Well, this post is going to be a lot shorter than the previous posts in this study. From the beginning, I have tried to stick to just what the Bible provides, with minor research here and there. But, after the return from exile, not much is said about the rest of the names listed in Matthew 1.
After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
In Ezra, it mentions that once the Israelites returned to the land of Judah and settled in, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, along with others rebuilt the altar to the Lord for burnt offerings. In 1 Chronicles, though, Zerubbabel is listed as Pedaiah’s son. There are several reasons for this. Perhaps Shealtiel died before having a son and Pedaiah took his widow, like the cultural law that Judah failed to follow with Tamar. Or perhaps this Zerubbabel was the grandson or great grandson of Shealtiel. We know from last week that the genealogies would skip generations at times.
Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Most of the names mentioned in this part of the genealogy also have others with the same name in the Old Testament. It is possible that Eleazar sang in a choir, mentioned in Nehemiah, but it could have been someone else named the same name. It’s difficult to figure out the chronology after the return from exile.
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
But each of the names held importance to the people of Israel, or I doubt Matthew would have included them in the list. He definitely left some out, we know that. And I think it’s amazing that the descendant of the kings of Israel ended up being a modest carpenter and his young bride, given the task of raising the son of God. Jesus could have been born during the time of Hezekiah or Josiah, kings who were willing to follow God. But this wasn’t the plan of man, but of God. This was a fulfillment of prophecy at the right time, in the right place, with the right people.
It makes me think of my own path and the path of those before me and after me. I doubt Hezekiah knew his son, Manasseh, would become such an evil king. Nor did Manasseh realize that his grandson, Josiah, would fulfill scripture and wipe out the false gods and renew the covenant with the Lord.
The thing is, there is this unspoken path in this life that if you just do things in the right way, just follow the right rules, then everything works out for you. But if my life experience and the experiences of those around me tell me anything, while it’s good to do your best to do what is right, being faithful is very important. Never giving up on yourself, your calling, or on God. Believing that he has got this and that he won’t leave you.
When I started studying the Women of Infertility in the Bible, I saw how things never seemed to play out on the timing of the people involved. And that’s because God sees a bigger picture. A lot of people have a different view on the end times and how God can be omniscient and omnipresent. How my brain wraps around it is that he stands outside of time. He sees it in parts and all at once at the same time.
However, I am just in normal time. I can’t see the road ahead like he can. I get wrapped up in what ifs. I get trapped in the “I’ll never.” So, I trust God out of necessity. And in these studies, I’ve learned that I don’t know the whole story. I don’t know what my descendants will do. I don’t know what the descendants of others will do. And following the “rules” in order to achieve some outcome, trying to be like other people, well, frankly, that’s not going to work in controlling the long run. Only God has got that. So, instead, I just take the next step and trust that God is walking beside me the whole way.
Thank you SO much for following along with me on this journey. I’m going to do a few things different next month, but I really appreciate the love and support I’ve received from all of you!