If you have been reading our series, The Great Reveal, you know that we are focused on “the Seed.”
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.Genesis 3:15
We have followed God’s promise of the “Seed” of Eve from the Garden of Eden to her son Seth and his descendants including Noah, Shem, Abraham and Isaac. We turn next to Isaac’s son, Jacob, to see how God continued to move toward the eventual revealing of the identify of the Seed.
Path of the Seed
God promised Abraham that all the families of the earth would be blessed through him (Genesis 12:3). God told Abraham that “in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:18). God repeated that same promise to Abraham’s son, Isaac, years later –
And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.Genesis 26:4-5
God chose Isaac’s son Jacob to receive His special blessing and carry on the promise of the Seed that would bless all nations. God even changed Jacob’s name after his wife died giving birth to their last child –
Then God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Padan Aram, and blessed him. And God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.’ So He called his name Israel.Genesis 35:9-10
Jacob had 12 sons, so which one would carry on the promise of the Seed? Here are a couple of clues –
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot ezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. Matthew 1:1-6
And Jacob called his sons and said, ‘Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days … Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk. Genesis 49:1, 8-12
Luke gives us another way of following the Seed from David to Seth –
… the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.Luke 3:31-38
We learn more about how God protected the revelation of the Seed through so many generations as we study each of the people mentioned in the lineages of Matthew and Luke. It is certainly a fascinating path of the Seed.
Israel and Judah
The names of Israel and Judah are important in understanding God’s Great Reveal of His promised Seed. Israel was the name God gave to Jacob. Jacob gave Judah his name.
Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: the sons of Leah were Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; the sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maidservant, were Dan and Naphtali; and the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maidservant, were Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Padan Aram.Genesis 35:22-26
Israel became the name of the people of God, while Judah was one of the tribes of Israel. We find that consistently through the end of Genesis into Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua and Judges.
In the Book of Ruth we see Judah referred to as “the land of Judah” (Ruth 1:7), which may have been a reference to the land that belonged to the Tribe of Judah.
As the historical record turns to 1 Samuel we see the people of God referred to as being Israelites living in Israel. However, we also see that something had changed –
When he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. 1 Samuel 11:18
Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron. 1 Samuel 17:52
But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them. 1 Samuel 18:16
We don’t see the name of any other tribe mentioned in the same way as Judah. The other tribes were part of Israel. Judah was mentioned in addition to Israel. Why? Maybe something had happened in alliances by the time of the judge Samuel. Or, it may be God’s way of signaling something significant was going to happen in His great reveal.
We see this division of names in the reign of King Saul. Even though he was Israel’s first king, the Bible references Saul dealing with Israel and Judah as separate groups. In 1 Samuel 15 we see Samuel say to Saul –
Samuel also said to Saul, ‘The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley.1 Samuel 15:1-5
King Saul gathered the ‘people’ together and numbered them in Telaim (most likely located in southern Judah near the border with Amalek). He numbered 200,000 foot soldiers and “ten thousand men of Judah”. That was similar to when Saul numbered soldiers in Bezek to fight against the Ammonites.
Saul was the first king of the united tribes of Israel. However, he died during a battle with the Philistines. He was severely wounded by archers and fell on his own sword. “So Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men died together that same day.” (1 Samuel 31:6)
What happened next is telling about differences between Israel and Judah. 2 Samuel 2 introduces us to three important events:
- David was anointed king over the house of Judah
- Ishbosheth (another son of Saul) was made king over Israel
- Israel and Judah fought against each other
2 Samuel 2:10-11 reads – “Only the house of Judah followed David. And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.”
It was after the murder of Ishbosheth that the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said –
Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. Also, in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the Lord said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.’ Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah.2 Samuel 5:1-5
Jerusalem became the capitol city of the new United Kingdom of Israel after David and his soldiers defeated the Jebusites and took the city. Jerusalem became known as the City of David.
Now that we’ve seen how the Seed God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob made its way to King David, we’ll look at the importance of the Seed of David as our series on The Great Reveal continues.
[You can read more about the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in our book A History of Man’s Quest for Immorality.]
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.