In the near future I will be teaching through Matthew’s Gospel and this past week I was working through the genealogy in 1:1-17. Sometimes we tend to rush over this material like this, thinking that the good stuff is after all that preliminary material!
Anyway, as I was working through the text, I was reminded of a few things. One, the genealogy includes women, and not the likes of say Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel, but Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. The genealogy that begins with Abraham (1:2) and ends with Jesus (1:16) runs through King David (1:6) showing that Christ is the ultimate Son of David. In that blood line are these women.
Second, while genealogies in the Ancient Near East served many purposes, this genealogy is for the purpose of showing the kingly line of “Jesus the Messiah” (1:1). Leave it to D. A. Carson to find a pastoral comment in a genealogy. He writes,
Actually, Matthew’s chief aims in including the genealogy are hinted at in the first verse—viz., to show that Jesus Messiah is truly the kingly line of David, heir to the messianic promises, the one who brings divine blessings to all nations. Therefore the genealogy focuses on King David (1:6) on the one hand, yet on the other hand includes Gentile women. Many entries would touch the hearts and stir the memories of biblically literate readers, though the principal thrust of the genealogy ties together promise and fulfillment (“Matthew” in EBC, 63).