Bible Women’s Genealogies: Matriarchal blood lines

The genealogies of women in the Hebrew text showing the matriarchal bloodlines.

I will trace the promise of the woman’s seed, the promised One, Israel’s Messiah, through the genealogies of women showing the matriarchal bloodlines of the women in the Hebrew text.

 

My proposition stems from a literal understanding of the creation account and that the biblical characters are actual persons belonging to Israel’s history. In some instances, I show that they are also allegorical acting as symbols of spiritual concepts to inform and develop our understanding.

Jewish and Christian interpretations of this account vary. From both perspectives, some believe that the early chapters of Genesis are literal others that it is an allegory, a myth telling a powerful story. Interestingly, a literal interpretation of creation among classic rabbinic commentators is as uncommon as it is common among Christian believers. Either way, how this text is interpreted is significant, especially for women.

It is my intention to demonstrate that the patriarchal interpretation imposed on the Hebrew scriptures by both Jewish and Christian translators and those who comment upon them, has marred the image of Christ and his relationship with his bride (the Church).

To do this I take the promise made in regard to the ‘seed’ of the woman, given in the words God spoke to the serpent.

“And I will put enmity

between you and the woman,

and between your offspring (seed) and hers;

he will crush your head,

and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3. 14-15

This woman’s seed is the promised One, Israel’s Messiah. I will trace this promise through the genealogies of women showing the matriarchal bloodlines of the women in the Hebrew text. This bloodline starts with Eve and ends with Mary.

I suggest this continuity supports and is evidence of, the practice of endogamous marriage (the practice of marrying within a specific social group, caste, or ethnic group, rejecting those from others as unsuitable for marriage or other close personal relationships. Endogamy is common in many cultures and ethnic groups.) Endogamy is the social norm prescribed in Genesis 2: 24: ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh’.

Such marriage relies on female kinship and their knowledge of their children. History shows that women-owned land and lived in matriarchal households, albeit originally in tents. As the land was settled, regions, cities, and towns in early Canaan history are named after the women of Israel as the rightful owners.

Those faithful women knew about the prophecy that from the seed of a woman the Messiah would come. This prophetic word would have been passed on by oral tradition to each generation. Each woman’s menstruation was a continual reminder both physically and spiritually that through one of them the promised Messiah would come.

Women were not without standing in the community of Israel and it was in their interest to build up their matriarchal house. It was a joyous event when a daughter was born. Not only was she a descendant of her mother, but the thought was always there that this girl may be the one to find favour with the Lord and to give birth to the Messiah.

The faith of these women is shown by their actions, their determination to take and hold the hope given to humankind in the garden following the deception of Eve and Adam’s disobedience. Their faith in the promise kept them and thereby Israel on its divinely intended, ordained, and prescribed course.

In the fullness of time, Miriam (Mary) whose matriarchal lineage was Leah, from whose tribe, Judah, the Messiah was to come, became the chosen one. No doubt Mary was surprised by a stranger at her doorway but not by the messenger’s announcement. It is plain she understood that a child is conceived through sexual intercourse, but shows no surprise that she is the chosen one and, in her case, it will be a different conception. Like other women, she had been hoping to pray and wait in faith and she readily agreed.

Thus, Mary’s seed, the ‘seed of the woman’, was born into this world, born under the law of sin and death, born without man’s intervention. She gave birth to Jesus, Israel’s Messiah. His mission was to reverse what the first Adam brought upon all humankind.

The genealogy of the Messiah cannot be traced through patriarchal interpretations. It cannot be traced through the seed of Abraham or Israel’s male ancestors. Indeed, male genealogies cannot be trusted. Instead, Jesus’ lineage is female. A hard pill to swallow for those who come from a patriarchal perspective I know, but the focus of God has always been on the woman’s seed and this is traceable only through female kinship.

To fulfil the Creator’s word in Genesis regarding the seed of the woman (the proto-evangel, the first hint of the gospel) God ‘took flesh’ and became the man Jesus. He laid aside his glory but not His divinity. Instead, He humbled him-self. He lived on this earth as a human. He was tempted on all points as we are and learned obedience through the things that he suffered. He was put to death, nailed on a common cross, He died and was resurrected.

He returned to the presence in the godhead from whence he came and promised to return again. He sent to us the Holy Spirit, another Comforter, the spirit of Jesus present with the church for all time until Jesus returns as the ‘bridegroom for his bride – the church’. Where Adam failed and fell, Jesus fully fulfilled the Law and the will of God. The apostle Paul will describe Jesus as the second Adam.

This is the outline of my teaching and research. It is my hope that by putting aside constricting, inaccurate, and stale patriarchal interpretations of this ancient text we can rediscover the bloodline of faithful women together with faithful men, who by God’s grace have been instruments in his purpose to bring redemption in which we stand.

I invite you to study with me, awake to a fresh image. Believer, you are the Bride of Christ. Get ready, our bridegroom is soon coming back!

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