There is an interesting article in a recent issue of the Tyndale Bulletin by Nicholas Lunn looking at whether the rescue of the Canaanite Rahab in the book of Joshua might be understood as a kind of ‘Gentile Exodus’. In ‘The Deliverance of Rahab (Joshua 2, 6) as the Gentile Exodus’ (Tyndale Bulletin 65.1 (2014), 11-19) Lunn observes a number of intertextual connections between the Rahab story and the Exodus story (particularly in Exodus 12-15), which he thinks suggest an intentional association of the two passages.
I won’t go into the details of these links but one of his concluding statements is worth noting here:
When the latter [the Rahab story] is read in association with the earlier deliverance account it becomes apparent that the rescue of Rahab and her family is being presented as another exodus. It may be considerably smaller in scale in comparison, yet it was an exodus, or a ‘bringing out’, nevertheless. Yet this was patently a wholly Gentile exodus. In keeping with the promise made to the Hebrew forefathers, that not just they themselves would possess the land, but that blessing would also come to those of other nations (Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14), now a Gentile family received a blessing through Israel. In sparing the Canaanite family the Hebrews were in fact extending to Gentiles the [hesed], the special covenant love, that they themselves enjoyed. Accordingly, as far as Rahab is concerned, the narrative ends with the statement that ‘she lives in the midst of Israel to this day’ (Josh. 6:25). She and those with her had, so to speak, become ‘grafted in’ to Israel.
For me this is interesting as it connects the Rahab story with what has gone before and in an integrated way, whereas I have usually seen her story discussed as a type of what is to come (cf. the scarlet chord) or as an example (perhaps fairly isolated) of God dealing with non-Israelites in the OT.
Questions remain, of course. The deliverance of Rahab is a rescue from the destruction of Jericho by the Israelites as part of their entry into the land. I think a fuller treatment would need to address her story in the context of this difficult area of the Old Testament. Nevertheless, Lunn’s article is a very welcome contribution to the place of Rahab’s story in a missional reading of Scripture.
What do you think of Lunn’s suggestions? How else might we approach Rahab’s story missionally?