The women with stories in the genealogy of Jesus
Generally speaking, genealogy is "the family tree which records physical, blood lineage." It is recorded for the purpose of conveying legal rights, verifying the purity of the ethnical line, or showing off the achievements of one's ancestors. Furthermore, people have not shied away from deleting shameful pasts and beautifying their genealogies in order to showcase proud achievements and their lineage. However, the genealogy of Jesus Christ, which appears in Matthew 1, openly lists the names of women who were included in none other than the genealogy of Jesus Christ? According to
Jewish customs, women's names were never included in genealogies; however, the fact that five women - Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Uriah's wife, and Mary-were included in Jesus' genealogy must be a noteworthy event (Matt 1). Furthermore, the names of famous biblical matriarchs like Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel were excluded while the names of lowly, socially ostracized women whose pasts were checkered with shameful deeds.
Tamar - dressed as a prostitute and seduced father-in-law Judah
Matthew 1: 3 "Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar..."
The Canaanite woman Tamar is the daughter-in-law of Judah the fourth generation descendant of Abraham. Although Tamar was married to Er, Judah's firstborn son, Er had sinned before God and died without bearing a son to continue the line (Gen 38:6-7). According to the Levirate marriage laws, Er's younger brother Onan must consummate his relationship with his sister-in-law Tamar. But Onan despised the fact that the child produced with Tamar will be registered under Er's line, so he spilled his semen on the ground (Gen 38:9-10). God could not put up with Onan's repeated evil deed, so finally He took his life. Judah, who had now lost two sons, would not give his third son, Shelah, to Tamar even though he had to continue the covenantal lineage that came down to him from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It was because of Judah's Human concern that even Shelah, his third son, might die (Gen 38:11).
At this point, Tamar does something very strange. She dressed as a prostitute to seduce her father-in-law and slept with him to bear twins, Perez and Zerah. From an ethical perspective, this was an immoral act for sure. Knowing that she would be marked as an adulteress for execution, she risked her life to continue the holy line of God that came down through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This was none other than the manifestation of her faith. The name "Tamar" in Hebrew in derived from a word meaning "to be erect" and has come to mean "Palm tree, pillar." In actuality, by risking her life, Tamar had built up the house of Judah, which was crumbling. She was, indeed, a woman of faith like a pillar and a palm tree (Gen 38:26, Ruth 4:12).
Rahab - a national traitor
Matthew 1:5 "Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab..."
Near the end of the 40-year wilderness journey, the lsraelites were camped at Shittim in the Plains of Moab when Joshua dispatched two spies to survey the land of Canaan and Jericho (Josh 2:1). The spies stayed in the house of Rahab, who was a lowly harlot in Jericho. Rahab risked her life to hide and protect the two spies sent by Joshua (Josh 2:2-6). Rahab's actions can be seen as a treacherous act of treason according to worldly standards. However, when we look at her confession of faith, "I know that the LORD has given you the land" (Josh 2:9), we see that she had an accurate historical insight that was based on faith. Rahab was certain that the land of Canaan would be conquered by the Israelites and opposing this work would be tantamount to challenging the will of God (Heb 11:31). Even thougt she was a profane Gentile woman living in Jericho, her confession of faith, "LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath" (Josh 2:11), shows us a broad-minded faith that is reflected in her name which means "broad, large, wide" (James 2:25).
Ruth - left her home and followed her mother-in-law
Matthew 1:5 "...Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth..."
After leaving Bethlehem to escape the terrible famine, Naomi loses her husband and both sons to death in Moab. She decides to return to Judah with her two daughters-in-law. On the journey back, Naomi urges her two daughters-in-law to go their own way because it is apparent that God has dealt harshly with her. Nevertheless, Ruth follows her mother-in-law to Bethlehem saying, "Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God" (Ruth 1:16). Once in Bethlehem, Ruth met a prominent relative who was qualified to be a kinsman-redeemer and together they begot Obed (Ruth 4:13-17) to continue the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matt 1:5; Luke 3:32). This is quite an amazing feat considering that Deuteronomy 23:3 states that no Ammonite shall ever enter the assembly of the LORD. When we think of Ruth following her mother-in-law Naomi, forsaking her homeland and family (Ruth 1:14-18), we are reminded of Abraham who followed the Word of God and left his home and family (Gen 12:1-4). The name "Ruth" is derived from the Hebrew word "rehooth" which means "female companion." "friendship." She was a woman who yearned to be protected by God under His wings (Ruth 2:12).
The three women we have studied thus far chose to risk their lives and did not hesitate to act because they had assurance that what they were doing was righteous. They were crucial pieces in God's redemptive history who enabled the lamp of the covenant to continue burning. The fact that such lowly Gentile women were included in Jesus' genealogy shows us that Jesus is the Savior for all mankind (Rom 1:14-16; 3:22; 10:11-13) and that living faith is the most important factor in fulfilling the administration of redemptive history (Heb 11:6). In Jesus Christ, there is no distinction between race, gender or status; we are justified only by faith (Col 3:11; 1 Cor 1:24; 12:13; Gal 3:28).
In order to save the sinner, Jesus lowered himself to the status of a servant and did not refuse to become a descendant of adulterous and incestuous Gentile women. Through Jesus' genealogy, we discover the love of God that is greater and deeper than the universe. For we have perceived and felt the humbling and sacrificial love of God, the creative Word, who came in human form to be included in genealogies along with sinners. Thus, the genealogy is filled with the traces of the agape love of God who lowered himself to become a mockery of the world. (Psa 22:6-7).
- A summarize excerpt from The Mysterious and Profound Providence of God
The Temple of Solomon :
mysterious calculation of the period of construction
1 Kings 6:37-38 "In the fourth year the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, in the month of Ziv. In the eleventh year, in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished throughout all its parts and according to all its plans. So he was seven years in building it."
1 Kings 7:1 "Now Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house."
1 Kings 9:10 "It came about at the end of twenty years in which Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord and the king's house."
(Reference - 2Chr 3:1-2; 8:1)
Solomon is the very person who completed the construction of the temple which his father David prepared for but could not accomplish. In regard to the duration of construction of Solomon's temple, it is generally accepted that it took 7 years and 6 months based on the account of 1 Kings 6:37-38 which states that the foundation was laid in the month of Ziv (second month of the cultic calendar) in the fourth year and finished in the month of Bul (eighth month of the cultic calendar) of the eleventh year. But what would be the reason for the three passages listed above, which are foundational in reckoning the duration of building Solomon's temple, to record the duration of construction as "7 years" and not "7 years and 6 months" or even "8years"?
The terms "Ziv" and "Bul" which appear in 1 Kings 6:37-38 are proper names in the biblical calendar referring to the second and eighth months, respectively.
In order to accurately calculate the construction duration of Solomon's temple, we need to have a clearer understanding of the calendar of the Bible as well as the method of reckoning Solomon's regnal chronology to understand the concept of the "fourth year" and the "eleventh year." While the civil calendar back then reckoned the year from Nisan to Nisan (first month of the cultic calendar), the southern kingom of Judah rekoned from Tishri to Tishri (seventh month of the cultic calendar) in counting the regnal year. Simply put, the regnal year started not in the first month of the cultic calendar but in the seventh. The biblical basis, which proves that Judah used the Tishri-to-Tishri regnal year, is the following.
1. The reformation period of King Josiah
The 16th king of Judah, King Josiah, in his 18th year, started a major religious reformation which included a temple renovation among many things (2 Kgs 22:3). After finishing all of these activities, Josiah kept the Passover (4th day of the 1st month) in the month of Nisan in his 18th regnal year (2Kgs 22:3; 2 Chr 35:1-9)."
2 Kings 22:3 "Now in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan, the son of Azaliah the son of Meshullam the scribe, to the house of the Lord saying..."
2 Kings 23:23 "But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the Lord in Jerusalem."
2 Chronicles 35:1 "Then Josiah celebrated the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem, and they slaughtered the Passover animals on the fourteenth day of the first month."
Temple renovation (2 Kgs 22:3-6, 2 Chr 34:8), discovery of the Book of the Law (2 Kgs 22;8-13, 2 Chr 34:14-21), resolution to comply with the stipulations of the covenant (2 Kgs 23:1-3, 2 Chr 34:29-32), wide-scale destruction of idols (2 Kgs 23:4-20), and many other works had been performed by Josiah in his 18th year. Moreover, the fact taht all of this had been done by the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan in his 18th regnal year tells us that Judah must certainly have been using the Tishri-to-Tishri regnal year. King Josiah started the reformation in Jerusalem (2 Kgs 23:4-7), then continued in throughout the land of Judah (2 Kgs 23:8-14), and even carried it out in the northern kingdom of Israel (2 Kgs 23:15-20). If the regnal year was reckoned from Nisan to Nisan, then Josiah, in his 18th year, would have had to finish all of his work before the fourteenth day of Nisan in order to keep the Passover.
2. The order of events that appear in the book of Nehemiah
Nehemiah, who was the cupbearer for Artaxerxes King of Babylon, cried for days in sorrow as he fasted before God because he had heard of the desolation of Jerusalem (Neh 1:1-11). Afterwards, as he was serving wine to King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah tells the king about the desolation of Jerusalem and requests permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city (Neh 2:1-5). Considering the flow of events as listed, it is clear that Nehemiah's hearing of the desolation of Jerusalem in chapter 1 is prior in time to his serving wine to the king. However, the events of Nehemiah chapter 1 occurred in the month of chislev (9th month in the cultic calendar) of Artaxerxes' 20th year and the events of chapter 2 occurred in the month of Nisan (1st month of the cultic calendar) of Artaxerxes' 20th year. Just on these facts alone, it is easy to mistaken the events of chapter 2 as being prior to those of chapter 1.
Nehemiah 1:1 "The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol"
Nehemiah 2:1 "And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence."
Furthermore, one should notice that the month of Nisan, which is four months after the month of Chislev in Artaxerxes' 20th year, is not referred to as that of the 21st year but the 20th year. This reveals to us that Judah used the Tishri-to-Tishri rekoning for the regnal years. Although Artaxerxes was a foreign king. his regnal years were expressed in terms of the Judahite reckoning method.
Based on such biblical evidence, if one calculates the duration of construction of Solomon's temple using the Nisan-to-Nisan regnal year, the total comes to 8 years (approx. 7 years and 6 months). However, when the Tishri-to-Tishri standard is used, the total duration comes to 7 years (approx. 7 years and 6 months). However, when the Tishri-to-Tishri standard is used, the total duration comes to 7 years (approx. 6 years and 6 months). Upon closer examination, we see that the month of Bul (8th months in the cultic calendar) in Solomon's 11th year, remains constant whether one uses the Nisan-to-Nisan standard or the Tishri-to-Tishri standard. However, there is a difference of one year for the month of Ziv (2nd month in the cultic calendar) of Solomon's 4th year depending on whether one uses the Nisan-to-Nisan standard or the Tishri-to-Tishri standard. Therefore, the fact that 1 Kings 6:38 records the duration of construction for Solomon's temple as "7 years" and not eight proves to us that the southern kingdom of Judah had already started using the Tishri-to-Tishri standard even during the time of Solomon.
- Summarized excerpts from The Mysterious and Profound Providence of God