This is the record of the Inductive Studier, boldly going where no commentary has gone before…or rediscovering thoughts long since hidden in the rubble of modern thought…or analyzing the cryptic sentences to unearth prizes of knowledge lying beneath our noses.
In my time in the records of Matthew, I have spent nearly a week analyzing the histories of Matthew 1. In my endeavors, one verse has continued to perplex me.
“17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.”
What is the significance of 14? It is not 12 tribes or 40 years or 3 days or even 7 weeks. By delving into some Bible commentaries, I was able to ascertain that dividing lists into equal sections was a common device used to memorize genealogies. And in these recordings, there were certain omissions that were considered perfectly acceptable. Indeed I doubt there are many who would not like to summarize their history without some of their more obscure and benign relations.
It is interesting, however, to see which fourteen names made the list. The first section, Abraham – David, is well documented in the Biblical narrative. There are many promises given by God, and a general story line. The next section, David – Babylonian captivity, is documented with less story and more fact in the annuls of the kings. The history is mixed, but on a distinct downward slope. The final fourteen are obscure, and little history is known from the Bible save for exile, the repopulating of the land of Israel in small numbers, and much war and bickering. The promise seemed to be losing strength as people turned away from God. But then the God-Man was born.
What is the significance of a number? Why memorize a lineage that is not your own? Except it is…if you base your loyalty and identity off of a promise to a particular person’s children, then an impostor would be devastating.
So do I care about genealogies? Is it any more than a nice collection of 14 names that come in trilogy box set? All the pain, all the people of renown, and the people of infamy, the rich and poor, high and low, accepted and rejected are called family by the God-Man, Jesus. Not everyone claims their family so openly. Not all promises are easy to see fulfilled. But God kept His promise and did it through the person He pointed out in the beginning.
“24 The Lord bless you, and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’” Numbers 6:24-26
God, thank You for the blessing of discovery, adventure, of thinking beyond our normal parameters and seeing through a different perspective.Thank You for coming to earth for us! Please help me to see more from Your Word, and be able to translate that into a medium that will intrigue people around me. To Your glory, Amen.