January 29, 2020
Jesus’ Ancestors (1: 1-17) Part 9
Then, there is another woman to consider. Bathsheba was a Hittite woman, wife of Uriah one of King David’s military leaders. While Uriah was on duty, David seduced Bathsheba, then had Uriah killed. To maintain whatever honour David could have salvaged from such a sinful, tawdry act, he married Bathsheba. She eventually gave birth to King Solomon. And wonder of wonders, she is listed as one of Jesus’ progenitors!
So, Matthew’s genealogy includes four non-Jewish “Mothers of Messiah”. Absolutely astonishing for the culture and messianic expectation of the time. But, there are two more! A prostitute and a virgin.
The prostitute was the Canaanite woman, Rahab, who aided two Israelite spies in the well-known Jericho story (Joshua Ch. 2). It is conjectured by some biblical historians that Salmon may have been one of those two Israelite spies. The fact that she is mentioned in Ja. 2:25 and He.11:31 suggests that her profile was very much alive in Matthew’s day. Interestingly, rabbinic legend portrays eight prophets, including Jeremiah and his scribe Baruch, among her descendants. Nevertheless, Matthew includes her in Jesus’ pedigree as great-great-great grandmother of King David.
And the virgin? Well, there’s only one–Mary, the unmarried but betrothed mother of Jesus. Only fourteen or fifteen years of age at the time of her “visitation” by the angel Gabriel, she stands out as the singularly most famous and revered woman in history. She is the last of six “mothers of Messiah”: Lot’s daughter, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, Mary. Such an unlikely sextet!