Rahab’s house (Joshua 2)

The Israelite spies instructed Rahab to gather her family into her house, where they would be spared from the coming calamity (Joshua 2:18-19). Later, Rahab and her family members were rescued as promised (Joshua 6:17, 22-23). Joshua 2:15 indicates that Rahab’s house was located within the fortification of Jericho. Translated literally, the Hebrew reads “Her house was against the vertical surface of the city wall, and in the city wall she lived”. How was her house preserved when the wall fell? Remarkably, archaeology provides an answer.

German excavations from 1907-1909 on the northern section of the site uncovered a portion of the lower city wall that did not fall as it did everywhere else. The still-standing section rose as high as nearly 2,5 m, with houses built against it still intact. A second wall at the crest of the embankment revealed that these particular houses were situated between the upper and lower city walls and were thus “in the city wall”. Since the lower wall also formed the back wall of the houses, an opening (window) in the wall would have provided a convenient escape route for the spies. From this northerly location it was only a short distance to the hills of the -judean wilderness, where the spies hid for three days (Joshua 2:16, 22).


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