This Scarlet Cord
Thomas Nelson, 2012
Oh. Wow. This is one of those books that sucks you in and doesn't let go until you've finished. And what a story it tells ... Anyone familiar with the story of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho will recognize the name "Rahab" - and knows that she helped save the lives of Joshua's spies, so in return her family alone was saved when the walls of Jericho fell. And that's where the Biblical account begins and ends - picking up briefly in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus to mention Rahab's son as a direct ancestor. But have have you ever wondered about Rahab, the woman? Who she was, why she'd risk everything to aid the enemy? That's the story Wolf tells in This Scarlet Cord - a beautiful, intricate imagining about the life of Rahab.
Rahab's story begins when as a spunky twelve-year old, she is rescued from bandits by Sala - a young Hebrew, living in one of the only Hebrew settlements in Canaan. Their connection is instant, as neither is like anyone else the other has ever met. Sala tells Rahab stories of Elohim, the One God, a God so very different from Baal and the other gods of her people. Once Rahab is returned to her family, well-to-do vineyard owners, years pass without any contact. But Rahab remembers, and in her heart of hearts, she wants a husband like Sala. As Rahab grows older, she becomes increasingly more beautiful, and her father decides to take her into Jericho to find a rich husband. And things begin to get interesting.
By chance, Rahab is reunited with Sala - in Jericho - and realizes that she doesn't just want a husband like Sala, she wants Sala. He loves her too, but their love is doomed - a Hebrew cannot marry a Canaanite. Besides, Sala and his father are working with Joshua, helping glean information to supply the Israelite army before their attack on the city. But true love conquers all, and who are mortals to question the plan of Elohim? Rahab (along with her sister-in-law Atene) turns to Elohim in her hour of greatest need, vowing to leave the gods of her people if He will hear her cry. Elohim answers, and Rahab's true story begins. Risking everything, she agrees to help Sala protect Joshua's spies - with the understanding her family will be saved. We know this part of the story, and after the fall of Jericho, Rahab and her family escape to the Israelite encampment until further arrangements can be made. Marriage arrangements, and the impossible coming true.
I loved This Scarlet Cord, truly. Knowing the story, I knew there was a happy ending (always a plus), but the build-up, the development, getting to know the characters ... Masterfully done. The story is told from both Rahab and Sala's points of view, giving a more fleshed-out tale, and letting us see what goes on in both hearts. It's a story of Love, of sacrifice and risk, but also of finding one's self. Rahab and Sala struggle with the religious chasm dividing them, but work through - and against - the prejudice to find truth and love. Their families are brought together in harmony. Rahab's journey from Canaanite daughter to ancestor of Jesus is remarkable - and human. Is this how it really happened? Nobody knows, nor will we know until One Day, but my heart likes the story Wolf tells.
Book provided by publisher for review.