We end the genealogy in a way at the beginning, with the birth of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham. We take hope in the words of Matthew 1:22; All this took place to fulfill what the Lord has said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – Into a very human world, a world full of darkness and imperfection and violence, a Savior was being born. And despite everything, despite all the human darkness of the world, he was being welcomed and loved and protected – and worshiped. Immanuel – God with us!
We know Mary’s story, the young virgin chosen by God to house in her womb and give birth to the Son of God. What an honor – remember the angel’s words to Mary? Greetings, highly favored one of God! Highly favored? Mary’s whole world knows that she is with child, but not Joseph’s child. How do you explain the unexplainable? How do you make the world see what is unseen? Highly favored of God can mean a rough road to travel. But God prepares the way with people like Elizabeth who rejoices with Mary, and Joseph who takes her and the unborn child as his own, under his protection. Jesus was Mary’s Immanuel too!
In the genealogy we have men clearly identified as the “father of” and we have women identified as “the mother of”, and one woman identified as the “wife of”. And now we have Joseph, the husband of Mary. Is this Matthew’s way of making it clear that we keep things straight. Joseph is not the father of Jesus, even though he is the husband of Mary. Yet, let us remember this, Joseph is Jesus’ earthly father, the father who carried the helpless baby and nurtured the growing boy. The father who is present in the joys and sorrows of raising a little one. What was it like for Joseph to look into Jesus’ unfocused baby eyes knowing that housed within that little body was the creator of heaven and earth?
This is all that is written and all that we know about Jacob, the father of Joseph. Do ever feel like just a name, nothing is written about your good deeds, and nothing is even written about the not so good. But how do we get to Joseph without Jacob? In a chain of events each link, even if it seems like just a name, is important.
Mannish was the only son of Hezekiah and ruled as the King of Judah after his father. He became king at a young age and ruled for over 50 years. He turned back many of the reforms of his Father and led the southern kingdom into idol worship. His name, which means "causing to forget" in Hebrew, seems to be an apropos. The biblical account of Manasseh is found in II Kings 21:1-18 and II Chronicles 32:33-33:20.
Hezekiah ruled during one of the most tumultuous seasons of Israel. He witnessed the destruction of the Northern Kingdom by Assryia and was King during the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib. He also brought about sweeping reforms of Israel's cultic life by returning worship to Yahweh alone. Two of Israel’s great prophets, Isaiah and Micah, both prophesied during his reign. Hezekiah's reign is found in 2 Kings 18-20, Isaiah 36-39, and 2 Chronicles 29-32.
Means "YAHWEH has judged" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is the fourth king of Judah following his prideful Father Asa. He is considered one of the few God-fearing kings of Judah (or Israel). Forecasting his relative Jesus he was righteous in destroying many sites of idol worship and restoring the temple to Yahweh. Read 2Ch 20:12 for an important prayer from this King. cf Joel 3:2
Jehoram of Judah (also called Joram) ruled Judah after his Father Jehoshaphat (9th cent). Joram was caught up in the mess with Ahab and Jezebel, and his wife Athaliah (their daughter) almost wiped out the family line. Thankfully God preserved Joram’s grandson Joash who later reclaimed the throne.
His name means "my power is YAHWEH.” Uzziah is known for his long reign (52 years) which he shared with his Father Amaziah and his son Jotham. He was a great builder and promoted agricultural interests. Because he “loved the soil” (2Ch 26:10) he built towers and cisterns to protect and irrigate the wilderness for farmers and vinedressers.
A Grandson of David, and Son of Solomon who followed in the family business of ruling (see 2 Chronicles 10-12). His name which means in Hebrew “he enlarges his people” seems somewhat ironic in that he saw the division of the kingdom into Northern Israel and Southern Judah.
The wife of Uriah
This is how the fourth woman in Jesus’ genealogy is identified in Matthew 1:6 “whose mother had been Uriah’s wife”. I only have questions for this entry. Why didn’t Matthew use Bathsheba’s name? Why the reminder of her first husband? Is Matthew reminding us of Uriah, a man of good character? Is Matthew reminding us of David’s temptation? What do you think?
Solomon is the son of David’s favorite wife, Bathsheba. Solomon grew up in a tumultuous home of several wives and children, which became a scene of all kinds of plots and counterplots of those jockeying for favor and places of prestige. It must have been quite an education for a young man groomed to be king. With the whole world at his feet (some historians say Solomon is 18 at this time) God comes to Solomon in a dream and asks Solomon what he desires most. And his answer - wisdom, wisdom for the sake of justice.
Much is written of David’s life from his being anointed as King while still an unknown shepherd boy, his victories in battles from beasts of the field coming for his sheep, to a giant taunting King Saul’s armies. It is written that he was a man after God’s own heart and he is memorialized in paintings, sculptures and books. But when you read his whole story you are reminded that David was a man who made huge mistakes, ran in fear, and had a dysfunctional family. His story reminds us that the genealogy of Jesus is about people like us and reminds us of God’s great love for us.
Jesse lived in Bethlehem, in Judah and was of the tribe of Judah. We know he owned sheep, which his youngest son took care of. This is what was said of Jesse’s place in history in Isaiah 11:10, In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious. Jesus’ birth was a prophecy that we can watch unfold as the genealogy of Jesus moves ever closer to Jesus’ birth.
Ruth is the third woman named in the genealogy of the Jesus. In the day when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, so Elimelech a Bethlehemite moves his wife, Naomi and there two sons to Moab. The two boys marry Moabite women, but Elimelech and the two boys die so Naomi, Orpah and Ruth head back to the land of Judah. With much persuasion and tears Orpah turns back to Moab, but Ruth persists and is remembered for these words ….your people will be my people and your God my God”. These words are the testimony of Ruth, a foreign born woman who becomes a part of the line that leads to Jesus!
To read the story of Ruth, read the book of Ruth.
Obed (Ruth 4:17, 21-22)
Obed is the son of Boaz and Ruth. That’s it, that’s all that is written, but listen to what is said of him to his grandmother Naomi at his birth; “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous through-out Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. Obed, the father of Jesse the father of King David.
Rahab (Joshua 2:1-22, 6:17-25; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25)
Rahab is the second woman named in the genealogy of Jesus. Rahab? It’s right there in Matthew 1:3 “…Boaz whose mother was Rahab… Rahab is a prostitute, an inhabitant of Jericho at the time of Israel’s invasion of Canaan. Rahab hides the spies that Joshua sent to Jericho and let’s them escape out of her window in the dead of night using a scarlet cord – the very cord she is to hang out of her window when the armies come to take Jericho, as proof of the oath made between Rahab and Joshua’s spies. A promise, a scarlet cord, a family saved, all because of Rahab, a woman of unshakable faith.
Boaz (Ruth 2-4)
Boaz is a Bethlehemite of the tribe of Judah and the great-grandfather of David. Going by what you read he seems to be a wealthy, honorable, Godly man who takes Ruth to be his wife both because he is Ruth’s father in law’s kinsmen and he grows to love Ruth. When a kinsman becomes the protector and husband of a widowed relation they are call a kinsman redeemer. It’s a love story that shines light on God’s love story for us.
Tamar (Genesis 38:1-30)
In a time when genealogies mention only male heirs, it is interesting that Matthew names Tamar as the mother of Perez and twin brother Zerah. Tamar the widowed daughter in law of Judah goes through great lengths of subterfuge to birth a child from the lineage of Judah when Judah did not provide a husband for her from one of his sons. Tamar, who is accused of prostitution and brought before Judah to be stoned to death reveals Judah’s place in a sordid tale that leads to the revelation that Judah is indeed the father of his daughter in law’s children. And this is the line that leads to Jesus.
Perez or Pharez (Genesis 38:1-30)
Perez is a twin. As Tamar was giving birth to these twins, one of the boys stuck his hand out so the mid-wife ties a scarlet cord to his wrist to identify that this baby was first, but he draws back his hand and his brother is born 1st. The mid wife exclaims “ so this is how you have broken out!” and that is why he is named Perez which can mean to “break out”. What is interesting is this story may appear as an interruption of the Joseph story – it appears between the selling of Joseph Genesis 37, and the story of Joseph and Potiphar in Genesis 39, but it seems to shine a different light on Judah.
Judah is the fourth son of Jacob and Leah. He is a born leader with good negotiating skills – Judah persuades his brothers to sell Joseph rather than kill him. He also is the one to bargain with the Grand Vizier of Egypt (the unrecognized Joseph) to give his life as a prisoner in place of Benjamin. It is this plea bargain that causes Joseph to reveal his identity to his brothers. But wait there is more…
Jacob (Genesis 37-50)
Jacob is the younger of twin sons born to Isaac, so how did he get in the lineage? Well he swindled, tricked, and bought, the birthright and the covenant blessing from his older brother. This is the line that leads to Jesus’ birth.
Isaac (Genesis 25:19-27)
Isaac was promised and named before he was born, as the only son of Abraham and Sarah he was to be sacrificed on an alter of wood that He himself carried. Does this sound familiar?
Abraham (Genesis 12-22)
Did you know that it was Terah, Abrams father that set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan, but Terah settled in Harah. So God called Abram to pick up the journey to the “land I will show you” , and it was to Abraham that God made his bold promise, “and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
“This is the record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). The expression, “the record of the genealogy” in the Greek text reads, somewhat literally, “the book of the genesis of Jesus Christ.” Did you know that it is nearly identical with the Greek translation of Genesis 2:4? The Old Testament begins with the book of the genesis of the world, and the New Testament begins with the book of the genesis of the One who created the world.