Luk 3:31 … the son of Nathan, the son of David,
Luk 3:32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz… English Standard Version
“My favorite part of the Bible is the ‘begats’”, said NO ONE, EVER!
I grew up reading the King James Bible, as did most everyone in my generation (and all those before me). I remember when the New International Version and the Good News Bible (Good News For Modern Man in those days) first came out. We felt like we needed to read them in hiding, because we feared using modern translations would result in us being cast out of society as heretics, possibly even burned at the stake. Those were dark days.
Just kidding, except for the growing up reading King James, that is. For the most part, it was no big deal. I say, for the most part, because there were certain sections of the Bible, namely the genealogies that were virtually impossible to get through with your eyelids still open. We called them, ‘the begats’, and avoided them like the plague.
The Old Testament is peppered with ‘begat’ chapters. The Book of Genesis is especially loaded. It’s hard, when you’re 12, to commit to reading the Bible from cover to cover when you can’t get past Genesis 5 without being assaulted by ‘begats’. Heck, it’s hard for adults, for that matter.
I was well into my 30s before I finally realized those genealogy lists are laced with fascinating nuggets of information. Seriously. Stop laughing. They really are. Let’s use Luke 3 as our example.
There are two genealogies in the New Testament; Matthew, chapter 1 and Luke, chapter 3. Both are genealogies of Jesus. With the exception of a few overlaps, they are as different as night and day. These differences cause heartburn for many people, but they shouldn’t.
As we’ve mentioned before, Matthew tells the birth of Jesus from Joseph’s perspective and introduces Jesus as the Messiah, heir to the throne of David, the hope of Israel.
Luke, on the other hand, tells the birth narrative from the viewpoint of Mary, and his gospel emphasizes Jesus as, ‘The Son of Man.’
Their genealogies follow the same pattern. Matthew gives Jesus Royal family tree through the family of Joseph. Luke gives Jesus physical family tree through Mary. That’s why there are some differences, even though in a couple places they converge.
Yip, yip yippee, did I hear you say? Well, hold on, I’m getting to the good part. Geez, you’re impatient.
The royal and physical family trees of Jesus converge completely at King David. Through Joseph, the line goes back via the kings of Israel. Through Mary, the line goes back by way of David’s son, Nathan. Still with me?
Here’s the nugget; Solomon, the king who followed his father, David; and Nathan, had the same mother, Bathsheba. Now that’s cool.
Genetically, Solomon and Nathan are identical. Jesus human and kingly lines both make Him, The son of David. He is the heir to the throne legally, spiritually and physically. God covered all the bases. Wow!
One more tidbit and I’ll let you rest. Solomon and Nathan both were born from a relationship that began in a very ugly fashion. Frankly, it was sinful and disgusting. Yet is has this incredible, glorious happy ending that only God can bring about.
Bathsheba was married to a gentile, Uriah, the Hittite. Uriah was a war hero, a close personal friend of David’s, and a neighbor. David had an affair with Bathsheba that resulted in her becoming pregnant by the king. As a part of the cover up, David arranged for Uriah to be killed, then he married the widow.
The story of David and Bathsheba is as ugly and sordid as anything that could ever come out of the mind of Hollywood. Truth really is stranger than fiction.
Anyway, God dealt harshly with David and the child died in infancy. David repented of his actions and begged God for forgiveness. You can read that repentance in Psalm 51 (my favorite chapter in the Bible). God heard David’s prayer and forgave him completely. So completely, that the next King, and ultimately the Savior of the World came from the offspring of that marriage.
If God can take a soap opera like David and Bathsheba and turn it into the salvation of the human race, just think what He can do with the soap opera that is my life; or yours. All we need to do is follow David’s example and return to Him.
See? I told you there was gold in them there hills. What other good stuff can we find in the ‘begats’? I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned and find out. Or better still, study it for yourself. The trip is worth the fare.