The Rahab of Matthew 1:5

NOT ... 'Rahab the Harlot'
NOT ... the wife of 'Salmon'

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
                  Promised Land.

So why is this not decisive?


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 a son,
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
                                                330  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,
Gen 17:1,17.


Does the time span problem go away if the Rahab of Matt 1:5 is
another woman?

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

         Exodus to birth of David               410  yrs

         Less - Wilderness years               - 40  yrs
                                                370  yrs

In this situation we have an extra generation. Four generations
being Salmon, Boaz, Obed and Jesse. They would have had to have
lived an average of 92.5 years before giving birth to their
chosen sons.

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 implied is that another generation is needed!


There are several points which may be overlooked in the first chapter
of Matthew.

These details can greatly assist in accessing the identity of this
woman named Rahab.


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.


The spelling of 'Rahab' in the Greek in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25
is Greek 'Paab'.

[ Notice that both verses Heb 11:31 and James 2:25 clearly identify
  that they are talking about Rahab the harlot. ]

In Matt 1:5 the spelling is Greek 'Paxab'.

Strong's reference for Heb 11:31 and James 2:25 is G4460.
Strong's reference for Matt 1:5 is G4477.

Strong's information for G4460 refers to the Hebrew H7343.
Strong's information for G4477 refers to G4460.
(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 connecting the mother to the son is identical for both
Rahab and Ruth, ie "out of-the".

Greek 'the Boaz out of Rahab' Greek 'the Obed out of Ruth'
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. It is well known that Ruth was indeed the wife of Boaz, so 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 ownership moving amongst the tribes. The father of Salmon was the leader of the tribe of Judah. So 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!



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