The following is based on 1 Samuel 16:1-13; 1 Kings 2:4; Matthew 1:1-6; Luke 3:31-37 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)
Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.
So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:
Adam and Eve ==> Seth ==> Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah ==> Isaac ==> Jacob ==> Judah and Tamar ==> ==> Salmon and Rahab
And this is where we left off:
TWO VERY IMPORTANT EVENTS:
1. Jacob became the father of 12 sons. (Genesis 29:31 – 30:24 and 35:16-18)
2. Jacob’s name was changed to ISRAEL! (Genesis 32:28)
From that moment on, the descendants of Jacob’s 12 sons would be collectively called the twelve tribes or the nation of ISRAEL.
From this point, Jacob is primarily called “Israel” in scripture, and his descendants are called “Israelites.” From Jacob and his four wives came twelve sons — the twelve tribes of Israel. The rest of the Old Testament recounts their BROKEN RELATIONSHIP and unfaithfulness toward the Lord God, their Creator.
One of the most blatant “evil doers” of the 12 brothers was Judah. He was next in the family line between Adam and Jesus. His life shows that GOD CAN USE ANYONE HE CHOOSES TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSE! Judah’s union with his daughter-in-law produced the next son in the bloodline of Jesus!
Skipping several generations, we also learned that another of Jesus’ ancestors married the prostitute, Rahab, who was commended for helping save the Israelite spies who were sent into the promised land by Joshua — successor of Moses (another “savior” of the Israelites).
For the sake of brevity, we’re going to skip several more generations and follow the bloodline to David, son of Jesse. David was known as a man after God’s own heart. And it’s interesting to note what the Lord God said when He sent the prophet Samuel to anoint David king of Israel …
“The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king. … I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.’
“Samuel did what the Lord said. …
“When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab [the oldest son] and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before theLord.’
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’
“Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, ‘The Lord has not chosen this one either.’ Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, ‘Nor has the Lord chosen this one.’ Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.’ So he asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’
“’There is still the youngest,’ Jesse answered. ‘He is tending the sheep.’ …
“So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.
“Then the Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; this is the one.’
“So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.”
If you read through the books of 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, and 1 Kings, you’ll be able to see that David was an imperfect human, just like his ancestors. You’ll also find that his union with the widow of one of David’s most faithful soldiers (whom David had killed) produced a son named Solomon, builder of the first temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. That piece of land is currently the most contested parcel of real estate in the world and is coveted by three major religions — Judaism (the descendants of Judah), Islam, and Christianity!
But David always acknowledged his sin to the Lord. And each time he did that, the condition of his heart toward God was restored.
God made a promise to David: “If your children pay attention to how they live, conducting themselves before me honestly with all their heart and being, you will never lack a man on the throne of Isra’el.” (1 Kings 2:4, CJB)