I’ve memorized genealogy lists in the Bible, not all of them, but those that traced the line to Jesus. The problem is, I can never remember them. You have to rehearse them at least once a week to maintain the list of names in your mind. It seems that after about a week they get lost in the deep recesses of my mind where I can’t find them anymore. The genealogy in the first chapter of Matthew is one of those lists I’ve tried to memorize. There are three sections in this genealogy: The first one is from Abraham to David. Then comes from David to the deportation to Babylon. The final one is from the Deportation to the birth of Jesus. Matthew 1:2-17 gives us the entire list. Instead of quoting it here in its entirety, which I can’t do anyway, (you can look it up), I’d like to point out a couple of interesting things regarding those on the list.

First of all, look at the women that are here. In the Old Testament Genealogies, especially those in Genesis, there are no women in those genealogies. But here we have Tamar who played the prostitute to get pregnant by her father-in-law Judah. Then we have Rahab the mother of Boaz who was the prostitute of Jericho. Then there is the mother of Obed, Ruth. She was a Moabitess, the product of incest between Lot and one of his two daughters. Then we have the mother of Solomon, Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah who had an affair with King David. The text says that David saw her bathing, sent for her, and “took her.” Does that mean he raped her? There is some debate regarding this issue. If David could murder, surely rape wasn’t something beyond him. There is another woman that is not named in the genealogy that should be mentioned. That was the mother of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. Her name was Naamah. She is not named but she was an Ammonite. Therefore, she was the descendant of the other daughter of Lot and therefore is the product of incest as well. My point is that we have a rape victim and two products of incest in the genealogy of Christ. Many of those who oppose abortion will make an exception for those conceived by rape or incest. The baby in the womb is guilty of neither of these offenses. If it’s life at conception, let’s protect it. We never know how God will use him/her to bless the world.

The genealogy in the fifth chapter of Genesis is widely noted for ending with “and he died.” They lived long lives, but the end was just the same except for Enoch who “was taken” by God. But, it’s a constant refrain in the book documenting God’s words to Adam that death would now be a part of the human experience. Chapter five of Genesis is often referred to as the “obituary chapter.” But the genealogy of Matthew does not mention death. It’s only “he begat.” It is through Adam’s line we inherited death. It’s through Christ’s line we can inherit eternal life through faith. Our Daily Bread commented on this passage by saying: You’ve probably heard the familiar story of the man whose name was printed in the obituary column of a daily paper by mistake. Greatly disturbed, he went to the newspaper office and exclaimed, “This is terrible! Your error will cause me no end of embarrassment and may even mean a loss of business. How could you do such a thing?” The editor expressed regrets, but the man remained angry and unreasonable. Finally, the editor said in disgust, “Cheer up, fellow, I’ll put your name in the birth column tomorrow and give you a fresh start!” That’s what happens when we find new life in Christ. Salvation changes our heritage from a living death to deathless life.