Matthew 1:1-17 The Anointed One.
“The book of the genealogy” (v. 1a), is “the same phrase used at Gen. 2:4; 5:1 in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament in common use following 150 B.C. Here it may refer not only to the genealogy immediately following, but to the account of Jesus’ birth or the Gospel as a whole also” (NGSB p.1505). Christ or Messiah meaning ‘anointed One’, sets this genealogy apart, as those who were anointed from the Old Testament perspective were those who occupied the offices of prophet, priest, or king (Cf. Ex. 29:7; I Sam. 2:10; 16:13; I Kgs 19:16). However, this anointed One is one man only, and this genealogy is meant to show how this man Jesus Christ is the rightful heir in the line for the throne of David.
“The Old Testament promises the coming of the righteous Servant of the Lord (Is. 42:1-9) who will be a prophet like Moses (Dt. 18:18-19), a priest like Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4), and a king like David, the Lord’s anointed (Is. 55:3-5; Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:24; Hos. 3:5; Zech. 12:8). Matthew reveals that Jesus is the Christ, the promised King and Deliverer” (NGSB p.1505). Luke went back to Adam (3:23-38), but it was enough for Matthew to go back through David to Abraham (v. 1bc). Proving that Jesus descended from David and was born in Bethlehem, was in part to show that He fulfilled this scriptural requirement (Cf. Jn. 7:42; I Sam. 16:1-4; Mic. 5:2), as was the connection to Abraham (Cf. Gen. 12:3; 22:18).
Abraham to Judah is a standard line (v.2 Cf. Gen. 21:2, 12; 25:26; 28:14; 29:35), however, the inclusion of women in what follows is unusual (vv. 3-16).* “Women are not usually named in Near Eastern genealogies, but they are intrinsic to God’s purpose in sending Christ. The five women named in Jesus’ genealogy all remind us that God often does the unexpected and chooses the unlikely. Tamar (v. 3) reminds us of Judah’s failures (Gen. 38:6-30); Rahab (v. 5) was a harlot (Josh. 2); Ruth was a Moabite (Ruth 1:4) and thus subject to a special curse (Deut. 23:3-5); Uriah’s wife Bathsheba (v. 6) was David’s downfall (2 Sam. 11). Mary fulfills Is. 7:14 (v. 23), and the even more important promise of Gen. 3:15 (Gal. 4:4)” (NGSB p. 1505).
Matthew has three groups of fourteen generations for a reason, and each pivot point is significant. “The early history leading to David, the monarchy leading to the Exile in Babylon, and the history of Israel after the exile all lead up to, and point to Christ” (NGSB p.1506). The connection of Abraham to David would have been something clearly understood by Matthew’s contemporaries. What is significant is the place of the Exile. The Exile was a key turning point in the history of redemption and the covenant people. The covenanted people were in Exile until the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah would come to deliver them from Exile. He came to set the captives free (Cf. Is. 61:1; Mt. 3:17).