Summary of passage: A listing of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham. There were 14 generations in all from Abraham to David and 14 from David to the exile in Babylon and then 14 more to Christ.
3a) Tamar married Er, Judah’s firstborn son; but Er was put to death by the Lord because he was wicked. By law, Tamar was given to Er’s brother, Onan, in order to bear children. However, Onan refused to have children with her so he was put to death as well.
Judah was afraid his final son, Shelah, would die as well so he sent Tamar away. Tamar, tired of waiting and understanding she’d never have Shelah, tricked Judah into sleeping with her. She became pregnant and bore twins, Perez and Zerah–Perez being an ancestor of Jesus.
Rahab–After Moses died, Joshua was hand-picked by God to lead His people into the Promised Land and in order to do so, they had to defeat those already living there. Joshua sends two spies to scout the land before they attack. They end up staying with Rahab, a prostitute and a Gentile. The King of Jericho tells Rahab to send the spies to him. She told the King that the spies had left the city when in fact she had hidden them in her roof. In return, Rahab asks that she and her family be spared from God’s wrath. She helped the spies escape and told them where to hide. In the end, Rahab and her family were the only ones spared when Joshua conquered Jericho.
Ruth–Ruth was a Moabite woman (a Gentile) who had married a man from Bethlehem, a Jew, who had traveled to Moab along with his mother during a famine. He died and Naomi, the mother, desired to return to her homeland. She freed her daughters-in-law to return to their people but Ruth refused, her love so strong for Naomi, saying she goes where Naomi goes.
So they return to Bethlehem where Ruth meets Boaz, a distant relative of Naomi’s. Ruth works in Boaz’s fields, collecting the leftover grain from the harvest in order to care for Naomi. This garners the attention of Boaz who ultimately takes her as his wife.
“Wife of Uriah”– Better known as Bathsheba, she is coveted by King David who commits adultery with her and she then conceives. Hoping to cover-up the affair, David calls Uriah the Hittite home who out of duty does not sleep with Bathsheba. Therefore, David puts Uriah up front in battle and he is killed, leaving him free to marry Bathsheba. There’s only one problem: God knows David’s sin and God is not happy. Thus, God punishes David by killing the child. David worships the Lord despite his hardship and the Lord grants him another child, Solomon.
Mary–The Virgin Mother of Jesus whom God chose to bear His son.
b) Personal Question. My answer: It show’s God’s ability to work with all sorts of people–and to work through sin. There is no criteria one must meet in order to be chosen by God and do His works. Jesus was not from a pure aristocratic line. Also, it shows God’s love of all of His people, including women, who were at this time considered mere objects and property. Some Jewish men at that time prayed to God every day and thanked Him that they were not born a woman.
By using Gentiles and woman in Jesus’ line, we see that the New Covenant is meant for all.
c) Personal Question. My answer: Firstly, Rahab for she risked her life to save strangers–all because they followed God. Secondly, Ruth who left her homeland for hardship to stay by Naomi’s side. Thirdly, Tamar albeit she used deceit, she was following God’s law at the time and calling Judah out. Bathsheba and Mary I would say no. David took Bathsheba. I don’t think she had much of a choice in the matter. Mary accepted, also accepting God’s will.
d) Personal Question. My answer: I believe I’m called to teach so I applied for teaching jobs.
4a) The prophets foretold that the Messiah would be a king and therefore Jesus must come from kings as kingship is usually hereditary. It validates Jesus as the Messiah so he wouldn’t be considered just some charlatan or imposter.
The Messiah would come from the line of Abraham: Genesis 22:17-18: “Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.” Genesis 12:3 says the same.
2 Samuel 7:16: God’s promise to David: “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”
2 Samuel 7:12-13: God’s promise to David” “…I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
Isaiah 9:7 “He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom…from that time on and forever.”
b) Personal Question. My answer: Jesus must come from God’s people (the Jews). Genesis 3:15 God says to the devil “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.” It’s important to establish who Jesus is and what his job is here on earth.
To convince the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus had to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies or they would never believe.
Conclusions: Great start to the year! Challenging questions which establish the importance of Jesus. I liked reading about the women. It’s a great refresher and also some of the best stories in the Bible.
The Jewish people of Jesus’ time looked to the Old Testament for their Messiah and in the Old Testament the prophets foretold how the people would recognize the Messiah when he arrived. Known as the Messianic prophecies, there are 44 specific things to look for. This website had a complete list of prophecies from the Old Testament and their fulfillment in the New:
End Note: Matthew’s list is not the complete genealogy. There are glaring people left out, namely Jehoiakim (2 Chronicles 36:5-8), who was such a wicked king of Israel that God promised through Jeremiah that a descendant of his would not sit on the throne (Jeremiah 36:30-31). This posed a problem and this is where Luke’s genealogy comes into play. Jehoiakim is a relative of Joseph but since Jesus was not a blood son of Joseph the curse does not apply to him.
Mary’s line, the true blood line of Jesus, goes through a different son of David namely Nathan (Luke 3:31), thus exempting Jesus from Johoiakim’s curse.
Why did Matthew leave out people in his listing? Scholars say it was typical of Jewish custom to skip generations in their recordings. Also, it was easier to memorize with 14, 14, 14. Matthew’s goal may have been to get the most important (in his view) listed and skip the rest.