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December 5 Jesus’ Family Tree Most people don’t have to shake the family tree very hard to see several nuts fall out In the story of Jesus’ birth we are told that King Herod told the Magi to report back to him when they had found the ‘child’ who had been born. He pretended that he would also go and worship him. His real plan though was the execution of the baby. The Magi never returned so Herod ordered the execution of all male children born around the time of Jesus’ birth. Important details of his biography are gleaned from the works of the 1st century Roman-Jewish historian Josephus. During the tumultuous years of the Roman civil wars he skillfully shifted his allegiance from Pompey to Caesar to Antony to Octavian (Augustus). Because he was such an able soldier the Romans valued his services. Rome needed a shrewd and capable agent in Palestine, and in Herod the Great they felt they had found such a man. Herod was appointed king of Judea by Marc Antony in 40 BC He is known for his colossal building projects He transformed the ancient city of Samaria into Sebaste for his foreign mercenaries. He also built Palestine's first deep-water port of Caesarea. He built fortresses and palaces, including Masada In Jerusalem he rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem - sometimes referred to as Herod's Temple. "Two hundred steps of purest white marble led up to it. Its top was crowned with circular towers; its courtyard contained splendid structures." - Jewish Wars FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS He also presided at the Olympic Games. Herod has been described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." The Roman Emperor Augustus said about Herod: "I would rather be Herod's pig than Herod's son." King Herod the Great was despised by the pure-blooded Jews because he was half Idumean. As a consequence, Herod destroyed official registers so that others could not prove a more authentic pedigree than his own! This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar). Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah). Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asa. Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram. Jehoram was the father of Uzziah. (Matthew 1:1-8 NLT) Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah). (Matthew 1:5-6 NLT) Generations that are skipped – people left out – years of missing branches Why mention these people when it is obvious that not every generation is mentioned. Some are left out/skipped – yet the ones that are mentioned are questionable. Why mention women in the family tree? If you were to survey ancient genealogies one of the aspects that would stand out to you almost immediately is the lack of women mentioned. The Jewish culture was tremendously male oriented. Woman had no legal rights; she was not regarded as a person, but as a thing. Jewish men prayed this prayer daily: "God, I thank You that I was not born a Gentile, a dog, or a woman." If someone was going to mention women --- why mention these women? Why not mention Sarah or Rebecca or Leah or Rachel? Why not some other woman in the line who was above average? All four of the women – up to Mary - were aliens, Gentiles. Three of four were suspected of adultery. The presence of these names in the lineage of Christ is a significant statement of equality of men and women. When God created man He "created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Gen 1:27, NIV) Including these women in the lineage of Christ highlights the message of divine grace. God forgave and accepted people in the lineage of Jesus who had a clouded history -- men and women. The fact that these particular women are named makes clear that God in grace does not discriminate against people because of history. Rabbinical Literature: Rahab was one of the most beautiful women in the world, the mere mention of her name exciting inordinate desire Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab) Let me bring you up to speed --- Rahab Joshua 2:1-24 Interesting story here A month after Moses’ death -- Joshua sent two spies – Pinchas and Caleb, She may have been a temple prostitute, which in Canaanite eyes was an acceptable line of work (2000, p. 190). Rahab and her family lived within the outer city wall. Her house was apparently part of the wall. It is possible that the house doubled as an inn since the spies were sought there. Besides her infamous profession, it appears that Rahab engaged in less-questionable labor as well. Either raising or buying flax, she dried it on her rooftop and made linen from it. At the conquest of that city by the Israelites, Rahab became a sincere proselyte to the cult of Yhwh Go to the house of Rahab – a prostitute After time goes by --- Rahab gets married to a man Salmon Some believe that Salmon was one of the spies that she saved Salmon is the son of Caleb --- Caleb and Joshua were buddies History/Tradition give the story another twist – Sometime after Rahab gives birth to Boaz – Salmon dies and she is then married by Joshua She was ten years old when the Israelites came out of Egypt, and she pursued her immoral calling during the forty years that the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness. There was not a prince nor a ruler that had not had relations with her; and she was therefore well informed of what was going on outside Jericho (Mek., Yitro, 'Amalek, 1; Zeb. 116b). At the conquest of that city by the Israelites, Rahab became a sincere proselyte to the cult of Yhwh Read more: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=71&letter=R#ixzz16o62nMvy In verse Matthew 1:5 we find Rahab, who is spoken of as the harlot of Jericho in. Tradition tells us that she later became the wife of Joshua. In verse Mat_1:5 Ruth is included, who was not Jewish, but was a Moabitess, a special expression of God's grace since the Law said, "No Ammonite or Moabite …may enter the assembly of the Lord" (Deu_23:3, NIV). Uriah's wife, Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon is included—the woman whom David seduced, and whose husband Uriah he afterwards killed in an attempt to cover his sin. The presence of these four persons in the lineage of the King emphasizes a genealogy of grace. Some had shady reputations—like Rahab and Tamar. Many were very ordinary—like Hezron, Ram, Nahshon, and Akim. And others were evil—like Manasseh and Abijah. God's work in history is not limited by human failures or sins, and he works through ordinary people. Just as God used all kinds of people to bring his Son into the world, he uses all kinds today to accomplish his will. And God wants to use you. Rachab: Jos_2:1-22, Jos_6:22-25; Heb_11:31; Jam_2:25, Rahab Booz: Rth_1:4, Rth_1:16-17, Rth_1:22, 2:1-4:22 Of interest too is the mention of a king named Jeconiah. In Jer_22:30 God pronounced a curse on this man: Thus says the Lord: “Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.” Matthew’s genealogy is the inclusion of four Old Testament women: Tamar (Mat_1:3), Rahab (Mat_1:5), Ruth (Mat_1:5), and Solomon’s mother (Mat_1:6), Bathsheba. All of these women (as well as most of the men) were questionable in some way. Tamar and Rahab were prostitutes (Gen_38:24; Jos_2:1), Ruth was a foreigner, a Moabitess (Rth_1:4), and Bathsheba committed adultery (2Sa_11:2-5). Not only were the Jews concerned about family responsibility and moral purity, but the third big issue was racial superiority. So determined were they that their racial line remain free from pollution, they believed that if you, as a Jew, even accidentally brushed against a Gentile, you would have to go home immediately, take off your garments, burn them, take a bath, get dressed again, and go on your way. And guess who's in the genealogy—a Gentile, a Moabitess! But personally, it reminds me that these words should never pass from our lips again: "The Lord can't use me because I have sinned greatly, I've shirked my family responsibilities, and I've messed up my family." --- Courson Re: Mary John 8:41 Jesus accused of being a Samaritan – John 8:48 Many rabbis of Matthew’s day taught that Gentiles and sexual sinners were ineligible for God’s kingdom. They taught Jewish men to thank God daily that they weren’t born women or Gentiles—but Matthew points out that these very people were the ancestors of the Messiah! Even the “heroes” of this genealogy have serious moral failures. Abraham twice lied about being married to Sarah and exposed her to violation to save his own skin. Jacob lied and manipulated to steal his brother’s birthright. David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband murdered to cover his tracks. Solomon lost his spiritual moorings for many years because of his sexual compromise and materialism—yet he returned to God late in life to write the most powerful testimonial on the emptiness of life without God (Ecclesiastes).
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