Would You Rather?: Rahab vs. Mary

Original Publication Date
August 22, 2020
Sep 26, 2022 3:24 AM
Would You RatherRahabMary & JosephWomen
Bible References

Joshua 2; Matthew 1

This page was originally posted on my Blogger version of the blog on August 22, 2020 The content below has a few minor tweaks for clarity, and additional references, and some updated information.
Table of Contents
Would you rather be the prostitute that saved the Israelite army or the virgin who birthed the Messiah but had her reputation ruined?
Would you rather be the prostitute that saved the Israelite army or the virgin who birthed the Messiah but had her reputation ruined?


Rahab saves the Israelite Army

Rahab was a prostitute living in Jericho when the Israelite army approached. She knew that God had proclaimed victory for the Israelites and hid the Israelite spies that were scouting the city before the attack. In return, the Israelite army spared her and she became part of the their nation, eventually ending up in the lineage of Jesus.[1]

The Virgin Mary

Mary, mother of Jesus, was a young virgin girl who found out she was having the Son of God even though she'd never had sex. Initially, her betrothed (Joseph) was going to call off the wedding, but God revealed to him the identity of the child and the true nature of the situation.[2]

My Answer

Be the prostitute that saved the Israelite army.


I picked this “would you rather?” because it's particular to being a woman. I didn't see any suggested “would you rather?” questions about the men in the bible and their sex lives. An example may have been: would you rather have a wife who's unfaithful (Hosea) or have so many wives you can't keep track of them all (Solomon)? Or even mentioning the option to have no wife (Paul). Women have always been judged harder for the choices they make regarding sex. I think any woman who answers this question, answers based on how she will be received by society, not by the actual scenario.

Both women accomplished something important in Israelite history and both contributed to the birth of the Savior, regardless of what people had to say about them. I could live with being either of these women from a scenario based decision. My choice to be Rahab is based on society.

By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

Hebrews 11:31 NASB

There are a lot of people pushing for liberation of women's sexuality such that Rahab continuing to be a prostitute would be completely fine. I'm not one of those people. I don't think men or women should be sleeping around (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). However, I wouldn't look at Rahab any differently than I look at Adam (disobedient), Noah (drunk), Abraham (liar), Jacob (deceiver), Moses (short tempered), or David (murdering adulterer). Whatever she did before she gave her life over to the God of Abraham is between her and God. The whole point of Rahab's story is that we all have the capability of leaving the world and entering the kingdom. At the end of the day, Rahab was a hero!

Now, we'd be naive to think the women of Israel welcomed her with open arms. She was both a prostitute and a foreigner. I'm sure there were whispers and rude comments made to and about her for quite awhile—hopefully nothing worse (we all know humans can be very evil). The men might not have respected her and may have tried to relegate her back to the position of prostitute. However, Rehab didn't let that get to her.

For me, there's something very different about hearing people gossip about me, when there is actually a scandal to be gossiped about versus something that is completely false—especially if I've made peace with whatever it is I did. In a weird way, I can actually see hearing those whispers as motivation to continue on my trajectory—trying to prove to society or myself that I have changed—and a constant reminder of what God brought me through.

And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.

Matthew 1:19 NASB

On the other hand, Mary listened to God and was waiting patiently for her wedding to have sex. Can you imagine trying to convince someone that yes, you're pregnant, but no, you've never had sex? In BC time period!? Even Joseph wasn't so quick to believe her. Only 40-50 years ago, becoming pregnant out of marriage was grounds for exile. Girls were sent to live with relatives in remote places and basically hidden away in shame. Their child would have been mistreated and called illegitimate (among other things). Family members would disown their relatives for such an offense. Mary would have experienced all of this for no reason.

As I mentioned in reference to Rahab, it's one thing for people to gossip about me over information that has some truth to it, but the allegations against Mary were completely false. From a spiritual perspective, Mary was not in the wrong. However, I feel like for me, personally, it's easier to be in the wrong and have to seek God, than to be right and have others telling you you're wrong. Put in Mary's shoes, I feel like I would have become angry and bitter at the people around me. That's why I would choose to be the prostitute who saved the day instead.

“Would You Rather” is a fun game to play, particularly when getting to know someone. A person is asked to choose between two things of equal desiring—making it hard to decide and opening dialogue as to why the person chooses the option they choose. Recently I stumbled across several versions of "Would You Rather?: Bible Edition" and found the questions quite intriguing. I've decided to answer one every Sabbath. Let me know your answer to today's "Would You Rather?" in the comment section.

References and Footnotes

  1. Joshua 2
  2. Matthew 1
  3. I found many versions of "Would You Rather?: Scripture Edition"; this question was found in a version made by Jamie Cody of At Home With Jamie

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