The Scriptorium

Son of David

The king! What happened to the king? Matthew 1.6-11

Matthew 1: Immanuel (3)

Pray Psalm 132.8-10.
Arise, O LORD, to Your resting place,
You and the ark of Your strength.
Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
And let Your saints shout for joy.
For Your servant David’s sake,
Do not turn away the face of Your Anointed.

Sing with expectation and conviction Psalm 132.8-10.
(Finlandia: Be Still, My Soul)
Arise, O Lord, come to Your resting place;
Your holy presence meet with us in might.
Clothe us with righteousness in Jesus’ grace,
and we will shout to Your divine delight!
For David’s sake, turn not away Your face,
but look upon us in Your holy light.

Read Matthew 1.6-11.

1. Who are the people in this list?

2. What was Israel like at the time of the people at the beginning of this list? What was Israel like at the time of the people at the end of the list?

Matthew supplies us with the kings of Judah, from first to last. This part of Jesus’ genealogy shows Him to be the Son of David and heir to the throne of Israel, as promised in 2 Samuel 7 and Psalm 132. We note that this genealogy begins in a time of glory – the kingdom as it existed under David and Solomon. However, even at this high place, Matthew spun the genealogy to point at David’s sin, and to suggest the trend that would devolve from him: David’s sin with Bathsheba would be a fly in the ointment of God’s promise.

It’s mostly downhill from there, however, with intermittent periods of revival. This part of the genealogy, in knowing readers, would have created a tension of discouragement and anticipation, as readers looked back to David and longed for the fulfillment of God’s promise to him.

We observe that many of the names of the kings of Judah contain morphemes of the divine name: -jah and jeho- in particular. Kings of Judah thus expressed their hopes for their first-born sons, that the Presence and blessing of God would be upon them, and that even their names would cause them to remember that they belonged to Him.

After Solomon, the kingdom of Israel broke into two kingdoms. The line of David descends through the kings of Judah. The first of these, Rehoboam, was a self-centered, spoiled, and bumbling failure. His son, Abijah (“my father is Jah”), trusted the Lord, but he reigned only three years. Asa, his son, built on his father’s foundation and brought many great reforms to the nation; but he faltered in faith at the end. Asa’s son, Jehoshaphat (“Jehovah judges”), continued to reform the nation, sending priests to every city and village to teach the Law. Joram (Jehoram) was greedy, murderous, and wicked. Hezekiah (“strengthened by God”) again sought the Lord and worked to bring reforms to the nation, as did Josiah (“salvation of Yah”), his great-grandson. But none of the reforms was greater than the previous ones, and with Jeconiah, the glory departed Israel, and the people were taken captive to Babylon.

Which might leave readers with the question: What about the King promised to David? The eternal King? Has the kingdom come to its end, never to be revived?

This section of Matthew’s genealogy displays the line of kings, reminding people of Israel’s (Judah’s) former greatness, and sparking the hope that such might be the case again. Yet this part of the genealogy ends with the people captive in Babylon, and no new king in sight. Something would have to happen to remove the fly and purify the ointment.

Matthew will show us that Immanuel is the long-expected and sincerely hoped-for King over God’s people.

1. How can names like these help us to recall key events in Old Testament history?

2. Why was it inevitable that, from David and Solomon to Jeconiah, the kingdom would be only partially realized, then not at all?

3. The people of Jeconiah’s day languished in captivity in Babylon. What about the people of Matthew’s day? To whom were they captive?

Matthew could have written, “David became the father of Solomon by Bathsheba” (the name of the woman involved). In deriding, so to speak, adultery itself, he rather stated clearly, “And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” He thus showed that Christ, who descended from such a degenerate race by generation, “took up our infirmities and bore the burden of our ills,”
as one of the prophets said. Severus (488-538), Cathedral Sermons, Homily 94

Thank You, Lord, for granting me rest in Jesus. Today, help me to be more fully restored in all my ways as I…

Pray Psalm 132.11-18.
Claim God’s promise that He will teach You His way, rest and abide with you, and bless you in all your daily needs because of Jesus.

Sing Psalm 132.11-18.
Psalm 132.11-18 (Finlandia: Be Still, My Soul)
Remember, Lord, the oath You swore to David;
do not turn back, do not deny Your Word:
“One of your sons, with your throne I will favor,
and He shall keep My cov’nant evermore,
and walk within My testimonies ever,
thus He shall ever rule as Israel’s Lord.”

God dwells among us, and He will forever,
to meet our needs and clothe us with His grace.
He has to us sent Jesus Christ, our Savior,
and made us His eternal resting-place.
His foes are banished from His presence ever,
but we shall reign with Him before His face.

T. M. Moore

The Gospel of Matthew will help us grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Two companion books can supplement our study of Matthew. To Know Him examines what it means to belong to Jesus and to love and serve Him (click here), while Be Thou My Vision enables us to gain an even larger perspective on Jesus (click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore