What does the phrase “Rahab the Do-Nothing” mean?  

Author: BibleAsk Team

Isaiah 30

The phrase “Rahab the Do-Nothing” is mentioned in the Old Testament. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “A prophecy concerning the animals of the Negev: Through a land of hardship and distress, of lions and lionesses, of adders and darting snakes, the envoys carry their riches on donkeys’ backs, their treasures on the humps of camels, to that unprofitable nation, to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless. Therefore I call her Rahab the Do-Nothing” (Isaiah 30:6,7 – NIV). 

Rahab the Do-Nothing

The phrase “Rahab the Do-Nothing” was written to represent the powerless Egypt who would promise assistance but would not actually give it (Isaiah 3:7). In this chapter, Isaiah wrote about those in Judah that favored an alliance with Egypt, instead of trusting in the Lord for protection. Those rebelled against God and turned to pagan assistance. It was because of the transgression of Judah that the Assyrian armies had been allowed by God to attack it in the first place. Now Judah added to her sins more evil by going to Egypt for help against Assyria. 

At that time Egypt was weak (Isaiah 30:2). Sennacherib scoffed Judah for looking to a nation that was powerless and declared that the “broken reed” of Egypt would pierce the hand of anyone who leaned upon it (Isaiah 36:6; 2 Kings 18:21).

It was but a few years after this that Egypt itself was captured by Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal. The pro-Egyptian people in Judah that sent a delegation to Egypt for help did not ask God because they knew they were going against His will. For when Israel entered the Promised Land, the Lord forbade them to make agreements with the inhabitants of the land (Exodus 23:32, 33; Deuteronomy 7:2; Judges 2:2).  

The Egyptian alliance brought only shame to Judah (Isaiah 30:5). Its promises of great help were false, it only caused Assyria to be wrath with Judah. It had been the treaty of Hoshea with Egypt and his failure to pay tribute to Assyria that had, few years before, caused Shalmaneser to come against Samaria (2 Kings 17:4–6). 

Thus, Isaiah showed the uselessness of the envoys, with their animals carrying presents, traveling through the Egyptian desert to seek the help of Egypt from which God had once liberated them. Egypt was truly the “Rahab the Do-Nothing” nation.

The Lesson

The message of Isaiah 30 is lesson for us today (1 Corinthians 10:11). Rehab, represents Satan, the great deceiver (Revelation12:9) and the dragon (Isaiah 51:9; Job 9:13). When Satan was cast out of heaven his one goal was to deceive the world (Revelation 12:9). Those who listen to him fail for he is the father of lies (John 8:44). They enter a covenant with death and make lies their refuge (Isaiah 28:15). Satan can’t help anyone for he himself is a defeated enemy, who could not even save himself (Revelation 20:10). Thus, in vain people seek the help of Satan or “Rahab the Do-Nothing.” 

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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