Matthew 1:1-17 The Begats
I want to start out by saying that the lineage parts of the bible are tedious to me. I have tried on several occasions to set down and put things in order and look deeper into them. Things like each life span, other family members not listed, and historical facts. I always wind up lost and confused so I simply read the list and go from there. Something always pops up though so here we go with what I noticed this time when I read it.
The first thing that strikes me is that we didn’t go all the way back to Adam and give the FULL lineage. We have from Adam to Abraham in other places in the bible, so maybe Matthew (and God) didn’t think it needed to be repeated here.
The second points of interest to me are the women’s names in the list. The first woman is Tamar. She had to trick Judah to even get pregnant. God wanted to continue on the lineage but both Judah’s older sons were “wicked in the sight of the Lord” so he didn’t let her conceive by either of them. A “one night stand” as the temple prostitute with Judah though brought her twins. (Their birth is another interesting story. Maybe I’ll get back to that one another day. You can look it up in Genesis 38 if you want to.)
The second woman mentioned is Rahab. Is this the Rahab who let the spies down in the basket at Jericho? After looking at the time Ruth was written, I see that there is no way they can be the same woman, so where does Rahab come from and why is she mentioned by name? Rahab is the mother of Boaz.
Boaz brings in the next woman though. Ruth is the mother of Boaz’s son Obed. Ruth was a Moabite in origin but swore an oath to Naomi when all the men in that family died. Boaz became her kinsman redeemer. Theirs is an awesome love story.
None of these women’s stories mention a shady past or any improprieties until Solomon’s mother. She is not even listed by name but listed as the “wife of Uriah.” I would have to say God was still a little disappointed in that pairing. He blessed it but it was never to be forgotten in the history of Israel.
God included women of ill repute, foreigners, and schemers in Jesus’ lineage. There were some pretty questionable men in his line also. God doesn’t use only the perfect but He perfects what He uses. That means I’m not beyond hope or use either. Perfect in me what is perfect for Your plan.
Victoria Nimmo Walters
February 18, 2016 @ 9:09 PM
Two things: First of all, is there a way to sign up to receive your new blog entries in my email in-box as you publish them?
Secondly, I would like to hear more about your studies of Rahab-mother-of-Boaz and why you feel she could not be the same Rahab who let the spies down in the basket.
February 19, 2016 @ 2:13 AM
I will have to check with the website developer about getting a subscription option on my page. I also will have to talk to them about getting to view comments directly on the site instead of on the dashboard.
As to why I think Rahab, mother of Boaz is not the same one who hid the spies is because of the time when Ruth lived. In the book of Ruth David’s genealogy is mentioned (Ruth 4:18-22). Boaz was a young man during the story. It doesn’t specify his age but he was still of marrying age and fit enough to participate in threshing the grain. My ESV study bible puts the date of writing for Ruth at approximately 1010 BC. The date of writing for Joshua was about 587 BC. Rahab, who hid the spies would have been a contemporary of that time period.
Before the flood people had been known to live that long (425+ years) but not after the flood. At the time of Abraham and Isaac, Sarah was considered to be past child bearing years at 99. So if we were to assume Rahab, who was old enough to be a prostitute at the time Jericho fell (at least 13), was old when she had Boaz (99), he would have still had to be over 300 years old when he met and married Ruth. The math just doesn’t add up. I wish I knew more about his actual mother but there are no other instances in the bible where another Rahab is mentioned.
Victoria Nimmo Walters
February 19, 2016 @ 7:13 PM
Thanks for checking on the subscribe option.
I asked about your thoughts on Rahab because I had never considered that the Rahab listed in Matthew’s genealogy was anyone ‘other than’ the Rahab of Judges. Now that you mentioned it, I see where the issue of timeline comes into play.
However, if the Book of Ruth was written during (or shortly after) her life time, that would put this Boaz much OLDER than the Rahab of Judges. Remember, BC years ran backward to the time of Christ, who was born in approximately 4 BC, so the story of Ruth and Boaz would pre-date the Jericho story by 423 years.
However, in tracking the lineage, Ruth and Boaz’s son Obed was the father of Jessie, who fathered King David–and we KNOW that was many years after the Jericho event.
So the next question becomes, “Were the events already ‘part of distant history’ at the time they were recorded in written form?” If that is the case, couldn’t it have been the same Rahab? As you mentioned, there is no biblical record of another woman by that name.
February 19, 2016 @ 8:27 PM
That’s what I was thinking too. When oral history it’s written down, it it’s not usually within the same time frame as the actual event. This means that it could have been the same Rahab. I’m no expert, but generally when a woman’s name is recorded in the Bible, there it’s a reason behind it. She usually has a story to go with it, right?
February 20, 2016 @ 1:10 AM
I had to look at this because I am curious too. I sat down and made an Excel spreadsheet with the generational names listed. Here is what I came up with.
1. The bible does not date the exodus of Israel so a lot of this is conjecture and guesstimation. My ESV study bible even put in arguments for two different time frames for the exodus.
2. The bible talks about a man being given 70 years, so scholars (of which I am NOT) believe that the generational steps in the bible last about 70 years.
3. Joseph “saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation” before he died. They were still living in Egypt at that time. This means he saw his great grandchildren (Ephraim, his son, and his son) [Gen. 50:23]
4. Israel is said to have been in Egypt for 430 years. This number came out of the study helps in my bible.
5. We don’t know exactly how old Joseph was when going to Egypt but using the 70 years per generation rule, which Joseph’s life clearly violates with his death at 110 years old, that gives us six generations in Egypt.
6. We know during the wantering in the wilderness the generation that left Egypt did NOT enter the promise land. Therefore making the seventh generation the one to meet Rahab with Joshua. That puts Salmon marching around Jericho with Joshua.
7. No matter when the book of Ruth was written, she had to have lived in the time of the Judges. She is four generations before David and he was Israel’s second king.
This makes me firmly believe that Rahab, the prostitute who was saved during the fall of Jericho, is indeed the same Rahab who was the mother of Boaz. Thank you both for forcing me to look at this question systematically. God is AWESOME in how he sees us, not for what we are or were but, for what we can become in Him. From prostitute and foreigner to integral link in His eternal plan!
Victoria Nimmo Walters
February 20, 2016 @ 5:37 PM
Thank you for digging deep and sharing what you learned! I don’t think I have the analytical skills to lay it out systematically like you did to arrive at the conclusion.
However, believing that the Rahab in Jesus’ lineage is one and the same as the Rahab of Jericho is core to one of the talks I give about “The Women in Jesus Life” not all being as pure as the driven snow as was Mary, His mother. So when you originally disputed that, I had to ask–because if history really did point to ‘another Rahab’ I would have to totally revamp my talk.
BTW – I am loving your blog. I’m tempted to comment on everything…but I don’t want to overwhelm your page with “me”. 🙂