1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
In our scientific age we would have wanted an exhaustive list as proof. But to the ancient Jewish mind, this was actually very convenient. Matthew was writing in a way to help people memorize his gospel because in his day not everyone possessed their own copy of the scriptures; memorizing was the only way people could have ready access to God’s word. “Father of” meant direct genetic descendant of, and if they wanted whatever names were left out they could easily look them up given the material they already had in Matthew’s record. What’s more, if they knew their history well, since it’s all in the Old Testament, they could have mentally filled in what was missing.
Contrary to common custom, five women, including Mary, are mentioned in this genealogy. In Matthew’s day women were not valued too highly. In fact they were so low in society that Pharisees would thank God every morning in prayer that they were not women. Were you amazed at who Matthew chose to include in this? I would have chosen Sarah, the wife of Abraham, maybe, or Rebecca, or maybe godly Leah. But if Matthew had ransacked the whole Old Testament he’d have been hard pressed to find four more unlikely candidates for the Messiah’s genealogy than these ladies.
Verse 3, Tamar – Was a schemer who posed as a prostitute to lure her father-in-law into bed with her and bore his twin sons out of wedlock
Verse 5, Rahab - Was running a robust trade as a high dollar hooker when she lied and betrayed her own country’s interests to help out two Hebrew spies.
Also in verse 5, Ruth - Was a Moabitess whose husband had been a Jew even though God had said through Moses that no Moabite would ever be given a chance to enter the Lord’s sanctuary because of how they had treated the Jews.
Verse 6, Wife of Uriah - She is more well-known by the name of Bathsheba. Given to public nakedness on her roof, she committed adultery with her nation’s leader and her firstborn child died under God’s judgement
Finally, down in verse 16, Mary - only Mary had a squeaky clean record. If you look in Luke’s gospel, you’ll see she was also descended from King David, just through a different son. Joseph’s is the legal royal line, that gave Jesus His qualification to claim the throne of Judah. Mary gave Jesus the bloodline to King David, Abraham, and all the way back to Adam, the first man.
[Tomorrow: Sinners Saved By Grace]
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