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.

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Jesse (Lk 3:32-3:32)

“The son of Jesse,

The son of Obed,

The son of Boaz,

The son of Sala,

The son of Nahshon.”

 

τοῦ Ἰεσσαὶ τοῦ Ἰωβὴδ τοῦ Βοὸς τοῦ Σαλὰ τοῦ Ναασσὼν

 

This is pretty much the same as Matthew, chapter 1:5-6, as the genealogies almost match here.  Luke said that David was the son of Jesse (τοῦ Ἰεσσαὶ), the son of Obed (τοῦ Ἰωβὴδ), the son of Boaz (τοῦ Βοὸς), the son of Sala (τοῦ Σαλὰ), and the son of Nahshon (τοῦ Ναασσὼν).  The genealogy at the end of Ruth, chapter 4:18-22, goes from Judah to David.  Nahshon was a famous warrior prince of Judah, especially in Numbers, chapter 7:12.  Nahshon was the father of Salma or Salmon (Σαλμών), the direct male ancestor of King David, and all of the kings of the Kingdom of Judah.  Sala or Salmon was the father of Boaz with Rahab his wife.  Boaz was the father of Obed with Ruth his wife.  Obed was the father of Jesse.  Jesse had 7 sons with King David the youngest son.  Ruth was a Moabite non-Jewish widow.  She traveled to Israel with her Jewish mother-in-law Naomi.  There she then married Boaz in a beautiful love story in the biblical book of Ruth.

The ancestors of Jesus (Lk 3:24-3:24)

“Heli was

The son of Matthat,

The son of Levi,

The son of Melchi,

The son of Jannai,

The son of Joseph.”

 

τοῦ Ματθὰτ τοῦ Λευεὶ τοῦ Μελχεὶ τοῦ Ἰανναὶ τοῦ Ἰωσὴφ

 

Luke said that Jesus’ grandfather was Heli.  From then on there is a major difference in the genealogies of Matthew and Luke.  A simple solution to this problem would be to say that Luke has presented the genealogy of Mary, not Joseph.  The father of Mary was Heli.  However, that does not explain where the names came from.  The end of the genealogy of Matthew, chapter 1:15, is Joseph with his father Jacob.  Most of the people mentioned in the genealogy of Matthew could be found in other biblical works.  However, where Matthew got these last 9 generations of names was unclear.  He must have had some source, since he was so meticulous following 1 Chronicles.  Zerubbabel was Abiud’s father.  Abiud was the father of Eliakim, while he was the father of Azor.  He, in turn was the father of Zadok, whose son was Achim.  His son was Eliud.  Eliud’s son was Eleazar whose son was Matthan.  Matthan was the father of Jacob, the father of Joseph.  None of those names are here as Luke said that Heli was the son of Matthat (τοῦ Ματθὰτ), the son of Levi (τοῦ Λευεὶ), the son of Melchi (τοῦ Μελχεὶ), the son of Jannai (τοῦ Ἰανναὶ), the son of Joseph (τοῦ Ἰωσὴφ).

The disputed captives returning (Neh 7:61-7:65)

“The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but they could not prove their ancestral houses or their descent, whether they belonged to Israel. The descendents of Delaiah, the descendents of Tobiah, and the descendents of Nekoda were six hundred forty-two. Also, of the priests were the descendents of Hobaiah, the descendents of Hakkoz, and the descendents of Barzillai. They had married one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and were called by their name. These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but it was not found there. Thus they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food, until a priest with Urim and Thummim should come.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from Ezra, chapter 2. This poses a dilemma. What if you could not prove that you were an Israelite? Could you say you wanted land in Israel without being an Israelite? Apparently there were some genealogical records that could be consulted. Like many things, they may not have been 100% accurate. There is a slight difference in the number of people in the category of whether they were Israelites, with 642 here as opposed to 652 in Ezra. The second group claimed to be priests. In the first group the only slight discrepancy is with Addon instead of Addan, while in the 2nd group there is Hobaiah instead of Habaiah. Barzillai had been a friend of King David. I believe that the only questions here were how these people were related to the groups that they claimed that they were from. The unnamed governor told them that they had to consult with a priest because they were unclean. The priests would go to the lots of Urim and Thummim. Urim and Thummim were in the breastplate of the ephod that the priests wore. They would consult with these stones on the breastplate to find out the will of Yahweh on what was to be done. Generally one was positive and the other negative. In fact, this was one of the ways that Yahweh communicated with his people. The other 2 ways were through dreams and prophets, which was also common among the Assyrians and Babylonians. This third way was like the tablets of destiny in Babylonia. Sometime in Jewish history it died out as a usage. However, this mysterious Urim and Thummim have found their way into novels and the writings of Joseph Smith, the first Mormon.

My Understanding of 1 Chronicles

Wow! Is this a long book? This book is a combination of genealogies and the glorification of King David. This is an attempt to give a historical foundation for all that happened. The individual names are almost endless. King David is always in a good light. Unlike his portrayal in the books of Samuel and Kings, here King David can do no wrong. The first nine chapters are long lists of genealogies that go from Adam to Saul. In fact, the portrait of Saul is very cursory. Then the rest of this book is about King David in chapters ten to twenty-nine. How wonderful King David was! When King David was king there was a theocracy in Israel, where Yahweh dominated all things. Clearly there is an emphasis on how important the Temple worship was as King David spent so much time and energy preparing to build the Temple. We also learn about many of the clerical positions around the Temple such as the gatekeepers and the singers.

The Book of Chronicles is the last book of the Hebrew Bible, where it is called the “Matters of the days” or in Greek, “Miscellanies or things omitted or left to one side.” However, for Christians the Chronicles follow the books of Kings and precede Ezra before concluding the so-called historical books. Chronicles was originally one work, but the Septuagint Greek translators divided it into 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles, which Jerome in his Latin Vulgate translation continued. This work dates from around 400-250 BCE, with probably the 300s BCE as realistic. The biblical writer or writers were probably Jerusalem Levitical priests after the Second Temple was built. There may be some connection between this author and the priestly writer of the Pentateuch, since they share common concerns. Others have seen this work as a continuation of Deuteronomy. In any case, we learn more about the state of mind of the Levites after the Exile, with the glorification of King David and the Temple built by King David and King Solomon that had been destroyed.

This work begins with an attempt to show the genealogies from Adam to Jacob or Israel as he is called in this book. In fact, the first chapter goes from Adam to Jacob, via Seth and not Cain and Abel, the pre-historic patriarchs and then finally to Noah. After the flood with Noah there was an attempt to show how the world was populated via Japheth, Ham, Cush, Egypt, Canaan, Shem, Arpachshad, and Joktan. Finally there are the descendents from Shem, the son of Noah to Abraham. This includes Hagar and Sarai, Ishmael and Isaac, plus the descendents of Abraham by Keturah. This first section ends with Esau and Israel (Jacob). Throughout this book, the author always calls Jacob “Israel” to show how Jacob is the father of Israel. However, there was an excursion into the descendents of Esau in the near Eastern Arabian tribes.

The highlight of this genealogy was the descendents of Israel, in particular his son Judah, not the other 11 sons or tribes. Even among the descendants of Judah, there is an emphasis on the descendants of Perez. Although we do learn about the descendants of Zerah and Hezron, this author was concerned about the ancestors of King David. There certainly is a lot about the descendents of Caleb also.

Finally, we get to the house of King David. We learn about his sons born at Hebron and Jerusalem. There is even a list of the kings of Judah who were all descendents of King David as he was the center of attention. Even after the Exile there was an attempt to trace the Davidic line.

Next there was an attempt to situate the Israelites into southern, northern, and Transjordan tribes and people. The southern area was dominated by the tribe of Judah, from whence David came. We learn about all the great men of Judah,

Hur, Ashhur, Koz, Jabez, Chelub, Kenaz, Caleb, Jehallelel, Ezrah, Hodiah, Shimon, Ishi, and. Shelah. Then there is a little bit about Simeon and its tribe and where they lived. We learn about the leaders of the Simeon tribe and their fights with Ham, Meunim, and the Amalekites.

The tribes across the Jordan were Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. We learn about the sons of Reuben, particularly Joel and where he lived. Then it is on to Gad, his clans and territory. These Transjordan Israelites were involved in many wars. We learn about the territory of the half tribe of Manasseh and their leaders with their transgressions. All the other tribes will be inferior to Judah.

The Levites, or sons of Levi, were also important. They were divided into the sons of Kohath, Gershom, and Merari. We find out about the descendents of each of these groups of Levites. Then we learn about the cantors or singers, led by one person from each Levite group, Heman the Kohathite, Asaph the Gershonite, and Ethan the Merarite. These sons of Aaron made offerings to Yahweh. We also learn where each of these Levite groups lived, the Kohathites in Judah, the Gershonites north, and the Merarites in the Transjordan area. We also learned about the cities of refuge and the various towns rather than territories that were given to the Levites.

Finally there are the tribes of the north. The sons of the Issachar tribe included Tola and Uzzi. There is also an inclusion of the sons of the Benjamin tribe, including Bela, Beecher, Jediael, and Ir. Then there is a short list of the sons of the Naphtali tribe. The list of the sons of the Manasseh tribe is more extensive, with his wife Machir and the unique story of Zelophehad and his daughters. The sons of the Ephraim tribe are shown to be great fighters as their descendents and territory is outlined. The sons of the Asher tribe, particularly Beriah, Heber, Jether, and Ulla get special attention. However, there was no mention of the tribes of Dan or Zebulun.

Then there is a special emphasis on the tribe of Benjamin and Jerusalem. The descendants of Benjamin take on a larger role since that is where Jerusalem was located. First, there are the sons of Bela and Ehud. The descendents of Shaharaim and Elpaal play a role. The chiefs at Aijalon are important. The various sons of Beriah, Elpaal, Shimei, Shashak, and Jeroham dominate in the lists of the chiefs of Jerusalem.

Then it was back to the rehabilitation of Jerusalem, the holy city, after the Exile. This is the only instance where the post-exilic times are explicitly mentioned. The first to return after the Exile were the sons of Judah and Benjamin.   Of course the men of the Temple returned also, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the keepers of the temple items, and the singers.

Next it was on to King Saul, the predecessor of King David. We learn about his ancestors and family at Gibeon, which is just outside of Jerusalem. We learn about the family of King Saul, the descendents of Jonathan, his son, and his brothers. King Saul and his three sons died at the battle of Gilboa. We learn of the fate of his body and burial. This biblical author even explains why King Saul died.

Now it is on the main event of this book, King David. He is considered to be the founder of the Temple cult even though the Temple was not built until after his death. Much of the material here is an editing of the work of 2 Samuel. There is nothing about King David’s youth here. This story begins with the anointing of King David. He then took Jerusalem. We learn about the leader of the “Three” mighty warriors of King David and their exploits. Then there was Abishai and the leader of the “Thirty” warrior chiefs of King David’s army. Benaiah was his body guard.

King David began to build his army at Ziklag, where the Benjaminite, the Gadite, the Judah, and the Manasseh warriors joined him. They formed an army of God when people from all the other twelve tribes of Israel contributed to King David’s army that now had large resources.

King David wanted to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. However, on the way from Kiriath-jearim, Uzzah was struck dead because he touched the Ark of the Covenant when it stumbled on a bad pothole in the road. Thus King David was afraid to move it again. He went back to Jerusalem and there had some more children. As per usual he had a couple of victories over the Philistines.

Finally the Ark of the Covenant was brought to the city of David after he found out that no one else had died. He began to organize the Levites, the priests, and the musicians in preparation for the transport of the Ark. There was great rejoicing and ceremonies to transport the Ark of the Covenant. Michal, the wife of King David, despised him as the Ark arrived at the tent in Jerusalem. So there was a music service and a song of thanksgiving before the Ark. This thanksgiving song centered on the Ark of the Covenant, the faithful few, the great Yahweh, the creator, and the savior. The gatekeepers and the Levites served before the Ark.

Then there was bad news for King David. The prophet Nathan told him that Yahweh did not want him to build the house of Yahweh, the Temple for the Ark of the Covenant. Instead his son would. Nevertheless, there is the great prayer of King David as he praised Yahweh.

King David, ever the warrior, defeated the Philistines again, the Moabites, the Arameans, and the Edomite. However, his messengers to Ammonites were insulted so he went out and defeated them too. Once again he beat the Arameans and Philistines. They never seem to give up completely.

King David returned to Jerusalem as he began to plan the construction of the house of Yahweh, the Temple. Although 1 Kings showed that King Solomon built the Temple, here this author emphasized the role of King David in the preparations for building the Temple by his son.

King David took a census of the people that was Satanic inspired. Joab took the census but the numbers were different than in 2 Samuel. However, King David was given three choices as a punishment. He chose the three day plague or pestilence. Then of course, King David was sorry because so many people were dying. Before the angel of death could get to Jerusalem, he stopped at a threshing floor near Jerusalem. King David wanted to purchase the threshing floor and erect an altar there. This threshing floor altar became the place where the Temple of Yahweh was built.

King David, not King Solomon, prepared for the construction of the temple. He worried about his young son Solomon. The word of Yahweh came to King David. He was not going to build the house of Yahweh, but his son would.

King David gave instructions to Solomon. He asked all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon. Then he made Solomon king.

King David then turned his attention to the Levites. He took a census of them that was less controversial. He found out who the sons of Gershom, Kohath, and Merari were. He outlined the duties of the Levites and the priests. He established the various priestly positions. He set up the three cantors, the sons of Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman. He established the number of musicians and their various positions. He set up the Korahite gatekeepers and the other gatekeepers. He put Levites in charge of the treasury of the temple. The lineage of Moses was in charge of the gifts given to the temple.

King David had his officers and judges. The Hebronites were in charge of both sides of the Jordan. He also set up twelve monthly military and political leaders that rotated every month. There were of course the various tribal leaders as well. He had household and property chiefs as well as his favorite counselors.

Before his death, King David held a great assembly for all of Israel. He told them that he was not going to build the Temple. His son Solomon would follow King David to the throne and build the Temple. Thus he gave an admonition to Solomon about building the Temple. He also gave Solomon the detailed plans for the Temple. There is a final admonition of King David to Solomon. He made offerings and asked others to do so for the construction of the Temple.

This books ends with the beautiful blessing and prayer of King David. He makes more great sacrifices. King Solomon becomes king as the end of the reign of King David closes out this book. The glorification of King David has been completed. The great King David is the high point and conclusion of this book of 1 Chronicles.

 

My understanding of Genesis

These are the great stories of the Bible with unforgettable mythic characters and events that dominate our lives even today. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and Lot, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, and Joseph and the twelve sons of Israel are as real as any super heroes or fictional characters in history.  They are flawed heroes, not gods..  They are anything but perfect.   In what sense are they real people and is this a work of fiction?

History is always an interpretation.  Who knows what really happened over four thousand years ago?  Sometimes we call this period, pre-historic.  These stories are as good as any at trying to explain how the Israelites felt about themselves some 2500-3000 years ago.  These ancient oral traditions were gathered and written down in order to explain what they were doing then.  We know more about the belief of these ancient authors than about the people they were talking about.  These mythic characters had power over their lives.

The Yahweh tradition made no attempt at being historical.  Everything takes place in some vague somewhere and sometime. Yahweh appears a little capricious choosing who he likes and who he does not. The priestly tradition, however, loved order, genealogies, and clear structure, in trying to put things into a wider perspective, yet explaining why they do things the way that they did them. The Elohist tradition tries to put God into a more distant governing, but kind power.

God had special relationships with these archetype patriarch heroes, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  The three great belief religious systems of the west, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share in this Abrahamic heritage.  Joseph, the son of Jacob, and his Technicolor coat ended up almost ruling Egypt when his brothers turned against him.

The general narrative is that there is a loving caring God who spoke with these bigger than life characters.  Yahweh has chosen these guys to be fruitful and prosperous, to inhabit a land, to be righteous, to follow Yahweh, and be circumcised.  God is almighty.

The details are shocking as we see these heroes with warts and all. The primordial man, Adam could not even follow a simple divine order not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Eve, mother of all, gets duped by a snake of all things.  Cain kills Able because God somehow liked him better.  The world gets populated either by the sons of Adam and Eve having sex with Eve, their sisters, or female animals.  There are no other options if you want to follow the single source theory.  Only the multiple source theory allows for other female humans from other humans.

Noah is an interesting character who follows God’s orders, but he does not get much credit, except as a builder before some giant flood hit the Middle East.  He actually is the origin of all humans according to this story, since all humans were destroyed, except for him and his family.  All of these stories of magic trees, wonderful gardens, and massive floods can be found in most religions of the world.  This seems to be something that humans crave that is part of practically all oral traditions.

The story of Abraham is more complicated.  Somehow he is the father of all the good guys and the bad guys. His two sons Isaac and Ishmael become symbolic of good and evil.  Isaac, born of Sarah, is good, and actually appears as one of the nicer figures in these stories. Ishmael, however, born of the slave woman from Egypt, Hagar, is bad.  When you add in Keturah and her children you can figure out how the Middle East was populated.

Isaac is a very sympathetic figure, if only because Abraham was going to offer him as a sacrifice to God, until he was stopped by an angel.  He marries his cousin, which was quite normal and has twin boys, who fight all the time for his favor.  In a twist of fate and deceit, Jacob and not Esau, who was the oldest by seconds or minutes, gets everything.  Eventually, they make up and all prosper.  None of these characters are poor people.  They have lots of livestock and slaves.

Jacob is the most deceitful.  He tricks his brother Esau all the time.  He meets his match with his uncle Laban, who tricks him also.  Jacob marries two sisters at once, both his first cousins.  Just as Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, as the new names become important.  Jacob who becomes Israel has twelve sons with four different women, the two sisters Rachel and Leah, plus their female maid servants.  This then becomes the twelve tribes of Israel.

The most interesting personality is Joseph, who was not liked by his ten brothers who tried to kill him.  He gets sold as a slave to an Egyptian.  Due to his ability to discern dreams he becomes the second in command in Egypt and even gets an Egyptian name.  When his brothers come to get grain during a famine, they do not recognize him, but he recognizes them.  He puts them through all kinds of demands, until there is a grand reunion and the whole family moves to Egypt.

This all explains why the sons of Israel were in Egypt, where Moses will try to get them out of there.  Joseph seems like a wise man, who speaks his mind.  One of the key concepts of Genesis is genealogy, showing how people are connected to each other via birth.  Marriages seem to be with very close relatives. First cousins are not abnormal.  Another key concept is land, particularly the land of Canaan.  Over and over again, these characters are promised this land.  In some cases they are already there.

Finally the covenant idea is clearly dominant.  God has made a special pact with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to be their God.  The main element of this pact is male circumcision.  It may sound odd to us today, but that clearly was in the minds of the biblical authors.  They made male circumcision a really important religious activity.

Thus Genesis is the foundation book of religious stories about the fallibility of man and his need and fear of God in this life.  These mythical religious persons, who have spoken with God, are not always living up to the ideal, but they keep trying despite themselves.  This is an important lesson of all people and all times.  Be true to yourself and your relationship with a higher power even when you are not perfect.