*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Matthew 1:2-3a meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Matthew 1:2
  • Matthew 1:3

Matthew shares the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham to King David. And then continues through the line of kings with David’s son, Solomon.


The parallel account of this genealogical record is found in Luke 3:34-35.

Matthew begins Jesus’ genealogy with Abraham, the man to whom God repeatedly promised to make a great nation from and to bless all peoples on earth through his offspring (Genesis 12:3, 18:18, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14). From Abraham Matthew continues through the other patriarchs: Isaac, son of Abraham and son of the promise; Jacob the second-born of Isaac who wrestled with God and was renamed “Israel;” and Judah one of Israel’s twelve sons.

Matthew then mentions by name the first of five remarkable women in Jesus’s lineage, Tamar. Her story is told in Genesis 38. Tamar was a Canaanite and Judah’s daughter-in-law. After Judah’s oldest son was killed for being evil in the sight of the LORD, Tamar was given to be the wife of Judah’s second son Onan, according to Jewish custom.

After God took Onan’s life for his selfish wickedness against Tamar, Judah refused to give her to his third son, as was required by custom, and sent her to live and die as an unwanted widow in her father’s house. After waiting years to be given a husband, Tamar posed as a harlot, and Judah saw her on the side of the road and slept with her. She became pregnant with twins by him, and when Judah discovered that he was the father, he declared “She is more righteous than I, in as much as I did not give her to my son, Shelah.” (Genesis 38:29)

The first born of Tamar’s twin boys was Perez.

Biblical Text

Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar,

Check out our other commentaries:

  • Numbers 12:16 meaning

    After the seven days of Miriam’s time outside of the camp, the Israelites moved from where they were at Hazeroth to a place in a......
  • Romans 14:16-20 meaning

    God wants believers to live harmoniously together. One way we accomplish this is by not taking part in things that other believers might see as......
  • Genesis 12:14-17 meaning

    Pharaoh learned of Sarai’s beauty and treated Abram well by giving him gifts and servants. But God sent plagues to Pharaoh because Sarai was Abram’s......
  • Genesis 21:25-30 meaning

    Abraham complains that Abimelech’s men have taken over his well. Abimelech claims he had not heard of this well until today. Abraham sets apart seven......
  • Romans 3:2 meaning

    The Jewish people still hold a special place with God.......