Noah (Lk 3:36-3:36)

“The son of Cainan,

The son of Arphaxad,

The son of Shem,

The son of Noah,

The son of Lamech.”

 

τοῦ Καϊνὰμ τοῦ Ἀρφαξὰδ τοῦ Σὴμ τοῦ Νῶε τοῦ Λάμεχ

 

Thus, we have about 10 generations from Noah to Abram, about 400 years if you go by the first born.  Once again, this is based on Genesis, chapters 5-10, and 1 Chronicles, chapter 1:3-27.  Luke said that Shelah was the son of Cainan (τοῦ Καϊνὰμ), the son of Arphaxad (τοῦ Ἀρφαξὰδ), the son of Shem (τοῦ Σὴμ), the son of Noah (τοῦ Νῶε), the son of Lamech (τοῦ Λάμεχ).  Lamech was the father of Noah.  Genesis, chapters 6-8, details Noah’s ship building and the famous Noah’s ark.  Shem was the oldest of the 3 sons of Noah, the favorite of the biblical authors.  The descendants of Shem will become the Semites.  Some believe that the word Semite comes from his name Shem.  Shem had five sons in Genesis, chapter 10.  Shem became the father of Arphaxad or Arpachshad two years after the flood, so that this Arphaxad lineage became the most important.  When Arphaxad had lived thirty-five years, he became the father of Shelah.  However, in this list in Genesis, there is no mention of Cainan as the son of Arpachshad, except in the Greek Septuagint.  Instead, Canaan was the son of Ham, the brother of Shem.

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Judah and Perez (Lk 3:33-3:33)

“The son of Amminadab,

The son of Admin,

The son of Arni,

The son of Hezron,

The son of Perez,

The son of Judah.”

 

τοῦ Ἀμιναδὰβ τοῦ Ἀδμεὶν τοῦ Ἀρνεὶ τοῦ Ἐσρὼμ τοῦ Φαρὲς τοῦ Ἰούδα

 

The two genealogies of Matthew and Luke are almost the same from Judah to Amminadab.  Luke listed them as Nahshon, the son of Amminadab (τοῦ Ἀμιναδὰβ), the son of Admin (τοῦ Ἀδμεὶν), the son of Arni (τοῦ Ἀρνεὶ), the son of Hezron (τοῦ Ἐσρὼμ), the son of Perez (τοῦ Φαρὲς), the son of Judah (τοῦ Ἰούδα).  Clearly, Judah had become the dominant tribe by the time of Jesus.  The story of the children for Judah is a very interesting tale as portrayed in Genesis, chapter 38.  Judah married a Canaanite woman named Bathshuah in Adullam.  They had three sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah.  Then the story got more complicated.  Judah found a lady named Tamar to be a wife for his first-born wicked son Er, whom Yahweh put to death.  Then Judah sent Onan, his second son, to produce children for his brother from Tamar, Er’s wife.  However, Onan spilled his semen on the ground, so that he would not have any children.  Thus, Yahweh put him to death also.  Judah then told Tamar to live as a widow in her father’s house, until his youngest son Shelah was older and able to marry her.  Tamar, in the meantime, saw that Shelah had grown up, but was not being offered in marriage to her.  She decided to throw off her widow garments, put a veil on, and sit on the road from Adullam to Timnah.  Now Judah, whose wife Bathshuah had died, was on this same road and thought that she was a prostitute, because her face was covered.  He gave her his signature ring and the cord as a pledge that he would pay her later for her sexual favors.  They had sex and she conceived by him.  Three months later, Judah found out that his daughter-in-law Tamar was pregnant as a result of prostitution.  He wanted her immediately burned, but she told Judah that the owner of a ring and cord made her pregnant.  Judah admitted that she was right.  Tamar then had twins from this pregnancy, Perez and Zerah, who disputed about who was the first out of the womb.  Interesting enough, the line of Judah would have died out without this prostitute episode.  Thus, the sacred lineage of Judah goes through a father-in-law having paid sex with his daughter-in-law, Tamar, who was a Canaanite.  According to Genesis, chapter 46:12, Perez, the son of Judah, had 2 sons, Hezron and Hamul. who went with Jacob to Egypt.  From 1 Chronicles, chapter 2:9-17, we learn about the linage of Hezron.  He had 3 sons, Jerahmeel, Aram, and Chelubai.  This Aram, Arni, or Ram was the father of Aminadab or Amminadab.  Luke added an Admin who is not found elsewhere or maybe another name for Ram.  Amminadab had a daughter, Elisheba, who married Aaron, the brother of Moses, in Exodus, chapter 6:23.  Amminadab was the father of Nahshon, the brother-in-law of Aaron and Moses.

The purification (Lk 2:22-2:22)

“When the time came

For their purification,

According to the law

Of Moses,

They brought him up

To Jerusalem

To present him

To the Lord.”

 

Καὶ ὅτε ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ αὐτῶν κατὰ τὸν νόμον Μωϋσέως, ἀνήγαγον αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα παραστῆσαι τῷ Κυρίῳ,

 

Luke said that when the time or the days were completed (Καὶ ὅτε ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι) for their purification (τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ αὐτῶν), according to the law of Moses (κατὰ τὸν νόμον Μωϋσέως, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to Jerusalem (ἀνήγαγον αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα) to present him to the Lord (παραστῆσαι τῷ Κυρίῳ).  What is this purification and is it different than circumcision.  The story of John did not have this purification ritual.  Strictly speaking, this was a purification of the mother to take place 40 days after the birth of a child that had made her unclean as described in Leviticus, chapter 12:1-8.  The presentation of the child and the father were not part of this purification ritual.  There was no law or custom about the presentation of a child, other than the presentation of the first born as in Exodus, chapter 13:2 and 13:16.  Women were considered unclean after childbirth because of the blood discharge that took place with birthing.  If a male was born, the woman was unclean for 7 days, like menstruation, so that on the 8th day the male child could be circumcised.  There were 33 more days of blood purification for the male child.  During her unclean period, this new mother could not touch any holy thing, or go into the sanctuary.  Thus, the purification ritual took place on the 40th day, a symbolic number based on the 40 years of the Israelites in the desert wilderness.

The divine judge (Sir 17:15-17:24)

“Their ways are always known to him.

They will not be hid from his eyes.

Their ways from youth tend towards evil.

They are unable

To make for themselves hearts of flesh

In place of their stony hearts.

In the division of nations of the whole earth

He appointed a ruler for every nation.

But Israel is the Lord’s own portion.

Being his firstborn,

He brings them up with discipline.

He allots to them

The light of his love.

He does not neglect them.

All their works are as clear

As the sun before him.

His eyes are continually upon their ways.

Their iniquities are not hidden from him.

All their sins are before the Lord.

The Lord is gracious.

He knows how they were formed.

He has not left them.

He has not abandoned them.

But he has spared them.

One’s almsgiving is

Like a signet ring with the Lord.

He will keep a person’s kindness

Like the apple of his eye.

Afterward he will rise up.

He will repay them.

He will bring their recompense on their heads.

Yet to those who repent,

He grants a return.

He encourages those who are losing hope.”

The Lord is a diving judge. He knows human ways. You cannot hide from him. He appointed rulers for the various countries, but he is the ruler of Israel. Since the time of the Exile in the 6th century BCE, there was no king of Israel. As Israel is the first born, the Lord has disciplined and loved Israel. He would not neglect them as he watches them continually. Their works are as clear as the sun. They cannot hide their sins, but he has not abandoned them. Almsgiving is like the Lord’s ring. Kindness is the apple of his eye. However, he will repay them for their sins. Nevertheless, those who repent can return. In fact, he tries to encourage those who are losing hope.

Dreams of death (Wis 18:17-18:19)

“Then at once

Apparitions in dreadful dreams

Greatly troubled them.

Unexpected fears assailed them.

One here

Another there,

They were hurled down half dead.

They were made known why they were dying.

The dreams that disturbed them

Forewarned them of this.

Thus they might not perish

Without knowing Why they suffered.”

Apparently, this section is not really tied to the Exodus story, but does concern the problem of death. It is not clear what this refers to since most of the first-born killed were infants and not capable of knowing why they were perishing. However, it could have been the first-born grown children of some families whose first-born would have been older and thus capable of understanding what was happening. Anyway, dreadful or fearful (φόβοι) dreams or apparitions (φαντασίαι) definitely troubled these people before they were hurled half dead. They knew why they were dying because they had been warned. They knew why they were suffering.

God is rigorous (Wis 12:23-12:27)

“Therefore those who lived

In an unrighteous way,

In a life of folly,

You tormented

Through their own abominations.

They went far astray

On the paths of error.

They accepted as gods

Those animals

That even their enemies despised.

They were deceived like foolish infants.

Therefore as though like children,

Who cannot reason,

You sent your judgment to mock them.

But those who have not heeded

The warning of light rebukes

Will experience the deserved judgment of God.

When in their suffering,

They became incensed

At those creatures

That they had thought to be gods,

They were punished by means of them.

They saw the true God.

They recognized the true God

Whom they had before refused to know.

Therefore the utmost condemnation

Came upon them.”

Once again, we are reflecting on God’s actions in Egypt. The unrighteous ones (ἀδίκους) were tormented by their own abominations. They had accepted various animals as gods (θεοὺς) as if they were unknowing little infants. When they reached the age of reason you mocked their gods with mild rebukes or the so-called plagues. But they did not heed these mild rebukes or plagues. Finally they recognized the true God (Θεὸν ἐπέγνωσαν ἀληθῆ) and thus they received the ultimate condemnation at the end. This was an attempt to justify the killing of the first born of Egypt. The Egyptians should have known better.

Yahweh and the Exodus (Ps 136:10-136:15)

“Yahweh struck Egypt through their first-born.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He brought Israel out from among them.

His steadfast love endures forever.

With a strong hand,

With an outstretched arm,

His steadfast love endures forever.

He divided the Red Sea in two.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He made Israel pass through the midst of it.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,

His steadfast love endures forever.”

Once again, the congregational refrain, “His steadfast love endures forever” is repeated after every verse. Just as in the preceding psalm, Yahweh led the Israelites out of Egypt. He clearly struck down the first-born of humans and animals. He led them out with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. He divided the Red Sea into two parts so that the Israelites were able to pass through in the middle of it. Finally, he destroyed Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. Throughout it all they realized that his steadfast love endures forever.