The women listed in the genealogy of Jesus make for an interesting study. A closer look at the lineage found in the first chapter of Matthew reveals there are four named women including the mother of our LORD.
For our first consideration let us make this observation. If the Bible were written by man, we would expect the lineage of the Savior to be a line of perfection. We would not expect the imperfections of man to be found or at least included in the narrative. Yet 2 of the 4 named women and their Biblical records are connected to harlotry or prostitution. This is the genealogy of Jesus Christ! This is a powerful statement for the Inspiration of the Scriptures; it was not written by man.
Matthew 1:3 lists Tamar in the line of Christ. Her story is found in Genesis 38. Tamar was married to two of Judah’s sons both having died. In order to bear a child, Tamar tricked Judah into thinking she was a prostitute. Thus, Judah’s place in the lineage of Christ was bearing a son by his daughter-in-law. With the deception, Tamar certainly was not innocent. But neither was Judah considering that he thought he was visiting a harlot.
Rahab is the next woman named in verse 5 of Matthew 1. Her story is found in Joshua 2. Here we find the account of the spies, sent by Joshua, taking shelter in the house of Rahab. Verse 1 identifies Rahab as a harlot. Yet because of her actions toward the spies, she and her household were spared. Rahab becomes the mother-in-law of the next named woman.
Then we come to Ruth. One of the most beautiful Biblical stories is that of her life found in the book named for her. Ruth 4:21 along with the Matthew passage identifies Ruth as the daughter-in-law of Rahab and great grandmother of David the king. Ruth is one of only two women in the Bible to have a book named in her honor. But an even greater honor is that she is listed in the lineage of the Savior found in verse 5.
The 4th named woman in the lineage of the LORD is of course Mary, the mother of Jesus.
There is also a fifth woman, the unnamed woman, referred to simply as “her” in verse 6. She is the mother of Solomon. She is Bathsheba. She is listed in the genealogy of Jesus but significantly she is not named. Rather, Uriah, her husband, is remembered and immortalized by name.
This sordid account is found in 2 Samuel 11. It is one of the darkest times in David’s life. He committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband, Uriah, murdered. Again we see a heinous sin committed by one of the heroes of the Bible. And rather than covering it up, the Inspired Word shares all the details of the sinful episode.
David received forgiveness for his sin and was later referred to as a man after GOD’S own heart (Acts 13:22). David’s penitential Psalm 51 was written afterwards. Although forgiveness was extended to David, verse 3 of the Psalm makes clear that the sin was never forgotten by David. David had to live with his mistake the rest of his life.
This brings us to a great spiritual truth. The simple lesson is this. Although forgiveness can be obtained, that doesn’t necessarily remove the consequences of sin. GOD can and will forgive and forget (Hebrews 10:17) but that doesn’t mean the consequences will be removed. Scripture tells us there is a law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7). Many faithful Christians still pay for the deeds of their former life.
I am thankful for the lessons contained in the lineage of Christ. I am thankful to know that the heroes of the Bible were human and made mistakes. I am encouraged when I read those stories. But I am most thankful that that lineage produced One Who made no mistakes. His perfect life and loving sacrifice brings forgiveness for my mistakes. Yes, for that I am most thankful.