Hebrews 11:31 says, “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient” (NIV).
Joshua 2 records the incident. What strikes me in this chapter is the knowledge of her faith. She has presumably the same intel that her fellow citizens have, but she has put two and two together in a way that no one else in Jericho seems to have, and it has led her to “faith,” as Heb 11 puts it.
Rahab mentions the data: they’ve all heard about the Red Sea and about the deliverance from Egypt, and they’ve all heard about Israel’s triumph over King Sihon and King Og (verse 10).
She mentions the chilling effect of that intel: fear has fallen on them, their hearts melted, and no spirit was left in them (9,11).
But only she, it seems, understands the implications: “I know that the LORD has given you the land” (8, ESV). Why? Because--and here is a remarkable confession for a polytheistic people--“the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath” (11).
Thus she pleads for the deliverance of her and her family, to which Joshua's spies agree.
Later we read of the outcome: “And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it…. But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive” (Josh 6:24-25).
I find it remarkable that the only one wise enough to understand the truth of the situation was a woman that probably no one considered wise at all, a prostitute.
I also find it remarkable that a prostitute is saved and welcomed into Israel. The king of Jericho was saved momentarily, but only to be hanged. But one of Jericho’s prostitutes was saved, “and she has lived in Israel to this day” (6:25).
But salvation is for those who believe, who look to the Lord in faith; not for the rich, not for the powerful, not for the smart and savvy, not for the respectable businessman or businesswoman. The condition of salvation is faith, looking unto Jesus for salvation; anyone who exercises it will be saved.