As we can see in the Matthew's Genealogy of Jesus beneath, it does not say Rahab the Harlot, but Rachab (apparently another name).

Matthew 1 King James Version (KJV)

  1. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
  2. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
  3. And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
  4. And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;
  5. And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;

From Jude to Salmon there are 7 generations, right? Assuming that Jude was the first generation in Egypt, Phares the Second, Esrom the Third, Amram the fourth which got out of Egypt, Aminadam Naason and Salmon are the 3 generations that were conceived after the Exod. How many year can be taken for a generation?

The Israelis met Rahab the Harlot 40 years after the Exodus? Could she possibly be married to Salmon which is the 3rd generation conceived after the Exodus? What is the best argument found in the bible or found inductively that Rehab was or was not contemporary to Salmon?

  • Consider the other mentions of women in the Genealogy. All the others are those who are famous in the Old Testament, so it makes sense that the Rahab of Matthew 1 is the same as Rahab the harlot, who is the only significant Rahab in the Old Testament. Oct 13, 2017 at 14:41
  • 1
    I totally get that, and it sounds like a good argument. But I need a more convincing argument to prove my hypothesis. Therefore I need to find out if the two if them were contemporary or not. And if not so, how many years could there be between them, because the answer to this question would give us a clear answer if Rahab the Harlot is the same as Rachab, Matthew wrote about. Oct 13, 2017 at 15:21
  • Yes but Rahab and Salmon could have birthed Boaz as a lineal descendant, not as a direct son. Unless there's evidence to the contrary, biblical, extrabiblical (secular historical records) or otherwise, then that's what I'm thinking. May 9, 2020 at 1:53

6 Answers 6


God tells Abraham of a period of 400 years, a rounded number, Genesis 15:13, from the time of the children of Israel going down to Egypt until their deliverance in the exodus.

Paul seems to have researched this and to have calculated the period exactly, to 430 years, in Galatians 3:17.

This period of time amply accommodates the generations Judah, Phares, Esrom, Aram, Aminadab, Naason and Salmon.

In Genesis 15:16 God states that :

'in the fourth generation, they shall come hither again for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full',

indicating that the children of Israel would return to drive out the Amorites.

I take it that :

  • the four generations refer to Phares, Esrom, Aram and Aminadab;

  • that the generations, which fell, died in Egypt, or perished in the wilderness,

  • and that the two remaining - Naason and Salmon - were contemporary; father and son.

The naming of a 'Rachab' in the massively important genealogy of Christ is significant and I do not think she would be named if she was an obscure person or unknown. The other mentions are also Gentiles - 'of Urias' is Urijah the Hittite ; and Ruth is a Moabitess.

These were Gentiles is the point that Matthew is emphasising, in the context of the coming of him who would be truly King of Israel - in a spiritual sense, and that for ever - and in the context of natural Israel's opposition to that work which God would begin among them first, before enlarging his kingdom over the whole earth, nations and all.

The conclusion is unavoidable : Rachab refers to the Gentile Rahab.

  • This period of 400 years only accommodates 4 generations, as God told Abraham in Genesis 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. Oct 14, 2017 at 11:25
  • Also in the Genealogy of Moses Exodus6: 16 These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, the years of the life of Levi being 137 years. 17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, by their clans. 18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, the years of the life of Kohath being 133 years. 19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the clans of the Levites according to their generations. 20 Amram took as his wife Jochebed his father's sister, and she bore him Aaron and Moses, the years of the life of Amram being 137 years. Oct 14, 2017 at 11:27
  • From the above verse we can see that Moses is indeed the 4th generation that got out of Egypt as God told Abraham in Genesis 15:16. Which leaves us only with Aminadab, Naason and Salmon until the case of Rahab the Harlot came up. Oct 14, 2017 at 11:30
  • So if we only have 3 generations left until the destruction of Jericho, the question is what is the probability of Salmon marring Rahab the Harlot, given the fact that the generation of Moses died in the wilderness? Aram, the father of Aminadab which was contemporany with Moses died, and leaves us with Aminadab that went to the battle of Jericho. Oct 14, 2017 at 11:33

Matthew 1 only mentions women who are "famous" in the Bible, such as Ruth and Tamar. We know who they are because of who they are related to. But with Rahab, we see that she married Salmon. There is no story about him, he is only mentioned in genealogies (Ruth 4:20-21; 1 Chronicles 2:11; Matthew 1:4-5; Luke 3:32). The only significance we see he has is that he is an ancestor King David, and thus Jesus the Messiah.

It is commonly believed that Rachab in Matthew 1 is the harlot from Joshua 2. I decided to look at the Hebrew and Greek behind their names and this is what I have found. In the Greek, there are two Hebrew words that are translated as Rahab. These are the definitions according to Strong's Dictionary of Greek words in the Bible:

G4477. Rhachab
Strong's Concordance
Rhachab: Rachab.
Original Word: Ῥαχάβ, ἡ
Part of Speech: Proper Noun, Indeclinable
Transliteration: Rhachab
Phonetic Spelling: (hrakh-ab')
Short Definition: Rahab
Definition: Rahab, a Canaanitess, who rescued the Hebrew spies at Jericho.
Occurrences: Matthew 1:5


G4460. Rhaab
Strong's Concordance
Rhaab: Rahab, a Canaanitess and an ancestor of Christ
Original Word: Ῥαάβ, ἡ
Part of Speech: Proper Noun, Indeclinable
Transliteration: Rhaab
Phonetic Spelling: (hrah-ab')
Short Definition: Rahab
Definition: Rahab, a Canaanitess, who rescued the Hebrew spies at Jericho.
Occurrences: Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25

Rhachab is the Greek word used in Matthew 1. Rhaab is used to in reference specifically to the Rahab of Joshua 1, as we can see from the context of its use in the verses. Now check out the Hebrew definition of Rahab as used in Joshua:

H7343. Rachab
Strong's Concordance
Rachab: a harlot in Jericho
Original Word: רָחָב
Part of Speech: Proper Name Feminine
Transliteration: Rachab
Phonetic Spelling: (raw-khawb')
Short Definition: Rahab
Occurences: Joshua 2:1, Joshua 2:3, Joshua 6:17, Joshua 6:25

I find it interesting that the Greek Rhachab is similar in pronunciation to the Hebrew Rachab. This could support the identification of Rhachab as the harlot being accurate.

I don't know whether or not Salmon was a contemporary of Rahab, but if the above evidence is enough evidence to support Rhachab being Rachab the harlot, then Salmon would have to be a contemporary of Rahab. As far as I can tell, it looks like he would be, but without dates to work with, I cannot say with certainty. But I will give you the best I have.

If Aram did flee Egypt in the Exodus as an adult, Amminadab could very well have been a child (say about 10 years old) at the time. Let's say he was about 20 years old when he had Nahshon. And Nahshon was also about 20 when he had Salmon. Salmon would have been about 10 years old at the end of the 40 years, thus he could have been a contemporary. Let's look at one extreme. Say each of these people had their kids when they were about 15. This would put Salmon at 20 years old.

So it is possible that he was old enough to marry Rahab. The Bible doesn't say when he married Rahab, but is does say Rahab lived with the Israelites and was living among them at the time of the writing of Joshua. So she could have lived among the Israelites for a while, making friends and settling in. Eventually she would have met Salmon, and in due time they got married. Who knows how long it took for these events to happen.

Considering the above evidence, although it is not the best by my own standards, I personally am convinced that the Rahab of Matthew 1 is the same Rahab of Joshua 2. By the way, I am curious as of why there are two Greek words for Rahab and hope to find some answer, although there very well might not be one until we learn of it in heaven.

*The definitions above are supplied by Bible Hub

  • 3
    The two Greek names are merely different transliterations of the same name. Matthew transliterated the Hebrew cheth with a Greek chi while James and the author of Hebrews followed the Septuagint's Raab. Some letters don't have a one-to-one correspondence.
    – Frank Luke
    Oct 13, 2017 at 19:29
  • @A Child of God Please allow me to provide some evidence against Rahab living among the israelis: 'Joshua 6:22-23 22 But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot's house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. 23 And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel.' Oct 14, 2017 at 8:44
  • Yeah, but then we have 3 different letters between G4460. Rhaab and H7343. Rachab, also the appelative "the harlot" which is present in Hebrew and James is missing form Matthew. So we have two differences that supports the teory tat Rhaab the Harlot is not Rhachab present in Matthew, right? Oct 14, 2017 at 8:53
  • Granted, there are two differences but did you read Frank Luke's comment above? That explains the differences with the word choice. Aside from Mary, 4 women are mentioned. The first three are mentioned by name, as if we ought to know who they are. Oddly enough, he doesn't mention Bathsheba by name but by her husband's name, but it also seems he mentioned her as if we ought to know who he talking about. Since this was written to the Jews, they would know clearly who each of these women were, because they are in their history and traditions. Oct 14, 2017 at 10:34
  • Also, they had put Rahab's family outside of the camp prior to Jericho being burned. Read the next few verses: (Joshua 6:23‭-‬25 NIV) Oct 14, 2017 at 10:43

The best I can say is that, assuming that no names were dropped on account of her being a harlot, assuming Rahab was at least twenty years old when Joshua took Jericho, and seventy years passed until she begat Boaz at ninety years old(in the likeness of Sarah's old age conception), then, in the process of fitting the three names to the roughly 520 years between the battle of Jericho and David, then roughly 150 years later Boaz begat Obed, and roughly 150 years later Obed begat Jesse, and roughly 150 years later Jesse begat David, averaging them out, as it were. I could try and prove to you the roughly 520 years from 1 Kings 6:1, but you know that there were at least 450 years of judges so [Acts 13:20] ...

  • 1
    It was actually less than 440 years from Jericho to David. Here is how I know: 1 Kings 6:1 says Solomon began building the Temple 480 years after the Exodus. This would be 440 years after Jericho fell. That was in his 4th year, and David reigned 40 years, starting at the age of 30. So the time from the fall of Joshua to the birth of David is equal to 366 years. Oct 13, 2017 at 21:23
  • Basically the way I calculate the roughly 520 years from Rachab to David is I first assume 1 Kings 6:1 constitutes all the years that Israel was considered 'free'(1 Kings 6:1), then I add up all the years when they were 'free', namely, the forty years of the Exodus, all the years of the 'righteous' judges, the reigns of Saul, David, the 4 years of Solomon, then subtract this number from 1 Kings 6:1 to get 57 years, which number is then added to 450 years of judges plus ten years into Saul's reign, when David was born.
    – user21676
    Oct 14, 2017 at 19:30
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    But that 480 years started when the Israelites left Egypt, just prior to their wandering. When you take the Bible literally, you get the not impossible 366 years from the Exodus to David's birth. Aside from 1 Kings 6:1, we don't know how long the time of the Judges were, unless you know of a verse I don't. By the way, there is no reason to assume anything when the Bible tells us clearly. Oct 14, 2017 at 20:24

The "Rachab" in Matthew 1:5 in Christ's genealogy is NOT "Rahab the harlot".

  1. This is the only time the name is spelled with a "c", in the Greek. Other New Testament mentions of Rahab identifies her as the harlot with the same spelling.
  2. Rahab the harlot did not live at the same time as Salmon did, unless a very, very old Rahab (at least 120 years old) married a baby Salmon.

Rather, Salmon was a Rechabite. Rechab was part of Bethlehem-Ephratah, where Jesus comes from.

1 Chronicles 2 [50] These were the sons of Caleb the son of Hur, the firstborn of EPHRATAH; Shobal the father of Kirjath-jearim,

[51] SALMA the father of BETHLEHEM, Hareph the father of Beth-gader.


[54] The sons of SALMA; BETHLEHEM, and the Netophathites, Ataroth, the house of Joab, and half of the Manahethites, the Zorites.

[55] And the families of the scribes which dwelt at Jabez; the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, and Suchathites. These are the Kenites that came of Hemath, the father of the house of RECHAB.

  • Thank you Samuel for your answer. Just posted a new answer that I think is the correct one. Let me know what you think. Apr 23, 2022 at 23:05

I know it's been like 4 years since I asked this question but I finally got the right answer. First, of all thank you for all your answers.

So the question was whether Rachab the Harlot, or other variations as some of you may argue, was or was not contemporary with Salmon..

An immediate issue in resolving this enigma is to answer which generation died in the wilderness so we know who's next in lineage of Judah's tribe, alive around the time thy met Rachab.

After I prayed about it for a while I finally stumbled on Numbers 27.

1 Then came the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son
of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph: and these are the names of his daughters; Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah. 2 And they stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, 3 Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin, and had no sons. 4 Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father.

As we can see from the text, the daughters of Zelophehad come to Moses with a request to give them a possession among their kin since their father died in the wilderness and had no sons. Notice their father died because of his sin and not because of a mutiny like Korah did. After all, God promised none of that generation will enter the promised land. So here we have a clue on the generation that perished in the wilderness. It was the generation of Zelophehad.

Zelophehad was from the tribe of Manasseh as the text also implies in verse 1.

Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph

From Zelophehad to Joseph we get 6 generations. Now if we are to compare genealogy of Zelophehad to genealogy of Judas also found in Matthew 1, we also have exactly 6 generatons: Judas, Phares, Esrom, Amram, Aminadab and Naasson before Salmon to enter the scene.

This can only mean that Naasson being the 6th in line died in the wilderness along with Zelophehad, having been form the same generation of people.

We can fairly conclude that the 7th generation of people from the patriarchs made it to Canaan. Daughters of Zelophehad were of the same generation with Salmon also the 7th in line counting from Judas. The 7th generation fought the cananites and thus making it possible for Salmon to meet Rachab the Harlot making him contemporary with her.


I still see a problem. There are only four generations mentioned from Salmon to King David. How could these 4 generations span about 500 years from the time of Joshua at Jericho where Rahab joined Israel and supposedly married Salmon through the time of Samuel the last Judge over Israel when Jesse begat David?

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