A female prostitute in Hebrew is zônāh (the root being znh) whereas the word for a female provider of food is zānāh (the root of which is zûn= to feed). Both zônāh and zānāh are singular feminine participles (used as nouns) of the respective verbal roots just mentioned. The vowel ô in zônāh is written with the consonant wāw used as a mater lectionis (a consonant used to signify a vowel sound). However, there are five instances in the Hebrew Bible where the word zônāh is used without the letter wāw used as a mater lectionis, namely Leviticus 21:7 (where the word is used in the singular exactly as in Joshua 2:1, but written zōnāh) and 1 Kings 3:16; 22:38; Ezekiel 16:33; and Hosea 4:14 in which four cases it is in the plural. When the word zônāh is not written with the letter wāw used as a mater lectionis, the only consonants which appear are z, n, and h which could be rendered, when vocalized, either as zōnāh (prostitute) or as zānāh (a female provider of food, and by extension therefore a female innkeeper). All this means that the word predicated of Rahab could at one and the same time be read either as meaning “prostitute” or “landlady,” or indeed both, especially when one considers that the Masoretes very probably pronounced “what have been described above as ā and o in exactly the same way (probably o), since they use the same vowel sign for both. However, both traditional pronunciation and IH [Israeli Hebrew] distinguish two vowel sounds.” See J.D. Martin, Davidson’s Introductory Hebrew Grammar, 27th ed. (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1993), p. 15.