There are 42 forefathers mentioned in Jesus’ lineage from Joseph, Mary’s husband, to Abraham. And there are 5 foremothers mentioned. Those 5 are:
Her who had been the wife of Uriah (Bathsheba),
The interesting thing is, all of these women have something in common: The circumstance surrounding their inclusion in the lineage of the Messiah, involves a violation of Torah or they are an outsider to Torah. Tamar was Judah’s daughter in law, and her story is found in Gen 38. She bore her children by Judah, when a relationship between a father and daughter in law is forbidden in Torah.
Rahab is a Canaanite, and her story is found in Jos 2. Canaanites were outsiders to Israel, and not only outsiders, but the only nation in the history of the earth where God commanded His people to destroy them all down to every last man, woman, and child, because their wickedness was so great (Deu 20:16-18). Not only that, but she was a harlot before Joshua led Israel into Canaan.
Ruth was a Moabitess, and her story is found in Ruth 1-4. The Moabites were descended from the offspring of Lot and his older daughter, a forbidden relationship in Torah. And also, the Moabites were the only people who sought to destroy Israel by the occult when they were preparing to enter the Promised Land (Num 22-25).
Bathsheba committed adultery with King David, a forbidden relationship in Torah. Her story is found in 2 Sam 11.
And Mary did not do anything in violation of Torah, but to every one around her it appeared as if she had – she appeared to have become pregnant with Jesus before she was wed to Joseph.
Now there are 37 foremothers of the Messiah who are not mentioned in Jesus’ lineage, and I am sure every one of them were proper and righteous. And only these 5 “notorious” foremothers were mentioned. Why were they mentioned at all, when the pattern was already established that the lineage was from father to son?
I believe it was to confer honor upon those women, who left the life they had been born and raised to (as in the case of Rahab and Ruth) or who, like the woman caught in adultery, had repented of their sin, and gone and sinned no more (Bathsheba), or who had been censored by society for perceived unrighteousness (as in the case of Tamar and Mary), in order to attach themselves to the one true God, the God of Israel, and live for Him once they have found Him and found His forgiveness.
He is good, and His mercy endures forever – He forgives iniquity and sin. When He does, He drops our past into the sea of forgetfulness, and we have a fresh start in life.
Aren’t you glad? I am!