As if the inclusion of Tamar in Jesus’ family tree wasn’t enough, Matthew includes three more women: Rahab, Ruth and “the wife of Uriah” whom we know as Bathsheba.
The Rahab mentioned here seems to be the prostitute who was saved when the walls of Jericho came down (see Joshua 2 and 6). In return for hiding the Israelite spies, she was spared from the destruction brought upon the rest of the city. I’ve always wondered if Joshua ever said to those spies, “So tell me again why you were in a room with a prostitute?”
Ruth was a Moabitess. No one in Israel liked anyone from Moab because the king of Moab, Barak, had tried to hire Balaam to curse them, insuring a victory in battle (Numbers 22-24). They were not good neighbors. Ruth married into the family when Boaz fell in love with her and redeemed her mother-in-law Naomi (See the Old Testament book of Ruth).
Bathsheba was the woman King David watched take a bath. Smitten with her, David then slept with her, impregnated her, and aranged to have her husband die in battle so he could marry her (2 Samuel 11). She became the father of Solomon, David’s successor.
If Jesus is going to share in flesh and blood, this is what he has to work with. We may not publish all the reputation-busting stories from our family history, but Jesus’ has been out there for centuries. Maybe that’s why he felt at home with tax collectors, prostitutes, Gentiles, Romans and every other variety of sinner. It was like a family reunion!