August 12, 2015
When I started preparing these readings on protection and decided to use the story of Rahab, I was going to connect Rahab/Joshua with the “Magdalene”/Jesus. Both women had the reputation of being prostitutes (although the Jewish historian Josephus politely describes Rahab’s profession as an innkeeper). Rahab’s red cord hanging out the window was even mentioned as an early practice of the “red-light” district (Wikipedia).
But in reading Rahab’s story in the Bible, I was really impressed with the illusion of matter. Rahab was told to stay inside her house (located on Jericho’s wall) with her family for their protection, but why weren’t they crushed when the “wall fell down flat”? Perhaps Rahab learned something about the false foundation of matter (and sin) and the reality of God. Interestingly, in referring back to this story, both Joshua and James call the men that Rahab hid “messengers” from which we get our word “angel.”
At least Rahab didn’t look back (like Lot’s wife), because she had a wonderful story in front of her. In the genealogy in Matthew, Rahab is the mother of Boaz who married Ruth. What a connection — because of his mother, it was no wonder Boaz had such respect for foreign women!
The name “Rahab” is also used in the Bible in reference to a “mythological sea monster who is defeated by God before creation” (The New Oxford Annotated Bible, page 1037). How beautiful that the woman Rahab from the story of Joshua was able to defeat and disassociate her degrading past with the God-given purity of womanhood.
Later comment from a reader –
Bible scholars clearly identify the Magdelene as a wealthy woman from Magdala. Mary Baker Eddy understood this as she says S&:H PAGE 362: “(Mary Magdalene, as she has since been called)”. While she may have been cured of ills, the Magdalene was not a prostitute. In Maupon’s talk on women in Mark, at no time did she indicate the Magdalene was a prostitute. I don’t think we should be perpetuating false information. It is likely this notion was inserted in order to discredit her and to remove a woman from Jesus’ inner circle of followers.
My reply – I’ve also read that Mary Magdalene has gotten lots of bad press, and now thanks to The DaVinci Code book and movie, lots of people think she was married to Jesus. I am aware that MBE uses her name parenthetically. Rahab’s profession is also debatable. But the purity of woman was the victor for both of them!
Actually I looked at my email again and only wrote that the Magdalene had the “reputation of being a prostitute.” I think that is how she is frequently portrayed (think Jesus Christ Superstar), even though she was truly (physically and metaphysically) pure.
Thanks for your interest!
Comment from another reader –
I am sure you are aware of my strong view about “Lord” verses “God.” The OT Biblical Lord or Jehovah is not the same as God. The “god” Joshua reference used as Lord, is a god of contradictions. It is not the same as God who gave the Commandment: Thou shalt not kill. The OT Biblical writers were very careful on who they blamed for destroying man. Same with Moses, Noah, and with the tower of Babel and other stories where it was Lord not God who kills. I am sure you see the contradiction. From Genesis 2 onward, whatever destroyed in most instances was Lord or Lord God. 590:15
Just my take is different. Rahab might have concluded the powerful and victorious Children of Israel were guided by a higher power to be so successful, but I thought she just wanted to save herself and her family from being killed. But why kill in the first place?
“And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.”
The surrounding Israelites Army could have just starved the people of Jericho to a peaceful surrender. (Since they already wiped out two other kingdoms previously.) I don’t really know the logic of killing everyone all together. If the “Lord” was so powerful, why did he need men to kill other men? In a few Biblical accounts, the Lord killed off whole armies without the aid of the Israel army. Just so many inconsistencies throughout the OT haunt me.
The S&H selections about rising above false foundations makes your point clear: “heathen gods of mythology controlled war…”
“I saw that the law of mortal belief included all error, and that, even as oppressive laws are disputed and mortals are taught their right to freedom, so the claims of the enslaving senses must be denied and superseded.”
“Angels are God’s representatives. These upward-soaring beings never lead towards self, sin, or materiality, but guide to the divine Principle of all good, whither every real individuality, image, or likeness of God, gathers.”
“Truth (true Cause) and Love (true Effect) come nearer in the hour of woe, when strong faith or spiritual strength wrestles and prevails through the understanding of God. To infinite, ever-present Love, all is Love, and there is no error, no sin, sickness, nor death.“
My reply – Thanks for the reminder. I’ll make sure and distinguish between “Lord God” and “God.”
By the way, our Book Club has also been reading Job. I talk about the OT concept of Satan in the first Job talk here:
I learned that to many in the OT, the Lord God was like “God, Inc.” Yahweh included his good and bad angels including Satan. So it was Satan that sent the plagues etc although it was all under the Lord God umbrella.
There is a link to Biblehub under that recording with Strong’s lexicon so listeners can look up the times Elohim is used, yahweh is used, lord etc. Yes, I do think it is important to know whether we are talking about Lord (thought to include the bad) or God (all good).