April 25, 2011


Most people with knowledge of the bible hear the name Rahab and instantly think, "the Prostitute."  It only makes sense.  Every time she is mentioned in the Bible she is referred to as 'Rahab the Prostitute.'

Why did we name our daughter after a woman only referred to as a harlot?

  First, I have to say, that I think Rahab gets a pretty bad rap.  What if we were all always called by our very worst sin, our greatest weakness, our biggest failure?  Maggie the judgmental.  Maggie the doubter.  Maggie the selfish.  I'm not entirely sure why Rahab gets pinned with this, there were plenty of women in the Bible who did some shady stuff.  If David were only known as 'David the adulterous murderer' then there probably wouldn't be as many Davids in our world today, yeah?

Let's look past her label.  God obviously did.

It is likely that Rahab was a prostitute by necessity.  Women in that time were frequently 'called by the king' with no say in the matter.  The king would bring them to his palace to determine if he wanted them to be among his many queens and concubines.  If the woman he called was not to his liking, she was then considered 'used' and did not have other options.  Starve or be a prostitute?  
Rahab lived in Jericho, a city that did not know God.  They worshiped idols made of clay and stone and chose not to acknowledge the God of the Israelites.  But now the Israelites were coming to take the city.  They were on their way, and God had given them victory over every army they had come against on their way.  The king of the Jericho was convinced that if they built walls high enough, thick enough, well manned enough, that they could fend off the Israelites without cause for worry.
But Rahab thought otherwise.  She had grown up hearing stories about their God, how he parted the Red Sea, sent plagues to Egypt, and handed kingdoms over to the Israelites.  This was no clay idol.  Their God had power.  So when two Israelite spies entered the gates of the city she welcomed them in, gave them the information they needed, hid them from the king's soldiers, and sent them away in a direction opposite that she sent the soldiers coming to capture them.  
She knew their God was all powerful.  She wished to know Him.  She would serve Him in the ways she was able.  
In return for saving their lives, the Israelite spies promised Rahab that she and anyone else in her house would be safe when they took the city.  Sure enough, when the walls fell and they took the city, Rahab and her family were spared.  Rahab wanted to join the Israelites in following their God, and because of her faith, God blessed her by grafting her into his people through marriage.

Only later would we find out that he had also grafted her into the lineage of Jesus.

Rahab is one of two women listed in Hebrews 11 - the hall of faith.  She was commended for having 'confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see' along with Abraham, Enoch, and Noah.
Regardless of her past, Rahab recognized God for who he was.  She had faith in the midst of a city and a family that told her she was crazy.  She came to God as she was, and he took her in, made her His, redeemed her, and used her life to glorify Himself.

Naomi will mess up.  She will make mistakes and she will make choices she regrets.  I pray that she has the faith of Rahab.  I pray she will have faith in God in the midst of a world that often turns away.  I pray she will come to God regardless of where life takes her so that he can take her under his wing, make her His, adopt her into His family, redeem her, and use her life to glorify Himself.

And that is why she is Naomi Rahab.


  1. Beautiful. Your daughter has a connection to two great stories in the Bible through her name.

  2. Awesome! Thanks for sharing! I too hope she has great faith! As well as Sylvia! What is Sylvia's middle name, by the way? Hope your growing family is doing well!

  3. Thank you for sharing this, it is beautiful. Rahab reminds me of Esther. We laud Esther, but we don't really know if Esther wanted to be the King's wife. She obeyed her uncle and married the king (as one of many wives,) and because she humbly accepted her role in the household, she was able to save her people.

    Both of these women hold clues for how women can influence the world in a big way through small acts and simple faith.

  4. My main thought is - you're taking all the good female Bible names ;-) Ah well, there's always Vashti (...)

  5. Jendoop - funny you should say that, Esther is Sylvia's middle name!

    Amy - You could always go with Bathsheba or if it's twins, Bathsheba and Bathshua. :)

  6. I love hearing how names were chosen and this is an amazing story. Beautiful name for a beautiful little baby.

  7. With those names and such wonderful parents your girls are sure to be a force for good in the world. (They already are with their sweet faces on your blog!)


Thanks for commenting!!


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