Wife to a gambler who took one too many risks, Rahab finds herself sold as a slave to cover her husband’s debt. Forced into prostitution, she despairs of ever regaining her freedom and her self-respect. But when Israelite spies enter Jericho and come to lodge at her house, Rahab sees a glimmer of hope and the opportunity of a lifetime.
In one risky moment, she takes a leap of faith, puts her trust in a God she does not know, and vows to protect the spies from the authorities. When the armies of Israel arrive weeks later, Rahab hopes they will keep their promise, but she has no idea what kind of challenges await her outside of Jericho’s walls—or if she will ever know the meaning of love.
The Crimson Cord is the first book in Jill Eileen Smith’s Daughters of the Promised Land series, and is also the first novel I have ever read by her. Since I have read a few not-so-great Bible story retellings in the past, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going in. However, I quickly realized that this was not the case when it comes to this book, but it was in fact one of the best Bible-story retellings I have ever encountered. Jill did a fabulous job of bringing Rahab to life, and I absolutely cannot wait to read more of her novels in the future.
One of my favorite parts of this novel was the way that Jill made Rahab more than just a minor character in an Old Testament Bible story. She really brought Rahab to life, gave her a story, feelings, and a character that gave her such a huge amount of relatability. It was so easy for me to understand where she was coming from, why she held the doubts she did, and that just brought new life to the classic story I’ve heard over and over for as long as I can remember. Rahab became more than just a Bible character. She became a woman with doubts, fears, hurts; basically Jill was able to bring her to life in such a way that I could see her here right beside me today. Rahab became that real to me through the course of this book.
Then there’s the ending of this story. Anyone who has ever read the Bible’s account of Rahab’s story knows what happens to her after she is rescued by the Israelites, but only because it is basically mentioned in passing before the writer moves on to other events. Jill expounds on it so much more, giving us a real insight into Rahab’s future, the spies, and other Old Testament events that happen around the same time. I wish I could tell you what she gives readers the best glimpse of, but for the sake of those who haven’t read Rahab’s story, or don’t really remember what all happened—I didn’t exactly either when I started this book—I won’t mention the details. But let me assure you, she really does paint all of it in a much more interesting and detailed light than what we see between the pages of the Bible.
All of that is to say, I heartily applaud Jill for a job well done, for this novel is the perfect retelling of Rahab’s story. I absolutely loved this novel, and now I know I will never again look at this part of the Bible the same way. Reading this has opened my eyes once again to the reality that fills the Bible’s pages, and I have to say this book really helped refresh my love for the gift our Father left us in His book. I happily award this novel all five bookshelves, and like I said before, I cannot wait to read more of Jill’s books. I would recommend this book to anyone, and I can almost guarantee that reading it will change the way you look at Rahab from that day forward.
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All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Jill Eileen Smith and Revell Publishing.