July 9, 2018

Rahab and Sodom

Category: Bible - OT - Genesis,Bible - OT - Joshua :: Permalink

In Joshua 2, we have a story that’s extremely familiar. But it ought to sound familiar in more ways than one. So let’s take a step back and hear … this story instead.

There is a city that is doomed to destruction because of its intense wickedness. Two men come to the city to investigate it, to spy it out, as it were. They intend to spend the night in the open square, but they’re invited into someone’s house. While they’re there, the men of the city come and demand that the host bring out the men who have come into that house. But the host doesn’t do it, and the result is destruction for that city but salvation for the host and the host’s family.

What story is that? It’s the story of Sodom, right? But isn’t it also the story in Joshua 2, where two spies come to Jericho and go to Rahab’s house, the king demands that she bring forth the men, she doesn’t do it, Jericho is destroyed and her house is saved?

There’s something I didn’t mention earlier. The Hebrew word for “open square” in the story of Sodom in Genesis 19? It’s a word that, in a slightly different form, is the name “Rahab” (which also means “open”).

The story of Rahab is a recurrence of the Sodom/Exodus theme, this time with the host who is saved being a Canaanite.

Posted by John Barach @ 8:28 pm | Discuss (1)

One Response to “Rahab and Sodom”

  1. Josh McInnis Says:

    There is a third in this familiar theme. In Judges 19, there are two who enter a city – Gibeah – not so much to spy it out but to find, if they can, a night’s lodging. They camp out in the open square, but this is only because no one offers hospitality. That is, until an elderly resident takes them in.

    Evil men of the city demand that the old man sends out his guest, for lustful purpose (another unifying theme in the three stories – the host’s house is place where the inhabitants of the city are seeking satisfaction of sexual sin in some way or another). This time the story suggests that the Levite and his concubine are not all right with God. Also, the host does not do his duty in protecting both of his guests.

    God is not with them in this story: there is no king or King in Israel, and everyone does what is right in his own eyes. Gibeah is destroyed as a result of what happens in this story, but without God there is sorrow all around for that city, the two visitors, and the nation. I am not sure what else to make of the connection with the other two stories and the differing aspects, and wonder if you have any thoughts on it.

Leave a Reply