Genealogical Conundrum: Rahab (2)

Previously I laid out some issues with Rahab being in the genealogy of Matthew (Matt. 1:5). See it here. Well I don’t know if this is the solution (it has some problems I think in terms of inerrancy) but it is novel and I think at least interesting. It’s from Richard Bauckham’s article “Tamar’s Ancestry and Rahab’s Marriage: Two Problems in the Matthean Genealogy” in Novum Testamentum 37, 4 (1995): 313-329. If you are a seminary student you have free access to it and it’s a good read.

In the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 2, we note something interesting. There are two Salma’s, the Hebrew reading of Salmon’s – which is the Greek translation of the name (the Septuagint). In 2:11 we read the genealogy of Salma that is in Matthew, Salma the father of Boaz. But in 2:54-55 we read of another Salma not related to the one in 2:11.

1Chr. 2:54 The sons of Salma: Bethlehem, the Netophathites, Atroth-beth-joab and half of the Manahathites, the Zorites. 55 The clans also of the scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, the Shimeathites and the Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab.

Note the last line, from the house of Rechab. As I noted in the first post, Matthew uses a strange spelling of Rahab whereas the Septuagint and the rest of the NT uses a different spelling. This wouldn’t be so odd if Matthew used the Hebrew spelling of Salma, but he uses the Septuagint spelling Salmon. The difference in the spelling of those households is an “e” vs. and “a” and so Bauckham proposes that these two are conflated. He’s argument is longer than what I presented here but it looks plausible doesn’t it?

I’m not sure what I think, since that then brings up questions on inerrancy. But I guess there seems some interesting questions regardless of which option you take.


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