The Unbelievable Mess of Jesus’ Family Tree



Listen to today’s Daily Text

daily text logoFebruary 17, 2016

Matthew 1:5-6

5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David. 
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,


Today, in the genealogy of Jesus, we come to the next extraordinary anomaly in ancient genealogical records. You know what it is? We hinted it at it last Friday with the reference to Tamar. WOMEN! Yes, only in this extraordinary family tree of Jesus will we find women actually named. In ancient times, this just didn’t happen. And in today’s text, we see a double extraordinary anomaly: GENTILE WOMEN. Yes, Rahab and Ruth. O.K., let’s take it one anomalous step further and add the truth about Rahab—she was a GENTILE WOMAN PROSTITUTE.

So much for the pristine bloodline of Jesus. But then, Jesus didn’t actually, literally come from this bloodline did he. Joseph was his “father” yet not his biological parent. More to come on that front in a week or so. For now, it’s significant to note that Jesus was born into the real lineage of a real family with all its drama and scary uncles. His bloodline was tainted by foreign blood and rogue relatives. It’s fascinating to consider how Jesus can get involved with “bad” blood and yet his blood remain so unalterably pure that it could save the entire human race.

And the stories of these women are as profound as they are scandalous. If I didn’t think I would lose my readers, we could spend the next six months just digging into the stories behind the characters in the genealogy of Jesus. ;0) Tamar deceptively prostituted herself to her own father-in-law, Judah, in order to keep the family line unbroken. Rahab committed high treason against her own people in her hometown of Jericho by hiding the Israelite spies in her home and sneaking them out under cover of darkness. When the walls of Jericho came tumbling down, Rahab was saved. She later married into the family and gave us Boaz, which brings us to the extraordinary story Ruth.

Ruth, as you may remember, was a Gentile who lost her husband, yet she chose to stick with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and return to Israel. She had less than nothing, picking up the stalks of wheat left behind by the gleaners, but she pledged herself to Naomi’s God, the God who redeems widows. And that’s exactly what happened. She was redeemed by Boaz and they gave birth to Obed, and a generation later came Jesse, the father of David. Not only was Ruth not abandoned, God brought her into the center of the center of the story of redemption.

We have time for one more story, and this one may be the biggest bunker buster of them all. Did you catch the way the genealogy put it?

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,

Remember Uriah’s wife’s name, who is not named in the family tree? Yep, Bathsheba! If ever there were a story for the Israeli Enquirer, this was it.  The great King David broke all ten of the ten commandments in one fell swoop and yet God held fast to him. It reveals the depths of the possibilities of God’s redemption that David’s unwise adultery with Bathsheba, “who had been Uriah’s wife,” brought us Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived.

It makes sense, doesn’t it, that the Savior and Redeemer of the whole world would inextricably identify himself with such a sordid storyline. That’s how this God works. He doesn’t fly above the fray of the dark devastation of the human race. As only the Light of the World could do, he embedded himself right smack dab in the middle of the darkness. And as only the Resurrection and the Life could do, he ran headlong straight into the very jaws of death.

Can you believe in a God like that? It’s the same God who enters into the depths of our self-deceiving story lines. Absolutely no one is beyond reach of redemption. It’s all right there in the genealogy. Who knew?!

Daily Text MATTHEW 02-17-16


1. How does this extraordinary genealogy with these exceptional stories of redemption encourage you?

2. It seems that Jesus is not looking for our highly edited social media storylines where everybody’s living the dream with their beautiful family and doing amazing work in between their awesome vacations. What if he’s looking for us to be honest about our broken situations and seemingly irreparable mistakes? What would that change for you?

3. How does this change your impression, outlook and approach to people you may have formerly looked down on or disassociated with because of their bad choices and messed up lives?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.