The Genealogy of Jesus
“And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the deportation to Babylon.”
This second paragraph is easy to skip. I’ll be honest, I used to skip over it for a long time. But over time I started to read through the Old Testament a bit more. I spent a summer just reading straight through from Judges to the end of 2 Kings (something I would encourage everyone to do at some point). As I read I began to become more familiar with the stories in the Old Testament, including the stories of the kings mentioned in this section of Matthew. Since then, whenever I read through the Gospel of Matthew and have to read the genealogy, these names sort of stand up out of the page a bit more. The genealogy makes a bit more sense. That’s why I was excited to study genealogy with you guys.
When I sat down to study genealogy I had a plan for how I was going to study it. I thought I had a good understanding of the names in this second paragraph. But, as I began to study each name, I found some surprises. God completely changed my perspective on the genealogy once I actually sat down to study it. Even though I was already familiar with the genealogy, God still had new things to teach me.
I want to share all of that just to encourage you guys if you’re studying on your own. The reality is, I’m learning too. So, if you read through these blog posts and think, wow she’s so smart to know all of these things, just know a lot of this is new to me too.
This part of the genealogy is deep. There is quite a lot that we can learn by studying this paragraph. However, I won’t be able to cover everything in these posts. If you have a question or see anything in your own study time that you would like to know more about, or would even like to share, feel free to let me know in the comments on either the blog post. You can also message me or any of the elders if you have questions.
As we study, as always, I encourage you to go look up these names in the Old Testament for yourself. Take some time to write a summary of who they were and pray for God to help you understand what their story tells us about Jesus. I will leave a list at the end of this blog post of each name and where you can find them in the Old Testament. So you can reference that if you need to.
As we get into it, try to think about how this part plays into Matthew’s genealogy as a whole. Remember, Matthew is writing to a Jewish audience. He is trying to use this genealogy to show them who Jesus is. He is the Christ. He is the Messiah. He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. Everything that happened in the Old Testament ultimately points to Jesus.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of this part of the genealogy.
The Wife of Uriah
Right at the beginning of the second list of names, Matthew mentions another woman. Except this time he doesn’t even mention her name. He just calls her “the wife of Uriah.” Now if you know a little bit about the life of King David, you’ll know who Matthew is talking about. He is making a reference to Bathsheba. The story of David and Bathsheba is one of the biggest scandals in the Old Testament.
We find the story of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11 and 12. I’ll give you the short version of the story, but encourage you to read the whole thing on your own.
David sees Bathsheba bathing on top of her roof. He asks his servants to bring her to him. He then sleeps with her and later finds out that she is pregnant. David tries to hide his sin by having Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed in battle. Nathan the prophet confronts David about his sin in 2 Samuel 12. David is convicted and repents. The baby that Bathsheba gives birth to ends up dying. But God forgives David and Bathsheba becomes pregnant again with Solomon.
And this is the story Matthew seems to highlight. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Matthew leaves out Bathsheba’s name. Bathsheba represents the biggest downfall of king David. Even though David loved God more than any other king before or after him, he still sinned. He was still imperfect.
The Kings of Judah
In this second paragraph, Matthew focuses on the kings of Judah. The main reason Matthew does this is, he’s trying to show that Jesus is the son of David. All of David’s sons ended up ruling over Judah. And God had promised David that a king would come through his line. Matthew wants to show that Jesus is the king of Judah that God had promised His people. So, in this list, Matthew is reinforcing the point he makes in the very first sentence. Jesus is the Christ. Jesus is the son of David.
But we can go a lot deeper here. I want us to dig a bit into this part of Matthew’s genealogy. We can learn a lot about Jesus by looking at the stories of these kings.
One thing these kings have in common is they are all broken. Matthew starts off with the sin of David, as we’ve already seen. David was a man who loved God with his whole heart. And yet, he is still sinful. As great as David was, he was not good enough to save the Israelites.
From Solomon onward, we see king after king who “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” If you read through 1 and 2 Kings you’ll see this phrase used over and over again. Solomon, as wise as he was, had many foreign wives who led him into idolatry. After Solomon, many of the kings of Judah followed in his footsteps. They worshipped idols and led the rest of the people into idol worship as well. We see several of these kings listed here.
While there were several kings who worshipped idols, there were a few who did love God. They “did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” The Old Testament says they followed in the footsteps of David. And many of these kings, like Hezekiah and Josiah, brought about major religious reforms. Josiah was even the first king to enforce the observance of the Passover. 2 Kings tells us that “no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel or during all of the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was kept to the LORD in Jerusalem.”
But as you read through 1 and 2 Kings, you will also see that despite the righteousness of these kings, it still wasn’t enough to save God’s people. David’s love for God wasn’t enough. The reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah were not enough. The celebration of the Passover was not enough. The people still fell into idolatry. They still turned away from God. Josiah was the last righteous king in Judah. “Before him, there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him” (2 Kings 23:25). No king was as righteous as Josiah. And yet, his righteousness was not enough to turn God’s wrath away from the people.
God’s people needed something more than a regular human king. They needed a king who could take away the wrath of God. And this was exactly the king God promised to send. And here in Matthew’s genealogy, we begin to see that Jesus is that king.
Only Jesus Can Do It.
When we read the second paragraph in Matthew’s genealogy, on the surface we simply see him proving Jesus’ right to the throne of Judah. If Jesus came through the line of Judah, then He is the Christ. He is the one God promised.
But I think we get even more than that. When we take some time to read the stories of these kings, all we see is brokenness. We see failures. And we see that the righteousness of human kings is not enough to turn God’s people from sin. God’s people need more than a human king. They need a fully righteous king. They need a king that can actually change their hearts. Religious reforms won’t do it. Just celebrating another Passover won’t do it.
Only Jesus can do it.
Jesus is the sinless king, David failed to be. Jesus is the righteous king that the other kings of Judah couldn’t be, no matter how much they wanted to be. Jesus is the only king who can turn away the wrath of God.
The Kings of Judah
If you guys want to take some time and read about these kings on your own, here is a list of each of them and where you can find them in the Old Testament. You can also read through 1 and 2 Kings to get the full story effect with these kings. Reading straight through these books has been very beneficial for my own relationship with God.
- David 1-2 Samuel
- Solomon 1 Kings 1-11
- Rehoboam 1 Kings 12 & 14
- Abijah 1 Kings 15:1-9
- Asa, or Asaph, 1 Kings 15:10-24
- Jehoshaphat 1 Kings 22:41-50
- Joram 2 Kings 8:16-24
- Uzziah 2 Kings 15:1-7 (Here he’s called Azariah, but in the account in 2 Chronicles 26 he’s called Uzziah)
- Jotham 2 Kings 15:32-38
- Ahaz 2 Kings 16:1-20
- Hezekiah 18:1-21
- Manasseh 2 Kings 21:1-18
- Amnon 2 Kings 21:19-26
- Josiah 2 Kings 22:1-23:30
- Jechoniah 2 Kings 23:36-25:30 (called Jehoiachin here)
As always I encourage you guys to engage with the text on your own if you have the time. Ask questions. Pray as you study. And share what God is showing you in the comments, here or on Facebook.