likely to run both an inn and a linen industry.

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Author: F. E. Mitchell

Keywords: Rahab, Rahab harlot, Rahab prostitute, Rahab innkeeper, Rahab inn keeper, harlot, prostitute

Bible reference(s): Joshua 2:1, Joshua 2:3, Joshua 6:17, Joshua 6:23, Joshua 6:25, Matthew 1:5, Hebrews 11:31, James 2:25

Source: “Rahab the Harlot,” The Testimony, Vol. 19, No. 219, March 1949, pp. 65-9. Used with permission.

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