READ: Matthew 1:1-17
- In Hebrew, David is דָּוִד (dvd). In Hebrew, the numbers are merely the letters given numerical values according to their place in the alphabet. So, aleph = 1, beth = 2, gimmel, = 3, and so forth. The דָּ (D) is the fourth letter of the alphabet, so that is the number 4. The וִ (V) is the sixth letter and thus is 6. David’s name, דָּוִד (dvd) therefore, equals 14 (4+6+4). Matthew calls direct attention to this in v17 of our text. He has arranged the genealogy so that each of the three sections equals 14 names.
- In order to make the arrangement work, Matthew had to omit some names. So, when the text says, “Joram, the father of Uzziah,” in actuality, Joram is the ancestor of Uzziah (there are 3 other kings in there before Uzziah). There is obviously a lot of literary technique at work here to make sure the reader sees three divisions of 14. Those three divisions point to David (the sum of the letters being 14).
- Not only that, but Matthew ends the first section (v6) with David and begins the second section (v7) with David, thus, providing more attention to him. Matthew does not want the reader to miss that Jesus is legitimately the Messiah, based on the fact that He is of the lineage of David. If He were not, He could not be the Messiah. From the outset, the writer of Matthew biases any reading of the text, pointing out this is a story based on David. As such, Jesus is the rightful heir to David’s throne.
- Why do you think Matthew goes out of his way to establish that Jesus is the rightful heir to the throne of David?
- How do you explain Matthew’s rather loose development of this list of names?
- How does Matthew’s literary presentation prepare you for the rest of the book?
PRAY: Thank God for sending Jesus. Pray that others will choose to follow Him. Acknowledge Jesus as your King.