From David to Babylon. Studying the genealogy of Jesus

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. 

-Matthew 1:6-11

The Gospel of Matthew begins with a genealogy which leads from Abraham to Jesus. The middle section traces the kings from David until the fall of the Israelite empire in 586 B.C. 

Even for people well-versed in the Bible, this is often not a person’s most familiar part of the scriptures. But it’s a colorful and fascinating family history. The Davidic Monarchy could be its own HBO drama. 

King David

David is the great king of Israel. Solomon his son is his successor. You read about them and the rest of the monarchs of the Davidic Dynasty primarily in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles. There are also appearances in some of the prophets. 

When Matthew mentions David in the genealogy of Jesus, it says: And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 

David seduced a married woman. Her name was Bathsheeba. But the one thing to highlight is that Matthew doesn’t actually name Bathsheeba. But he actually calls Bathsheeba the wife of Uriah. 


I think Tim Keller is onto something when he suggests that it’s less about downplaying Bathsheeba and more about reminding us of Uriah. The husband of Bathsheeba whom David had killed. 

It mentioning Uriah, it confronts us with David’s great sin. David had a son with the wife of another man. 

The genealogy does not hide from the sins of the people in the line of Jesus. The same is true for the first section, but it’s seen on an even grander scale in this current passage. 

But an important lesson for us all is that we aren’t defined by what we come from. For good or for ill. If we come from greatness, that doesn’t transfer to us by birth. We have to live our own lives. And if we come from infamy, that does not doom us. It can feel that way sometimes. It can be an unfortunate result often times. But it doesn’t have to be. 

Jesus is descended from killers, prostitutes, and adulterers. We’re going to elaborate on the kings and quickly go through some of these. It might be easy to assume the Kings of Israel would be pretty good. But it’s often not the case. There are a few good kings amid some truly wicked and evil kings. 

Let’s look at some of these other kings in the Davidic Dynasty. 

Verse 7:  and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,

So Solomon is the son of David. The wise king of Israel. But he spent lavishly on big projects for Israel. 

His son, Rehoboam had similar lavishness and had to continue raising taxes. Things got so bad that during his reign, Israel was no longer a unified nation. Within two generations of David, Israel had split with the Davidic monarchy ruling the smaller portion in the south, and ten of the 12 tribes in an independent Northern Kingdom, never to be reunited. 

Abijah would end up making similar blunders. 

Asaph was a relatively decent Israelite king. 

Verse 8:  and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 

Jehoshaphat was another pretty good king. Grant Osborne describes his reign: “Jehoshaphat was known for godliness like his father and brought further reform and even sent out priests to teach the people the ways of the Lord. Even the surrounding nations began to fear the Lord.” 

Joram was next. He was not as good as his father. 

The Queen of Israel

This story gets very interesting here. As a reminder, Israel was divided in two kingdoms. Joram marries a woman who was a princess from the other kingdom. Her name was Athaliah. 

When Joram dies, he’s replaced by his son Ahaziah. Ahaziah is actually not listed in Matthew’s genealogy, but that’s the next king. 

When Ahaziah is king, both he and the king of the northern kingdom are murdered in a power takeover. The aforementioned Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother seizes the throne of the southern kingdom and becomes the ruling monarch in Jerusalem. 

Ahaziah had been her only son and so she has the immediate family members who have a claim to the throne to be executed. Including her own grandson.  

That’s in the Bible! It’s wild stuff. You thought your family was dysfunctional! 

Athaliah had a grandson who was saved and protected by a family member. The protected grandson was named Jehoash. He’s also not listed in the genealogy. When Jehoash becomes king, his grandmother is deposed and executed. 

The son of Jehoash was Uzziah, who was a pretty good king of Israel. 

Uziah’s son Jotham was a decent king, but then Jotham’s son Ahaz failed to listen to the Prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah, Ahaz does not listen to the prophet, fails to trust in God, tries to exercise his own control and makes diplomatic blunders which will seal the fate of Israel’s final governmental collapse. 

Manasseh was one of the most wicked Israelite kings. He builds pagan alters in the temple courts, practices sorcery and divination. He also sacrifices one of his own sons. 

Josiah mentioned in verse 10 was a good king. He did a lot to restore order and stability to Israel and also reinstated the Passover celebration which had fallen out of favor. 

Jeconiah is the last king listed in this second section. Jeconiah is the king when Jerusalem falls, which is why he’s noteworthy. He’s the final king of Israel’s southern kingdom to rule in the Promised Land. 

Again, that was a very brief cross-section of some of these kings. Quite the rag tag group. Matthew ends verse 11 by talking about the deportation to Babylon. Now everything in this genealogy has been centered around people. But the beginning of this third group of names focuses around an event. 

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