“Welcome o, how una want am?” I asked flirtatiously to the two young men at my doorstep. From their regalia, I knew they were Israelites. Gist had it that their God forbade them intimacy with foreigners, so why were they here? “Water first, and how do you charge”? The older of the men asked, breaking into my reverie. “Fifty pieces per hour,” I replied, ready to negotiate. “Ok, two hours, but we won’t need your services.” “Una mean say una no wan do?”I queried, making sure I heard clearly. “Exactly,” he replied, smiling as he took note of my cleavage. “Wey money?” He smiled further as he pressed the money into my palm.
An hour later, there was an aggressive banging on my door. “Open in the name of the King”. Instinct told me it was the Israelites they had come for, and fearfully, I dashed to their room. “Open o, dem wan move una, but follow me.” I quickly took them to the roof, hid them under a pile of flax I had gathered to use the next day and hurried downstairs as three soldiers burst in. “Wetin happen na? I busy o,” I said with irritation, pretending to adjust my clothing. “Bring out the Israeli spies lodged here,” they said. “Dem comot here since na,” I lied smoothly. They searched everywhere, and not finding them, they came back to me. “Follow that Jordan road, na dia dem pass,” I said, my heart beating frightfully. When they left, I heaved a sigh of exasperation. Why did I do what I just did? My family and I would be stoned to death if caught. There had to be a way out of this, and besides, since give and take was the nature of my business, I might as well apply it here, I reasoned wittingly. With that in mind, I climbed to the roof where the Israelites were hiding.
“Dem don waka but dem go still dey find una, so una fit sleep here” I suggested, looking for a chance to ask for more. “Thank you Rahab, and may our God remember you”, they replied gratefully. “ Abeg, I wan talk something”, I started, and went on to tell them the terrible stories we had heard about their God, and that we had become afraid because He always destroyed anything that stood against them.
“So make una help me, make me and my people no die.” I pleaded. “It’s ok, as long as you don’t say a word about this to anyone. When Jehovah gives us the land, we will not forget you.” they promised. So I swore to secrecy and let them down thorough a cord from my window, and they went their way. Tying the scarlet thread which they had given me to my window, I sent for my family, suggesting they stay with me. None of them dared ask any questions; not because I was the breadwinner, but because they too were afraid of the Israelites.
Days passed, and one day I noticed an army of Israelites marching towards the city, but instead of spears and shields, they were carrying musical instruments and singing praises to their God. Something wasn’t just right today, I could tell. And so I watched frightfully from my window as they marched round the city once for six days, always looking out to find either of the two men I had hidden, while hoping the scarlet thread would make them remember their promise. And on the seventh day, they marched round seven times, shouted aloud and blew their trumpets, and suddenly, there was a mighty rumble like an earthquake. I ducked under the bed nearest me, while my family took cover in other places within the room.
And after the rumble had subsided in what seemed like eternity, I crawled out to the window, and was dumbstruck: the walls of the city had fallen flat to the ground. My family was alive, but were too scared to leave their hiding places. And while trying to take it all in, there was a knock on my door. “Rahab, come out, you are safe.” I ran to the door, and opened to the two Israeli men. “Una remember, thank you,” I sobbed. “But we gave you our word, bring everything and everyone out, you are coming with us”.
And trembling, we followed them to the Israeli camp. For us; it was a beginning with the God of Israel.