[b-hebrew] Boaz and Rahab

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Oct 28 03:06:52 EDT 2008

Hello Oun Kwon,

That's what you get for trusting web pages. In general, biblical genealogies
are a tricky buisiness, since they have a tendacy to "skip" or to
"telescope" generations. Also, a series of young marriages in one lineage
and a series of late marriages in another can mean that people of the same
"generation" are sometimes years apart. There are lots of, say, uncles and
nephews that are the same age. So there's really no problem with the line of
Judah having 6 geneartions to the Exodus and the line of Levi taking 4
generations to cover the same period. And since Nahshon was a young adult at
the time of the Exodus, his grandson (assuming that the list did not skip a
generation) Boaz could well have been a young adult 40 years later, at the
time of the conquest. And there is no indication as to Rahab's age at the
time. She could have been anything from 15 to 50 (although more likely
somewhere in the middle).

Num. 1:16 does not say anything about Ammuhud or Elishama. Elishama son of 
Ammihud is listed as the "prince" of the tribe of Ephraim in verse 10, but 
this does not mention how many generations he was removed from Ephraim son 
of Joseph. The assumption there seems to be that Elishama was a contemporary 
of Joshua, who of course was a younger contemporary of Moses. But there is 
no way to know if Elishma was the same age as Joshua, or older, or younger.

The Ammihud - Elishama - Nun - Joshua sequence is from 1 Chr. 7:26-27, but 
the connection between this line (which goes back 5 generations before 
Ammihud) to Ephraim is "disturbed" by additional material. A lot has been 
written about this, including by myself (in JBL 123, 2004). Read the 
commentaries on 1 Chronicles by Sara Japhet or (more recently) by Gary 
Knoppers (in the Anchor Bible series).

A question worth asking, of course, is whether Mat. 1, in including Rahab in 
the lineage of Jesus, is meant to be a historical reference, or whether it 
is more ideologically motivated. In any case, one may wonder where the 
author of Matthew got the tradition from. Later Jewish rabbinic sources 
claim that Rahab actually married Joshua. I'm not saying that one is more 
"historical" than the other, just that we should be careful when trying to 
"harmonize" traditions that appear in different sources that are hundreds of 
years apart.

Yigal Levin

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Oun Kwon" <kwonbbl at gmail.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 5:42 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] Boaz and Rahab

> This is not about language but i hope it is something I can ask on this
> list.
> Matthew 1:(KJV) "5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab"
> The way I learned is the traditional understanding of this Rahab of
> G-Mt as Radab of Canaan conquest.
> Now I happen to read a web page where this is quoted
> "The only Rachab mentioned in the Tanakh was the Rachab of the
> Conquest who lived about two hundred years before Boaz."
> I thought, wow. Was Boaz that late?
> Here is my calculation tracing down family line:
> Judah - Perez -Hezron - Ram - Amminadab - Nahshon - Salmon - Boaz (Mt and
> O.T.)
> Levi - Kohath - Amram - Moses & Aaron (great-grandsons) (Exo 6:16 ff)
> Ephraim - ? - Ammihud - Elishaman - Nun - Joshua (Num 1:16)
> Here Amminadab and Elishaman were the tribal leaders in the first
> census of Israel, 2nd year after Exodus.
> Joshua, young general in charge for the new generation in Canaan
> conquest is a grandson of these leaders. When compared these tribal
> lines, Boaz is only one generation behind Joshua, which brings Boaz at
> the time of Caanan conquest where we find the story of Rahab.
> Jamieson Commentary says (for G-Mt): "a thing not beyond possibility
> indeed, but extremely improbable, there being about four centuries
> between them. There can hardly be a doubt that one or two intermediate
> links are omitted"
> I wonder there are other scholarly source with such conclusion. (Some
> says 200 years gap from Boaz to Rahab). How did they come up with such
> conclusions?
> Another minor question: from the reading Num 1:16, it is not clear
> whether there is additional generation. Was Ammihud a son or a
> grandson of Ephraim?
> Thanks for your help.
> Oun Kwon.

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