A close-up photo of a Bible open to the story of Rahab, highlighting the verse that connects her lineage to Jesus.

The Family Ties Between Rahab And Jesus

The Bible contains many fascinating stories of flawed yet faithful people that God used in powerful ways. One such person is Rahab, a prostitute in the city of Jericho who helped two Israelite spies escape during the conquest of Canaan.

Centuries later, Rahab resurfaces in the New Testament genealogy of Jesus Christ. If you’re wondering how these two biblical figures are connected, read on to uncover the family ties between Rahab and Jesus.

Rahab Helps the Israelite Spies

Rahab Hides the Spies

As recorded in Joshua 2 of the Bible, when the Israelite spies secretly entered Jericho, they came to the house of Rahab the prostitute. Rahab welcomed them and hid them from the king’s men who were searching for them.

She had heard of how the Lord God had powerfully delivered the Israelites from Egypt and defeated mighty kings like Sihon and Og on their way to Canaan. Rahab explained to the spies, “I know that the Lord has given you this land…for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”

Her confession of faith saved her life in the midst of a condemned city.

Rahab risked her life by hiding the spies on her roof and lying to the king’s messengers about the spies’ whereabouts. She helped protect the spies because, as she told them, “the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”

She wisely secured an agreement with the spies to spare her father’s household when the Israelites would return to attack Jericho. The author of Hebrews later commended Rahab’s faith and hospitality toward the spies (Hebrews 11:31).

Rahab’s Faith and Deal with the Spies

The Israelite spies promised to spare Rahab and her father’s household during the coming destruction as an act of grace and faithfulness towards her. To confirm their promise, the spies told Rahab to tie a scarlet cord in the window through which she helped them escape from Jericho.

This identified her house for protection when the Israelites would return to attack the city.

The scarlet cord symbolized the atoning blood of Christ that delivers sinners by grace through faith. Like the Passover lamb’s blood that spared the Israelites in Egypt, Rahab and her family would be “passed over” and saved from destruction by staying in the house marked by the scarlet cord.

Her remarkable faith in the God of Israel aligned her with the people of God.

As evidence of Rahab’s genuine faith, she fully sided with the Israelites – God’s chosen people. Rahab married Salmon, a prominent Israelite leader. Remarkably, she is listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1!

God blessed Rahab, a gentile and former pagan, with the privilege of being an ancestor of Jesus the Messiah!

Rahab in the Lineage of Jesus

Salmon Marries Rahab

After the Israelites conquered Jericho, Rahab assisted the Israelite spies and negotiated protection for herself and her family. The Israelite leader Joshua spared Rahab and her family as promised. Later, a leader named Salmon from the Israelite tribe of Judah took Rahab as his wife.

Rahab left her previous life and fully embraced the Israelite faith and people. Despite Rahab’s questionable past, Salmon saw inner beauty and character in Rahab. Their marriage reminds us that God can redeem anyone willing to follow Him.

Boaz Descends from Salmon and Rahab

Several generations after Salmon and Rahab, their great-grandson Boaz was born. Boaz was a wealthy and respected landowner in Bethlehem. He showed kindness and integrity in his business dealings. Boaz fell in love with a hardworking young woman named Ruth from Moab.

They married and had a son named Obed. As Salmon’s kindness led to Rahab’s conversion, Boaz’s upright character attracted Ruth. The examples of Salmon and Boaz show how righteous living can positively influence generations to come.

David Descends from Boaz

The legacy of Salmon and Rahab continued through their descendant King David. As the grandson of Obed, David came from the lineage of Boaz and Ruth. David started as an unsung shepherd but gained renown for defeating the giant Goliath.

After many trials and triumphs as king, David was known as a man after God’s own heart despite some grave mistakes. David’s bold faith and deep passion for God inspired many psalms and prayers still treasured today. His life shows how someone from a nondescript background can rise to great influence.

Jesus Descends from David

Several centuries later, Jesus Christ was born as a descendant of David. As the Gospels record, the angel Gabriel affirmed to Mary that her son Jesus would receive the throne of His father David. Jesus also grew up in David’s hometown of Bethlehem.

During His ministry, Jesus often clashed with religious leaders stuck in their traditions. Like David, Jesus was revolutionary in calling people to personally know God rather than just follow rituals. He welcomed outcasts and sinners with open arms.

Ultimately, Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection launched a faith far beyond Israel’s borders. The story of Rahab, Salmon, Boaz, David and Jesus displays God’s amazing grace across the centuries.

Lessons from Rahab’s Inclusion in Jesus’ Family Tree

God Can Use Anyone for His Glory

Rahab, a prostitute in the city of Jericho, would seem an unlikely candidate for a place in the lineage of Jesus. Yet God saw Rahab’s faith when she hid the Israelite spies and helped them escape, and He richly rewarded her trust in Him (Joshua 2:1-21).

As Hebrews 11 notes, it was by faith that Rahab perished not with those who refused to believe (Hebrews 11:31). Her past did not disqualify Rahab from playing a pivotal role in biblical history. Rather, God elevated this outcast to a place of honor in the very lineage of Christ.

Likewise, God can and does use ordinary sinners for His glory. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, not many who are noble, mighty, or wise in the world’s eyes enter God’s kingdom. But the weak, base, and despised—those who know they cannot save themselves—are the very ones God delights to transform.

No one is beyond the reach of His grace.

God Values Faith Over Perfection

Though Rahab made crucial mistakes, she also demonstrated authentic faith. She showed kindness to Israelite spies at great personal risk, trusting the one true God instead of her national deities (Joshua 2:8-13). Her faith, mixed as it was with fear, moved her to righteous action.

And notably, Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25 commend Rahab for this faith.

Clearly, wholehearted faith matters more to God than spotless performance. While we should pursue holiness, our justification depends on Christ’s finished work, not our own goodness. Like Rahab, we come to God just as we are, trusting wholly in His grace.

God Keeps His Promises

Not only did God spare Rahab’s life during Jericho’s fall; He kept His covenant promise to bless her descendants in the coming generations (Joshua 6:22-25). Against all odds, this Gentile harlot became an ancestress of Israel’s beloved King David and ultimately Jesus the Messiah.

Truly nothing could thwart God’s steadfast pledged word concerning Rahab.

As with Rahab, the Lord remains faithful to fulfill every promise He makes to His people. Despite our stumbles, He continues working all things for our eternal good, completing His purposes in and through us (Romans 8:28-30). What comfort this brings!

God always keeps His covenants to rescue the lost and give them a glorious, imperishable inheritance.


Rahab and Jesus came from very different backgrounds, yet their lives intersected through God’s divine plan across history. As a Canaanite prostitute, no one would have expected Rahab to become part of the messianic lineage.

Yet her courageous faith and assistance to Israel paved the way for her unlikely adoption into a revered family tree. Most importantly, Rahab’s story gives us hope. No matter our flaws and failings, God can powerfully use anyone willing to trust in Him.

Similar Posts