Here’s my preliminary answer to the question, Did Rahab lie?
It comes from a larger consideration of Joshua, “Ten Things About Joshua 2.” Admittedly this answer does not deal with all the passages that relate to bearing false witness or speaking truth in love. Rather, it seeks to understand how we might read Joshua 2 at the textual horizon.
My twofold answer to the question is that, first, the text leads us to focus on the truth she confessed, rather than the falsehood she (may or may not have) told. Second, the answer is not wholly apparent. The text conceals her motives, even as it reveals her faith. In this way, I do not believe Joshua 2 is written to answer this question.
That said, it is an important question and one that we should consider. With those caveats in place, let’s consider Rahab’s faithful actions and whether or not we should see them as a “lie.”