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Among the ancient civilizations there are myths about dragons. The Babylonian creation myth contains a battle between Merodach and a dragon (Tiamet). The destruction of this dragon turns into the creation of the earth and the ascendancy of Merodach.
“Rahab” was the name of a mythological sea serpent or dragon, literally the “boisterous one,” referred to a number of times in the Old Testament (Psalms 87:4; 89:10; Job 9:13; 26:12; Isaiah 30:7, 51:9). The name of this monster has not hitherto been discovered in any extrabiblical text. In the Old Testament, Rahab functions similarly to Leviathan, an originally Canaanite chaos monster, but whether these are to be identified or are separate monsters in origin is not entirely clear.
Commentary: Joshua 6:25
“Rahab...dwelleth in Israel even unto this day.” (Joshua 6:25)
Rahab of Jericho
A Northern reader who believes that the “Rachab” mentioned in Matthew 1:5 is identical with Rahab of Jericho sends us the following extract from Alford’s Notes on Matthew. Although we do not agree with Alford on this point, we wish to express our sincere thanks for the extract, which many of our readers will find interesting and, perhaps, conclusive.
Rahab the Harlot Innkeeper
A Sleaford correspondent asks for our comments on the suggestion put forward in several quarters that Rahab was not a harlot, but an innkeeper, and sends notes on the subject for and against this suggestion.
Joshua’s Anime Trilogy
Joshua sends two spies into Jericho to see what the battle ahead might hold for the Israelites. They meet a surprising informant: Rahab.
Insolence; pride, a poetical name applied to Egypt in Psalms 87:4; 89:10; Isaiah 51:9, as “the proud one.”
rā ́kab (Ῥαχάβ, Rhacháb): the King James Version; Greek form of “Rahab” (thus Matthew 1:5 the Revised Version).
(1) (רחב, rāḥābh, “broad”; in Josephus, Ant., V, i, 2, 7, Ῥάχαβ, Rháchab; Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25, Ῥάαβ, Rháab): A zōnāh, that is either a “harlot,” or, according to some, an “innkeeper” in Jericho; the Septuagint πόρνη, pórnē, “harlot”). The two spies sent by Joshua from Shittim came into her house and lodged there (Joshua 2:1). She refused to betray them to the king of Jericho, and when he demanded them, she hid them on the roof of her house with stalks of flax that she had laid in order to dry. She pretended that they had escaped before the shutting of the gate, and threw their pursuers off their track. She then told the spies of the fear that the coming of the Israelites had caused in the minds of the Canaanites—“Our hearts did melt ... for Yahweh your God, he is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath”—and asked that the men promise to spare her father, mother, brothers and sisters, and all that they had. They promised her to spare them provided they would remain in her house and provided she would keep their business secret. Thereupon she let them down by a cord through the window, her house being built upon the town wall, and gave them directions to make good their escape (Joshua 2:1-24). True to their promise, the Israelites under Joshua spared Rahab and her family (Joshua 6:16 ff the King James Version); “And,” says the author of Josh, “she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day.” Her story appealed strongly to the imagination of the people of later times. Hebrews 11:31 speaks of her as having been saved by faith; James, on the other hand, in demonstrating that a man is justified by works and not by faith only, curiously chooses the same example (James 2:25). Jewish tradition has been kindly disposed toward Rahab; one hypothesis goes so far as to make her the wife of Joshua himself (Jewish Encyclopedia, under the word). Naturally then the other translation of zōnāh, deriving it from zūn, “to feed,” instead of zānāh, “to be a harlot,” has been preferred by some of the commentators.
Originally a mythical name designating the abyss or the sea; subsequently applied to Egypt. Job 9:13 and 26:12 indicate that it is an alternative for “Tiamat,” the Babylonian name of the dragon of darkness and chaos; Psalms 89:9 also indicates that “Rahab” is a name applied to the sea-monster, the dragon. According to a sentence preserved in the Talmud, “Rahab” is the name of the demon, the ruler of the sea (“Sar shel Yam”; B. B. 74b). It is used as a designation for Egypt in Psalms 87:4 and Isaiah 30:7. Similarly, in Isaiah 51:9, which alludes to the exodus from Egypt, the destruction of Pharaoh is described as a smiting of the great sea-monster Rahab or the dragon Tannin. The juxtaposition of “Rahab” and “Tannin” in this passageexplains why “Rahab” was used as a designation for Egypt, which was otherwise called “Tannin” (see Ezekiel 29:3, Hebr.). It must be noted that the Jewish exegetes deprived the word “Rahab” of its mythological character, and explained it as merely an equivalent for “arrogance,” “noise,” or “tumult”—applied both to the roaring of the sea and to the arrogant noisiness and proud boasting of the Egyptians (comp. Abraham ibn Ezra on Psalms 87:4 and 89:9).
Ra’hab the form, in the A. V., of two names quite different in the Hebrew.
Descending the Wall
The Flight of the Spies (gouache on board)
The Harlot of Jericho and the Two Spies (gouache on board)
Prostitute Saves Spies
Rahab and Family Saved in the Falling of Jericho
Rahab and the Emissaries of Joshua (17th c.)
Rahab and the Spies
Rahab Helping the Two Israelite Spies
Rahab Hides the Spies
Rahab Hiding the Spies
Rahab Hiding the Spies
Rahab Hiding the Spies on the Rooftop
Rahab Misleads the Soldiers
Rahab Talks with Spies On the Roof
Rahab with Spies On the Roof
The Scarlet Rope
The Spies Escape
The Spies Leave Rahab’s House
The Two Israelites Letting Themselves Down from Rahab’s House
Rahab m.n. (Hebrew: רַהַב, Modern Rahav, Tiberian Rahaḇ; “blusterer” is used in the Hebrew Bible to indicate rage, fierceness, insolence, pride.) Rahab is the emblematic name of Egypt and is also spoken of with the sea. In medieval Jewish folklore, Rahab is a mythical sea monster.
Rahab, (/ˈreɪ.hæb/; Hebrew: רָחָב, Modern Raẖav, Tiberian Rāḥāḇ; “broad,” “large”) was, according to the Book of Joshua, a prostitute who lived in Jericho in the Promised Land and assisted the Israelites in capturing the city. In the New Testament she was lauded as an example of living by faith, while being considered righteous by her works.