The story of Rahab, a woman of Jericho, appears in both the Old and New Testaments.
She is known for her bravery when the Israelites were about to conquer the city. She had heard of their belief in one God and wondered if this faith could be hers. When two Israelite spies were in danger of discovery and desperately needed assistance, she offered them a hiding place, but that also caused them to be locked inside the city walls. With prayer and guidance from this newly found God, she cleverly devised a way for them to escape. In return she demanded that they guarantee safety for herself and her family. When the walls came tumbling down, the Israelites kept their promise and accepted her as one of them, giving her the opportunity for a new beginning in her new faith. She is further idealized as the fifth-great-grandmother of Jesus, God granting her this honor for her great courage and faith, a detail that centers this telling firmly as Christian rather than Jewish. The authors have taken the main body of Rahab’s tale and expanded it. Her adult life as a prostitute is somewhat glossed over as “making a lot of bad choices,” though her “profession” is hinted at in a readers’ note. Elwell’s very bright, purple-and-pink, sun-washed illustrations enhance the narration, providing a strong vision of the time and place. All characters are shown as having dark and swarthy skin color.
Rahab is intriguing and exciting, but her tale is told in a saccharine, preachy tone. (reflection questions) (Picture book/religion. 8-10)