In a previous post I wrote about the four women who appear in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. These four foreign women were included in Matthew’s genealogy in order to emphasize the universal mission of Jesus. The inclusion of these Gentile women is an important component of what Matthew was trying to communicate to his audience.
Although the inclusion of these four women provide a small glimpse of the women who were part of the family tree of Jesus, Matthew did not mention the names of many other women who were also great-grandmothers of Jesus.
Matthew’s genealogy is divided into three groups of fourteen generations. According to Matthew 1:17 “all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.”
Thus, the total number of generations is forty-two. This means that there are a total of forty-two women in Jesus’ family tree; however, only four names are given in Matthew’s genealogy. The purpose of today’s post is to list a few of the great-grandmothers of Jesus that Matthew failed to include in his genealogy. This list does not include the four women mentioned in my previous post. To read my previous post, follow the link listed below.
Sarah: A Great-Grandmother of Jesus
“Abraham was the father of Isaac” (Matthew 1:2).
Sarah was Abraham’s wife. Because Sarah was barren and unable to conceive a child, she gave Hagar to Abraham as a wife. The child born of this union, Ishmael, is not included in Matthew’s genealogy because the child who would carry God’s promise to Abraham’s would be Isaac and not Ishmael.
Rebekah: A Great-Grandmother of Jesus
“Isaac [was] the father of Jacob” (Matthew 1:2).
Rebekah was the daughter of Bethuel and sister of Laban. She was chosen to be Isaac’s wife because she was a relative of Abraham. Rebekah was the mother of Jacob and Esau.
Leah: A Great-Grandmother of Jesus
“Jacob [was] the father of Judah” (Matthew 1:2).
Leah was the elder daughter of Laban. Jacob was in love with Rachel, Leah’s sister. Jacob had worked seven years for Rachel. However, on his wedding night, Laban gave Leah to Jacob instead of Rachel. In addition to Judah, Leah’s fourth son, Leah was also the mother of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, and Zebulun.
Naamah the Ammonite: A Great Grandmother of Jesus
“Solomon [was] the father of Rehoboam” (Matthew 1:7).
The mother of Rehoboam was Naamah, an Ammonite woman who married Solomon (1 Kings 14:21). In the Bible, the Ammonites appear as an enemy of Israel. Solomon married Naamah in order to establish a treaty between the Israelites and the Ammonites.
Maacah, daughter of Abishalom: A Great-Grandmother of Jesus
“Rehoboam [was] the father of Abijah” (Matthew 1:7).
Maacah was the favorite wife of Rehoboam. In 1 Kings 15:2 Maacah is listed as the mother of Abijah and the daughter of Abishalom, a man who is generally identified with Absalom, David’s son. In 1 Kings 15:10, Maacah is called the mother of Asa, king of Judah. Scholars believe that Maacah was the mother of Abijah and the grandmother of Asa.
Maacah in one of three women in the Old Testament who is called a gebirah, the official title of the queen mother. One characteristic of this great-grandmother of Jesus is that her son Asa deposed his mother from her position as gebirah because Maacah was an idol worshiper: “He also removed his mother Maacah from being queen mother, because she had made an abominable image for Asherah” (1 Kings 15:13).
Azubah: A Great-Grandmother of Jesus
“Asa [was] the father of Jehoshaphat” (Matthew 1:8).
Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi, was the wife of Asa and the mother of Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:42). Nothing is known about Azubah or her father Shilhi.
Jecoliah: A Great Grandmother of Jesus
Jecoliah, a woman from Jerusalem (2 Kings 15:2), was the wife of King Amaziah and the mother of Uzziah (Azariah). Nothing is known about Jecoliah.
Jerusha: A Great Grandmother of Jesus
“Uzziah [was] the father of Jotham” (Matthew 1:9).
Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok, was the wife of Uzziah and the mother of King Jotham (2 Kings 15:33). Nothing is known about Jerusha.
Abi: A Great Grandmother of Jesus
“Ahaz [was] the father of Hezekiah” (Matthew 1:9).
Abi, the daughter of Zechariah, was the wife of King Ahaz and the mother of Hezekiah. Her name is a shortened form of the name Abijah (2 Chronicles 29:1).
Hephzibah: A Great Grandmother of Jesus
“Hezekiah [was] the father of Manasseh” (Matthew 1:10).
Hephzibah was the wife of King Hezekiah and the mother of King Manasseh (2 Kings 21:1). Nothing is known about Hephzibah.
Meshullemeth: A Great Grandmother of Jesus
“Manasseh [was] the father of Amon (Amos)” (Matthew 1:10).
Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah was the wife of Manasseh and the mother of Amon (2 Kings 21:19). Nothing is known about Meshullemeth. The location of the city of Jotbah is unknown.
Jedidah: A Great Grandmother of Jesus
“Amon [was] the father of Josiah” (Matthew 1:10).
Jedidah, daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath, was the wife of Amon and the mother of Josiah (2 Kings 22:1). Nothing is known about Adaiah, Jedidah’s father. The place of her birth, Bozkath, was a town located in the Shephelah of Judah. According to the list of the towns Judah received as an inheritance, Bozkath is located near Lachish and Eglon (Joshua 15:39).
Nehushta: A Great Grandmother of Jesus
“Josiah [was] the father of Jechoniah” (Matthew 1:11).
Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem, was the wife of Josiah and mother of Jechoniah (2 Kings 24:8). Jechoniah is also known by his throne name Jehoiachin, the king of Judah who was deported to Babylon in 597 B.C.
Nothing is known about Elnathan, Nehushta’s father; only that he was an individual who lived in Jerusalem. It is possible that Elnathan was an officer in King Jehoiakim’s court. Jehoiakim was Jehoiachin’s father (Jeremiah 26:22).
According to 2 Kings 24:12 and 24:15, Nehushta was taken into exile together with her son Jehoiachin. It is possible that Nehushta’s name may be related to Nehushtan, the bronze serpent destroyed by King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4).
These great-grandmothers of Jesus were not mentioned by Matthew because they were not as famous as Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. However, each one of these women share something in common. Although their names have been forgotten and they remain unmentioned by Matthew, they all belong in the family tree of Jesus.
There are two other great-grandmothers of Jesus who were not mentioned in this list. One of them, is the woman most Christians consider to be one of the most evil women of the Bible. Her name is Jezebel, the evil queen who was the wife of Ahab.
My next post will deal with Jezebel and explain how she also became one of the many great-grandmothers of Jesus.
Claude F. Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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