Of the four women mentioned in the genealogy other than Mary, none were of the seed of Abraham. Tamar was a daughter of the land (probably a descendant of Ham). Rahab was of Jericho probably a Canaanites. Ruth was a descendant of Lot. Christ, therefore, did not descend from a pure Jewish stock, rather, This would, from the Christian perspective, make Him a truly universal Messiah! Rahab was a harlot, and Tamar posed as one to get Judah (her father-in-law) to impregnate her. Bathsheba, mother of Solomon, was an adulteress. The women Tamar, Rahab and Ruth, and Bathsheba all bore their sons through unions that were “regular.” These “irregularities” prefigure the ultimate “irregularity” of the Messiah’s birth of a virgin mother. There were other irregularities in this family tree also. Micaiah was the great-granddaughter of David, and Rehoboam was David’s grandson – making them cousins, and too close to be married by today’s standards.
The first individual mentioned in the bloodline of Christ is Abraham. The most common question that people reading the genealogy have is: why does the genealogy begin with Abraham and not with Adam? Those not listed in the Gospel from Adam to Abraham are Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, and Terah. Why are these generations skipped? Was the Messiah not promised to Adam in Genesis 3:15? One of the many possible answers is: It is Abraham with whom God made a covenant. The Covenant was fourfold: God would make Abraham’s descendants a great nation. God would bless Abraham materially and make his name great. God would protect Abraham by blessing those that blessed him and cursing those that opposed Abraham. God would bless all the families of the earth through Abraham. The culmination of this covenant was the coming of Christ to redeem mankind as promised, and all nations of the world were indeed blessed through Abraham as a result.
Abraham: When God called Abram he was in a city in Babylonia, named Ur of the Chaldees. Abraham’s father, Terah according to Joshua 24:2, worshiped idols. Jewish tradition refers to Terah as an idol maker. Ur was an idolatrous city worshiping many different Gods such as the god of fire, moon, sun, and stars. Abraham heard the voice of God. There is no hint that when God spoke to him that he questioned who God was. Further, he did not confuse the voice of God with the idols and false Gods that his father worshiped. He knew who was speaking to him.
Isaac: The firstborn of Sarah to Abraham. He was the son who was to have been sacrificed to God by divine decree, but at the last moment, God sent an angel to spare him. Isaac was, like his father, in the business of digging wells. He married Rebekah and sired Jacob and Esau.
Jacob: Born pulling the ankle of his brother, Esau. Later on in life, he tricked his father into bestowing the birthright upon him by wearing animal fur, after having purchased it from Esau for a bowl of soup. Jacob had twelve sons and at least one daughter, by his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and by their female slaves Bilhah and Zilpah. He was renamed Israel by the angel after wrestling with the angel through the night. Was at odds with his brother Esau throughout most of their life until he returned from working for Laban for twenty years. At this time they were reconciled. Later on, he journeyed to Egypt with his household due to famine and discovered that his son Joseph had not been slain, but had been elevated to viceroy in Egypt.
Judah (Tamar): Judah receives the blessing from his father, not because he is the firstborn, but because of the behaviour of his older brothers. Reuben, the eldest, is skipped for his having had sexual relations with his father’s concubine. Simeon and Levi were the next in line, but as a result of their violence and temperament, they too are skipped for the blessing. As a result, Judah is blessed with “the scepter shall not depart from Judah” and is given kingship over his brothers. Judah’s union with Tamar is a complicated one, in which she marries his eldest son Er, whom the Lord kills for his actions. Then she is married to the next oldest, Onan, who refuses to provide offspring for his brother and spills his seed rather than impregnating her. Shelah, his youngest is too young, so Judah advises her to wait. When Shelah comes of age, Judah does not give him to her in marriage. She then disguises as a prostitute and tricks Judah into having intercourse with her. When she is found to be pregnant, he intends to kill her until she provides his staff to him and he realizes his sin.
Phares: Not much is mentioned other than he is a twin son of Zerah, through Judah and Tamar.
Esrom: The older of the two sons of Perez. He is mentioned in Chronicles as being among the youngest generation of the 70 Israelites to migrate to Egypt during the famine with Jacob.
Aram: Aram is the son of Esrom and the father of Amminadab. No mention other than genealogies.
Aminadab: Born during the Israelite Exile in Egypt. Married Aaron the priest’s daughter, Elisheva. Fathered Nasson, chief of the tribe of Judah.
Nasson: Exodus records him as being at least twenty years of age during the Exodus from Egypt and the census taken in the wilderness. He was appointed by Moses as the chief of the tribe of Judah. Nasson died before the entry into the promised land.
Salmon (Rahab): Salmon married Rahab the harlot, who at the city of Jericho hid the two Israelite spies that Joshua had sent to scout out the city under a bundle of flax on her roof. She later lowered them out her window, and as a sign to the attacking Israelites, agreed to hang a red cord out of her window so that her family would be spared. She, like Tamar, is not from an Israelite stock, but was a Canaanite.
Boaz (Ruth): A wealthy landowner that marries Ruth. Ruth came to be seen by Boaz gleaning wheat in the fields with her mother in law Nomi. She remained with her mother in law, though her husband had died. Boaz, after marrying her, purchased the lands that Naomi had been forced to sell and placed them back within the hands of the “Elimelech” line. He also dedicates his firstborn through Ruth as the offspring of Elimelech.
Obed: Obed is the Son of Boaz and the father of Jesse. No mention other than genealogies.
Jesse: Jesse meaning “God exists” or “God’s gift”, had eight sons and two daughters, but he is known to Bible History primarily because of his youngest son, the one who became King David. As such, Jesse was a key ancestor of Jesus Christ. Not much more is mentioned about him other than prophetic writings regarding his son David, and a root of Jesse from which the Messiah is to come.
David (Bathsheba): David son of Jesse, was the second king (after Saul) of the united kingdom of Israel. David is portrayed before his rise to the throne, as a humble shepherd tending sheep, and slaying any creature that dared to attack his flock. His rise to fame began when Israel faced the Philistines in the valley of Elah. None in Israel was brave enough to face the Philistine champion, Goliath. David, believing fully in the power of the Lord God of Israel, volunteered to fight the giant. Saul first tried to fit David with armour, but David refused, choosing to use only five smooth stones found in the stream, and a slingshot. After slaying the giant and removing his head, the Philistines fled. Over the next few years, David has an on and off relationship with Saul, at times fleeing him in fear for his life. Jonathan, Saul’s son, however; forms a close bond with David and aids him in knowing the ever-changing moods and intent of Saul. After both Saul and his son David are slain by the Philistines (Saul took his own life by falling on his own sword) David is anointed king by Samuel. David is also highly known in his dealings with Uriah the Hittite in order to take Uriah’s wife Bathsheba for himself. Davids sons Adonijah and Absalom rebel against him, in the end, dying or being slain, leaving Solomon as heir to the throne. The entire book of Psalms is, by tradition, attributed to David’s authorship.
Solomon: The son of David and final ruler of the United Kingdom of Israel which spit into Israel and Judah following his death. Solomon is most popularly known for his construction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon was granted wisdom by God and is stated to be the wisest man ever. In one tale, he rightly judges the true mother of a surviving child between two women, one of whose child died. On his relationship with the queen of Sheba and his control of demons, there is much Talmudic lore, but there is no Biblical evidence for such. He is said to have had Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, and an amazing number of horses and chariots.
Rehoboam: Rehoboam inherited a united kingdom of Israel which he ruled until the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled and split away. The initial rebellion resulted from the fear of the people, that he would continue to tax them excessively just as Solomon had done to finance the construction of the Temple and of his Palace. Foolishly listening to his advisors and fearing to show weakness, he proclaimed to the people that he would tax the people ten times more than his father had. In the end, his kingdom (Judah) fell to the Egyptians with him being left as a tributary of the Egyptian kings.
Abijam: Abijam was the son Micaiah, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah, and the granddaughter of King David’s rebellious son Absalom. The biblical narrative has him going to extreme lengths in order to reunite the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Abijam successfully defeats Jeroboam, however is ultimately unsuccessful in reuniting the kingdom.
Asa: Asa is best known for his insistence in the worship of the God of Israel, and the destruction of idols. He is credited with rebelling successfully against Egypt and liberating the kingdom of Judah. In his reign, the Bible specifically mentions there being “peace in the land”. Chastised by the prophet Hanani for relying on the kingdom of Syria rather than solely relying on the Divine, he threw the prophet into prison. In his thirty-ninth year of kingship, he contracted an incurable disease and died two years later.
Jehoshaphat: Son of Azubah, the wife of his father King Asa and daughter of Shilhi. He succeeded his father at the age of thirty-five, and reigned over the kingdom of Judah for twenty-five years. He spent the first five years of his reign fighting off the advances of the kingdom of Israel. He is credited for destroying idolatry (cult of Baal) and for rooting out sexual immorality from the kingdom. The final note in his kingly record is when the Moabites rallied to invade his kingdom. When they encamped at Ein Gedi, King Jehoshaphat and the entire kingdom took to prayer and fasting. The next day, the Moabite army was seen to be quarreling and fighting among themselves, eventually defeating themselves without any intervention from the army of Jehosaphat.
Joram: Joram succeeded his father at the age of thirty-two, ruling for only eight years. In order to ensure that his reign remained uncontested, he slew all of his brothers. He forged an extremely shaky alliance with the kingdom of Israel by marrying Athaliah, the daughter of King Ahab. The Bible states that he abandoned the God of his fathers, and as punishment, the Lord sent a raid party consisting of Philistines, Arabs, and Ethiopians who despoiled the king’s palace, carrying off his entire family with the exception of his youngest son Jehoahaz.
Ozias: Ozias was the son of Amaziah, who was the son of Joash who was the son of Ahaziah, who was the son of Joram. It is unclear why the genealogy presented skips these three generations. He ascended to the throne at the age of eighteen and reigned for fifty-two years. The prophet Zechariah was active during his reign. The Bible states that during his reign, he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and infers that this is why he had the most prosperous reign after Solomon. In the end, though, his pride was his undoing when he entered the temple in order to burn incense on the altar of incense (a duty reserved to the priests of the line of Aaron). Azariah the High Priest and a few other priests opposed him in this move and an earthquake occurred with rays of light from the cracks in the earth shining on Ozias, casting leprosy upon him. After this, he dwelt in solitude until his death.
As a side note: This strange skipping of generations creates an anomaly the mentioned generations that existed in the listed genealogies, throwing off the count of fourteen generations, fourteen generations, and fourteen generations. The use of fourteen is speculated to be because fourteen is the numerical value of the Hebrew letters forming the name of David. In Hebrew numerology, this solidifies his place as a king. Furthermore, in the final grouping, there are only thirteen names. This may be because Matthew took a little poetic license here to force each grouping to appear as fourteen generations, or may be because the writer added Jesus as the fourteenth name. Some scholars suggest that Jesus who is called the Messiah doubles the final member of the chain.
Joatham: Joatham ascended to the throne at the age of twenty-five and reigned for sixteen years. He reigned for sixteen years until he was replaced with his son Achaz by the Syrian rulers of Judah. He is recorded to have waged war against Rezin, king of the Arameans, and Pekah, king of Israel. The prophets Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah preached and prophesied during his reign. He is credited with rebuilding the temple walls, and with defeating the kingdom of the Ammonites.
Achatz: Achatz was placed on the throne of his father at the age of twenty by the Syrian rulers of Judah. He reigned for sixteen years. The Bible makes clear that he was wicked, and credits him with introducing idols and idolatrous cults to Judah. He even went so far as to erect an idol in the temple of the Lord. When he died at the age of thirty-six, he was deemed unworthy because of his wickedness, and he was not buried with his ancestors.
Ezekias: Ezekias succeeded his wicked father at the age of twenty-five, and his first act was to instruct the priests and Levites to open and repair the doors of the Temple and to remove the defilements of the sanctuary. His mother was Abijah, who was the daughter of the high priest, Zechariah. His wife was Hephzibah, who was noted as being “God-fearing”. Ezekias is credited with abolishing idol worship throughout his kingdom and restoring worship of the God of Israel. He witnessed the Assyrian conquest of the kingdom of Israel, and himself refused to pay tribute to Sennacherib. As a result, Sennacherib marched also against Judah but failed to conquer the kingdom. Isaiah and Micah prophesied during his reign. Ezekias reigned over the kingdom of Judah for twenty-nine years.
Mannases: Mannases was the only son of Ezekias and Hephzibah. He ascended the throne at the age of twelve and reigned over the kingdom of Judah for fifty-five years. He is said to have been wicked, undoing the religious reforms of his father and instituting pagan worship and idolatry. He was married to Meshullemeth, daughter of Harus of Jotbah. He reigned for fifty-five years, after which he was buried in the garden of Uzza rather than in the tombs of his ancestors.
Ammon: Ammon followed in the footsteps of his father, encouraging and propagating idolatry, which led to a revolt culminating in his assassination at the hands of his own servants. The Bible states that Ammon “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father. And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them.”He was married to Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. He ascended to the throne at the age of twenty-two and ruled for only two years.
Josiah: Josiah ascended to the throne at the age of eight, and reigned over the kingdom of Judah for thirty-one years. Josias had four sons: Johanan and Eliakim with Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah, and two more sons, Mattanyahu and Shallum with Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. Josias ordered his High Priest Hilkiah to use the tax money which had been collected over the years, in order to restore the temple. During these renovations, Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law while clearing the treasure room of the Temple. Hilkiah then brought this scroll to Josias’ attention, who then ordered that it be read to the people in Jerusalem. Josias is credited with destroying the pagan objects related to the worship of Baal and Asherah and executing their priests. Josias was killed during a Babylonian invasion.
Jechonias: Jechonias ascended the throne at the age of eighteen, and reigned for only three years and ten days until he and all of the influential leaders of Judah were lead in exile to Babylon. Jechonias was released from prison “in the 37th year of the exile” when Evil-Merodach ascended to the throne of Babylon. Jeremiah cursed Jechonias stating that none of his descendants would ever sit on the throne of Israel. This is particularly interesting, as he is included in the lineage of Christ, who is said to be the Messiah and King, who will sit on the throne of His father David.
Salathiel: Though Salathiel never sat on the throne, Salathiel was regarded as the second Exilarch of Judah during the Babylonian captivity. His genealogy is not entirely clear and does not match up in the Matthew and Luke genealogical accounts.
Zerubbabel: Zerubbabel was assigned as the governor of the Persian Province of Judah, as he was next surviving in line for the throne of Jechonias. The Bible account assigns him as being a close associate of Jeshua son of Jehozadak. These two men are recorded as having led the Jewish refugees from exile back to Jerusalem and are stated to have begun reconstruction of the temple. He appears in the prophecies of both Haggai and Zechariah. “I will take you Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, my servant, and wear you like a signet ring; for it is you whom I have chosen. This is the word of the Lord of Hosts” and “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; (concerning the rebuilding of the temple) his hands shall also complete it.”.
Abiud: Abiud is the son of Zerubbabel and the father of Eliakim. No mention other than genealogies.
Eliakim: Eliakim is the son of Abiud and the father of Azor. No mention other than genealogies.
Azor: Azor is the son of Eliakim and the father of Zadok. No mention other than genealogies.
Zadok: Zadok is the son of Azor and the father of Achim. No mention other than genealogies.
Achim: Achim is the son of Zadok and the father of Eliud. No mention other than genealogies.
Eliud: Eliud is the son of Achim and the father of Eleazar. No mention other than genealogies.
Eliazar: Eliazar is the son of Eliud and the father of Matthan. No mention other than genealogies.
Matthan: Matthan is the son of Eleazar and the father of Jacob. No mention other than genealogies.
Jacob: Jacob is the son of Matthan and the father of Joseph. No mention other than genealogies.
Joseph (Mary): Joseph is stated as being a resident of Nazareth who travels to Bethlehem in compliance with the Roman census. At this time, Joseph was betrothed to Mary. The story of Mary here begins with the Angel Gabriel appearing to her and telling her that she shall conceive and bear a child who is the son of God. The Bible states that this annunciation occurred in the sixth month of her cousin Elizabeth’s (mother of John the Baptist) pregnancy. “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: (Though as a descendant of Jechonias, cursed by Jeremiah) And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Prior to his journey, he learns of Mary’s pregnancy, and have had no relations with her, decides to quietly break off the engagement. However, an angel appears to him telling him not to fear to take Mary as his wife, stating that the child which is conceived within her is of the Holy Spirit. While in Bethlehem, Jesus is born in a manger, because “there was no room for them in the inn. After the birth of Jesus Joseph receives an angelic messenger in a dream telling him to take the child and to flee to Egypt. Not long thereafter, all male children up to the age of two in the region were ordered slain by Herod. Upon the death of Herod, Joseph returns to Nazareth. The Biblical narrative records this as fulfillment of the Old Testament words, “Out of Egypt I have called forth my son.”. Joseph is referred to in the Gospels as a Carpenter, Smith or Artisan. Joseph is mentioned beyond that only in the episode in which Jesus is left behind at the Temple, and the Gospels record “His parents” as looking for Him. The plural indicates that Joseph was at the time, present. We do know from Matthew, chapter one, that he was an excellent earthly example of integrity and righteousness, however, nothing else is presented in the Bible as to the personage of Joseph, or as to his demise.
Mary: Mary is scarcely mentioned in the gospels either, though more often than her husband. She occurs only twenty-one times in the New Testament. Luke’s gospel mentions Mary, identifying her by name twelve times in the infancy narrative. Matthew’s gospel mentions her by name five times, four being within the infancy narrative and only one “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?” outside the infancy narrative. Mark’s gospel names her only once “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” and mentions her as Jesus’ mother without naming her ”There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.”. John’s gospel refers to her twice but never mentions her by name. Described as Jesus’ mother, she makes two appearances in John’s gospel. She is first seen at the wedding at Cana of Galilee. The second reference in John, mentions her standing near the cross of her son together with the “disciple whom Jesus loved. In the Book of Acts, Mary and the “brothers of Jesus” are mentioned in the company of the eleven who are gathered in the upper room following the ascension.