Most websites discussing this topic conclude that the 'Rahab' mentioned
in Matt 1:5 is most likely Rahab the Harlot.
Matt 1:2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and
Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.
:3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez
begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram.
:4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon,
and Nahshon begot Salmon.
:5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed
by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot
David the king.
This is understandable given that,
- there is no other clearly defined person
known by this name,
- Rahab the harlot and Salmon both lived
in the early days of Israel entering the
So why is this not decisive?
A) THE TIME SPAN ISSUE
As many websites acknowledge there is an issue as to whether there
are sufficient generations to span the time from Salmon to David.
Rahab the harlot lived at the time of the initial conquest of the
Promised Land. So is it possible that after the birth of her son
Boaz, and the passing of three generations (lives of Boaz, Obed
and Jesse) for David to have been born?
Let us derive the average age which Boaz, Obed and Jesse must have
reached for this to be possible.
480 years from Exodus to 4th year of reign of Solomon (1 Kings 6:1).
Less 40 years each for the reigns of Saul and David provides a period
of approximately 400 years from Exodus to the crowning of King Saul.
David was likely born about 10 years later. Providing at total of
about 410 years for Exodus to the birth of David.
Assume Rahab the harlot did marry Salmon and gave birth to Boaz 40
years after the spy incident.
Exodus to birth of David 410 yrs
Less - Wilderness years - 40 yrs
Less - delay before Boaz is born - 40 yrs
So this would mean Boaz, Obed and Jesse would on average had to have
fathered their chosen sons at 110 years of age!
This is too old!
Recall that Abraham considered himself too old at 99 years of age,
WHAT IF THE MATT 1:5 'RAHAB' IS ANOTHER WOMAN?
Does the time span problem go away if the Rahab of Matt 1:5 is
In this scenario we have to give more consideration to the age of
The grandfather of Salmon was Amminadab. The father of Salmon was
Amminadab and Nahshon are mentioned immediately after the Exodus and
Nahshon is old enough to lead the tribe of Judah.
Num 2:3 On the east side, toward the rising
of the sun, those of the standard of
the forces with Judah shall camp
according to their armies; and Nahshon
the son of Amminadab shall be the
leader of the children of Judah.
[ NB: This father son combination is
also mentioned in Num 1:7;7:12,17.]
To be the leader of the leader of the tribe of Judah, Nahshon must
have been a matured adult.
If Nahshon, like the other men 'twenty years old and above', died
during the wilderness years then the youngest his son (ie, Salmon)
could have been when Israel entered the Promised Land was a newborn.
Exodus to birth of David 410 yrs
Less - Wilderness years - 40 yrs
So in this situation Salmon, Boaz, Obed and Jesse would have to had
lived an average of 92.5 years each before giving birth to their
We know that Boaz was an older man when he married Ruth (Ruth 3:10).
That Jesse was also old when David was young (1 Sam 17:12).
However, 92 years old is still too old.
An age of about of about 80 years each would be more acceptable.
What is being subtly implied is that another generation is needed!
MATTHEW CHAPTER 1 - CRITICAL POINTS
There are several points which may be overlooked in the first chapter
These details can greatly assist in accessing the identity of this
woman named Rahab.
NOT ENOUGH NAMES ARE LISTED
Matthew chapter one talks about three sets of 14 generations.
However, only 41 names are listed!
When we assemble the lists by group, we notice that the first listing
of names appears to be short.
1st Group 2nd Group 3rd Group
1) Abraham David Jeconiah
2) Isaac Solomon Shealtiel
3) Jacob Rehoboam Zerubbabel
4) Judah Abijah Abiud
5) Perez Asa Eliakim
6) Hezron Jehoshaphat Azor
7) Ram Joram Zadok
8) Amminadab Uzziah Achim
9) Nahshon Jotham Eliud
10) Salmon Ahaz Eleazar
11) Boaz Hezekiah Matthan
12) Obed Manasseh Jacob
13) Jesse Amon Joseph
14) Josiah Christ
David is leading the second grouping, because David was the first
of the line of Judean kings.
The listing of names Amminadab to Jesse is also confirmed in other
texts. Ruth 4:20-22,17; 1Chr 2:10-12; Matt 1:4-5 and Luke 3:32-33.
So there is an apparent need to add one further generation to the
Abraham to Jesse listing.
SPELLING OF 'RAHAB' DIFFERS
The spelling of 'Rahab' in the Greek in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25
In Matt 1:5 the spelling is .
Strong's reference for Heb 11:31 and James 2:25 is G4460.
Strong's reference for Matt 1:5 is G4477.
Both verses Heb 11:31 and James 2:25 clearly identify that they are
talking about Rahab the harlot.
Strong's information for G4460 refers to the Hebrew H7343.
Strong's information for G4477 refers to G4460.
So, considered different forms of the same name.
Strong's indicates the Hebrew word for 'rahab' means, 'roomy' in any
(or every) direction. It can mean 'broad', 'large' or 'wide'. When
used figuratively it might mean 'proud' or 'at liberty'.
THE GREEK TEXT FOR MATT 1:5
The Greek text connecting the mother to the son is identical for both
Rahab and Ruth, ie "out of-the".
What is being stated is that these sons were born to these ladies.
The text also indicates Salmon and Boaz 'fathered' the relevant sons.
However, notions of 'father', 'son', 'daughter' and 'mother' are more
fluid in Scripture. These terms are not limited to immediate biological
connections, but also can also encompass any ancestor or descendant.
So the Matthew 1:5 text it is not necessarily saying Salmon and Boaz
were the immediate biological fathers of their sons.
As it is well known that Ruth was indeed the wife of Boaz, it has been
naturally assumed that this 'Rahab' was also the wife of Salmon.
However, there is also another possibility!
According to Numbers chapter 36, if a man has no sons his inheritance
is to go to his daughter(s). Also, that any daughter being the receiver
of a land inheritance would need to marry a man from her tribe. This
proclamation was designed to prevent land moving from tribe to tribe.
As the father of Salmon was the leader of the tribe of Judah, Salmon
had a significant land inheritance to pass on.
If Salmon's only child was a daughter named 'Rahab' she would pass on
considerable wealth to her son.
Boaz is indeed described as being very wealthy.
Ruth 2:1 There was a relative of Naomi's husband,
a man of great wealth, of the family of
Elimelech. His name was Boaz.
So, Salmon may not have been the biological father of Boaz, but rather
the grandfather of Boaz!
In Matt 1:5 the mention of 'Ruth' serves to confirm the book of Ruth.
However, the mention of a 'Rahab', if she was not 'Rahab the Harlot',
would be unnecessary (if she was merely the wife of Salmon}.
Nevertheless, if this Rahab was the daughter of Salmon then the book
of Matthew, by including her name, would provide us with necessary
information we would not otherwise be able to discern.
The 'Rahab' of Matthew 1:5 was not 'Rahab the Harlot'.
In Matt 1:5 the mention of a woman's name is necessary.
1) It enables the span from Exodus to the birth of David to be bridged.
2) It provides us with an additional generation that enables the count
of 14 generations to be reached.
3) It advises a reason for why Boaz was so wealthy.
The Rahab of Matt 1:5 was the daughter of Salmon. After marriage to a
man of the tribe of Judah she bore a son called Boaz.
Boaz was the grandson of Salmon!