The old guys (Lk 3:35-3:35)

“The son of Serug,

The son of Reu,

The son of Peleg,

The son of Eber,

The son of Shelah.”

 

τοῦ Σεροὺχ τοῦ Ῥαγαῦ τοῦ Φάλεκ τοῦ Ἔβερ τοῦ Σαλὰ

 

This section is based on Genesis, chapter 11:14-23, which has more details about these people.  Luke listed the names without indicating how they are connected, Nahor was the son of Serug (τοῦ Σεροὺχ), the son of Reu (τοῦ Ῥαγαῦ), the son of Peleg (τοῦ Φάλεκ), the son of Eber (τοῦ Ἔβερ), the son of Shelah (τοῦ Σαλὰ), just as he has done throughout this genealogy.  According to Genesis, Shelah, had a son, Eber, who had a son, Peleg.  There was no mention of his brother Joktan and his 13 Arab sons here, since Peleg seems more important.  Peleg had a son, Reu, who had a son, Serug, who in turn had a son, named Nahor, who was the grandfather of Abraham.  1 Chronicles, chapter 1:24-27 has the same genealogy.

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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.

Shelah (1 Chr 4:21-4:23)

“The sons of Shelah son of Judah were Er the father of Lecah, Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of linen workers at Beth-ashbea. Jokim was with the men of Cozeba, Joash, and Saraph, who married into Moab, but returned to Lehem. The records are ancient. These were the potters and inhabitants of Netaim and Gederah. They lived there with the king for his work.”

Shelah was the 3rd or youngest son of Judah as outlined in Genesis 38, before the episode with Tamar. However, at the beginning of this chapter he was not listed as a son of Judah. Er was the name of his brother in the Genesis story so it does not seem strange that he should name his son after his brother, who had died. This, however, is the only mention of Lecah or Laadah. Mareshah is definitely a town in Judah and may have been a person. This is the only mention of the linen workers of Beth-ashbea. Linen was a big deal for the holy of holies. This is the only mention of Jokim, Cozeba, and Saraph. Joash was of course the name of the king of Judah (835-796 BCE) and the name of the king of Israel (798-783 BCE). There were over 8 people in the biblical literature with this name. This is the only mention of Lehem, but it might refer to Bethlehem. Somehow this Saraph went to Moab and then returned to Lehem. The biblical author claims that this is based on a very old document, but does not say what it is. Apparently these people were the potters or artisans living in Netaim and Gederah. These towns might be near Gezer, in Judah since their names only appear here, but there is no definite identification. The king might have had access to them in these towns.

The descendants of Judah (1 Chr 2:3-2:4)

“The sons of Judah were Er, Onan and Shelah. These three the Canaanite woman Bathshuah bore to him. Now Er, Judah’s first-born, was wicked in the sight of Yahweh. Yahweh put him to death. His daughter-in-law Tamar also bore Judah Perez and Zerah. Judah had five sons in all.”

From now on we will be only concerned with Judah, who had 5 sons, as can be found in Genesis, chapter 38. Judah separated from his other brothers when he went to Adullam, a city southwest of Jerusalem where he had a friend. There he met and married a Canaanite woman named Bathshuah. They had three sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah. Then the story got more complicated. Judah found Tamar as a wife for his first born son (1) Er, who was wicked in the sight of Yahweh, so that Yahweh put him to death. Then Judah sent (2) Onan, his second son, to produce children for his brother. However, Onan spilled his semen on the ground so that he would not have any children. This also was displeasing to Yahweh, so he 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. Then Judah’s wife Bathshuah died. After the mourning period had passed, he went out to the shear sheep in Timnah with his friend Hirah. Tamar, in the meantime, saw that (3) 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 at the entrance to Enaim, on the road from Adullam to Timnah. Now Judah was on this same road and thought that she was a prostitute, because her face was covered. He inquired as to what it would cost to have sex. They settled on a kid from the flock. However, she wanted something right away, his signature ring and the cord with it as a pledge so that he would pay later. They had sex and she conceived by him. Afterwards, she left, went home, and put her widow clothes back on. Now Judah wanted to give the prostitute the animal so that he could get his ring back. He sent his friend Hirah with the kid, but he could not find the prostitute. Judah had thought that she was a temple prostitute. When he could not find her, he decided to let her keep his ring. 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 said to Judah that the owner of this ring, cord, and staff made me pregnant. Judah admitted that she was right and he should have given her his son Shelah as a husband. Interesting enough, she would have been put to death, if the pregnancy was not caused by Judah. However, the male is always right so she did not die. In fact, Judah admits that he was wrong, not for using her as a prostitute but for not letting her marry his youngest son. Tamar then had twins from this pregnancy, (4) Perez and (5) Zerah. They too, like Esau and Jacob, disputed about who was the first out of the womb. Interesting enough, the line of Judah would have died out without this Tamar prostitute episode. Thus the sacred lineage of Judah goes through a father-in-law having paid sex with his daughter-in-law, who was a Canaanite. Both of these boys will be important later on, especially Perez. Also both names Tamar and Zerah will appear later.

From Shem to Abraham (1 Chr 1:24-1:27)

“Shem, Arpachshad, Shelah; Eber, Peleg, Reu; Serug, Nahor, Terah; Abram, that is, Abraham.”

This section is based on Genesis, chapter 11, which has more details about these people. Here the names are listed without indicating how they are connected. This was also a partial duplication of the preceding verses. Now we only interested in Shem as the other two sons of Noah fade away. According to Genesis, (1) Shem’s 3rd son, (2) Arpachshad, had a son, (3) Shelah, who in turn had a son, Eber. (4) Eber also had a son, (5) Peleg. There is no mention of his brother Joktan and his 13 Arab sons here. Now Peleg seems more important, the reverse of the preceding section. This genealogy went into new territory as it follows the lineage of Peleg, not Joktan. Peleg had a son, (6) Reu, who shows up in the genealogies about Abraham. Reu also had a son, (7) Serug, who in turn had a son, named (8) Nahor. Nahor is the name of Abram’s grandfather and his brother. The older Nahor had a son, (9) Terah, who had 3 named sons, (10) Abram, Nahor, and Haran, so that Nahor was the name of the father of Terah and his son also. Now we get to the family background of Abram. Abram, who appears to be the oldest, took a wife named Sarai, who was barren. Sarai was his half sister, since Terah also had a concubine. Haran had three children, Lot, Milcah, and Iscah. However, he died early before his father Terah had died. They all lived at Ur in the Chaldeans, probably in northwest Mesopotamia. The younger brother of Abram, Nahor, took a wife named Milcah, who was the daughter of his brother Haran, who had died, the sister of Lot and Iscah. Thus Haran married his niece. Haran is a name that will appear again. More importantly, Terah became the father of Abram. So we have about 10 generations from Noah to Abram, about 400 years if you go by the first born. There is never any mention of daughters.

The descendents of Arpachshad (1 Chr 1:18-1:19)

“Arpachshad became the father of Shelah. Shelah became the father of Eber. To Eber were born two sons. The name of the one was Peleg. In his days the earth was divided.”

Once again, we are dependent on Genesis, chapter 10, for comparisons. Arpachshad’s family seems to be the most important since this 3rd son of Shem has only one son mentioned here. His name is Shelah, although there are other biblical characters with this name. He also has only son named Eber. He seems to be very important, although there are a couple of other people named Eber in biblical literature. His name with an “h” became Heber which then established him as the origin of the word Hebrew or Hebrew race. An oral tradition around Heber held that he would not participate in the building of the Tower of Babel so that the original Hebrew language was never confused with the other languages of the world. Eber had two sons, Peleg and Joktan. Here there is an indication that the world was divided, which is what the name Peleg indicates. This may be an allusion to the Tower of Babel incident which meant that people no longer shared a common language.