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Discovery Magazine 4/1/2006

Did Rahab Lie?

 

Dear Digger Doug,

In the Old Testament, when Rahab hid the two spies to protect them, and then lied to the people about not knowing them, did God consider that a sin? And if God considered it a lie, why was she rewarded?

Tucker Anderson

Age 11, Stark City, MO.

Dear Tucker,

Thank you for your question. God has certainly always been displeased with the sin of lying. Proverbs 6:17 says that “the Lord hates…a lying tongue.” One of the Ten Commandments was, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). In the New Testament, the apostle Paul wrote: “Do not lie to one another” (Colossians 3:9).

Rahab did, indeed, lie about the Israelite spies. But she was not rewarded by God because she lied or because she was a harlot. The Bible records many sinful acts that God’s servants committed through the centuries. When the Bible praises these men and women, however, it is not for their evil deeds. Noah was “righteous,” not because he got drunk following the Flood (Genesis 9:20-23), but because he obeyed God by building the ark and preached God’s message faithfully. Also, David was once called “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), but this was not because he committed adultery and had a man murdered.

Rahab was rewarded for her faith in the one true God, which was shown by the fact that “she received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25). Scripture nowhere approves of Rahab’s sin of lying. Rather, her righteous works are what God commended and approved.



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