The Women of Matthew 1
By Dennis Huebshman
Both Matthew 1 and Luke 3 give the lineage of Jesus, but by different paths. One notable difference is which son of David is mentioned. Luke goes from David to NATHAN while Matthew goes from David to SOLOMON. It’s believed Matthew gives Joseph’s line while Luke gives Mary’s. I’ve given some of this information earlier, however would like to expand on it.
The significance of this is the Messiah came from, and is given credibility through, God’s covenant with David that his seed would rule from the Throne in Jerusalem. Had the religious leaders of that day studied the scriptures as they should have, they would have figured this son of a carpenter was the Messiah. However as prophesied about 500 years earlier, He was rejected in order to be a perfect sacrifice (Isaiah 53).
Also, by the Holy Spirit causing Jesus to be put into Mary and by Joseph not having relations with her until after the birth, Jesus’ blood would be pure and not have the sin nature of man.
It should be noted here Luke does not mention any woman at all, but Matthew gives 5 – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba (always given as the wife of Uriah) and of course Mary.
Starting with Tamar (Genesis 38), Judah, son of Jacob (Israel) married a Canaanite woman named Shua. They had 3 sons. The firstborn was ER and Judah got Tamar to be Er’s wife. Er did evil in the sight of the Lord and was killed for it. Next in line was ONAN who also did evil in the eyes of the Lord and also was killed. Judah then told Tamar she would have to wait for SHELAH, the 3rd. son, until he grew up to marriageable age. As a custom, she moved into her father’s house and wore widows clothing.
Judah’s wife died and after a period of mourning he set out to Timnah to be with his sheepshearers. Tamar found out he was going there, and she went to Enaim which is on the way to Timnah. Shelah had grown to the proper age, however Judah had failed to provide him to Tamar.
Tamar wore a veil and took off the widow’s clothing. Judah saw her and believed she was a prostitute and had relations with her. As was custom, she did not remove the veil. Judah pledged a goat from his flock to cover the expense of the affair. She said she required a pledge or security for the payment, and Judah gave her his seal, cord and staff. He later sent the goat, but the “prostitute” was not to be found, and the people there said there never was such a woman in their area.
Tamar returned to her father’s house, and three months later it was obvious she was pregnant. Judah was told of this and ordered her brought to him, so he could have her killed. Before he could carry out the execution, she presented to him his seal, cord and staff. She told him the owner of these items was the father of her child (children as she was carrying twins).
Judah realized he could not kill her but did not have any further relations with her. She delivered the twins and one of them was named Perez. This is the child mentioned in Matthew.
Next is Rahab (Joshua 2 and 6). Joshua sent 2 spies in to the land of Canaan and specifically Jericho. The king there heard there were spies in his kingdom and that they were in his city. He had a search party look for them and they went to the house of a prostitute named Rahab. She hid the spies on her roof, and told the searchers they had been there, but had already left. When it was safe, she helped them escape and asked for a favor in return. She stated she knew they were blessed by the True God Jehovah, and all in the land there had heard of the Red Sea crossing. She believed Jericho would be given into their hand, so she asked that she and her family be spared. Because of her faith, the spies told her that when the attack would take place, she was to hang a red rope from her window, and all who were inside would be spared. She followed instructions, and after Jericho fell she married an Israelite named Salmon. They had a son BOAZ.
This brings us to Ruth. As we remember from a previous message, Elimelech took his wife Naomi and their two sons to the land of Moab because of a famine. The sons married Moabite women, however there were no off springs from those marriages. Elimelech and the sons died and one of the son’s wives stayed in Moab. Ruth went back to “Bethlehem” with Naomi and through a series of events met and married a family member BOAZ. On their wedding night, Ruth became pregnant with Obed who was father of Jesse who was father of David the King. Tradition says Boaz was quite a bit older than Ruth, and he died very soon after the wedding night.
Next is Bathsheba or as always referred to as the wife of Uriah. (2 Samuel 11) David’s army was away at war, and he was at home in Jerusalem. One night he walked on the roof of his palace and saw a woman bathing. He sent for her and was told in advance she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite. That didn’t stop his lust for her, and he had relations with her after she was brought to hem. Later, she sent word to him that she was pregnant with his child. David had Uriah brought to Jerusalem from the battlefield and he tried twice to get Uriah to go to his wife. Uriah was very honorable and devoted to the King and would not sleep with his wife. He said it would not be fair for those who were still at the battlefield. David then sent word by Uriah to Joab to have Uriah put at the head of a battle and have everyone fall back so he would be killed. After this evil deed was done, David took Bathsheba as his wife. God punished David by taking the child’s life. David truly repented and God’s covenant stood all the way to the Messiah.
We all know about Mary to whom the Angel Gabriel appeared and told her she would be the mother of the Messiah. As noted in Isaiah, she was a young virgin. Her betrothed husband, Joseph, was also visited by Gabriel and was assured that Mary had not violated her pledge to him, but the child was indeed the Messiah. Joseph fulfilled his part of the prophecy by taking Mary as his wife and not having any relations with her until after the birth of Jesus.
So, we have incest (Tamar by Judah), a prostitute (Rahab), a pagan Moabitess (Ruth) and adultery combined with murder (David and Bathsheba) all in the bloodline of the Messiah before He was placed in the womb of a young virgin.
What this means to us is whatever sins we have committed can and will be forgiven if we accept Jesus as our Savior. To not accept Him is the unforgiveable sin. We would think that none of the 1st. four women would be qualified to be in this royal bloodline. However, they all had faith in God and before Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice were purified through God.
God honors those who before the arrival of Jesus honored Him. He honors ALL who accept Jesus’ sacrifice from the cross to the present time.
He never makes a promise He won’t keep and by this we know for certain we can rely on His Son’s sacrifice t cleanse and save us. We do have to accept this free gift or be separated from God Forever! That’s the only stipulation and in not that difficult. Man always has to try to do things his own way, and that becomes a barrier. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) This means just what He said NO ONE including me. (I have called on Him and am waiting for His return to take all believers Home).
If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Messiah, you still can do so right up to the point where you take your last breath on this earth. After that, it will be too late. Why not take a moment and ask Jesus to save you? It is the most important decision you’ll ever make.