Have you ever noticed the footnote in the NIV on Joshua 2:1 that says Rahab may have been an innkeeper rather than a prostitute? If that is true, imagine all the grief she is going to get in heaven when everyone keeps going up to her saying, “Oh…so you’re Rahab the prostitute!” and her constantly correcting people that she was really just an innkeeper. While the word for prostitute and innkeeper are similar there are many other clues that still points to Rahab being a prostitute:
- Joshua 2:1 calls her a prostitute. That is what the word means. Although innkeeper is similar it is not the word being used here.
- The suggestiveness of her name. The verb root of Rahab means “to open”. In Ugarit this word was used in reference to female anatomy.
- The Talmud talks of Rahab in a sexual way (Megillah 15a)
- The New Testament witness to Rahab as a prostitute (Heb 11:31 & James 2:25). This one pretty much puts the whole thing to rest. If the inspired New Testament writers refer to her as such then that is as strong a witness as you can get (right there with Joshua 2:1).
The beauty of it all is that God was able to use Rahab to complete his plan. Remember, she eventually became Boaz’s mother, the mother in law of Ruth, and great grandmother of King David, ending up in the lineage of Jesus. While the skeleton in her closet was her profession at the time of the battle of Jericho her fear of the Lord shown through more brightly.