What Does Tiqvah Mean?

What is Tiqvah anyway? You will find in the bible, in Joshua Chapters 2-6, the story of Rahab and her family.

The word “tiqvah” is used in Joshua 2:18 and is translated as “cord” as in an attachment. It is also translated to mean the following:

  • to hope
  • to expect
  • to think
  • to live
  • to be something that one longs or desires for
  • it is an attitude of anticipation or expectation

This passage describes the conquest of the fortified city of Jericho by the Israelites. In its day, Jericho was the most important Canaanite fortress city in the Jordan Valley. It was a stronghold directly in the path of the advancing Israelites, who had just crossed the Jordan River (Joshua 3:1-17). Before entering the land west of the Jordan, Joshua sent two spies to look over the land. The king of Jericho heard that two Israelite spies were within his city and ordered them to be brought out to him.

Rahab, the woman with whom the spies were staying, protected them by hiding them on her roof. She told them how the citizens of Jericho had been fearful of the Israelites ever since they defeated the Egyptians via the Red Sea miracle (some 40 years prior). She agreed to help them escape, provided that she and her family were spared in the upcoming battle.

The spies agreed to her request, giving her three conditions to be met: 1) she must distinguish her house from the others by hanging a scarlet rope out of the window so the Israelites would know which home to spare; 2) her family must be inside the house during the battle; and 3) she must not later turn on the spies.

The city was completely destroyed, and every man, woman, and child in it was killed. Only Rahab and her family were spared. Ultimately, Rahab married Salmon, from the tribe of Judah. Her son was Boaz, the husband of Ruth. Joseph, the legal father of Jesus, is her direct descendant. God had, and will always have a plan for us no matter what we do, who we are, or where we have been. He is concerned with where we are headed. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

Rahab and Christians are saved by an act of grace through faith, true faith requires and is exemplified by action (James 2). Rahab had to put the scarlet cord out of the window. The only way that she could be spared was to follow the directions given to her by the Israelite spies. Rahab’s faith enabled her to turn away from her culture, her people, her religion and to the Lord.

Commitment to a true faith in God may necessitate setting priorities that are contrary to those of the world, as we are exhorted to do in Romans 12:2.

Tiqvah is the cord or rope which symbolizes the promise that anchors us to the character and promises of God that He can, and will, spare us from destruction. These are His promises:

  • Promise of Presence – Matthew 28:20 – “Surely, I am with you always”
  • Promise of Purpose – Philippians 2:13 – “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose”
  • Promise of Grace – 2 Corinthians 9:8 – “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work”
  • Promise of Answered Prayer – Matthew 21:22 – “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Once we come to Christ, our past no longer matters. The slate is wiped clean for all who believe and accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross on our behalf. Rahab was no longer viewed as an unclean prostitute, but as one worthy by grace to be part of the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ. You see:

  • Rahab was a Harlot (prostitute)
  • She took direction and risk and hung the scarlet cord out her window, which spared their lives from destruction as the walls of Jericho fell
  • Rahab was David’s great-great grandmother (named in the geneology of Jesus Christ)
  • Rahab’s son, Boaz was married to Ruth
  • Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus Christ

Rahab’s story is one of Grace and of the Hope that is found in trusting God with all that we have. No matter what walk of life you experience along the way, God can heal that, He can restore that, and He can use you as a brand new creation in Him for bringing about joy and goodness for all who will hear your story.