Posted by: bellissimanh | February 27, 2009

The Scarlet Thread

Yesterday I shared with you something I found significant about the names that Rahab used for God when she begged the spies to spare her family. You might want to check out that post to get the background for this one.

I promised to tell you what I learned about the scarlet cord that Rahab was instructed to hang out of her window in order to be saved (does that sentence make anyone else think of the blood on the door of the Israelite homes just before the Exodus, or is it just me?).

Here’s the actual text of that section:

 So the men said to her: ‘We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear,  unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.  And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.'”

“Then she said, ‘According to your words, so be it.’ And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window.” (Joshua 2:17-21)

In verse 18, there are three words used for “line of scarlet cord.” The word for “line” is the same word used in verse 21 for “cord”, so that’s the one I want to focus on. The word is “tiqvah”… now check out it’s meanings:

  1. cord
  2. hope, expectation
  3. hope
  4. ground of hope
  5. things hoped for, outcome


It was a literal cord (actually a thread or string, according to the word used for cord in v18), but it was also her line of hope. I love that!

Here are some other uses…


“My soul, wait silently for God alone,
         For my expectation is from Him.” (Psalm 62:5)

“‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the LORD, ‘thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.'” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Can you see the outside of Rahab’s house? A scarlet cord dropped from the window, hanging down the outside of the building?  I picture a sharp contrast… bright red against a darker background. And my mind immediately jumps forward to scarlet ribbons of blood streaming down a wooden cross… and my own hope. Just as that scarlet cord was Rahab’s only hope of salvation, the blood of Christ secures my future and is my only hope.

What is your hope tied to today?



  1. Very good. I never thought to put it together that way. And some people think it is hard to find Christ in the Old Testament!

  2. Wow-Thanks for sharing this. It really adds meaning!

  3. I really did not know that connection before. What a powerful meaning. I’m sharing this with the kids today.


  4. Thankfully it is tied to Christ. Where would we be without that?

  5. Heather,

    You have just summarized my entire message for the upcoming event at which I am speaking. My text is from 2 Chronicles, but it focuses on hope and a rope!!

    How cool!


  6. LOL… I love that, Leah! 🙂

  7. I love the way everything in the OT points to the cross. Thanks for breaking it down (once again!) for us…


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