# On the Possibility of Multiple Rahabs

## Dealing With the Main Arguments Against a Single Rahab Interpretation

### Summary

A curious friend emailed me wondering about whether the Rahab mentioned in the genealogy of Christ is the same Rahab as the prostitute in Joshua 2. It’s a good question, since scripture does contain a number of different individuals sharing identical names (e.g., people named Mary, people named John). In the first part of my response here, I mostly focused on finding a reasonably-representative position to argue against (to make sure I addressed contrary arguments that my friend might have come across), picking things apart point-by-point. At the end of it all, when the dust settles, most of the opposing argument seemed to hinge on the fact that when Rahab is mentioned in Hebrews 11 and James 2, her profession and actions of faith are mentioned explicitly, while that is not the case in Matthew’s genealogy. The problem is that assuming that this is supposed to signify a different person to prove that this is in fact a different person is inherently circular. It would be kind of like saying there must be two Jesus’s in the New Testament because His identity as the Son of God is only mentioned in some places (e.g., His baptism), but not all!

### Content

(October 2015 – before I had any Greek)

#### Q: How can we be sure the Rahab mentioned in Matthew in Jesus’ genealogy is the same as the Rahab in Joshua?

I was talking to someone this week about Rahab, and there is a point of confusion I was wondering I could clear up with you. Apparently, the spelling of Rahab’s name is different when she is mentioned in Matthew (Jesus’s genealogy) than when her name is mentioned in Joshua. It is spelled the same everywhere else, but how can we be so sure it’s the same Rahab? Or is everything I said wrong?

#### An approach to answering this question: refuting an argument representative of the the opposing position point-by-point

I did a bit more research and this [Post hoc note: evidently this site no longer exists, so my comments are addressing points that are now impossible to read in context. This is unfortunate, but there’s nothing that I can do about it] seems to be the prototypical opinion of those who would wish to have “another” Rahab.

Note that me refuting this argument does not necessarily refute the position in toto, but since I think this is a fair and representative sample of the position, I do not find it to be too much of a straw-man.

#### In the Greek New Testament, ‘Rahab’ is transliterated in different ways in different places

What your friend was likely referring to was not the difference between the words for Rahab in Joshua and Matthew, but rather the difference between the Greek word used in Matthew 1:5 ( Ῥαχάβ, transliterated Rhachab) and the Greek word used in James 2:25 and Hebrews 11:31 ( Ῥαάβ, transliterated Rhaab).

Ῥαχάβ only occurs in some mss., as we shall see, so this “problem” is actually not present if you are using the earliest witnesses to the GNT (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, etc.) [Post hoc note: See below I was actually not quite right here, in that Sinaiticus specifically actually does have the variant reading].

The likely reason why your friend ran into it is that most English speakers use Strong’s exhaustive concordance for so called “word study”, which is based off of the KJV’s Textus Receptus (TR), a critical edition of the GNT that draws primarily from late Byzantine texts. With the exception of a few people who try to defend the manuscript tradition of the TR, most scholars accept that the TR has some inferior readings from late textual witnesses, and my guess is that this is one of them.

#### The main argument being used as a representative sample of the opposing point of view

The main argument of the “two Rahabs” fellow:

Quote from OutsideTheCamp.org

But Matthew 1:5, Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25 cannot be classified as being ‘in the same context’. Therefore more positive methods have been used in these passages to identify the person concerned precisely and exactly, and to distinguish between one person and another. Thus in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25, the reader is told explicitly that these passages refer to Ra’ab the harlot of Jericho:

• (a) by stating her name,
• (b) by repeating her designation of a harlot,
• (c) by mentioning the action which she took to help the two spies. These are all positive marks of identification.

On the other hand, in Matthew 1:5 Rachab the wife of Salmon is clearly distinguished from ANY identification or association in any way with the harlot of Jericho:

1. by the different spelling of her name in the ‘original’ Greek,
2. by the different pronunciation of her name,
3. by the absence of any offensive designation attached to her name,
4. by the absence of any reference to Jericho or any activity that took place there.
##### Assumptions are dangerous in interpretation
Quote from OutsideTheCamp.org

Therefore more positive methods have been used in these passages to identify the person concerned precisely and exactly, and to distinguish between one person and another.

This is an outright assumption. Unless the writer claims to know the mind of James and the writer of Hebrews (you can make a good case for Paul), there is absolutely no possible way he can make the argument that “this is what they really meant when they wrote this.” He can certainly take this position (i.e., that they used these things to identify Rahab the harlot specifically), but it requires exegesis and evidence from context, neither of which was provided (and neither of which can be provided sufficiently to make this claim).

##### Commenting on the argument’s reasons for ‘Rahab the harlot’ identifications
Quote from OutsideTheCamp.org

Thus in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25, the reader is told explicitly that these passages refer to Ra’ab the harlot of Jericho:

• (a) by stating her name,
• (b) by repeating her designation of a harlot,
• (c) by mentioning the action which she took to help the two spies. These are all positive marks of identification.

Observation (a) in the first set is invalid because Matthew 1:5 also “states a name.” This is an entirely bogus reason, and I can’t fathom how it is supposed to aid in drawing a distinction.

Observations (b) and (c) are valid points; when Rahab is mentioned in the “heroes of faith” section in Hebrews 11 and in the “faith that works” section of James 2, she is mentioned both times as being a prostitute, and also complimented both times for her faith and legitimate production (i.e., action) from that faith.

##### Commenting on the argument’s reasons for ‘Rahab the relative of Christ’ identification
Quote from OutsideTheCamp.org

On the other hand, in Matthew 1:5 Rachab the wife of Salmon is clearly distinguished from ANY identification or association in any way with the harlot of Jericho:

1. by the different spelling of her name in the ‘original’ Greek,
2. by the different pronunciation of her name,
3. by the absence of any offensive designation attached to her name,
4. by the absence of any reference to Jericho or any activity that took place there.

I’ll take the second set backwards. (3) and (4) do not necessarily imply that this is a different Rahab, even though the passage doesn’t directly mention Jericho or her (former) status as a prostitute.

To put it in more logical terms: “the absence of proof (i.e., statements that identify her with Joshua chapter 2) is not the proof of absence (i.e., that this is actually a different Rahab).”

So once again, the claim that this Rahab is “clearly distinguished from ANY identification or association in any way with the harlot of Jericho” is an unproved assumption. Notice the wording of that quote: “clearly”, “ANY”, “in any way”; this is all rhetorical flourish. One’s argument does not become valid by capitalizing words.

Quote from OutsideTheCamp.org

On the other hand, in Matthew 1:5 Rachab the wife of Salmon is clearly distinguished from ANY identification or association in any way with the harlot of Jericho:

1. by the different spelling of her name in the ‘original’ Greek,
2. by the different pronunciation of her name,
3. by the absence of any offensive designation attached to her name,
4. by the absence of any reference to Jericho or any activity that took place there.

(1) and (2) are more complicated, especially since we don’t really know Greek and this fellow at least seems to claim he does.

(2) actually doesn’t add anything to his argument since of course a name that is spelled differently is going to be pronounced differently: if you add Chi (χ) to a Greek word, you introduce a “K sound”, and thus Ῥαχάβ is pronounced differently than Ῥαάβ.

As to (1), I touched on it in the introduction, but I’ll go into more depth here since it really is the crux of the matter.

###### Different Greek spellings

The big issue here is that we have textual variance between manuscript editions: The TR uses Ῥαχάβ in Matthew 1:5 (see this link), while more recent versions of the GNT (NASB95 is based on one of the Nestle-Aland editions, if I am not mistaken) use Ῥαάβ in Matthew 1:5 (see this link).

In the newer critical editions, there actually is no difference between Matthew 1:5, James 2:25, and Hebrews 11:31 – they all use Ῥαάβ (and you can verify what I’m saying: NASB concordance for Ῥαάβ).

So this “problem” only exists if you believe the TR is the correct tradition, which, guess what, is another unproven assumption in this fellow’s argument. [Post hoc note: To be fair, it is also possible the person making this argument I refuted simply didn’t know about textual criticism generally or details here specifically, rather than him taking a hard position on the matter of the Textus Receptus].

Now certainly, there are those who make that argument, but it must be backed up with evidence and textual analysis (sometimes called textual criticism). In short, without being fully convinced that the TR has the right reading here (in fact, I am almost certainly convinced that it is the edition that errs, as it does in other places), I would give this reason approximately zero weight when making a decision about the validity of the positions. [Post hoc note: Also, I honestly should have here been pointing out how silly it is to pin one’s argument on this point anyway. As discussed later on in this Q&A, making great hay out of different writers transliterating from Hebrew into Greek differently is very much misguided, even if the texts really were to differ here].

##### Conclusions regarding the main argument

So at this point, the only things out of (a), (b), (c), (1), (2), (3), and (4) that still hold water are (b) and (c), but just because Rahab was identified in these ways in other parts of the Bible does not mean that she must always be identified in this same way (and to believe such would be another assumption that is effectively without a shred of evidence).

Thus, this particular argument falls flat, and we conclude that there was one and only one Rahab, that she became the wife of Salmon, and that she, though formerly a prostitute, was in the lineage of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, as made clear in Matthew 1:5.

#### Concluding thoughts

Hopefully the above convinced you that the main argument of the link I supplied was incorrect, but I didn’t address everything in that piece since it would take a while and I’m sure you have other things to do than read lengthy analyses of false theological positions. But I think several other false arguments merit comment, so I’ll include another section as well. I’ll try to keep it brief.

## The Supposed Scandal of a Prostitute in the Line of Christ

### Summary

This lesson spends time focusing on a single thing: refuting the idea that it must be a different Rahab because there couldn’t possibly be a prostitute in the line of Christ (*gasp in horror*). The problem with this is that there are plenty of people in the genealogy (including men) who were not universally praiseworthy in their choices (not that they were horrible or not believers or anything like that – the point is that Rahab’s prostitution is not the only thing nailed to the cross among those in the genealogy). Further, there is the matter of Matthew’s purpose in including the women he did in the genealogy. This lesson argues that the other women in the lineage of Christ are all mentioned specifically to demonstrate God’s great love and grace towards humanity, so it makes little sense for the Rahab mentioned here to be some random woman we know nothing else about rather than the reformed prostitute bearing that name. Far from making this unlikely, the context in Matthew practically demands such an identification.

### Content

#### There could never be a harlot in the line of Jesus Christ! How heretical!

[Post hoc note: if any wording here rubs you the wrong way, you can jump ahead a little bit to the standalone purple post hoc section, where I go through these women in the genealogy in more depth].

I must confess that this one always baffles me. Tamar is in the lineage of Christ, and she seduced and had sex with her father in law (Judah) after he failed to supply a third husband for her.

Bathsheba is in the lineage of Christ, and she committed adultery with King David. [Post hoc note: it is, of course, necessary to note that this is obviously a lot more on David rather than on her – since he was the king and handsome and powerful. We don’t really know what Bathsheba thought about the whole thing because scripture doesn’t tell us… but when she is brought into the palace, we don’t hear of great resistance. It also somewhat stretches credulity that she had positively no idea that her bathing location might lead to eyes on her, perhaps even kingly ones. None of this makes her at all responsible for David’s horrific actions, however].

Ruth is in the lineage of Christ, and she was a Moabitess.

So the fact that Rahab, a prostitute who likely converted to Judaism after her inheritance in Canaan with the Israelites (cf. Joshua 6:25), is in the lineage of Christ does not surprise me at all, nor it should it surprise anyone.

In fact, one might go so far as to say that the onus is on those who want to make Rahab the wife of Salmon out to be some sort of unrealistic virginal figure to give examples of women listed in the line of Christ that didn’t receive grace in bounds. Actually, in Matthew 1, the only other women explicitly mentioned are the three above, so to claim that Rahab “has to be” someone other than a prostitute is to create a glaring double standard.

Post hoc note

#### More on the women in the genealogy of Christ

After hearing a sermon on these women in the genealogy of Christ that made me horribly nauseous on account of what amounted to women-bashing, I wish to spell out more specifics here to head off any misinterpretation of my words. (Which I now wish I had put somewhat differently; even though I never meant anything even close to women-bashing in what I wrote – God forbid! – I’m now more sensitive to the wording on this matter specifically, since it has become apparent to me that spelling it out is probably necessary to stop certain arrogant men from twisting things).

Let me be clear: women are not uniformly spiritually bankrupt, temptresses leading men away from truth, the sex lacking moral backbone. That some people actually believe this is terrifying. Men and women are co-heirs in the inheritance of Christ, and share in the image of God, per Genesis 1:27. Men and women have quite different roles and duties in this life, to be sure, but women are in no way spiritually inferior.

#### The women are not the only people in the genealogy in need of grace

Briefly, let us examine Judah and David. If the idea of a prostitute in the line of Christ makes you cluck your tongue and clutch your pearls, how about these men? The former unjustly shut-out his daughter-in-law whom he had a duty to protect, depriving her of a husband, children, and legitimacy. In their ancient culture, given the station of women, this was functionally equivalent to condemning her to a life of terrible hardship and shame. And of course David murdered the husband of the woman he desired, and then used his massive influence as king to coerce her will.

By way of contrast, Rahab shows up in Hebrews 11 and James 2 as an example of faith being demonstrated through action. Despite her prior occupation (no positive thing, to be sure), James mentions her in the same breath as Abraham, the father of all who believe!

So tell me, how is it that people cast stones at Rahab – who scripture itself praises glowingly – while somehow ignoring the stain of sin that corrupts all humans in the genealogy, including the men? Hypocrisy and legalism. That’s how.

To use another example, where’s the outrage over a well-known persecutor of early Christians becoming an Apostle? Ever heard of Paul? Getting early believers imprisoned or worse, approving – or at least not challenging – their executions (compare Acts 7:58), kind of makes prostitution look mild, right? But it must be OK – he was a man. (/s)

From Adam onward (inclusive), some men have tried to blame it all on the women, as if that were some sort of excuse. It wasn’t a valid excuse then (Adam’s words of self-exculpatory blame are no credit to him in Genesis 3), and it won’t fly with God now either.

Sin is a human problem, not a woman problem. (Duh).

#### But they were included in Matthew’s genealogy specifically to showcase God’s surpassing grace towards mankind

Even though the genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 trace bloodlines through the males, these women were included in Matthew’s genealogy for a reason, and that is to showcase the surpassing grace of God. Other women could have been included – the righteous wives of various men throughout the generations – but that’s not what God chose to emphasize. Instead, it is the women that would be the subject of gossip and slander – the one who had twins by her older father-in-law, the one whose husband the king murdered to obtain, the one coming from a foreign land, the one who used to be a prostitute – these are the women God saw fit to have Matthew mention.

Not because women are bad or immoral or always in need of redemption away from their base natures, but because the situations of these four women display God’s manifold grace in a powerful way. God did not somehow change His policy of grace and mercy towards mankind with the sending of His Son, but instead, the sending of His Son was simply another step in this same redemptive pattern that has always been the case.

That is the message these women’s inclusion in the genealogy sends – and it is a beautiful reminder for us of God’s benevolence towards all humanity, man and woman alike. So for goodness’ sake, please stop corrupting it into a condemnation of women!

#### I like wording things in terms of grace more than moral redemption

Just like everyone else, the ladies too needed grace.

The language of moral redemption is often used of these women that show up in the genealogy. This is perhaps appropriate to some degree (particularly for Rahab), but I think it is much better to phrase things positively in terms of God’s grace, for that is consistent across all four women, and also consistent with Matthew’s main purpose for including them in the genealogy, as above.

Even though Bathsheba’s marriage with the King of Israel came about under the most unfortunate of circumstances, God still appears to have blessed her marriage and son (Solomon) even so. God’s grace is evident in blessing a marriage based on the foundation of adultery, counter to expectations.

Ruth was not an Israelite by birth and culture, but a foreigner from Moab, a land not always friendly towards Israel. God’s grace is evident in that she was not only allowed to inherit the covenants of Israel by marriage, but even came to be the mother of the bloodline containing both David and Christ. An outsider became a matriarch of Israel, counter to expectations.

Since the bloodline of the Savior came through Tamar’s son Perez, one of the twins born of Judah, Tamar too is in the lineage of Christ. Despite being sent away unwanted and treated unjustly, her vindication comes in her sons. God’s grace is evident in that the bloodline of Christ leads back to a woman cast aside rather than a treasured wife, counter to expectations.

Finally, God delivered the spies of Israel by a prostitute rather than a noble woman of virtue. Of all the people in the land, only a prostitute feared the Lord and acted to save her family – literally only her. Perhaps most shocking of all our women, Rahab represents the grace of God in full effect. This is not the outward plastering over of dirtiness within – lipstick on a pig – but a complete rebirth from the inside out, a woman turning from death to life. God’s grace is more than evident in these events – it practically screams from every word. Even though such shatters expectations.

#### Conclusions

To tie everything together into a nice neat bow, if, as argued above, communicating His consistent pattern of redemptive grace towards humanity was in fact God’s purpose in having the women mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy (and there is little other logical explanation for their inclusion), then it actually makes quite a bit more sense for the Rahab mentioned in the genealogy to be the prostitute mentioned in Joshua. Otherwise why would this woman be mentioned by name alongside all the other “trophies of grace” (Bathsheba, Ruth, Tamar)?

So, far from us having theological problems if we take the Rahab in the genealogy to be the prostitute, the context almost demands it.

If I were to make an another argument about all this from scratch, I would hit this point very hard: that the other women in the lineage of Christ are all mentioned specifically to demonstrate God’s great love and grace towards humanity, so it makes little sense for the Rahab mentioned here to be some random woman we know nothing else about rather than the reformed prostitute bearing that name. The one praised highly elsewhere in scripture.

## Handling Several Other Matters

### Summary

This lesson handles a couple other objections that some people raise in trying to argue that the Rahab in Matthew’s genealogy is not the prostitute of Joshua 2. The chronology to make this identification work does demand some long lifespans, but that is far from unprecedented in this exact period (compare Caleb still being strong and vigorous at the tender young age of… eighty-five – see Joshua 14:10-11). There is also the matter that neither Joshua nor other sources (like Josephus, for example, who repeats the story of the spies) states directly that Rahab the prostitute married Salmon. But the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence (that’s a classical logical fallacy). This lesson also ends with an attached exchange I had with my mentor about the transliteration of Rahab’s name in one of the earliest full NT manuscripts we have (Sinaiticus). The upshot: transliteration is so inconsistent it is best to not ever make great hay of it, here included.

### Content

#### “It’s not the same Rahab because the chronology does not work”

Quote from OutsideTheCamp.org

“[L]et us assume for a moment that Salmon did marry Rahab the harlot within a year or so of the fall of Jericho, and that Boaz was born a year or so after that. If such were the case, then Boaz would have been about 115 years old when he married Ruth! On the other hand, if we assume that Rahab was about 30 years of age when Jericho fell, and that Salmon did not marry her till 30 years or more later, then not only would Rahab have been at least 60 years of age and no longer able to bear children, but Boaz, even if born 30 years after the fall of Jericho, would still have been 85 years of age when he married Ruth… Thus all the evidence confirms the fact that Salmon did not marry Rahab the Canaanite harlot.”

This is an argument that deals with the chronology of Israel before the Davidic Kingdom. While scholars still debate some, the time spans are greater than normal life spans by our standards, but of course that means very little.

Here is what a friend and mentor of mine has to say about the matter (please see here, question/response 8):

Quote from Ichthys

“The chronology here has bothered some in the past, and some have tried to solve the “problem” of too much time between Salmon and David by suggesting that some names have been left out of the list and only the famous included. That, I think, is a questionable approach. Extremely long life-spans among Old Testament believers are certainly not unprecedented, even after the flood. Jacob lived to be over 130 years old (Gen.47:9), and given that Benjamin still seems to be a fairly young lad during the episode of Joseph’s time in Egypt, it seems that he must have been at least a hundred when Benjamin was born. We should therefore understand that the generation which entered into the land of promise and those immediately thereafter must likewise have been blessed with exceptional length of days and continued fecundity into old age (at least among the godly believers) which would be remarkable by today’s standards. After all, even before he entered into the land, Caleb could say in truth “So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then” (Josh.14:10-11 NIV). And Caleb was still active in the period of conquering the land for many years to come thereafter (cf. Judg.1:12-15). So the fact that between Salmon (who I would argue must have been one of the two spies whom Rahab protected) to Solomon’s reign we have well over four hundred years but only four additional males in the line (i.e., Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David) only seems problematic for those who wish to overlook these other biblical facts. David, for example, was the youngest of eight brothers (1Sam.16:10), so we are safe to conclude that Jesse sired him in his old age. And of course Boaz was also an older man when he married Ruth (cf. Ruth 2:1; 3:10). As I say, while this sequence would be remarkable in our day and age, it would have been much less so at the time – and what genealogy, after all, is more remarkable in every way than that of our Lord?”

#### “Neither Josephus nor Joshua mention a marriage between the prostitute Rahab and Salmon”

Quote

Joshua 6:25 states that Rahab was given land in the midst of Israel in return for risking her own life by hiding the two spies that were sent to Jericho. Josephus in his “Antiquities of the Jews”, Book 5 chapter 1, sections 2 and 7, records the same story but neither he nor Joshua make any reference to a marriage taking place between Rahab and Salmon. That deafening silence is itself the strongest proof that no such marriage did take place…

First off, Josephus is hardly a paragon of historical accuracy (ask any Classicist worth his salt). [Post hoc note: What I meant by this is the following: how likely do you think it is that a Judean prisoner-cum-turncoat granted amnesty under the emperor Vespasian would write things truly unfavorable to Rome? And again, how likely do you think it is that Rome was in reality as whitewashed as the portrayal coming out of Josephus’ mouth?] People always like to pull in Josephus as “proof” for something or other (most commonly, actually, to combat the ridiculous notion that Jesus Christ was not a historical person), but in fact it does not really matter what Josephus says or does not say because Josephus was not writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit (i.e., his writings aren’t in the Bible, so we can’t rely on them unconditionally). Like all historians, he is only as good as his sources, and he happens to be a bit more biased than most. [Post hoc note: For the reasons adduced above].

Disregarding the above, this is another classic example of the statement “the absence of proof is not the proof of absence.” Silence on an issue does not mean that you get to make the Bible mean whatever you want it to mean. For example, the Bible does not explicitly condemn abortion in so many words, yet most Christians have no problems identifying it as sinful even so.

Hopefully all this has answered your question. Do feel free to email back if you have more questions!

#### Steven asking Dr. Luginbill of Ichthys.com for clarification on the text of Sinaiticus

Hi Bob,

With respect to the actual email, I guess there actually is one thing I want to know myself. From some comparison of interlinears, it appears that the Textus Receptus has Ῥαχάβ in Matthew 1:5 instead of Ῥαάβ like NASB95’s textual base (Nestle-Aland 27th ed., I believe). I guess I just assumed this is what Sinaiticus must read since it seemed to make sense that the name would be the same in James 2:25, Hebrews 11:31, and Matthew 1:5, but when I checked the first chapter of Matthew, Sinaiticus reads (from the website):

ϲαλμων δε εγεν
νηϲεν τον βοεϲ
εκ τηϲ ραχαβ βοεϲ
δε εγεννηϲεν τον
ϊωβηδ εκ τηϲ ρουθ:
ϊωβηδ δε εγεννη
ϲεν τον ϊεϲϲαι·


For Matthew 1:5, This seems to match the TR, and goes against my whole argument. (I checked and it’s Ῥαάβ at the the other two occurrences in Sinaiticus). Is this right or wrong? How should I explain the occurrence of the χ in Rahab’s name to my friend if it is actually the correct reading?

#### Dr. Luginbill of Ichthys.com responding

Hi Steven,

On the text and the appearance of the names, it’s not at all unusual for there to be multiple spellings in Greek of less than common Hebrew names. Matthew, James and Hebrews were all written by different authors, so we have to allow for various transliterations – there was no absolute system. “Megiddo”, for example, is rendered dozens of different ways in the LXX. And even in the gospels we find different place names spelled in a variety of ways (sometimes causing confusion, as in is it Gadarenes or Gerasenes or Gergesenes?). The name in question involves the transliteration of the Hebrew cheth; since the Greeks don’t really have this sound, leaving it out is at least as common as trying to reduplicate it with the letter chi. In short, for anyone who has observed from much reading of the Greek and Hebrew the flexible way in which names of all kinds are rendered into the former from the latter, the difference here is not necessarily significant. That was what I took to be the gist of your argument, namely, that because different renderings are commonplace, we can’t necessarily make any hay off the difference here so as to posit two Rahabs from this variation alone. After all, there are a number of spelling variations between the genealogies in Matthew chapter one and Luke chapter three (it would be interesting to see how Luke would have spelled “Rahab”). Were I to venture a reason for the discrepancy here it would be to suggest that Matthew is trying to more closely duplicate the sound of the Hebrew original (which appears to happen at other places in his genealogy too, e.g., Boes vs. Boos and Salmon vs. Sala), while James and Paul have opted to go with the more traditional spelling of the name occurring in the LXX.

To the point of your request, I wouldn’t necessarily include the above paragraph in an apologetic text if the recipient were open to the idea of the truth. When it comes to the issue of communication, simplification is usually a superior strategy to overly detailed argumentation.