Palimpsest: Family Tree and Family Ties

James Tissot

Family Tree and Family Ties

Matthew 1:18-25


The longest begetting streak is at the beginning of the book of Matthew. It starts with Abraham and ends with Joseph, the father of Jesus. This is puzzling, not just because the Bible is keeping track of people's sex lives, but because it includes Joseph at all. The supposed intention of the passage is to link Jesus, son of Joseph, to Abraham, father of the people of Israel, and yet the entire point of Jesus is that he is God's son by the virgin Mary. Joseph had nothing, biologically, to do with it. If anything, the Bible should be linking Mary with Abraham, and leaving Joseph out of it. Why the many listed begettings?  - io9.com

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
– Matthew 1:1-16

My husband’s voice comes down the hall
like a lullaby :
“It’s OK, Daddy’s here,
Daddy’s gonna fix it.
Don’t you fuss, Daddy’s here,
Daddy’ll make it all better.”
The cries gently subside.

He is like this with both sons,
patient, protective,
offering all he has of history and hope.

Turns out you don’t need the bond of blood,
ownership of conception,
to be a parent.
You just need the yes
to the one placed before you.
- Michelle Hargrave, Reflections on Joseph, Jesus’ Father, at 1 a.m., 2004

· Why is this genealogy of Jesus written the way it is? What does it tell us about Jesus, about Joseph? What questions does it raise?
· How significant is your own family tree? What does it tell you?
· How are you being called to say “yes” to Jesus this Christmas?

1 comment:

Roxanne said...

Hmm. I like the explanation suggested by your poem.