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©2001 Rev Paul R. Schmidtbleicher,ThM

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Rahab and Her Lie
God's Standards Under Good and Evil
©2001 Rev. Paul R. Schmidtbleicher, Th.M.


When the Christian is faced with REAL Evil such as a situation involving criminals or in warfare, two courses of action are commonly followed. The first is to approach the situation as if one is dealing with righteous people. Therefore, we always tell the truth and "do unto them as we would have them do unto us." The problem is that because they ARE criminals and in war, enemies, they want to really hurt us in some way.

The second approach is to "fudge" or believe that we are fudging on the standards of the Lord. Here we "do what is necessary" to handle the situation and then ask God's forgiveness for violating His Commands. The problem with this approach is that it lends itself to the idea that man sometimes has to take matters into his own hands and act independently of God to get things done. It clearly undercuts the truth that the we can follow the Lord IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES without any compromise.

Thus, the basic need is to have a clear understanding of all God's Truth, both for the norm of being righteous and living among righteous people and for the abnormal of having to deal with criminals, enemies in warfare, and others clearly bent on doing great evil.

The commandments given by the Lord are clearly for being righteous and living among righteous people. We are not to murder nor to bear false witness as well as follow many other clear commands.

However, with criminals guilty of capital offenses God ordained the death penalty (Genesis 9:5-6). In warfare, as shown by the examples of the Old Testament and what Jesus will do at His Own Second Coming (Revelation 19), the example clearly given is to kill the enemy.

Thus there emerges two sets of principles that the Lord applies in the Scriptures; the major set when being righteous and living among those who are primarily righteous and a minor set for dealing with those bent on evil and doing evil. It is with this in mind that the study of the Lie of Rahab and it's principles is presented.

The Lie of Rahab and Its Principles

Josh 2:1-21 Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. 2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, "Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country." 3 So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, "Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country." 4 Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5 "And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them." 6 (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.) 7 Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate. 8 Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9 and said to the men: "I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. 10 "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 "And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. 12 "Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the LORD, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father's house, and give me a true token, 13 "and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death." 14 So the men answered her, "Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the LORD has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you." 15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall. 16 And she said to them, "Get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward you may go your way." 17 So the men said to her: "We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, 18 "unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father's household to your own home. 19 "So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 "And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear." 21 Then she said, "According to your words, so be it." And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window. (NKJ)

The Possible "Sins" of Rahab as Viewed by Man

1. Treason

To the citizens of Jericho which had an established government and police force, Rahab committed treason by allowing the spys entrance and information.

2. Traitor

Along the same lines as above, Rahab was a traitor. The citizens of Jericho from a purely human perspective could have rightly called her "a traitorous whore."

3. A Deceiver (2:3-6)

Rahab, in the course of her actions chose to deceive the authorities of Jericho in hiding the spies that they were pursuing. They had accurate information and confronted Rahab with it. Her response was to deceive and hide instead of "honor" their truthful information.

4. Lie #1 - I don't know who they are. (2:4 She did though 2:9ff)

5. Lie #2 - I don't know where they are. (2:5a She had hid them 2:4, 8)

6. Lie #3 - They went out of the city. (2:5 They were on her roof 2:6)

7. A Sellout (2:12-14)

Rahab bargained for her life when all of Jericho was to die by the hand of the Lord through the invasion of the Israelites (2:12-14)

The Lord's View of the Activities of Rahab

As seen from the Scriptures, the Lord's view of what Rahab did is entirely different from the view that man - those of evil Jericho - might have had.

Heb 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. (NKJ)

James 2:25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? (NKJ)

1. Rahab actions are classified as being "of faith." She is not criticized in any way in any place in the Scriptures.

2. The actions of Rahab (her works) are classified in Scripture as works fitting for one who has been "justified by faith." In the terms of James, her viable saving Biblical faith was shown by these works as specifically stated: (1) Receiving the spies and (2) Sending them out another way (THAN SHE TOLD THE JERICHO AUTHORITIES.)


MAJOR: Certain persons bent on doing evil are not "due" the truth.

The Midwives deceived the Pharaoh in birthing Hebrew children (Ex 1:17ff)

Rahab protected the spies sent from Godly Israel, (Josh 2)

Ehud in delivering what he called a "present" to Eglon - a dagger. (Jud 3:15)

Jesus withheld truth by teaching in parables to those already rejecting.

Jesus said "cast not pearls before swine." (Mat 7:6)

Jesus said "give not that which is holy to dogs." (Mat 7:6)

The reason not to give "truth" as stated by Jesus is that they would use the information to "turn and tear you to pieces" (Mat 7:6)

Principle Derived:

Persons intending to use "truth" to do evil (as Biblically defined) are not necessarily due the truth.

MINOR: Applications

Police may possibly lie to criminals, hostage takers, and other evil doers about a possible deal to resolve a "situation."

Soldiers in a righteous cause can and should deceive the enemy.

A believer can be in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in the police force, etc. and be led of the Lord in this way when dealing with real evil in a righteous cause.

Apart from the "Lie(s)" of Rahab, the Scriptures also show the Sovereign Lord God dealing with Unrighteous Evil on the basis of this minor set of standards.

The Lord's Own Use of Lies

1. The Lord made use of a "lying spirit" to position King Ahab for his destruction. (1 Kings 22:20-23; 2 Chr 18:19-22

2 Chr 18:19-22 "And the LORD said, 'Who will persuade Ahab king of Israel to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?' So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. 20 "Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, 'I will persuade him.' The LORD said to him, 'In what way?' 21 "So he said, 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And the LORD said, 'You shall persuade him and also prevail; go out and do so.' 22 "Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you." (NKJ)

2. The Lord has used "perverse," perverting, warping or distorting spirits with those representing evil for the purpose of their destruction. (Isa 19:14)

Isa 19:14 The LORD has mingled a perverse spirit in her midst; and they have caused Egypt to err in all her work, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit. (NKJ)

3. The Lord will speak untruth to those who want to hear what they want to hear and refuse to believe His Divine Truth. (Ezek 14:3-5)

Ezek 14:3-5 "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them? 4 "Therefore speak to them, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols, 5 "that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols."' (NKJ)

4. The Lord will send "strong delusion" to those rejecting God's Truth and thus encourage their belief in the lie of Satan and their destruction. (2 Thes 2:11-12)

II Th 2:11-12 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (NKJ)

Final Conclusions

God can and does use "lying" for His Own Glory with those rejecting His Truth and seeking to use truth to do evil.

Rahab was and is totally justified in her actions as would other believers seeking to protect that which is Godly against (Biblically clear) evil and evil doers seeking to use some aspect of the truth to do or carry out their evil.

Rather than believing that God's standards have to be occasionally circumvented in war, crime, and other occurances of evil the believer needs to reaffirm that the Word of God DOES HAVE ANSWERS for every area of living. Rahab's example and commendation are not problematic in any way!