The English word ‘genealogy’ is the translation of the Greek word, ‘Genesis’. This is how Matthew starts his gospel announcing a new beginning. We have had one Genesis already but this is the beginning of the incarnation of God on earth.
Though we don’t read these lists of names normally, they are there as a reminder that Jesus was born into a family line that was as human and ordinary as our own. So let’s continue …
“Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of
Amminadab,” (Matthew 1:3-4)
This genealogy of four generations which cover 450 years is also found at the end of the book of Ruth.
He is mentioned in the list of people who took an arduous journey from Canaan to Egypt when Jacob took the 70 family members down to meet Joseph who had been found alive. The list in Genesis 46:12 looks normal except there are brackets ((but Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan). Judah’s grandchildren had come under God’s judgment. It was a blight upon the family tree and Hezron along with Hamil are drafted into the line as a replacement, a substitute and they may have even been born in Egypt and are mentioned in the list of those going down as those who were to be born.
“Hezron” means a “walled place” or “enclosure”. Behind this enclosure is a story of shame which Hezron lives with all his life.
Hezron named his son Ram, born in a place which was not the Promised Land, Egypt. His name means ‘to be raised up’ or simply ‘high’. Maybe living in this high and mighty place had something to do with the name he chose. The Greek translation has the name Aram which then introduces the picture of the nation of Aram (modern day Syria) who would relentlessly rise up and attack Israel.
Today you may wake to a rising ‘enemy’ over your life. They arrogantly overshadow your life. Perhaps this enemy is relentless. Maybe it feels like one man or even a nation of soldiers coming against you.
His name means ‘my people is willing or generous.’ The Israelites now in Egypt had prospered that nation. But this generation of Amminadab was the tearful people as they saw a dynasty arise within Egypt who had forgotten their history of Joseph and what he had brought to the nation. Amminadab’s generation was heading towards slavery and a darkness that they had never known. Maybe Amminadab never saw the Exodus. Perhaps all he knew was hardship.
Past prisons of shame; bouts of fear that grip as an enemy; trapped by debt and heading into slavery. Is that your family line?
This is the family line of Jesus.