Rahab (Egypt)

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This article is about the biblical usages of Rahab. For the prostitute in the Book of Joshua, see Rahab.

Rahab m.n. (Hebrew: רַהַב, Modern Rahav Tiberian Rahaḇ ; "blusterer") is used in the Hebrew Bible to indicate rage, fierceness, insolence, pride. Rahab is the emblematic name of Egypt and is also spoken of with the sea.[1] In medieval Jewish folklore, Rahab is a mythical sea monster.

Biblical usage[edit]


Rahab is a poetical name for Egypt. It might have Egyptian origins that were accommodated to the Hebrew language. However, there is nothing revealing in the Coptic language.[1]

I mention Rahab (Egypt)[2] and Babel to those knowing Me, Lo, Philistia, and Tyre, with Cush! This [one] was born there. (Psalm 87:4)YLT

Thou [Jehovah] art ruler over the pride of the sea, In the lifting up of its billows Thou dost restrain them. Thou hast bruised Rahab (Egypt),[2] as one wounded. With the arm of Thy strength Thou hast scattered Thine enemies. (Psalm 89:8–10)YLT

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of Jehovah, Awake, as [in] days of old, generations of the ages, Art not Thou it that is hewing down Rahab (Egypt),[2] Piercing a dragon! (Isaiah 51:9)YLT

Rahaḇ as insolence or pride[edit]

In Isaiah 30:7, rahaḇ (insolence, strength) becomes a proverbial expression that gives an allusion to the Hebrew etymology insolence.[1]

Yea, Egyptians [are] vanity, and in vain do help, Therefore I have cried concerning this: `Their strength (rahaḇ)[3] [is] to sit still. (Isaiah 30:7)YLT

In the Book of Job, rahaḇ (pride, blusterer) occurs in the Hebrew text and is translated in the King James Version as "proud".[3]

[If] God will not withdraw his anger, the proud (rahaḇ) helpers do stoop under him. (Job 9:13)KJV

He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud (rahaḇ). (Job 26:12)KJV

Jewish folklore[edit]

In mediaeval Jewish folklore, Rahab (noise, tumult, arrogance) is a mythical sea monster, a dragon of the waters, the "demonic angel of the sea". Rahab represents the primordial abyss, the water-dragon of darkness and chaos, comparable to Leviathan and Tiamat. Rahab later became a particular demon, inhabitant of the sea, especially associated with the Red Sea.[4]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Gesenius, Wilhelm; Robinson, Edward (trans.) (1844). A Hebrew and English lexicon of the Old Testament: including the Biblical Chaldee. Boston, MA: Crocker & Brewster. p. 976. LCCN 2006366085. OCLC 2805204. 
  2. ^ a b c Strong, James (1980) [1890]. "Strong's Concordance: H7294". Strong's Concordance. Abingdon Press. ISBN 978-0-687-40032-4. LCCN 80019453. OCLC 59851471. 
  3. ^ a b Strong, James (1980) [1890]. "Strong's Concordance: H7293". Strong's Concordance. Abingdon Press. ISBN 978-0-687-40032-4. LCCN 80019453. OCLC 59851471. 
  4. ^ Simon, Maurice (trans.); Slotik, Israel W. (trans.) (1935). "Folio 74b". In Epstein, Isidore. Baba Bathra: chapters I - VI; translated into English with notes, glossary and indices. London, England: Soncino Press. OCLC 34847398. From this it may be inferred that the name of the angel of the sea was Rahab. And had not the waters covered him no creature could have stood his [foul] odour 

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