Matthew 1: I’m the black sheep of the family.

Matthew 1: I’m the black sheep of the family.

So sang John Anderson in his 1983 hit song. When one reads Matthew’s account of the Lord’s genealogy, he sees quite a few names of people with less than stellar character.

In verse 3 we see Judah, to whom Tamar bare Perez and Terah. You may recall that Tamar was Judah’s daughter in law who posed as a harlot and tricked Judah into a sexual relationship because Judah had failed to deliver Shelah as her husband (Gen 38). So we have the original tribal member of our Lord (cf Heb 7:14) as a harlot-pursuing reneger.

In verse 4 we find Rahab. While there has been some dispute concerning her character, most biblical texts refer to her as a harlot. If this is true and you’re keeping score, this makes one harlot and one harlot impersonator.

Also, in verse 6 we find the record of David’s transgression with Bathsheba, though she is not identified by name. Rather, we are reminded that she was the rightful wife of Uriah, also bringing to remembrance David’s double treachery against one of his mighty men of valor (2 Samuel 23).

Consider also that this genealogy is not complete from Abraham to Jesus. Some individuals are omitted. For example, verse 8 says that Joram begat Uzziah. But 1 Chronicles 3:10-12 indicates that Joram begat Azariah, who begat Joash, who begat Amaziah, who begat Azariah, a.k.a. Uzziah (cf 2 Kings 15:13).

This is only one instance of omitting some of Jesus’ actual descendants. I find it interesting that several of those who were omitted were godly kings (Amaziah – 2 Kings 14), while others who were included were among the worst (e.g., Ahaz – 2 Kings 16).

This speaks to the integrity of the biblical record. Men are inclined to include all the good and omit the bad, but the Bible presents the ancestry of Jesus warts and all.

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