Abraham begot Isaac and Isaac begot Jacob whose name was changed to ‘Israel’ meaning Prince of God. Jacob had twelve sons which became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob’s son Judah by Leah was appointed by God to be in the lineage of the Messiah. Knowing this, Satan did his best to destroy this royal blood line.
The choice of Judah to be a direct ancestor of Christ was announced in the book of Genesis when Jacob, just prior to his death, revealed to his sons “what shall befall you in the last days…”
“Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise…Judah is a lion’s whelp…The scepter shall not depart from Judah…until Shiloh comes…and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” Genesis 49:8-10
Judah, who was referred to as a young lion, would be a direct ancestor of the Messiah and King.
The role of Judah has been confirmed in the final book of the Bible. The setting is in heaven and the reclamation of the earth from Satan is about to take place.
“So I (John) wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll…But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah…has prevailed to open the scroll…’” Revelation 5:4-5
Judah’s son Perez who continued the royal lineage had a very non conventional beginning. Perez was one of twins born to Tamar, Judah’s daughter-in-law through a deceitful, incestuous relationship between Judah and Tamar. The actual birth of Perez was equally interesting.
“Now it came to pass, at the time for giving birth, that behold, twins were in her womb. And so it was, when she was giving birth, that the one put out his hand; and the midwife took a scarlet thread and bound it on his hand saying, ‘This one came out first.’ Then it happened, as he drew back his hand, that his brother came out unexpectedly… Therefore his name was called Perez. Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand…” Genesis 38:27-30
Nothing can thwart God’s plan that was drafted before the foundation of the world. Consider another attempt by Satan to prevent the coming Messiah, the Seed of the woman. Satan’s plan was to destroy the royal line of Judah.
During the period 841 – 835 BC, after the death of king Ahaziah, his mother Athaliah reigned in his stead in Judah.
“Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs of the house of Judah. But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being murdered, and put him (Joash) and his nurse in a bedroom…so that she (Athaliah) did not kill him…and he was hidden…in the house of God for six years…” 2 Chronicles 22:10-12
Joash then became king of Judah at the age of seven years and reigned for forty years in Jerusalem and “did what was right in the sight of the LORD…”
Approximately 300 years prior to those events a young Moabite widow named Ruth journeyed to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law Naomi after a great famine. The Biblical account tells of the marriage of Ruth and Boaz of Bethlehem. The people of the village were very excited about this relationship.
“And all the people…said… ‘The LORD make the woman (Ruth) who is coming to your (Boaz) house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel…May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the LORD will give you from this young woman.’” Ruth 4:11-12
And sure enough, “The LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.”
And they called his name Obed.
“Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.” Ruth 4:18-22 and Matthew 1:3b-6