The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon. And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. (Matthew 1:1-16)
The Five Women
Genealogies are not always the most exciting parts of scripture to read. Trying to pronounce the names is a challenge by itself. Seldom are there any great stories found within the litany of names but often wonderful gems of information will be lost when ignored. Matthew’s account of the genealogy of Jesus has a lot of embedded stories of old that are well worth the telling. Women are rarely mentioned but five women are listed in the story of Jesus.
Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah. She was married to Er, the oldest son of Judah. Er was so wicked God slew him and Tamar married his brother Onan. Failing to carry on the seed by Tamar God killed Onan also. Judah promised his younger son, Shelah to her (as was the custom) but this never happened. In the course of time Judah’s wife died and he sought comfort among his shepherds. Tamar heard Judah was there and dressed as one of the harlots. Seeing her (not knowing she was his daughter-in-law) Judah went in to her and conceived twins. This was not discovered until three months later when Judah was confronted with the evidence of his union with Tamar. Later she bore Perez (ancestor of Jesus) and Zarah. Tamar’s story is found in Genesis 38.
Rahab is a very familiar story. When the children of Israel came to the promised land to begin the conquest her city was first on the list. Jericho would be a prize city dedicated the Lord. Before attacking the city two men came into Jericho and lodged at the house of Rahab the harlot. The king of the city heard of the spies and ordered Rahab to give up the men. She told the king she did not know who they were and they had escaped. As soldiers sought for the two men in the countryside Rahab hid them among the flax on the roof of her house. Before going to bed that night she implored the men to protect her from what she knew was coming. Her great faith in God was remarkable as she asked for the men to save her family from death. Later as she let them down by a scarlet cord (her house was on the wall) and the men told her to hang the same cord through the window and she would be saved when the attack came. Her deliverance came as promised by the Lord. Her story is found in Joshua 2 and Joshua 6. Later the writer of Hebrews will speak of her faith (Hebrews 11:31) and James would use her as an example of faith and works (James 2:25).
Ruth was a Moabite. She had married Mahlon son of Elimelech as a Gentile bride. When her father-in-law and husband died she chose to remain with her mother-in-law. It is in this story the wonderful statement is made by this young lady to Naomi, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17). Ruth would eventually marry Boaz a rich relative of Naomi and take her place as a grandmother of David the king of Israel.
Bathsheba is a tragic story. David was home from war and saw her bathing on the roof top. Taking her into his home the king committed adultery with the wife of Uriah, one of his mighty men and a Hittite (who happened to be off at war fighting for the king). When David was told Bathsheba was pregnant he brought Uriah home to cover up his sin. Failing to do so the king ordered Joab to put Uriah in the heat of battle and withdraw securing the death of this noble soldier. David comforted Bathsheba in the death of her husband and later married her. The deed was not unnoticed by God who sent Nathan the prophet to unveil the whole plot before David. The house of David would suffer greatly because of this sin. The child conceived would die and the rest of David’s life would be fraught with sadness. An interesting point about including Bathsheba in the list of Jesus’ genealogy is her name is not mentioned. She is referred to as the wife of Uriah. There is consequence to sin that often will continue after death. God reminds us of the far reaching penalty of sin. See 2 Samuel 11-12.
Mary is the highly favored one who was blessed to bear the Son of God in her womb. There is so much to say of this beautiful maiden. Her faith was so strong in the possibility of the impossibility and this faith carried her all through life. She was privileged to watch Jesus grow from a tiny baby to manhood and then the horror of the cross. Blessed by other children her life was filled with her devotion to God. Of all the people who stood at the cross she knew with no doubt her son was God yet she said nothing. Her last record by the Holy Spirit is found in the early church. What a Bible class teacher she must have been.
Five women. Genealogy of Jesus. A lot of great stories. Women who show a lot of different backgrounds of the common person Jesus came to save.
Christ did not love humanity. He never said that He loved humanity; He loved men. (G. K. Chesterton, Twelve Types, 1903)