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In the Talmud, Megillah 14b, it mentions towards the end1 that Joshua married Rachav and that Joshua never had sons, but only daughters:

דאיגיירא ונסבה יהושע ומי הוו ליה זרעא ליהושע והכתיב (דברי הימים א ז, כז) נון בנו יהושע בנו בני לא הוו ליה בנחן הוו ליה

Here's a translation:

"That [Rahab] became a convert and she married Joshua. But did Joshua have any offspring? And it isn't written (1 Chronicles 7:27) "Nun his son, Joshua his son"? He did not have sons, but he did have daughters." - Megillah 14b

But in Matthew Chapter 1, it says that Rahab married a certain Salmon. Who is this Salmon, and where did the New Testament authors get that he married Rahab? Is there a reference somewhere within the "Old Testament?"

1 If you read the actual reference I'm making, it's one rabbi's opinion (Rabbi Nachman) on Joshua marrying Rahab.

  • I believe there is, somewhere in the jungle that is the writing of the Talmud, another earlier mention that says she married a "prince". Your quote is later when they had supposed that it was Joshua. But it easily could have been Salmon. The REAL puzzle here, I think, is how did Matthew know while scribes hadn't known for certain themselves who she married for a thousand years? – Joshua Apr 13 '16 at 3:08
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    You may find interesting: Richard Bauckham, "Tamar's Ancestry and Rahab's Marriage: Two Problems in the Matthean Genealogy", Novum Testamentum 37/4 (1995), pp. 313-329. The part addressing this question specifically starts on the bottom of p. 322; the full text is available with free registration on JSTOR. – Susan Apr 13 '16 at 9:08
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Salmon (or Salma/Salmah) is certainly mentioned in the Old Testament as being a descendant of Judah and an ancestor of David:

Nahshon was the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz - 1 Chronicles 2:11 NIV

Which agrees with:

...Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz... Ruth 4:20-21 NIV

Where Matthew mentions Rahab, it is generally assumed to be referring to the same Rahab of Joshua's time and it has been acknowledged that explicit mention of her marriage or descendants is not made in the Old Testament. Some commentators speculate that the source is a tradition from among David's descendants:

...The Old Testament records are silent as to the marriage of Salmon with the harlot of Jericho. When they were compiled it was probably thought of as a blot rather than a glory; but the fact may have been preserved in the traditions of the house of David. It has been conjectured that Salmon may have been one of the two unnamed spies whose lives were saved by Rahab, when he was doing the work which Caleb had done before him. The mention of Rahab in James 2:25, Hebrews 11:31, shows that her fame had risen at the time when St. Matthew wrote... - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

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Who Was Rahab The Harlot?

In Matthew 1:5 her name is Rachab Ῥαχάβ (which appears only once in the Bible) in KJV. Most bibles have it INCORRECTLY as 'Rahab'. Rahab of Cannaan Conquest (Joshua 2:1; 6:22-25) Ῥαὰβ (James 2:25; Hebrews 11:31) is a different person.

For those interested, see a new translation of NT.

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“Old Testament Light” A Scriptural Commentary based on the Aramaic of the ancient Peshitta Text (by George M Lamsay (page 285, 286)) states: Rahab (Aramaic Rakhab) is probably derived from rakh (to be merciful).

The conquest of Jericho took place about the fifteenth century BC. In the Pauline Epistles to the Hebrews Rahab is commended for her faith (Heb. 11:31).

Rahab, the wife of Salmon, was a different woman. There are only three generations from Salmon to Jesse, and Jesse was living during the time of King Saul and David, about 1000 BC. There must be about eighty years from Salmon to Jesse. This Rahab is not to be confused with Rahab the harlot, who entertained the Hebrew spies sent by Joshua from Shittim.

Rahab (or Rachab) the wife of Salmon, is mentioned in the genealogy in Matthew 1:5.

In Psalm 87:4 Rahab is the name of a city; also in Psalm 89:10 and in Isaiah 51:9. In the olden days, just as today, cities were called by the names of famous men and women.

In Psalm 87:4 Rahab is likened to Babylon which was destroyed in the sixth century BC. These names of places should not be confused with the name of Rahab as given in Joshua 2:1

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To me, it is quite clear; God’s plan from eternity, was to join Himself to man and mingle Himself with man; therefore the story of Rahab the harlot joining herself to God’s people Israel by her marriage to Salmon in the Old Testament is nothing less than the wonderful story of God’s redemption of sinners to make them His sons. The Old Testament is a filled with types and figures of these things in prophecy; The New Testament contains their reality; Example: the tabernacle in the OT was a full type in detail of how God’s desire was to dwell with redeemed man; In the NT, this type is fulfilled in Jesus Christ ( see John 1:4,14) It is no wonder then that apart from this view of God’s purpose to join with man and to mingle Himself with man, we would only understand the Bible as a religious book versus a book that reveals God’s hearts desire. May the Lord open our eyes.

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  • Welcome to the S.E. Q&A forum. While allegory is an acceptable form of interpretation, as far as we accept different viewpoints, all answers should directly address the question asked. – Steve11235 Apr 16 at 13:40

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