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This page will be a collection of additional notes about things in the Bible that are related to genealogy. Many people read right over things in the Bible and miss some interesting caveats. The intent of this page is to bring those things to the surface in hopes that you will be able to understand some of the mysteries of the Bible a little bit better. Maybe you can add some of your own. Just send them to me in an email message.
I am starting this page with five very interesting women in Jesus' ancestry line. What makes them interesting is that at least two of them were not Jewish (maybe three), one was a prostitute, one posed as a prostitute to obtain what was rightfully hers, one entered into an adulterous relationship with King David, and the last, Mary, conceived with no help from her betrothed, Joseph. I don't mean to imply that Jesus was born out of wed lock. That concept does not apply in this case. I am highlighting these five because each one of them is unique and, with the exception of Mary, not what you would expect as an ancestor of Jesus. Read about them below and continue your reading in the Bible references given.
- Tamar was Jesus' 41st great grandmother according to Matthew's genealogy. According to Luke she was his 50th great grandmother. Hebrew law dictated that when a man died his brother was bound to marry the widow. That insured that the deceased man's line would be continued. After the death of her first husband, Tamar married Judah's second son. However, after the second son died, Judah did not want her to marry his third son, because he feared that son would also die. The ancient Jews were very superstitious, and believed that there was an evil spirit that entered the bedchamber and killed husbands. Tamar posed as a prostitute and tricked Judah, her father-in-law, into sleeping with her. When she became pregnant and revealed herself to Judah, he was ashamed that he had treated her so badly. She became her father-in-law's wife and bore him twin sons, Perez (Jesus' ancestor) and Zerah. (Genesis 38)
- Rahab was Jesus' 35th great grandmother according to Matthew's genealogy. According to Luke she was his 44th great grandmother. She was not a Hebrew. She was a resident of Jerico when the Hebrews were attacking the city. There are two interpretations about who she really was. One interpretation is that she was an inn keeper and/or a prostitute. She helped Joshua's spies escape from Jericho before they were captured. For this act her life and the lives of all in her family were spared when Jericho was captured and destroyed. Another interpretation says that she was probably not the same Rahab who helped the spies, but rather was a different woman. The reason for this confusion is because some traditions say that the Rahab who helped the spies later married Joshua. There is no Biblical basis for this and Joshua is not listed as an ancestor of Jesus. The ancestor of Jesus is another Hebrew named Salmon (Salma). Matther gives Salmon's wife's name as Rahab. It is safe to say that Biblical "experts" are confused about this issue. I leave it to others to resolve the question. (Joshua 2:1-24; 6:25; Matthew 1:5)
- Ruth was the Moabite woman who was the wife of one of Naomi's sons. When Naomi's husband and sons died she decided to go back to her hometown of Bethlehem. Ruth went with her. Ruth eventually married Boaz, a relative of Naomi and became 34th great grandmother according to Matthew's genealogy. According to Luke she was his 43rd great grandmother. Read the book of Ruth.
- Bathsheba was the wife of one of David's generals, "Uriah the Hittite." She could have been Hittite herself, but there is nothing in the Bible to confirm that. David lusted after Bathsheba and contrived to have Uriah killed so that he could marry her. She was the mother of Solomon who became the king of Israel after David died. You can read the complete story beginning with 2 Samuel 11. Bathsheba was was Jesus' 29th great grandmother according to Matthew's genealogy. According to Luke she was his 38th great grandmother.
- Mary is very familiar to us. She was not married to Joseph when the Holy Spirit came upon her and she conceived the baby Jesus. However, according to ancient Jewish law she was as good as married because she was engaged to him. She was probably very young, maybe as young as 13 or 14. Joseph was probably a widower, but we do not know that for sure. I hope you do not need a biblical reference for Mary, but if you do you can send me an email message. I will give you several.
Now for some other interesting things you may not have picked up on yet as you read the Bible. Some of these things are subject to interpretation and you may not agree with me on every point. That's fine and I invite you to provide a different interpretation if you wish. I am always interested in learning new things about the Bible.
More to come later.
- Adam was still alive when his 6th great grandson, Lamech, was born. In fact he almost lived to see Noah born.
- When the Great Flood occurred, Methuselah had been dead less that a year. See the chart Adam through Noah
- We all know the story of Noah. But, did you know that he discovered the process of fermentation and was the first reported person in the Old Testament to get drunk? Genesis 9:20-21
- Shem, Noah's oldest son, was still alive when Isaac was born. That means Shem was also alive when Abraham left Ur for the promised land.
- Joshua and Caleb were among the twelve men sent out by Moses to spy out the land of the Canaanites. They were the only two who brought back encouraging reports. Because of their faith they were also the only two original members of the tribes to go into the promised land. Remember that God did not permit any of the other original members of the tribes to enter the promised land because of their disobedience to God (Not even Moses). That entire generation died during the desert wanderings.
But, did you know that Caleb probably was not with the Israelites when they left Egypt? He is referred to as a "Kenizzite" in Joshua 14:6. Apparently he joined the Israelites sometime during the first two years after they left Egypt.
- Othniel was the first "Judge" of the Israelites after the death of Joshua (Judges 3:9). Like Caleb above, he was probably not with the Israelites when they left Egypt, but joined them later. He is a close relative of Caleb, maybe even his younger brother.
- Samson and Samuel were born only four years apart (1090 BC & 1086 BC respectively), and were, obviously, alive at the same time.
- The mother of Moses was Jochebed. She married Amram who was the son of Kohath. Jachobed was Kohath's sister. Thus, the mother of Moses was also his aunt as well as the aunt of her husband, Amran. (Genesis 6:20)
- There are two people in the Bible who did not experience death. One was Enoch who was Methuselah's father and Noah's great grandfather. (NRS Genesis 5:24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him.) The other was Elijah. (NRS 2 Kings 2:11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven.) Unlike these two, Jesus experienced actual death.
- Abraham's wife, Sarah, was also his half sister. (Genesis 20:12)
- Samuel, also appears to have two genealogies in the Bible. If you go to 1 Chronicles 6:33-38 you will see a clear genealogy that makes Samuel a descendant of Levi. It goes like this ".Elkanah, son of Jeroham,
son of Eliel, son of Toah, son of Zuph, son of Elkanah, son of Mahath, son of Amasai, son of Elkanah, son of Joel, son of Azariah, son of Zephaniah, son of Tahath, son of Assir, son of Ebiasaph, son of Korah, son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, son of Israel".
However, if you read 1 Samuel 1:1 you find these words "Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. That seems to makes Samuel a descendant of Ephraim and Ephraim is one of Joseph's sons. However, my best sources point out that 1 Samuel 1:1 really refers to a location rather than a tribe. We know that some Levite tribes lived in the area assigned to Ephrain and that would clarify 1 Samuel 1:1 and bring it in line with other scriptures about Samuel. Personally, I think Samuel was a levite, but there is room for debate for those who like a puzzle. I leave it to people who are smarter than I to solve it. Two of my sources outside the Bible put Samuel in Joseph's line and two of them put him in Levi's line.
- Zephaniah, the prophet, was possibly the 2nd great grandson of King Hezekiah. That makes him a 3rd cousin of Jesus, 23 times removed. Noteworthy in the genealogy of the prophet is the name "Cushi." This name usually means "the Ethiopian" and refers to a black person from Africa. (Genesis to Revelation Teacher Book, Volume 2, Abingdon Press, Nashville, Tennessee,1997)
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