The other night I read the story of Rahab hiding the Israelite spies in Joshua 2. I have always wondered why it seemed ok for her to lie to the King of Jericho about where the spies were. Although Rahab lies, she is rewarded in the end with her life being saved during the destruction of Jericho. That never seemed to add up to me. I mean, was the Bible teaching it was ok to lie for a good cause?
After reading the story that night I think I have come up with a possible explanation for her lie. In verses 9 through 11 Rahab is talking about the Israelite God. As she speaks to the spies she refers to God as their God; “When we heard it, our heats melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” This verse made me think about this story like I have never thought about it before.
Stay with me. I have a point; I’m not just babbling. In Exodus 20 God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments. He did this as a way for His people to follow Him. These commandments were not common rules to live by for Rahab; she was not an Israelite. Unlike the Israelites who had a set standard to live their lives by (the commandments), Rahab did not. She had no idea that God had commanded her to tell the truth. Rather it was evident in Joshua 2 that the stories of God’s protection of the Israelites was her only knowledge of who God was.
Last night I read in Romans 4 the following verse: “for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation” (verse 15). How then could Rahab have known that lying about the spies was a bad thing?
This leads me to think that the story of Rahab obviously does not teach that lying is good. Rather it teaches of a sinner coming to a realization that God is God and trusting that God would protect her. One must first discover God before he/she can properly learn and understand how to follow Him.
Opinions. Is this crazy? It makes sense to me, but I could be completely wrong. What do you think? I want to understand this better so let me know if I’m wrong and point me in a good direction.