Matthew's genealogy states Rahab as the mother of Boaz and the ancestress of David, and ultimately of Jesus Christ. Was this fact known among the Israelites before the writing of Matthew? This fact doesn't seem to occur anywhere in the OT, nor, from what I've been able to see, in pre-Christian Jewish tradition; but it seems like the kind of thing that would've been known from the time of David, and definitely doesn't seem like something God would reveal for the first time when the Gospels are being written. Do we know for certain that this Rahab (whose name in Greek is spelled differently from the spelling in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25, which explicitly refer to the Canaanite Rahab) is the same Rahab as the Canaanite Rahab in Joshua? (If so, would this mean God decided to directly reveal a previously unknown piece of information to one of the Gospel writers? And if so, why something like this? The account of Cornelius in Acts 10, for example, seems to suggest that God intends for the Gospel to be told through people rather than by direct revelation. Why should a far less significant detail be revealed by direct revelation?) EDIT: To clear up: So the center of what I was asking was: Tamar, Ruth, and Bathsheba are all explicitly stated in the Old Testament to be in the lineage of David, whereas Rahab is not. Matthew seems to be the first time Rahab was said to be the wife of Salmon and the mother (ancestress?) of Boaz. From a brief google search, I also don't find any Jewish tradition of Rahab being in the lineage of David. In fact, it seems that some Jewish tradition indicates Rahab married Joshua. If the Rahab in Matthew's genealogy really is the same as the Rahab from Joshua (and right now I don't see any other reason she would've been mentioned), would this indicate that the fact that Rahab married Salmon was not preserved in tradition (being replaced by a false tradition of marrying Joshua), and was revealed directly to Matthew? This honestly seems a bit perplexing; why would something minor like a genealogical link be directly revealed, when the Gospel itself was supposed to be spread through people? I think I'm still confused as to how much genealogical fluidity can be assumed in the Biblical text without posing questions of validity.
ESV - 5 And Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse.
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The Jewish tradition was to keep meticulously detailed genealogical records, which we see all throughout the Bible. The genealogy of Jesus was no exception, and the names mentioned in His family line in the NT are accurate. Since the time of the Fall, God has been bent on redemption. The fact that no women are mentioned in the family line of Jesus except those that men would consider unworthy in some way is one method among many in which God chose to demonstrate His heart of redemption. Here is what Matthew Henry's Commentary says about Matthew 1:5, in which we see the genealogy of Jesus: "There are four women, and but four, named in this genealogy; two of them were originally strangers to the commonwealth of Israel, Rachab a Canaanitess, and a harlot besides, and Ruth the Moabitess; for in Jesus Christ there is neither Greek, nor Jew; those that are strangers and foreigners are welcome, in Christ, to the citizenship of the saints. The other two were adulteresses, Tamar and Bathsheba; which was a further mark of humiliation put upon our Lord Jesus, that not only he descended from such, but that is decent from them is particularly remarked in his genealogy, and no veil drawn over it. He took upon him the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3), and takes even great sinners, upon their repentance, into the nearest relation to himself. Note, We ought not to upbraid people with the scandals of their ancestors; it is what they cannot help, and has been the lot of the best, even of our Master himself. David's begetting Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias is taken notice of (says Dr. Whitby) to show that the crime of David, being repented to, was so far from hindering the promise made to him, that it pleased God by this very woman to fulfil it." It is also believed that the word "harlot" can be translated to mean "innkeeper," which might take a bit of the edge off the scandal associated with Rahab. Even if this were true, she was a foreigner to the Israelite people, but grafted in by the providence of God and granted a place of honor in the line of Jesus.
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