Friday, June 11, 2010

A Curious Note on Rahab

A friend pointed out to me an inconsistency in the Rahab narrative, and I'd never noticed it before.

In Joshua 2:13, after Rahab declares her allegiance to HaShem, she asks the spies to save her family.
יג וְהַחֲיִתֶם אֶת-אָבִי וְאֶת-אִמִּי, וְאֶת-אַחַי וְאֶת-אחותי (אַחְיוֹתַי), וְאֵת, כָּל-אֲשֶׁר לָהֶם; וְהִצַּלְתֶּם אֶת-נַפְשֹׁתֵינוּ, מִמָּוֶת
... and save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.
This is contrasted with what appears in Joshua 6, when the spies come to rescue Rahab.
כג וַיָּבֹאוּ הַנְּעָרִים הַמְרַגְּלִים, וַיֹּצִיאוּ אֶת-רָחָב וְאֶת-אָבִיהָ וְאֶת-אִמָּהּ וְאֶת-אַחֶיהָ וְאֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-לָהּ, וְאֵת כָּל-מִשְׁפְּחוֹתֶיהָ, הוֹצִיאוּ; וַיַּנִּיחוּם--מִחוּץ, לְמַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל.
And the young men the spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had, all her kindred also they brought out; and they set them without the camp of Israel.
You see the discrepancy here? The sisters! What happens to the sisters? The Hebrew clarifies that her request includes "achoti" or "my sisters" and in Joshua 6, the sisters are not included, unless you include them in teh general "and all that she had." This, too, disagrees with the "and all that THEY have" in Joshua 2, suggesting that Rahab wants the spies to save her father, mother, brothers, sisters and all that is their's. The terms used in Joshua 6 are more general, but the express omission of the sisters is curious.

I suppose between when the spies came to Rahab and when the spies came back, perhaps the sisters had defected to the pagan side and died in the subsequent conflict, or perhaps they were non-redemptive harlots who didn't deserve to be brought out with Rahab and her family? What are your thoughts? Is it a simple omission or an express omission?