The Royal Lineage in Genesis

Genealogies in Genesis
- “Toledot” - account.

It function like a chapter or section headings in modern books (for example Gen 2:4; 6:9; 11:27; 25:9; 37:2).
It also focus our attention on a particular individual and his immediate family.

“zera” - seed (meaning descendants, offspring).
The word can be either singular (Gen 21:13) or plural (Gen 28:14).
The word normally denotes an individual’s natural child or children (Gen 4:25; 15:3).

The lineage of Adam

1. The lineage is always traced through male descendants and all are clearly named.
2. In number of instances a younger son is given priority over an older brother and there is a reason given for that.

For killing his brother Abel, Cain, the firstborn, is passed over in favour of Seth, the third-born (Gen 4:1-25).

Ismael is Abraham’s firstborn, but he is excluded because he is the son of Sarah’s Egyptian maidservant (Gen 16:1-61; 17:18-21; 21:9-21).

And Esau sells his birthright (Gen 25:29-34) and displeases his parents by wrong married choices (Gen 26:34-35).

Twelve Sons of Jacob

Judah - the fourth-born son and Jospeh - the eleventh-son are privileged before the others.
Reuben, Simeon, and Levi - disqualified themselves by their actions (Gen 35:22; 34:25-30).
Joseph was the firstborn of Rachel - the beloved wife of Jacob and he got the birthright (1 Chron 5:1-2).

Then, Jacob blesses Joseph’s two sons Manasseh and Ephraim by placing the younger over the older (Gen 48:1-22).

But, Gen 38 also speaks about Judah’ lineage - and that must be something to it (Gen 49:8-10).

Judah replaces Joseph and (Benjamin)

The first leader of Israel, Joshua, comes from the line of Ephraim (Num 13:8).

Then the first king comes from the tribe of Benjamin (1 Sam 9:1-2).

Finally, both lines were replaced by Judah (Ps 78:59-72).

By God’s grace

The central family line exists due to the gracious activity of God.
Gen 4:25 - God has granted me. . . Seth.
Gen 11:30 - Sarah was childless;
Gen 25:21 - So was Rebekah
Gen 29:31 - So was Rachel

Special relationship

There is a special relationship between God and individual members of the main family line.

Gen 5:24 - Enoch
Gen 6:9 - Noah
Gen 12:1 - Abraham

Not perfect

Those chosen people by God are never perfect

Noah (Gen 9:20-21);
Abraham (Gen 12:10-13);
Jacob (Gen 27:1-40).

But better than the others?

Noah (Gen 6:9);
Abraham (Gen 15:6; 22:1-19)
Jacob (Gen 35:1-5)
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob worship God (Gen 12:7-8; 26:25; 35:1-7)

As the father so the son?

Cain and Lamech (Gen 4:19-24)
Abraham - Gen 12:10-20; 21:22-34; Isaac - Gen 26:1-11; 26:17-25.
Jacob (Gen 27:1-29) - his sons (Gen 37:12-35)

Royal lineage

Gen 17:6 - “kings will come from you”;
Gen 17:16 - “kings of peoples will come from” Sarah.
Gen 23:6 - ‘a prince of God”
Gen 27:28-29 - the blessing of Jacob - “may nations serve you” (see Gen 35:11).
Judah (Gen 49:8-12, especially verse 10) - from Judah shall come the royal line of David.

Divine Promises

1. Gen 3:15 - the “seed” of the woman shall overcome the serpent.
2. God promises the land of Canaan to the “seed” of Abraham (Gen 12:7);
3. The “seed” of Abraham shall be numerous (Gen 22:16-18).

New Testament Connections

Matt 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38
The special line of “seed” finds its fulfilment in Jesus.
Rom 1:3; see also 2 Timothy 2:8 - Jesus “the son of David”.
Gal 3:16 - Paul interprets Gen 12:7 that the “seed” is singular and it is Christ.
See also Acts 3:12-26, especially 3:25-26.

But, although Jesus comes from the royal line of Abraham and David, the Bible states that he is:

Greater than Abraham (John 8:52-58)
Greater than David (Mt 22:41-46)
Greater than Solomon (Mt 12:42)

Physical versus (spiritual) descent

Rom 9:8 and Gal 4:28 - makes a distinction between children by physical descent and “children of promise”.
Ishmael/Isaac; Esau/Jacob - read Rom 9:6-7.
Thus, natural descent from Abraham is no guarantee of salvation.

The “seed” of Abraham should resemble him in faith/trust in God (Gal 3:6-7; Rom 4:16-17).

The true children of Abraham are those who, like Abraham, exercise faith.