Rahab & the Spies

Near the end of his list of the “spirits of just men made perfect” (12:23), those Old Testament saints who form his “great cloud of witnesses” (12:1), the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of the first pagan that the chosen people encountered inside the Promised Land: “By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace” (11:31). Thus, a Canaanite prostitute becomes a model of faith for believing Christians.

In this text the faith of Rahab is contrasted with the unbelief of those who perished. Just who were . . .

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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).

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