Matthew 1 – The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah
The Gospel according to Matthew introduces the life of Messiah the Savior and King of the people of Judah for whom they were expecting. They believed that He would come and deliver them from the hands of their enemies and establish His kingdom over their enemies. Matthew traced the genealogy of Jesus Christ from Abraham who was the forefather of the people of Judah to Joseph worldly father of Jesus the Messiah.
(Verse 1) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
Matthew was writing this Gospel to the people of Judah. So he emphasized David who was one of the great Kings of the kingdom of Israel. The people of Judah believed that their Messiah will be born as an heir of David and rule on his throne as the prophecies about the Messiah told them like that (Isaiah 9:6,7).
He started tracing the genealogy of Messiah from Abraham who was their forefather. God called Abraham from among the people who worship idols. God chose him and his descendants to be holy people so as to send His Son in that lineage as a sacrifice for the salvation of the whole world (Leviticus 20:26).
God promised him to bless all the nations of the earth through his Seed. They believed that the Seed of Abraham would be the Messiah for whose arrival they were awaiting (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16).
(Verse 2) Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.
Isaac was born at the old age of Abraham as a son of promise. God told Abraham that the promised Seed would be called in his son Isaac even though he had many other sons (Genesis 21:12).
Isaac had two sons Esau and Jacob. Even before they were born, God chose Jacob and said that he would be the stronger one with the ruling power (Genesis 25:23). God caller Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when He was revealing Himself to the people of Israel under the captivity in Egypt (Exodus 3:15).
Jacob had twelve sons. But God chose the tribe of Judah and gave the blessing of holding the scepter and there was a prophecy about the arrival of the Messiah (Genesis 49:9,10).
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,
The genealogy of Jesus Christ includes the name of some women which is unusual in the tradition of the people of Judah as they won’t give any importance to women. This shows that God doesn’t show partiality among men and women and everyone is common before God (Galatians 3:28). Jesus broke every discrimination on the Calvary.
Children of Judah born in a sinful way through Tamar, his daughter-in-law. But her name was also included along with the name of Judah in this genealogy because she didn’t want to disgrace the name of her father-in-law for her sin. She was more righteous than Judah (Genesis 38:25,26).
We do not find any significant account of Perez, Hezron, Ram, and Amminadab in the Bible. When the people of Israel traveled from Egypt to Canaan, Nahshon was the leader of the army of Judah (Numbers 2:3).
Nahshon was the first leader from the tribes of Israel to offer the dedication offering for the dedication of the altar after setting up of the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Numbers 7:1,10,12). It may symbolically represent the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the sins of the people.
Again, the Bible doesn’t give us any account of Salmon. Boaz was a righteous man and he had a compassionate heart to accept a widow as his wife to perpetuate the name of a dead man even though it was considered as ruining his own inheritance (Ruth 4:5,6). It symbolizes how Jesus sacrificed His privilege to be the Son of God to save us all.
Ruth was not a woman of Israel. She was a Moabite woman. According to the Law, no Moabite could enter into the assembly of God at any time (Deuteronomy 23:3,4). But the name of Ruth, the Moabite was included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ to show that the salvation He obtained on the cross is not limited to the people of Israel alone. Salvation is for all those people from all the nations who believe in Christ (Romans 3:29). There are no significant details about Obed and Jesse in the Bible.
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.
David was a man after God’s own heart and he did all the will of God (Acts 13:22). So God promised him to establish his kingdom and his throne forever (2 Samuel 7:16). It was a prophecy about the throne and kingdom of Christ the Messiah which will be there forever.
Solomon was wiser than all men (1 Kings 4:29-31). But he too fell in sin. This shows us that even the wise, strong, and wealthy people need a Savior as their wisdom, strength and wealth cannot save them from their sins.
Even though God forgave David for his sin of taking the wife of Uriah for himself, the genealogy includes the mother of Solomon as the wife of Uriah and not as the wife of David. Because people should realize that even a person who was after God’s own heart could fall in sin. He can’t escape from sin with his own strength and he too needs a Savior to save him from the sinful world.
There were many names of kings included in this genealogy. They don’t have any specific significance in the birth of Jesus Christ. Some of them followed God’s way and some other men worshipped idols.
Even though the king Josiah turned to God with all his heart, the sin of his forefather Manasseh for making the people sin against God took Jeconiah as a captive to Babylon (2 Kings 23:25,26; Jeremiah 27:20). This reminds us that God visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations (Exodus 20:5). But Jesus carried all curses on the cross and gave deliverance to everyone (Galatians 3:13).
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.
Zerubbabel was the governor of Judah when people returned from their captivity in Babylon (Haggai 1:1). He played a major role in building the ruined temple of God that was built by Solomon (Haggai 1:14).
Zerubbabel got the promise from God that God would make him like a signet ring as God had chosen him (Haggai 2:23). A signet ring has the power to do anything as it would be in the hands of a king. This indicates that God remembered His promise to Abraham and David and so He chose Zerubbabel and his descendants again for the throne of David after being under the curse.
As Zerubbabel worked wholeheartedly for God’s temple, his descendants received the blessings again for a thousand generations (Exodus 20:6).
We don’t have accounts of those persons from Abiud to Jacob in the Bible. Joseph who was the legal father of Jesus was a righteous man. He did not want to bring disgrace to Mary who was betrothed to him when she was found with child of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18,19). He obeyed the word of God to accept her as his wife (Matthew 1:20-24).