SHE HEARD is the first for-purchase devotional published by Deliberate Women. Over the next eight weeks, we'll be reading reflections written by our readers of the eight Biblical women featured in SHE HEARD. Up today: RAHAB.
The Hope of the Scarlet
The Hebrew word for ‘cord’ in Joshua 2:18 and 21 is “tikvah” or “tiqvah” (Strong’s Concordance, 8615). This is the first time this word is found in the Old Testament. Its meaning is to bind together, as in a cord, to tarry or wait for, to look forward to a particular outcome. It implies expectation and anticipation. There is a sense of certainty that something will happen, and we are waiting for it.
This same word is used in Jeremiah 29:11. “I know the plans that I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with HOPE” (Common English Bible). Other versions translate the word “hope” to “an expected outcome”. It's different than hoping that your favorite sports team will win. It has more to do with the fulfillment of what has been promised.
In Joshua, the scarlet cord (tikvat ha-shani) can be translated literally as “the hope of the scarlet”. With her confidence in the God of Israel and the word of the spies, Rahab trusts in the “hope of the scarlet” as her lifeline.
Isn’t that beautiful? You can see all of these beautiful metaphors and parallels opening up in Scripture.
Promise. Hope. Rescue. Blood. Salvation.
I love that that “tikvah” isn’t only an idea but something concrete that we can literally grab a hold of. And we can be certain that our hope will not be disappointed (Romans 5:5).
When I was reading through the definitions listed in Strong’s, one of them caught me completely by surprise- “things hoped for”. Does that phrase sound familiar? Hebrews 11, the “Faith Hall of Fame” where Rahab is mentioned, begins with those words. “Now faith is the substance of THINGS HOPED FOR”.
If you have studied the Bible, you know that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was written in Greek. The Greek word there is “elpizomenon” (Strong’s Concordance, 1679). It is the only time this word appears in the New Testament.
I wonder if the writer was transliterating [writing words or letters in the characters of another alphabet] the word, “tiqvah” here. I wonder if as they began to pen this passage, they were choosing to remind us of “the hope of the scarlet”. For now, after the death of Christ, they were able to understand what it was that God had been working and weaving over the generations. What had been mysterious and obscure in the time of Joshua, was unveiled in the life, death and resurrection of Christ.
Amanda Klaiber is a mother to a darling 5 year old daughter. She has been a paramedic/registered nurse at the Drug & Poison Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital for over 13 years and currently teaches music at a local Christian school. Her husband, Nels, is a full time Lt. Firefighter-Paramedic in West Chester, Ohio. A few years ago. God called them to step into pastoring a small congregation, Christians Beyond Church, in Portsmouth, Ohio. After living in a camper for a few months, they bought a home just a few miles west of Portsmouth to become a part of the community there. God has been faithful in His calling and the congregation has seen tremendous growth- both spiritually and numerically. She enjoys bringing people together over coffee and conversation, has recently begun blogging to share the stories of people in the community, and has a general dislike for all things carrots (and wearing shoes). She is a bit of an over-thinker and quite competitive in nearly every way. Her passion is learning to love people like Jesus and improving her deadlift. You can follow her blog Rambles and Rest, find her on Facebook or at the local coffee shop.