Thursday, April 25, 2013


In his essay on “The Jericho and Ai of the Book of Joshua,” Richard Hess has a section on Rahab, which he connects with his argument that Jericho was a fort. Cf. Critical Issues in Early Israelite History, 38-39.

I wonder if Rahab’s status as a prostitute doesn’t, itself, furnish a bit of supporting evidence for classifying Jericho as a fort. By that I mean, where we find military institutions, we generally find prostitutes nearby. When men are stationed far from home, they typically resort to prostitutes. Traditionally, armies on the march might have a traveling harem to service the troops.

The only moral restraint on that behavior is Judeo-Christian ethics. And, of course, the pagans of Jericho and Ai didn’t have those scruples.

So, within the general framework of his argument, isn’t her identity as an “innkeeper” a euphemism for a brothel? Might she not be more like a Madame?  

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