So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.
Only five women are mentioned in the 52 generational bloodlines of Jesus (see Matthew 1:1-16). The first four 'queen mothers' include: 1) a forsaken daughter-in-law with a desperate scheme, 2) a deal-making prostitute, 3) a widow from an accursed race, and 4) an adulterous wife. The fifth? A strong and virtuous teenager.
Why would God mention only these five women? He wants us to study them. Why would four of them be of highly questionable morality or status? Let's take a look.
First is Tamar: ' 'Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the harlot; furthermore she is with child by harlotry.' So Judah said, 'Bring her out and let her be burned!' ' (Genesis 38:24). But Tamar is the first named queen mother of Jesus.
The back story: Tamar married Judah's son, Er, but Er was evil, and God killed him. By Jewish law, she married the next son, but he was evil, too, and God killed him. 'Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, 'Remain a widow in your father's house till my son Shelah is grown' ' (Genesis 38:11) that Tamar might wed him.
Judah reneged on his promise to Tamar, and she took the matter of producing an heir into her own hands. She disguised herself and became pregnant by her father-in-law. The result? Perez, Jesus' ancestor.
Judah later admits his fault regarding Tamar in saying, 'She has been more righteous than I' (Genesis 38:26).
What was wrong with Tamar? She planned and executed a scandalous affair, and she was not a Jew.
What was right with Tamar? She was obedient and patient in her tribulations with two evil husbands. She was smart and determined. She knew Jewish customs. Tamar hoped for Judah's fairness and God's mercy toward her desperate sin. She received both.
How many Tamars have we met who got pregnant under questionable circumstances? Did we scorn them as sinners? Or did we show them mercy? If God deemed Tamar worthy to become a queen mother to Jesus, can we do less than remove ourselves as judges and believe in God's greater plans?
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Royal Women: The Genealogy Of Jesus series.