THE GENEALOGY OF THE
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The theme of the book of Matthew is, Jesus is the King of Israel. As you have it in Zechariah 9:9,
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Descending from the tribe of Judah, Jesus is the long awaited ... Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5). As we have it in Genesis 49:9-10,
is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches,
he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh (name means rest) comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. (NASV)
Here is an outline of the book that may be helpful:
The Person of the
(lineage and birth)
The Preparation of the King Chapters
(baptism and temptation)
The Preaching of the
4:17-9:35 (including his Sermon on
The Program of the
9:36-16:20 (teaching, rebuking, healing and
The Passion of the
Chapters 16:21-27:16 (transfiguration, trials and death)
The Power of the
(resurrection and parting words)
Now, one of the things about the ancient Jewish people is that they kept very good records.
In the book of Ezra, for example, we are told that after the Jews had
returned to the land of Israel from their captivity in Babylon, some
who were seeking to be priests were disqualified because they couldn't
be found in the genealogical records.
These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean." Ezra 2:62
because the Jews kept such good records, no Jew questioned the
genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth which we are about to study. The
genealogy, found here in Matthew 1, establishes Jesus' legal right to the throne of David through the line of his legal father, Joseph.
Christ is also established as being of the royal line of David line
through his mother Mary's genealogy in Luke 3, as well. She too was a
direct descendant of king David.
Now, the Old Testament prophesies that Messiah will one day come into the world and sit upon the throne of his father, David. Here are a few of those scriptures:
I declare to you (spoken to king David) that the LORD will build a house for you: when your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever. I Chronicles 17:10b-14
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse (king David's father); from his roots a Branch (Jesus)
will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him�\the Spirit of
wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the
Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD - and he will delight
in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge
by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his
ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he
will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child
will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie
down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will
play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into
the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy
mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as
the waters cover the sea. In that day the Root of Jesse (Jesus) will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. Isaiah 11:1-10
The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: 'One of your own descendants I will place on your throne...' Psalm 132:11
The Apostle Paul says, in II Timothy 2:8a,
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.
record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the
son of Abraham: These opening verses of Matthew's gospel establish that Christ Jesus is both the son of David and the son of Abraham.
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
(I Chron. 1:28)
Jacob the father of Judah and
(I Chron. 2:1)
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar,
(I Chron. 2:4)
Perez the father of Hezron, (I Chron. 2:5)
Hezron the father of Ram, (I Chron. 2:9)
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon, (I Chron. 2:10)
Nahshon the father of Salmon, (I Chron. 2:11)
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose
mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
(I Chron. 2:12)
and Jesse the father
of King David.
(I Chron. 2:15)
David was the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been Uriah's wife, (I Chron. 3:1,5)
Solomon the father of Rehoboam, (I Chron. 3:10)
Rehoboam the father of Abijah, (I Chron. 3:10)
Abijah the father of Asa
reads: Asaph], (I Chron. 3:10)
Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
Uzziah the father of Jotham, (I Chron. 3:11)
Jotham the father of Ahaz, (I Chron. 3:13)
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, (I Chron. 3:13)
Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, (I Chron. 3:13)
Manasseh the father of Amon
(I Chron. 3:14)
Amon the father of Josiah, (I Chron. 3:14)
and Josiah the father of
Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to
Babylon. (I Chron. 3:15)
After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, (I Chron. 3:17)
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, (I Chron. 3:19)
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud,
Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
and Jacob the father of Joseph,
the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called
Christ. 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 Christ. (NIV)
...as the son of David, Jesus fulfills the Kingdom program of God ... as we can so clearly see from the scriptures above.
...as the son of Abraham, he fulfills the redemptive program of God. As you have it in Galatians 3:14-16,
He redeemed us in order
that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through
Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the
Spirit. Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no
one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly
established, so it is in this case. The promises were spoken to Abraham
and to his seed. The Scripture does not say 'and to seeds,' meaning many people, but 'and to your seed,' meaning one person, who is Christ. So, Jesus is both King of Israel and Savior of the world.
Coming back to the genealogy above, please notice that to one side I
have given the references to the names of these same people as they are
also found in the ancient Old Testament genealogies of First
Chronicles. I have done that so that we can check the accuracy of
Matthew's genealogy and discuss any interesting points, discrepancies
or gaps that we might discover. At verse 13, however, we leave the
First Chronicles list since, at that point, Matthew is recording the
most recent people in Joseph's line.
Now, let's look at the differences in Matthew's genealogy and that which is recorded in First Chronicles.
First, in verse 9, two names are left out that are recorded in I Chronicles 3:12. The names are Amaziah and Azariah.
In Hebrew culture and reckoning, this is not a problem because any
single descendant in one's lineage can be referred to as the son of
any other ancient ancestor. This is common reconing in Jewish
genealogies. For example, that is why Jesus is legitimately called, the son of David
here. For what it is worth, Matthew left these two men out of his
genealogy in order to round out his three divisions into three equal
sets of 14 descendants each (see verse 14).
Second, in verse 11, Jehoikim is left out. He is found recorded in the genealogy in I Chronicles 3:15-16.
Third, in verse 12, there appears to be an error. According to First Chronicles 3:17, Salathiel was not the father of Zorobabel. Rather, his father was Salathiel's brother, Pedaiah.
On this one, however, I am going to go with Matthew's account as
probably being the correct one because the First Chronicles text, being
many hundreds of years older, may contain a copyist's error at that
point ... wherein the two names may have been accidentally inverted so
that Salathiel was, in fact, Zorobabel's father. We can say that because Matthew's genealogy is also inspired Scripture and was without error in its original manuscript.
Before we move on, let me point out that there are four Gentile women
... distant great-grandmothers of Christ ... who are found here in the
genealogy of Jesus. Two were Canaanites, one, a Moabite and one, a
One Canaanite woman is Tamar.
Her story can be found in Genesis 38. If you would like to read
additional thoughts on that fascinating story, I would invite you to
turn to my commentary on Genesis at:
The second Canaanite woman is Rahab,
the harlot. Her story is found in Joshua 2, and she is also recorded in
the Bible's great hall of faith chapter, Hebrews 11, at verses 30 and
Then, there is the Moabite woman, Ruth.
An entire book of the Bible is dedicated to her ... the book of Ruth.
An interesting side to her story is the fact that anyone from her
nation had been barred from the congregation of Israel to the 10th generation
because of the way the Moabites treated the people of Israel when they
attempted to cross Moabite territory under Moses when they were on
their way to the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 23:3-4).
And last, we find the Hittite woman, Bathsheba.
Her story is found in Second Samuel 11, where it is recorded that King
David succeeded in having her husband, Uriah, killed in battle in order
to get her for himself. It was a great sin and King David paid for it
dearly. Subsequently, though, Bathsheba became the mother of the great
I must tell you that I am so very glad that our Lord has these women in
his ancestry. Jesus came into our world to identify with and to save
sinners, you see. He was no respecter of persons. He brought no
prejudices with him. He only brought mercy and grace. He took upon himself human flesh and truly became one of us. As you have it in Hebrews 2:16-17,
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren,
that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things
pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (KJV)
And again, as the Apostle Paul so aptly put it, in I Timothy 1:15,
Here is a trustworthy
saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world
to save sinners�\of whom I am the worst.
One last note ... when comparing Joseph's genealogy in
Matthew with that of Mary's genealogy in Luke 3 ... at verse 7, above,
the two genealogies divide. Mary's line (Luke 3:31), branches off and comes on down through Nathan, Solomon's brother.
To sum up, then, Matthew opens his
account of the life of Christ with rock solid proof that Jesus of
Nazareth holds the legal right to the throne of David. He proves that Jesus is the son of David and, as such, is undeniably eligible to be the rightful King of Israel.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His
mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found
with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and
not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared
to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to
you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will
save His people from their sins.' So all this was done that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:�gBehold, the virgin shall be with child, and
bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,�h which is translated, 'God with us.' Then Joseph,
being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to
him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth
[NU omits her firstborn son
and simply reads a Son]. And he called His name JESUS.
writes this to establish that Jesus was not the physical son of Joseph.
Now, it is helpful at this point to have some idea of the marriage
customs of the Jews. So, let's review that subject for a moment. A Jewish marriage, in Jesus' day, had three parts...
First, a marriage
contract was signed. This was sometimes entered into by the parents
of Jewish children as early as their birth or while the prospective bride and
bridegroom were still very young. At that point, as far as Jewish law was
concerned, they were legally married.
Next came the retreval of the bride. This took place when the couple became of
age or after a reasonable waiting period. Then, the groom and his friends would
go to the bride's home to get her and to bring her to her new home where the
The third, and
final step, was the marriage supper. This was a great celebration
that began when the bride arrived at
the groom�fs home and usually lasted for a week. Jesus was attending one of
these feasts at the wedding in Cana when the host ran out of wine and Jesus
performed his first miracle ... changing water into wine (John 2).
Now, we who have trusted in the Lord
Jesus Christ (a Jew) as our personal Savior ... can also expect to experience all three phases of
this Jewish wedding ceremony:
1. When we received the Lord Jesus Christ as our
Savior, we were baptized into the body of Christ by his Holy Spirit (First
Corinthians 12:13). At that moment, we literally became one flesh with Christ
members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones
5:30). That was our marriage contract, signed, sealed and
delivered by the Holy Spirit. From that day on, we were formally wed to
Christ. Every true believer is married to the Lamb of God (Ephesians 5;
Second Corinthians 11).
2. What remains is the second step of the wedding ... his coming to get us one glorious day when our Bridegroom and his
friends will indeed come for us, and escort us to his home in Heaven (First
Thessalonians 4:16-17; John. 14:2-3; 17:24).
3. After that, as we have it in
Revelation 19:7-9, we will sit down at the great celebration of the
marriage supper of the Lamb ... the third and final phase. There is a place waiting for you at that table,
dear believer. Then, we will sit down together and celebrate our betrothal to Christ in our permanent residence
above. Won�ft that be wonderful? I suspect there will be more looking, listening,
talking, introducing and rejoicing than eating though, don't you?
Coming back to our text ... before
the day had arrived when Joseph was to go and retrieve Mary, his wife, to
bring her to his home to the wedding feast ... Joseph discovered that Mary was
with child. This discovery probably took place right after Mary returned
home from visiting with her also pregnant cousin, Elizabeth, who ... in her old age
... was carrying in her womb Christ's forerunner, John the Baptist (Luke
can only imagine the dismay and emotional trauma that Joseph's
discovery must have precipitated! Doubtless, he had a few things to say
to Mary. His disappointment and heartache can only be imagined. Mary,
on the other hand, was really up against it. Nothing she could have
said would have helped. Even if she told Joseph the truth about her
condition, who in their right mind would have believed such a story?
There was nothing to do for it then ... but for Mary to simply remain
quiet. She was in no position to do otherwise. Consequently, our text says, Joseph,
being a righteous man, decided on a quiet divorce rather than
to publically humiliate his wife. Remember, they were legally married in the
eyes of Jewish law, even though the marriage custom had not yet been totally
completed. Under Mosaic law, by the way, Joseph had the legal right to have
Mary stoned to death, although, at that time, he would have had to have received
permission from the Romans to do so. As you have it in
If, however, the
charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, she
shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town
shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by
being promiscuous while still in her father's house. You must purge the evil
from among you.
Before Joseph could proceed with the
divorce, however, God intervened by sending an angel to him in a dream. It was a dream of the nature that left no doubt,
whatsoever, that he had
received a message from God. In the dream, the angel informed Joseph that his
wife, Mary, had conceived the baby by means of the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, the Greek
word the angel used to describe Mary's impregnation is the word
begotten. It is the same word
that is used in John 3:16,
For God so loved
the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
The angel continued,
She will give
birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his
people from their sins. Jesus, ... the song begins ... Oh ...
name! Jesus ... every day the same. Jesus ... let all earth proclaim. The
matchless name ... of Jesus! The name, Jesus, emphasizes his
work. It means Savior. As we have it in his own words in
For the Son of Man
has come to save that which was lost.
took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The
virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him
Immanuel' �\which means, "God with us". This whole episode,
occurred in order to fulfill Isaiah's prophecy of the virgin found in Isaiah 7:14,
written over 700 years before. That particular
prophecy emphasizes Christ's person. Isaiah prophesied that one was coming who
would be born of a virgin and would be none other than
God with us. God in the flesh. Amazing. As you have it in
John 1:1,14,In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Make no mistake about it, it was
Immaneul who was born of the virgin, Mary. The tiny baby who
was laid in Bethlehem's manger
was God with us. The One whose
diapers were changed by his mother, was also the One who ... at those exact same
moments ... was
holding all of the vast universe together by the word of his power (Hebrews
When Joseph awoke from his dream,
immediately went and retrieved his wife and brought her home to his house,
completing the Jewish marriage custom. The
Scripture, here, tells us that
this was because he was a righteous man. Joseph was an obedient man of God
and, as such, he was fully prepared to pay
the cost of being so ... no matter what it might entail. From that point on, he and
Mary would suffer together. One can only imagine the snickers and knowing looks
they received as they went about their daily business in the tiny village of
Nazareth. He got her pregnant! ... was doubtless a
constant whisper and the hot topic of many a gossip session.
Last here, notice
that our text says that Joseph had no sexual union with Mary until after she gave birth to their firstborn son. Literally, the Greek says, was not knowing
her. This matter of fact statement is clearly speaking of the sexual side of
their marriage. After the birth
of Jesus, however, Mary and Joseph had several more children together (Matthew
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas
Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.