Photo by Ernst Winizki, Zurich/from Great Women of the Bible
When Joshua sent two spies to Jericho to gather information to help him decide when to invade the city, they took refuge with Rahab, who ran either an inn or bordello (the Bible is unclear which, but traditionally Rahab has been called a “harlot,” which explains her provocative pose in this 1939 relief by Otto Münch for the doors of the Cathedral of Zürich) in the city’s walls. Having a good view of the city and constant communication with the men of the town made Rahab an excellent source of information. And indeed, she gave the spies the information they needed: Now is the time to attack; the locals have heard reports of Israelite conquests across the Jordan, and morale is low, she told them. “All the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you” (Joshua 2:9).