homecoming for bad girls & outsiders

The genealogy of Matthew 1:1-17 is about far more than biological decent.

It is well known that the extra detail given for Judah, Salmon, Boaz and David is deliberate.  Jesus’ family history has some real gems in it: prostitutes, adulterers and gentiles.

The only other extra in the genealogy is the bit about “Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon”.  This detail about the exile is reinforced by the summary of the genealogy in 1:17.  Three sets of 14 generations divide the four key events our attention is being drawn to: birth of nation (Abraham), peak of national life (David), valley of national life (exile), and what it all led up to (the Christ).

  • Abraham >> (14 generations) >> David…
  • David >> (14 generations) >> Exile…
  • Exile >> (14 generations) >> ‘the Christ’.

The author wants us to understand not only that Jesus is the ‘son of David’ and the true ‘son of Abraham’ (as set out in the first verse), but also that the exile in some sense has continued until the coming of the Christ.  The Jewish people had, of course, been back home from exile for quite some time… but we are being told there is another homecoming from another exile, and people like prostitutes, adulterers and gentiles are part of the King’s family coming home.