This is where the genealogy of Matthew ends with Abraham. Luke continued further back. He said that Judah was the son of Jacob (τοῦ Ἰακὼβ), who had 12 sons with 4 different women, that become the 12 tribes of Israel. Jacob was the son of Isaac (τοῦ Ἰσαὰκ), the son of Abraham (τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ), who was the son of Terah (τοῦ Θάρα), the son of Nahor (τοῦ Ναχὼρ). Throughout the Torah, there was a continual reference to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These 3 generations were key to Hebrew and Jewish history. Their stories can be found in the book of Genesis, chapters 12-35. Remember that Abraham had a son with his wife’s maid, Hagar, who was called Ishmael. However, both were sent away. Jacob had a twin brother named Esau, whom he tricked out of his father’s inheritance. Terah and Nahor can be found in 1 Chronicles, chapter 1:26, and Genesis, chapter 11:24-32. Nahor was the name of Abram’s grandfather and his brother. Abram, appeared to be the oldest, took a wife named Sarai, who was barren. Later it will be revealed that Sarai is his half-sister, since Terah had a concubine. They all lived at Ur in the Chaldeans, probably in northwest Mesopotamia. Terah took his son Abram and his wife, Sarai, and his grandson Lot, and left Ur and went to Canaan. However, they settled in a place that had the same name as his dead son, Haran. This may have been part of a huge migration in the early second millennium, about 2000 years before the common Christian era.
“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.
“After those days,
For five months,
Μετὰ δὲ ταύτας τὰς ἡμέρας συνέλαβεν Ἐλεισάβετ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ, καὶ περιέκρυβεν ἑαυτὴν μῆνας πέντε,
Luke indicated that sometimes afterwards (Μετὰ δὲ ταύτας τὰς ἡμέρας), Elisabeth (Ἐλεισάβετ), the wife of Zechariah (ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ), conceived a child or became pregnant (συνέλαβεν). There is no indication whether this was a supernatural event or a natural event. Zechariah would have had to tell Elisabeth about his encounter with the angel Gabriel in the Temple sanctuary. Perhaps, he was able to write. However, Elizabeth remained in seclusion for 5 months, as she hid or concealed herself (καὶ περιέκρυβεν ἑαυτὴν μῆνας πέντε,). There was no great announcement about this future birth.
Said to the angel.
‘How will I know
That this is so?
I am an old man.
Is getting on in years.’”
καὶ εἶπεν Ζαχαρίας πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον Κατὰ τί γνώσομαι τοῦτο; ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι πρεσβύτης καὶ ἡ γυνή μου προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῆς.
Luke indicated that there was a moment of hesitancy on the part of Zechariah. He responded to the angel (καὶ εἶπεν Ζαχαρίας πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον) that he was not sure how could he know all this was going to happen (Κατὰ τί γνώσομαι τοῦτο)? He explained that he was an elderly old man, a presbyter (ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι πρεσβύτης). Also, his wife was advanced in her years (καὶ ἡ γυνή μου προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῆς). In other words, they were old folks, not young spring chickens. How could they have a child?
“In the days
Of King Herod
There was a priest
He belonged to
The priestly order
His wife was
Ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡρῴδου βασιλέως τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἱερεύς τις ὀνόματι Ζαχαρίας ἐξ ἐφημερίας Ἀβιά, καὶ γυνὴ αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν θυγατέρων Ἀαρών, καὶ τὸ ὄνομα αὐτῆς Ἐλεισάβετ.
The first person that Luke introduced was Zechariah. None of the other gospel writers mentioned Zechariah. However, Luke placed him within a historical context. This all this took place during the reign of King Herod of Judea (Ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡρῴδου βασιλέως τῆς Ἰουδαίας). Matthew, chapter 2:1-12, had mentioned King Herod and the intriguing story of the Magi. King Herod the Great (74 BCE-1 CE) was the Roman client king of Judea. In fact, the Roman Senate named him King of the Jews in 40 BCE. He built many things during his reign, including expanding the Second Temple in Jerusalem. At his death, his kingdom was divided among his children. There was a prophet and book of Zechariah, chapter 1:1, who lived around 520 BCE. However, this Zechariah here (τις ὀνόματι Ζαχαρίας) was a priest (ἱερεύς), probably in Jerusalem. He belonged to the priestly division of Abijah (ἐξ ἐφημερίας Ἀβιά), which was the 8th of the 24 divisions of priests that served in the Temple as laid out in 1 Chronicles, chapter 24:7-19. His wife was also a daughter or descendant of Aaron (καὶ γυνὴ αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν θυγατέρων Ἀαρών), a Levite or part of the priestly class. She was called Elizabeth (καὶ τὸ ὄνομα αὐτῆς Ἐλεισάβετ). Thus, the action of his gospel begins with the unique story of the Jerusalem Temple priest Zachariah and his Levite wife Elizabeth. Some biblical scholars think that this infancy story, like the infancy story of Matthew, chapter 1:18-2:23, are later additions. They are here, so I will deal with it.
“There were seven brothers.
The first one married.
When he died,
He left no children.
ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοὶ ἦσαν· καὶ ὁ πρῶτος ἔλαβεν γυναῖκα, καὶ ἀποθνῄσκων οὐκ ἀφῆκεν σπέρμα·
This story about the woman and 7 brothers can be found in Matthew, chapter 22:25, and in Luke, chapter 20:29, almost word for word. Thus, this story was fairly well known. There were 7 brothers (ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοὶ ἦσαν). The first one married or took a wife (καὶ ὁ πρῶτος ἔλαβεν γυναῖκα). Then he died (καὶ ἀποθνῄσκων). He was childless, since he had no seed descendants or offspring (οὐκ ἀφῆκεν σπέρμα).
“Jesus said to them.
And marries another,
καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην, μοιχᾶται ἐπ’ αὐτήν·
This response of Jesus to his disciples can be found also in Matthew, chapter 19:9, where there was also an emphasis on divorce as adultery. Mark indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) that whoever divorced his wife (Ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ) and married another woman (καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην), committed adultery against her (μοιχᾶται ἐπ’ αὐτήν). Jesus had taken the stronger stance of no divorce. However, here there was no exception about sexual misconduct compared to Matthew.