Jewel of Jericho: Rahab's Story
Series: Fruit of Her Hands #1
Published by Winged Publications
Publication Date March 6, 2020
Genres: Biblical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Israel Creation to the Judges
Written for: Adults
The story of Rahab comes to us through Joshua. Forty years of wandering have brought the children of Israel to their Promised Land, now controlled by the peoples of Canaan. This remarkable story tells of Jewish spies and their unexpected saving. There is a call and a reason to answer. Through it all, the hand of God moves not only nations to war, but individuals to great risks and greater rewards. My name is Rahab. I am a woman of Canaan. I do not belong in the lineage of the greatest love story, and yet, I am here. Kings have come through me. My people would look in wonder or scorn. It matters not for they are no more. Rahabek is a strong name. I took it to myself and carried my head high. Now it has come down through the ages, the story of a whore who betrayed her people. But I do not think they were my people. The One who called from across the Jordan said I am His. He is mine. As such, His people have become my people. My haughty head I now bow low, for I am redeemed in love and joy. Listen to my story. Decide for yourself. It is no easy thing to fall into the hands of a fearful God without a willing heart.
Jewel of Jericho is the third book I have read this year about the fall of Jericho. While the main events of each story follow the Biblical narrative and thus are essentially the same, each one handles the account with a great deal of creativity. And due to the sparse details given in the Bible, there is much room for speculation on how the events transpired.
I lost count of the number of times I thought, “I never even considered this aspect of Rahab’s story” as I read Jewel of Jericho. Considerations such as the impression the Canaanites would have had of the people of Israel appearing in the land again after 40 years had passed. Or, the speculation that household skills such as grinding grain and making bread would have been a lost art to these nomadic people. Laurie Boulden showed very careful attention to intricate details of the daily life of Rahab and of the Israelites.
The author apparently has a deep faith in the Lord and it comes through beautifully. Every mention of YHWH is filled with love and respect, even pagan in Rahab’s impression of Him. Jewel of Jericho is a story of the redemption of the outcast. The story of the love of the God who knows all about us and loves us anyway.
One of my favorite moments of the story was Salmon repeating to himself the words from the Lord that Joshua spoke. Not having Scriptures in written form, it certainly would have been important for them to continually remind themselves of the words of the Lord. And even though we do have access to God’s Word in so many forms, we should do the same, meditating on His word and holding on to the truths they contain.
There were a couple of things that gave me pause as I read, though I realize they are probably due to my ignorance of the customs, dress, and words the author chose to use. A mention of Rahab’s “blouse” brought to mind a clothing item from more modern times. And yet, I have never researched what the Canaanites wore. A mention of her closing the window of the inn made me roll my eyes until I realized the author most likely referred to closing shutters, not a glass window. These were a distraction to me…
The author didn’t attempt to whitewash the ugliness of Rahab’s former way of life. She did point out, however, the very likely possibility that in that culture, it was not looked upon as a wrong way of life. I had not actually considered this in the past, though with the other evils that society embraced, it makes sense this would have been the case.
I would not recommend this for a younger audience. While remaining clean, there were hints as to Rahab sleeping with various men in a fade-to-black manner. There was also quite a bit of bloodshed, in sacrifice at Jericho and the battle of Ai.
Readers of Biblical fiction should certainly consider adding Jewel of Jericho to their library. I’m looking forward to reading more from Laurie Boulden.