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Threat or support?
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Post Threat or support? 
In these images, both the main figures are being defended/spared/rescued. But in one the nine wands are a threat to Rahab, while in the other, the nine wands are supporting Paul. Since the Nine of Wands can be seen either way, that makes it difficult. But I'm leaning toward Paul.

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Post nine of wands 
I am challenged by your choices . They force me to notice the variation in the imagery of the decks I own.

The nine of wands main figure that I am most familar with is in the Rider Waite Smith Tarot: he is standing alone, standing guard, doing the defending even if he is also defensive, wounded but still holding his ground; the nine of swords of the Victoria Regina is a similar solo figure but with more of a focus on strength as reflected in his stance. Though I have many decks, I most often use my RWS. Most of my decks mimic the RWS image. So with these images in my mind, I was initially confused by the two images presented here.

Then, I remembered imagery from my decks that I do not use as often and I took a look.

The image in my Bright Idea Deck is more numerologically based (a woman on a balcony arms outstretched releasing the bird she had in her hands which now flies away) and consistent with the idea of rescue as the keyword in that deck is "release" ... but I am not used to thinking of this card that way. That deck's book say this card:
"Encourages:letting things go, trust faith,belief, accepting something without hard proof, realistic thinking, 'waking up' to see things as thay really are"
"Cautions against: laziness, failure to do youur part, giving up too soon, confusing open-mindedness with wide-eyed simplicity, allowing someone to force you to give up something you love"

"Spare" seem more like six of pentacles genorosity to me but the idea of rescue does not feel exactly like release to me either. If I release something, I was holding onto it.

It seems very different, to me, to defend/stand one's ground and to be releasing. I will have to give that thought as to whether that could be two ends of the same continuum. Also, I am not sure how to understand, in this context, being rescued as opposed to doing the rescuing so I am sharing my confusion rather than making a suggestion in the hope that some light might come out of the combination of your confusion and mine.

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