Matthew 1:5
And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
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(5) Rachab.—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. The Talmud legends, curiously enough, reckon eight prophets among her descendants, including Jeremiah and Baruch, but not any of the line of David. Assuming the connection between St. Matthew and St. James, which has been shown in the Introduction to this Gospel to be probable, the mention of Rahab by both takes its place as an interesting coincidence.

Booz.—The succession is the same as in Ruth 4:21. The new fact of Salmon’s marriage explains some of the features of that history—the readiness with which the sons of Naomi marry two women of the Moabites; the absence of any repugnance to such a union on the part of Boaz; perhaps the reference to Tamar in the benediction of Ruth 4:12. Salmon would seem to have been the first of the house to have had land at Bethlehem (1Chronicles 2:54), and to have gained this in part through his adoption into the family of Caleb.

Matthew 1:5. Salmon begat Booz of Rachab — Viz., after their settlement in Canaan. It is not exact said that this woman was Rahab of Jericho, commonly called the harlot, but it is highly probable she was; for that Rahab was contemporary with Salmon, and a remarkable person, and there was no other of that name, especially of that age, of whom the compiler of the table could possibly suppose his reader to have any knowledge. It is true she was of one of those idolatrous nations with which the Israelites were forbidden to marry. But as the reason of that prohibition was only lest they should be tempted to idolatry, it could have no force in the case of Rahab, who, before her marriage with Salmon, undoubtedly acknowledged the God of Israel for the true God, and became a proselyte of righteousness. And Booz begat Obed of Ruth — Although the son of a Moabite by an Israelitish woman was forbidden to enter into the congregation of the Lord; that is, at least was rendered incapable of being a prince in Israel, and perhaps even of being naturalized by circumcision; yet it evidently appears from this celebrated instance, Ruth being a Moabitess, that this precept was not understood as excluding the descendants of an Israelite by a Moabitish woman from any hereditary honours and privileges, otherwise the kinsman of Booz would not have wanted a much better reason than any he assigned, (Ruth 4:6,) for refusing to marry Ruth, when she became a widow. And Obed begat Jesse — Inasmuch as there were at least 300 years between Salmon and David, and only three persons are here named as intervening to fill up that space of time, viz., Booz, Obed, and Jesse, they must each of them have been about 100 years old at the birth of his son, here named, which is not to be wondered at, considering the age in which they lived. Moses, a little before their time, had lived 120 years, when his natural strength was not abated. And Caleb, at 85, was strong and fit for war. Add to this, that they were persons of eminent piety, and therefore, probably, God vouchsafed to each of them a longer life than ordinary, and continued their strength to a late period thereof.1:1-17 Concerning this genealogy of our Saviour, observe the chief intention. It is not a needless genealogy. It is not a vain-glorious one, as those of great men often are. It proves that our Lord Jesus is of the nation and family out of which the Messiah was to arise. The promise of the blessing was made to Abraham and his seed; of the dominion, to David and his seed. It was promised to Abraham that Christ should descend from him, Ge 12:3; 22:18; and to David that he should descend from him, 2Sa 7:12; Ps 89:3, &c.; 132:11; and, therefore, unless Jesus is a son of David, and a son of Abraham, he is not the Messiah. Now this is here proved from well-known records. When the Son of God was pleased to take our nature, he came near to us, in our fallen, wretched condition; but he was perfectly free from sin: and while we read the names in his genealogy, we should not forget how low the Lord of glory stooped to save the human race.These verses contain the genealogy of Jesus. Luke also Luke 3 gives a genealogy of the Messiah. No two passages of Scripture have caused more difficulty than these, and various attempts have been made to explain them. There are two sources of difficulty in these catalogues.

1. Many names that are found in the Old Testament are here omitted; and,

2. The tables of Matthew and Luke appear in many points to be different.

From Adam to Abraham Matthew has mentioned no names, and Luke only has given the record. From Abraham to David the two tables are alike. Of course there is no difficulty in reconciling these two parts of the tables. The difficulty lies in that part of the genealogy from David to Christ. There they are entirely different. They are manifestly different lines. Not only are the names different, but Luke has mentioned, in this part of the genealogy, no less than 42 names, while Matthew has recorded only 27 names.

Various ways have been proposed to explain this difficulty, but it must be admitted that none of them is perfectly satisfactory. It does not comport with the design of these notes to enter minutely into an explanation of the perplexities of these passages. All that can be done is to suggest the various ways in which attempts have been made to explain them.

1. It is remarked that in nothing are mistakes more likely to occur than in such tables. From the similarity of names, and the different names by which the same person is often called, and from many other causes, errors would be more likely to creep into genealogical tables than in other writings. Some of the difficulties may have possibly occurred from this cause.

2. Most interpreters have supposed that Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph, and Luke that of Mary. They were both descended from David, but in different lines. This solution derives some plausibility from the fact that the promise was made to David, and as Jesus was not the son of Joseph, it was important to show that Mary was also descended from him. But though this solution is plausible, and may be true, yet it wants evidence. It cannot, however, be proved that this was not the design of Luke.

3. It has been said also that Joseph was the legal son and heir of Heli, though the real son of Jacob, and that thus the two lines terminated in him. This was the explanation suggested by most of the Christian fathers, and on the whole is the most satisfactory. It was a law of the Jews that if a man died without children, his brother should marry his widow. Thus the two lines might have been intermingled, According to this solution, which was first proposed by Africanus, Matthan, descended from Solomon, married Estha, of whom was born Jacob. After Matthan's death, Matthat being of the same tribe, but of another family, married his widow, and of this marriage Heli was born. Jacob and Heli were therefore children of the same mother. Heli dying without children, his brother Jacob married his widow, and begat Joseph, who was thus the legal son of Heli. This is agreeable to the account in the two evangelists. Matthew says that Jacob begat Joseph; Luke says that Joseph was the son of Heli, i. e., was his legal heir, or was reckoned in law to be his son. This can be seen by the plan on the next page, showing the nature of the connection.

Though these solutions may not seem to be entirely satisfactory, yet there are two additional considerations which should set the matter at rest, and lead to the conclusion that the narratives are not really inconsistent.

1. No difficulty was ever found, or alleged, in regard to them, by any of the early enemies of Christianity. There is no evidence that they ever adduced them as containing a contradiction. Many of those enemies were acute, learned, and able; and they show by their writings that they were not indisposed to detect all the errors that could possibly be found in the sacred narrative. Now it is to be remembered that the Jews were fully competent to show that these tables were incorrect, if they were really so; and it is clear that they were fully disposed, if possible, to do it. The fact, therefore, that it is not done, is clear evidence that they thought it to be correct. The same may be said of the acute pagans who wrote against Christianity. None of them have called in question the correctness of these tables. This is full proof that, in a time when it was easy to understand these tables, they were believed to be correct.

2. The evangelists are not responsible for the correctness of these tables. They are responsible only for what was their real and professed object to do. What was that object? It was to prove to the satisfaction of the Jews that Jesus was descended from David, and therefore that there was no argument from his ancestry that he was not the promised Messiah. Now to make this out, it was not necessary, nor would it have conduced to their argument, to have formed a new table of genealogy. All that could be done was to go to the family records - to the public tables, and copy them as they were actually kept, and show that, according to the records of the nation, Jesus was descended from David. This, among the Jews, would be full and decided testimony in the case. And this was doubtless done. In the same way, the records of a family among us, as they are kept by the family, are proof in courts of justice now of the birth, names, etc., of individuals. Nor is it necessary or proper for a court to call them in question or to attempt to correct them. So, the tables here are good evidence to the only point that the writers wished to establish: that is, to show to the Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was descended from David. The only inquiry which can now be fairly made is whether they copied those tables correctly. It is clear that no man can prove that they did not so copy them, and therefore that no one can adduce them as an argument against the correctness of the New Testament.

3-6. 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; 6. And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her of Urias—Four women are here introduced; two of them Gentiles by birth—Rachab and Ruth; and three of them with a blot at their names in the Old Testament—Thamar, Rachab, and Bath-sheba. This feature in the present genealogy—herein differing from that given by Luke—comes well from him who styles himself in his list of the Twelve, what none of the other lists do, "Matthew the publican"; as if thereby to hold forth, at the very outset, the unsearchable riches of that grace which could not only fetch in "them that are afar off," but teach down even to "publicans and harlots," and raise them to "sit with the princes of his people." David is here twice emphatically styled "David the king," as not only the first of that royal line from which Messiah was to descend, but the one king of all that line from which the throne that Messiah was to occupy took its name—"the throne of David." The angel Gabriel, in announcing Him to His virgin-mother, calls it "the throne of David His father," sinking all the intermediate kings of that line, as having no importance save as links to connect the first and the last king of Israel as father and son. It will be observed that Rachab is here represented as the great-grandmother of David (see Ru 4:20-22; 1Ch 2:11-15)—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.See Poole on "Matthew 1:6". And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab,.... That Salmon begat Boaz, is affirmed in Ruth 4:21 but it is not there said, nor any where else in the Old Testament, as here, that he begat him of Rahab, that is, of Rahab the harlot. This the Evangelist had from tradition, or from the Jewish records. That the Messiah was to spring from Boaz is asserted by the Jewish writers (s); and they also own that Rahab was married to a prince in Israel, which some say (t) was Joshua: they pretend that she was ten years of age when the Israelites came out of Egypt; that she played the harlot all the forty years they were in the wilderness, and was married to Joshua upon the destruction of Jericho. To excuse this marriage with a Canaanitish woman, they tell us, she was not of the seven nations with whom marriage was forbid; and moreover, that she became a proselyte when the spies were received by her: they own that some very great persons of their nation sprung from her, as Jeremiah, Maaseiah, Hanameel, Shallum, Baruch, Ezekiel, Neriah, Seraiah, and Huldah the prophetess. The truth of the matter is, she became the wife of Salmon, or Salma, as he is called, 1 Chronicles 2:11. And in the Targum on Ruth 4:20 is said to be of Bethlehem; he was the son of Nahshon or Naasson, a famous prince in Judah, and the head and captain of the tribe, Numbers 1:7 Numbers 7:12. And from Rahab sprung the Messiah, another instance of a Gentile in the genealogy of Christ; and a third follows.

And Booz begat Obed of Ruth; who was a Moabitess. It is a notion that generally obtains among the Jews (u), that she was the daughter of Eglon, grandson of Balak, king of Moab; and it is often taken notice of by them (w), that the king Messiah should descend from her; and also other persons of note, as David, Hezekiah, Josiah, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and Daniel; wherefore the mentioning of her in this genealogy, cannot be said by them to be impertinent.

And Obed begat Jesse. Jesse is thought to be, not the immediate son of Obed, but to be of the fourth generation from him; though no others are mentioned between them in Ruth, any more than here. A Jewish writer observes (x), that

"the wise men of the Gentiles say, that there were other generations between them; perhaps, says he, they have taken this from the wise men of Israel, and so it is thought.''

Now notwithstanding this, Jesse may be said to be begotten by Obed, as Hezekiah's posterity, who were carried captive into Babylon, are said to be begotten by him, Isaiah 39:7 though they were a remove of several generations from him. However, Jesse is rightly put among the progenitors of Christ, since the Messiah was to be a rod of his stem, and the branch of his roots, and is called the root of Jesse, Isaiah 11:1 which words are interpreted of the Messiah, by many of the Jewish writers (y); and to this day the Jews pray for him in their synagogues under the name of , "the son of Jesse" (z).

(s) Zohar in Gen. fol. 105. 4. Gloss in T. Bab. Maccot. fol. 23. 2. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 49. 2. Zoher in Gen. fol. 63. 3.((t) T. Bab. Megilia, fol. 14. 2. Juchasin, fol. 10. 1. Shalshelet Hakabala, fol. 7. 2. Abarb. Kimchi & Laniado in Joshua 6. 25. & Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Torah, pr. neg. 112. (u) Targ. in Ruth. i. 4. T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 105. 2. Horayot, fol. 10. 2. Nazir. fol 23. 2. Sota, fol. 47. 1. Zohar in Deut. fol. 109. 2. Shalshelet Hakabala fol. 8. 1.((w) Targ. in Ruth 3.15. T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 93. 7. Midrash Ruth, fol. 34. 4. Zohar in Gen, fol. 72. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 20. 4. & 123. 4. & 132. 4. (x) Juchasin, fol. 10. 2.((y) Targum, Aben Ezra & Kimchi in loc. & Zohar in Exod. fol. 71. 1.((z) Seder Tephillot, fol. 278. 1. & 285. 2. Ed. Basil, T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 29. 1.

And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
Matthew 1:5. Boaz is also called, in Ruth 4:21 and 1 Chronicles 2:11, son of Salma; but his mother Rahab is not mentioned. The author without doubt drew from a tradition which was then current, and presupposed as known (according to Ewald it was apocryphal), which gave Salma as a wife to her who had risen to honour by her conduct in. Jericho (Hebrews 11:31; Jam 2:25). The difficulties which, according to Rosenmüller, Kuinoel, and Gratz, arise from the chronology,—namely, that Rahab must have become a mother at seventy or eighty years of age,—are, considering the uncertainty of the genealogical tradition, which already appeals in Ruth 4:20, as well as the freedom of Orientals in general with regard to genealogies, not sufficient to justify here the assumption of some other Rahab. According to Megill. f. 14, 2, and Koheleth R. 8, 10, Joshua married Rahab,—a tradition which is not followed by our genealogy.5. Salmon … Jesse] According to the received chronology the space of time between Salmon and Jesse was not less than 400 years. In that space there are only four generations recorded in the text. Either then the received chronology is wrong or the genealogy not complete. In all probability the former is at fault, and the shortening of the period named would bring “Jewish history into harmony with Egyptian and with the internal evidence of the Israelitish history itself.” See art. Genealogy in Bib. Dict. for this and other points.Matthew 1:5. τὸν Βοὸζ ἐκ τῆς Ῥαχάβ, Boaz of Rahab) Some think that the immediate ancestors of Boaz have been passed over; but it stands thus also in Ruth 4:21 : nor can the first Fourteen, the standard of the two others, admit of an hiatus. More correct is their opinion, who maintain that, in such a length of time, some of the ancestors mentioned lived to a great age. The definite article, τῆς, placed before the proper name Ῥαχάβ, shows that Rahab of Jericho is here meant; nor does the orthography of the word Ῥαχάβ interfere with this hypothesis: for both Ῥαάβ (Raab or Rahab) and Ῥαχάβ (Rachab) are written for רחב. See Hiller’s[5] Onomasticon Sacrum, p. 695. The Rahab of Jericho was very young when she hid the spies (Joshua 6:23): she outlived, however, Joshua and the elders (Ibid. Matthew 24:29-30); and her marriage with Salmon must have taken place still later, as it is not mentioned in that book, though it is recorded that she dwelt in Israel (See Joshua 6:25). In Ruth 1:1, the earliest times of the Judges seem to be meant, so that the verb שפט (which might otherwise be supposed redundant) may have an inceptive[6] force, as in like manner מלך[7] often signifies he took the kingdom, or began to reign: and Naomi must have gone into Moab, before the Moabite domination mentioned in Jdg 3:12. Rahab might therefore have been, as she actually was, the mother of Boaz. He did not marry Ruth till he was far advanced in life (see Ruth 3:10); and their grandson, Jesse, was very old (see 1 Samuel 17:12; 1 Samuel 17:14), when he became the father of David.—Cf. concerning Jehoiada, 2 Chronicles 24:15.

[5] Matthew Hiller, a Lutheran divine and learned Orientalist, born at Stuttgard, 1646. Successively Professor at various universities with great reputation. Died 1725.—(I. B.)

[6] Bengel means, that שְׁפ̇ט חַשֹֽׁפְטִים (translated in the E. V. the Judges ruled, marg. judged) ought to be rendered the Judges began to judge, so as to indicate with greater exactness the date of the event, at the commencement of the era of the Judges.—(I. B.)

[7] יִמְלדְ מָלַד 1) to regin, to be king; (2) to become king, 2 Samuel 15:10; 2 Samuel 16:8; 1 Kings 14:2.—GESENIUS.—(I. B.)Verse 5. - Salmon begat Booz ( Boaz, Revised Version) of Rachab ( Rahab, Revised Version). That this was Rahab of Jericho has been generally received, and it is clear from the narrative in Joshua 2:11, where Rahab declares, "The Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath," that, whatever this woman's previous life and character may have been, she was then not unlikely to join herself to the Israelites. Moreover, her great services rendered to the spies, and the conspicuous way in which she and her house were singled out for preservation from all the rest of the city, may have marked her as not unfit to become the wife of a chief man in Israel. The Old Testament says nothing of this marriage, but there has been no endeavour made in the Bible to preserve every detail of the genealogies, the record of the successive fathers being all that for Jewish purposes was required. But that Rahab of Jericho was received among the people of Israel, not merely as one dwelling in their midst (Joshua 6:25), but to a place of honour among them, was an old tradition among the Jews; cf. T. B. Meg., 14 b ( vide Lightfoot, 'Her. Hebr.'), where Neriah, Baruch, Seraiah, Maaseiah, Jeremiah, Hilkiah, Hanameel, and Shallum, and also Huldah, are all said to have sprung from her. Some also say that she was made a proselyte, and was married to Joshua - a tradition followed, as it seems, in the Midrash 'Koh.,' on Ecclesiastes 8:10.
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