A close-up shot of an open Bible, with the pages displaying the Book of Joshua, highlighting the mention of Rahab's name multiple times.

How Many Times Is Rahab Mentioned In The Bible?

Rahab is an important biblical figure who is mentioned several times throughout the Old and New Testaments. If you’re looking for a quick answer, Rahab is directly named eight times in the Bible.

In this comprehensive guide, we will analyze every mention of Rahab in the Bible. We will look at who Rahab was, provide context around the various passages where she is discussed, do a deep dive on the significance of her story, and tally up exactly how many times she is directly referenced.

Who Was Rahab in the Bible?

Rahab of Jericho

Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute who lived in the ancient walled city of Jericho during the time of Joshua’s conquest around 1400 BC. Jericho was the first Canaanite city that God commanded Joshua and the Israelites to conquer after they crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

As Jericho was heavily fortified, the Israelites followed God’s leading and marched around the city walls for seven days. On the seventh day, after they had circled Jericho seven times, the priests blew their trumpets and gave a mighty shout, causing the city’s massive walls to collapse in an extraordinary fashion (Joshua 6:1-21).

Her Background and Profession

The Bible first introduces Rahab when Joshua secretly sends two spies into Jericho to scout the city in preparation for battle. The author of Hebrews confirms that Rahab was a prostitute at this time:

“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient” (Hebrews 11:31).

Though Rahab likely worshipped the Canaanite gods and engaged in cultic pagan fertility practices as a temple prostitute when the story begins, God had other plans for this courageous woman.

Her Faith and Conversion

When the Israelite spies arrive at Rahab’s house lodging in Jericho, she protects them from discovery and helps them escape the king’s authorities. In doing so, she expresses a convicted belief in the power of the God of Israel:

“I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us…For the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:9-11).

Rahab then asks for protection for herself and her family when the Israelites attack in exchange for hiding the spies. After securing her safety, she lowers the spies with a rope through her window so they can escape undetected back to Joshua’s camp.

Rahab’s actions demonstrate genuine faith in God that resulted in her inclusion in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith. When the Israelites circled Jericho and the walls fell, Rahab and her household were spared, and she lived among God’s people thereafter, even becoming an ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1:5).

Though her reputation was stained as a pagan prostitute, Rahab’s courageous faith and risk to ally herself with God’s chosen people forever changed the trajectory of her life and lineage.

Rahab in the Book of Joshua

Rahab Protects the Israelite Spies

In Joshua chapter 2, we read about Rahab’s pivotal role in protecting two Israelite spies sent by Joshua to scout the land of Jericho. When the king of Jericho heard that the spies had entered the city, he ordered Rahab to bring them out.

However, Rahab had hidden the men on her roof and told the messengers from the king that the spies had already left. Rahab lied to protect the Israelite spies, an act that showed great courage and faith.

Later, Rahab helped the spies escape by lowering them with a rope through a window in the city wall. Before leaving, the spies told Rahab that when the Israelites attacked Jericho, she and her family would be spared if they stayed inside her house with a scarlet cord hanging from the window.

The spies said, Our life for yours if you don’t tell this business of ours. Rahab agreed and sent them off through the hills. Her brave actions marvelously saved the Israelite spies.

Rahab and Her Family Are Spared

As told in Joshua 6, when Joshua led the Israelites to attack Jericho, the city fell after they had marched around it daily for seven days. During the battle, Rahab and her family remained safely inside her house, protected by the promise from the spies whose lives she had saved earlier.

True to their word, the Israelites spared Rahab and her family when they destroyed everyone else in Jericho with swords, as recorded in Joshua 6:25: But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho. Rahab was blessed for protecting the Israelite spies earlier.

Later Biblical References to Rahab

Rahab in the Lineage of Jesus

Rahab the prostitute is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:5. This shows that God used even a Gentile prostitute in His redemptive plan to bring forth the Messiah. Rahab’s inclusion in the lineage of Jesus is a powerful testimony to God’s grace, redemption, and using the unlikely people to accomplish His sovereign will.

Though her past was filled with sin and darkness, Rahab put her faith in the one true God and became part of His eternal purposes.

Some key points about Rahab in the lineage of Jesus:

  • Demonstrates God’s acceptance of Gentiles into His redemptive plan
  • Shows that social status does not limit God’s grace
  • Reveals God’s heart for the marginalized
  • Displays God’s power to transform lives
  • Proves that God can use anyone to fulfill His plans

Rahab sets an inspirational example of leaving behind a sinful past, taking hold of God’s mercy, and being used powerfully for His glory. As a foremother of Christ, she is a perpetual reminder that God’s grace has no limits for anyone willing to place their faith in Him.

Rahab as an Example of Faith

In Hebrews 11, Rahab is commended for her faith and listed among the “heroes of faith” in the Old Testament. This is remarkable considering her background as a Canaanite prostitute. But Rahab believed God and acted on that belief, rescuing the Israelite spies at considerable personal risk (Joshua 2:1-21).

Key reasons why Rahab was commended for her faith:

  • She believed God would give the land of Canaan to Israel
  • Took action to protect the Israelite spies
  • Sought deliverance for herself and family
  • Confessed faith in the one true God
  • Obeyed the commands of the spies

James 2:25 also upholds Rahab as justified by her works that demonstrated her faith. By welcoming the spies and sending them back safely, she proved her belief in God’s purpose. Her brave actions, rooted in faith, secure her place in God’s redemptive story.

Rahab set an example for all future generations of genuine faith – accepting the truth about God, acting upon belief in God, taking risks to align with God’s people and purposes. Though no other hero of faith in Hebrews 11 was an idolatrous prostitute, Rahab’s inclusion demonstrates that anyone from any background can receive God’s salvation by faith.

The Significance of Rahab’s Story

A Foreign Woman in Salvation History

Rahab’s story is significant because as a Canaanite prostitute, she is an unlikely person to be mentioned in the biblical story of salvation. Yet Rahab demonstrated remarkable faith when she hid the Israelite spies who came to scout out Jericho before the conquest of Canaan (Joshua 2).

She protected the spies from the king of Jericho, helped them escape, and in return secured protection for herself and her family when Jericho fell.

Rahab’s brave actions and profession of faith in the God of Israel led to her incorporation as a foreigner into the community of God’s people (Joshua 6:25). This was highly unusual, as foreigners and prostitutes were generally shunned from participation in religious life.

Yet Rahab is praised in the New Testament for her faith and good works (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25).

So while only mentioning Rahab a few times, the Bible holds her up as a shining example of faith and redemption. God can use anyone or save anyone, no matter their gender, nationality, or past sins.

An Unlikely Heroine of Faith

As a Canaanite prostitute living in the condemned city of Jericho, Rahab seemed an unlikely candidate to play a pivotal role in the history of salvation. Yet she demonstrated shrewdness and remarkable, daring faith in hiding the spies sent by Joshua to scout out the city (Joshua 2).

While all the people of Jericho were fearful about the coming invasion of the Israelites, Rahab assisted God’s people. She professed faith in the one true God who rules heaven and earth and had given Canaan over to the Israelites (Joshua 2:9-11).

Rahab secured an oath from the spies that she and her family would be protected when Israel conquered Jericho. She helped the spies escape using a rope through the window of her house built into the city wall (Joshua 2:15).

Then she kept her act of treason secret from the king of Jericho when questioned (Joshua 2:4-5).

As a result, Rahab and her family were spared when Jericho fell, one of the only survivors (Joshua 6:17, 22-23). Through her courage and faith, Rahab went from being an outsider to joining God’s people – an ancestor of Jesus himself, according to Matthew’s genealogy (Matthew 1:5).

Clearly Rahab played a pivotal role not just in the conquest of Canaan, but in God’s plan of salvation through history. She is held up as an example of faith at work, demonstrating that God can use anyone for his good purposes.

Every Direct Mention of Rahab in the Bible

Rahab is a fascinating biblical figure who is mentioned 8 times across the Old and New Testaments. As a prostitute living in the pagan city of Jericho, she helped hide the Israelite spies and aided their escape, securing her own salvation in the process (Joshua 2, 6:22-25).

Let’s explore all of Rahab’s appearances in Scripture.

Joshua 2 – Rahab Hides the Spies

The first mention of Rahab comes in Joshua 2, where two Israelite spies enter Jericho and lodge at Rahab’s house. When the king orders Rahab to turn over the spies, she cleverly hides them on her roof and misdirects the officials.

Rahab makes an agreement with the spies to save her family when Israel destroys Jericho. The spies promise this and instruct her to hang a scarlet cord from her window so Israelite soldiers will know to spare her home.

Joshua 6:22-25 – Rahab and Her Family Are Saved

After Jericho falls, Joshua 6:22-25 records how Rahab and her family are rescued as promised. The spies had kept their word, highlighting God’s faithfulness. Though Rahab was a Gentile and social outcast, her brave actions and belief in the God of Israel saved her entire family.

Her story illustrates that God offers salvation to all who believe in Him.

Joshua 6:17 – A Warning Not to Take from Jericho

Rahab is indirectly referenced in Joshua 6:17 when the Israelites are warned not to take any goods from the destroyed city of Jericho. This command would not apply to Rahab and her family who were allowed to escape safely with their lives.

Matthew 1:5 – Rahab in Jesus’ Genealogy

In Matthew 1:5, Rahab makes a surprising appearance in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. As an outcast and foreigner, it is unexpected and wonderful that God chose her to be part of the bloodline of the Messiah. This emphasizes God’s message of hope and salvation for all people.

Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25 – Examples of Faith

The New Testament writers uphold Rahab as a shining example of faith. Hebrews 11 praises heroes from Israel’s past who trusted God and acted in faith. In verse 31, Rahab is commended for welcoming and assisting the Israelite spies.

James 2:25 also affirms Rahab’s place among the faithful for demonstrating her belief through action.

While Rahab has one of the more shocking backgrounds of any biblical hero, through her courageous act to help God’s people, she and her family were grafted into Israel. Most importantly, her daring faith and risk-taking love fit her perfectly into the family lineage of Jesus Christ.


As we have seen, Rahab the prostitute from Jericho is directly named eight times throughout the Old and New Testaments. Her story serves as an inspiration that no one is beyond the mercy of God and even a foreign woman known for her sinful ways can make her way into the lineage of Jesus through sincere faith.

Rahab started out as an unlikely candidate for honor in the Bible. But her courage in helping Israel and her belief in the one true God ensured that her name would be praised for generations to come rather than reviled.

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