Matthew begins his gospel by breaking the rules.
It’s not so much that he includes a boring genealogy that breaks the rules—although from a storytelling perspective, starting with a boring genealogy certainly breaks the storytelling rules. To the ancient Jews, genealogies were very important, and they pop up throughout the Bible.
Rather, it’s the way that Matthew tells his genealogy that’s likely to raise eyebrows.
For one thing, he names several women, which is definitely against the rules. The last was Bath-Sheba; King David murdered Uriah in order to steal her for himself. And in David’s ancestry, he mentions Ruth, who was a Moabite. And before that, Rahab, the whore from Jericho. And before that, Tamar, the mother of Peretz and Zerach, of whom you may never have even heard.
She is not to be confused with King David’s daughter Tamar, raped by her half-brother Amnon, who was then murdered by her other brother Absalom. (Sheesh! Being in a royal family sure does result in a lot of drama, doesn’t it?) That Tamar has a different story. Click to continue »