As Matthew traces Jesus’ lineage through the kings following David and Solomon, he includes some good ones, like Uzziah, Jotham and Hezekiah. He also includes some who weren’t good, like Joram, Ahaz and Amos. Some, like Manasseh, started evil and ended their reign good. I think that there is an interesting assortment of rulers to fill out the fourteen between David and the exile.
Why fourteen? I cant find any really good reason among any commenators. Fourteen doesn’t stand out as a significant number. Matthew must have liked the pattern from promise to fulfillment, a connection he will refer to often in his gospel.
When early post-resurrection worshipers retold the stories of Israel’s past and past kings, they probably enjoyed the stories of the good kings more than those who did evil. Yet, were it not for the evil, the good wouldn’t have stood out like they did.
I find it interesting that as the king went, so went the nation. If he did the right thing, tearing down shrines and altars as he worshiped the one true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Jerusalem, the nation was OK. If he strayed, so did the people. He had a powerful influence on the people.
If you can trace your ancestry back a few centuries, I’ll bet you secretly enjoy having some kind of scandal in your past. One of your guilty pleasures just might be talking about an unsavory character in your past.
As we either cheer or boo the kings of Judah that Matthew mentions in Jesus’ family tree, we reveal an interest in origins, genealogies and family history. How important are the names and places from your past? Do they in any way shape who you are today?
The first verses of Matthew get us thinking about our beginning, our origins. How willing would you be to let your past hang out for all to see?