Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: Tamar

What’s in a family tree? Jesus in the book of Matthew


What’s in a family tree? Jesus in the book of Matthew – 11/25/2015

This is a series in the Gospel of Matthew which looks to visit the text from the Gospel of Matthew on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Matthew, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.

Matthew 1:1 (ESV) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. 12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

We read in this generational family tree that begins the part of the bible that we call the “New Testament” and also the group of books we call “The Gospels” and strictly speaking this was a “Jewish legal genealogy” as the 14th generation stops at the man who stepped in to be Jesus father. Mary’s betrothed husband Joseph. However the messiah qualified through both genealogies in the book of Luke (the genealogy of his mother Mary) and the book of Matthew.

If you read my “advent series” there are some additional readings that talk about some of the many prophecies that were fulfilled in these 17 verses, we read that he was the following…

•       The son of Abraham
•       Descendent of Isaac
•       Descendent of Jacob
•       Tribe of Judah
•       Heir to King David

All this was fulfilled in one man! Tremendous stuff! And Matthew was a man ordained by God to record this genealogy as he was a meticulous records keeper being a tax collector for the Roman Empire he knew how to keep official books as well as the ones where he would be running a personal profit and keep his Roman masters happy.

I find it wonderful that it was the man that we knew was a first-hand witness to the messiah and his works and teachings, he was an educated man as the Romans would not put a man who was not literate and fluent in the business language in charge of the money and he was prepared to follow Jesus and leave an account for us to have an understanding of some basic teachings of Christ.

Matthew is seen as a “Jewish gospel” as it uses Jewish terms without explanation and refers to Jesus in many different Jewish ways and in the 2nd century it was the most quoted gospel of the three synoptic gospels by Christian leaders. Due to its Jewish roots it is in its natural place at the beginning of the New Testament and gives a good link between the Old Testament and the rest of the New Testament. Matthew’s gospel is very much an evangelistic gospel to the Jewish people to show them that Jesus is their Messiah.

I am not going to go too deeply into the messianic claims of Jesus in relation to the points made above and if you wish extra clarification them please click on the bullet points that go into those claims a little bit further and as we come into the Advent season our minds naturally gravitate to questions such as “who was Jesus?” and “why was Jesus the messiah?” and I hope to provide some basic apologetics to help you answer these questions.

This genealogy is different in culture to most Jewish family history in that there are 4 women mentioned. Let’s look at those four women.

•       Tamar – Genesis 38:6-30 – Tamar was a widow to Er and such as the custom of the day his brother Onan refused to bear her a child, Judah promised and withheld his next son Shelah, knowing that she had no heirs she played a harlot by the street and enticed her father in law to lie with her in order to produce an heir, that heir became Perez and Zerah.

•       Rahab – Joshua 2, Joshua 6 – Rahab was a prostitute who lived on the city walls of Jericho who God saved her life and out of her life of sin by allowing her to help the children of Israel when they attacked the city of Jericho.

•       Ruth – Book of Ruth – A Moabite widow who despite a recommendation from her former mother in law Naomi to go back to her mother’s house she followed her home and eventually was redeemed by her kinsman redeemer Boaz.

•       Bathsheba – 2nd Samuel 11:2-12:24 – Matthew doesn’t call her by name but refers to her by the wife of her husband who was killed in battle, David sinned with Bathsheba, she lost that child and then had a second child by David who was the one mentioned in this family tree, the child grew up to become King Solomon.

3 out of 4 of them would not be described as “Proverbs 31” women huh? So next time you even attempt to say that “my sin is too much to keep me from God” or too much has happened in my life to be rescued by God then please remember these women and remember that they played a part in the history of the most important birth in the history of the planet. I love that about the Bible that it gives the “warts and all” history of its hero’s. It records the successes and failures and we can learn from this even today. God can use you; you just have to be willing to be used.

When we look at the history of earthly kings and queens we see a certain family lineage and certain families who have joined together in matrimony to keep a bloodline that is of a certain kingship or nobility. We do not see that in the history of the King of Kings, we have prostitutes, we have people who have deceived, we have had a child come from a couple whose first union was because of an affair and lastly we have had people who have mourned and been redeemed.

You are less than perfect, I am less than perfect and we can be adopted into the family and grafted into the natural branches. (Romans 11;1-36) and despite that fact that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) we do have an out to our sinful life by our own kinsman redeemer called Jesus Christ who died on a cross for our sins. We no longer have to continue in our sins because we have the opportunity to be in heaven due to Christ’s sacrifice.

Lastly Matthew tells us in verse 17 that Jesus was the son of Mary and Joseph was the husband of Mary. Matthew was very careful to make note that Joseph was not Jesus biological father and despite the fact that he had included the genealogy of Joseph, he had done so in order to preserve the legal aspect that the Jewish scoffers and skeptics would be looking for in order to try to disprove the claims that Jesus was in fact the Messiah.

Which brings us back to the fact that it was God ordained that Matthew with his meticulous eye for detail and education background that he was the man ordained to bring us this gospel. God willing I pray that you will come back and read the next installment when we publish it.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to

TTE Advent Calendar Day Seven – December 7th


TTE Advent Calendar Day 7 – December 7th

Thank you for reading our seventh installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

In the last few days we have looked at the genealogy of the Messiah, we have narrowed it down from a woman, to a virgin, to being born in Bethlehem, to being from Abraham, Isaac and also Jacob and today we look at the prophecy that he was to come from the tribe of Judah. We learned yesterday all about why the LORD was called a scepter. We see this also in this scripture in Genesis chapter forty nine.

Genesis 49:8 (ESV) “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. 9 Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? 10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. 11 Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.

So we read here that “the scepter shall not depart from Judah” so in one sentence we have just stated that the messiah will not come from any other tribe than the tribe of Judah, that is 11/12ths of the tribes taken away in one fell swoop.

But prophecy is so vague?

If you look at today’s article coupled with the articles from the last few days then you will see that these articles really combat that sweeping statement and generalization. With each article we are becoming more and more specific and adding more criteria that really can only be fulfilled by one man.

If it was just some vague prediction it would not call for 11/12th of the candidates to be dismissed completely. God had a plan all along and he set it up so that only Jesus could fulfill this prophecy. So as you can see, it is not so vague after all!

Did Judah deserve this blessing?

Sounds like Judah was a stand-up guy then? Actually he wasn’t, in Genesis 37 when his brother Joseph was being sold into slavery that eventually took him all the way into Egypt, as we look at the passage, they had thrown him into a pit and then Judah had a great idea.

Genesis 37:25 (ESV) Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. 28 Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt.

So he sold Joseph in the same way that Jesus was sold, for a few coins of silver. He also did not deal righteously with Tamar his daughter in law in Genesis 38, she was supposed to be promised to Shelah and she was without heir, let’s look at this passage.

Genesis 37:13 (ESV) And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14 she took off her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 He turned to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” 17 He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” And she said, “If you give me a pledge, until you send it—” 18 He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She replied, “Your signet and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19 Then she arose and went away, and taking off her veil she put on the garments of her widowhood. 20 When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her. 21 And he asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute who was at Enaim at the roadside?” And they said, “No cult prostitute has been here.” 22 So he returned to Judah and said, “I have not found her. Also, the men of the place said, ‘No cult prostitute has been here.’” 23 And Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, or we shall be laughed at. You see, I sent this young goat, and you did not find her.” 24 About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” 25 As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” 26 Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.

So basically we can say that he did not deserve this accolade. He is about as righteous as you and I. Prior to needing a plank-ectomy I would have to say that God extends his favor regardless of the performance of the said individual. This is true of Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Isaac and now Judah.

I love this about the Bible, there are no “Super heroes” the characters are there and they show the flaws as well as the good stuff. To a guy like me that is really encouraging.

The New Testament confirmation

In the same way that we can confirm the family tree of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we see that Jesus came through the tribe of Judah in verse thirty three of the third chapter of Luke. We also know that it was the Judah that we are talking about as in Genesis 37; one of the twins that were born of Tamar was called Perez.

Luke 3:23 (ESV) Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

With all of this entire flawed DNA in the family, I see that the LORD came into a family that was far from perfection. However this was not required for the messiah as he was just as much God as he was man. He was perfection. Let’s look at the epistle to the Hebrews in chapter seven to see the contrast between heavenly perfection and man-made perfection.

Hebrews 7:11 (ESV) Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

The Levitical priests were there to help people worship the LORD and to conduct the worship in a correct way. The priests were selected from a select few, these men knew the law, and they had it memorized. They were the ones that visited the Holy of Holies; they tied a bell around their ankle with a rope in case there was any sin in their lives and they had to leave feet first, that is how holy they strived to be.

But regardless of how holy they strived to be, this was nothing compared to the holiness of the messiah. The SON OF GOD. A priest could not give you eternal life, but Jesus can. This is the point of these blog articles, to show you the messiah that I believe in is the fulfillment of prophecy and the only way to ensure eternal life with your God your creator. I pray this article leads you to investigate further.

Melchizedek had a unique place in the order of things, he was named “Priest of the Most High God” (Genesis 14:18-20) He blessed Abraham, but regardless of his exalted state, he still was not in the same ballpark of holiness as Jesus. Such as Jesus special place as the messiah of the world. I am reminded of the lyrics of the song “How many Kings” by the band Downhere.

“Cause how many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?”

That is how much God wants to see you in heaven!

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.