Women in the Matthean Genealogy

The Matthean genealogy gives us an account of the colorful people who make up Jesus’ lineage when he is adopted into the house of David. The late Michael Goulder wrote a wonderful poem about Jesus’ genealogy:

Exceedingly odd,
Is the means by which God
Has provided our path to the heavenly shore:

Of the girls from whose line
The true light was to shine
There was one an adulteress, one was a whore.

There was Tamar who bore –
What we all should deplore –
A fine pair of twins to her father-in-law;

And Rahab the harlet,
her sins were as scarlet,
As red as the thread which she hung from the door;

Yet alone of her nation
She came to salvation,
And lived to be mother of Boaz of yore;

And he married Ruth,
A Gentile uncouth,
In a manner quite counter to biblical law;

And of her there did spring
Blessed David the King
who walked on his palace one evening,

and saw

The wife of Uriah,
From whom he did sire
A baby that died, oh, and princes a score.

And a mother unmarried
It was too that carried
God’s son, and him laid in a cradle of straw;

That the moral might wait
At the heavenly gate
While the sinners and publicans go in before,

Who have not earned their place
But received it by grace,
And have found them a righteousness not of the law.


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