Scott Hoezee

Read: Matthew 1:2-6

. . . and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth. (v. 5)

If you use websites like Ancestry.com to sketch your family tree, then you are accustomed to seeing women’s names. Great-grandmothers, aunts, nieces, sisters: they’re all there. But that was not true for Jewish family trees. Those lists included only men. Once in a great while you might see one that listed the four matriarchs of Israel (Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah), but that was rare.

Yet here is Matthew going out of his way to refer to four women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba (referred to as “the wife of Uriah”). Savvy readers of the Bible know quite a bit about these women, but for today we will note the first striking fact: they are all non-Israelites! A Canaanite, a Jerichoite, a Moabite, and a Hittite. Why are these foreigners in the family tree of Israel’s Messiah? Because this is one of the biggest themes of Matthew’s Gospel: the salvation that will come through Jesus the Messiah is for all people.

Back in Genesis 12, God promised Abraham he would become a blessing to all nations, and now that promise was coming true. Jesus himself had great-great-great-grandmothers who came from many nations and that itself was an early sign that all nations would be blessed by Jesus, too. These are not the four women anyone expected in the Messiah’s genealogy, but there they are: early examples of a salvation that would be for the whole world. Thanks be to God! —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: Lord, you are drawing all people to yourself. We thank you for your great salvation for all peoples! Amen.