These Begats Ain’t Boring
A Devotional Thought from Matthew 1:1–17
1THE book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 3And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 7And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; 8And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; 9And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; 10And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; 11And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: 12And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 13And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 14And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; 15And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; 16And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 17So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. Matthew 1:1–17
“Well, that is just boring!” I hate to admit it but those were my words every time I used to read this portion of Matthew. A whole lot of “begetting” and a list of names that I can’t pronounce. I would always just skim through those words to get to the good parts. That was what I did until I went to take a class on the gospel of Matthew from Dr. Bill Day at Trinity Baptist Bible college in the very early 1990’s. I loved brother Day and not just because he and I shared a barber. (He was bald too in case you were wondering) He was like a Bible computer. I had him on my speed dial as number 66 because there are 66 books in the Bible, and he seemed to know them all. I prayed that God would make me like Brother Day and he took away my hair. There is a lesson to learn, Pray specifically! Anyway, He stood in front of the class and taught us about this opening genealogy of Matthew and was actually excited about it. He taught us how this was the legal line of Jesus through his adopted father Joseph. He taught us how this proved Jesus was legally the heir of David and the King of the Jews. He showed us the other genealogy of Mary in Luke and how Jesus was the rightful heir to the earthly throne. I enjoyed these opening verses in Matthew for the first time. My favorite part was when he pointed out the women in these verses. He was excited as he taught us that in the normal genealogies of the day women were not mentioned but in the line of Jesus they were because Jesus came to elevate women not push them down. He mentioned the specific women in the text and how they each one had a major problem in their life. He spoke of Tamar and how she pretended to be a prostitute in order to have a baby with her father in law. Wow, If I was not interested before I most certainly was now! There was Ruth who was not a Jew and yet there in the line of the King of kings. He taught us about how Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah committed adultery with David was mentioned in spite of her sin and poor Mary’s poverty didn’t prevent her from being a candidate for God’s blessing. My favorite part of that lesson was when he showed us Rahab who in every occasion in which she is mentioned in the NT is called “Rahab the Harlot” but not here. That is when his eyes filled with tears as he talked about the love and grace of Jesus. Next to Jesus she was no longer characterized by her past sin! Next to Jesus she was no longer Rahab the harlot. Jesus came to wash away our sins and our past for which we are so ashamed! That day I no longer complained about this list of names and “begats”. I no longer think this passage is boring. It is one of my favorite blessings in the Bible! Thank you Holy Spirit for inspiring this passage and Brother Day for teaching it to me.