I got a new day planner and still have some eggnog left for my latte, so I am excited to get started reading with you. Here is a five-minute read that you might find interesting related to Matt 1&2.
I have always wondered why the wise men were looking to the stars to see when the King of the Jews would be born. I heard recently that outside historical sources such as Tacitus and Josephus wrote about the expected King of the Jews coming on the scene about the time of John the Baptist. Why? Why was everyone expecting it at this time? After all, it had been over 400 years since the last prophet wrote anything directed to the Jewish people. So, why now?
Well, I recently heard something that explains why! I had never heard this explanation before so it was exciting for me to learn this! I want to share it with you if you have a moment.
First, we have to go over a brief history of Israel. (This is a review, you may already know.)
• Solomon blew it in his old age (931 BC), so God divided the kingdom of Israel as a consequence of Solomon’s unfaithfulness.
• Israel is divided. The north retains the name Israel (comprised of 10 the tribes) and the south, made up of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, is called Judah.
• The northern kingdom is wicked for the next 200 years, and as a result, in 722 BC, is conquered by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17). The northern people were taken captive, driven out of the area, or killed. Historians say these people were basically “lost to history”.
• The southern kingdom (Judah) had a few good kings which made them last longer. Still, they too, as a result of their unfaithfulness, were carried off into captivity by the Babylonians in 586 BC (136 years after their northern brothers were obliterated).
• The difference between these two nations was that the tribe of Judah never completely disappeared. Cyrus the Great let them return to their land (Ez. 1). From this time forward, the history of the Jews is the history of the tribe of Judah. Even though Cyrus was still lord over them, he allowed the local authorities to rule their people. In the same way, when Rome conquered Babylon, they too allowed the Jewish people to have a local “king” on the throne up to 40 years before Christ was born.
***So here is the part that I had never heard before. This is sooooo interesting!!! ***
Genesis 49:10 tells how Jacob blesses his children (1859 BC). This is what he says to his son, Judah:
“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.”
Wait, what?! The scepter will not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes?
So, what happened 40 years before Christ? Rome put King Herod in place as the ruler of the Jewish people. BUT, he was not from the tribe of Judah!!! He was half-Jewish, but not considered to be from the tribe of Judah as the kings before him.
This was the first time since the reign of David that the “scepter” had departed from Judah. THIS IS WHY EVERYBODY (including the wise men) WAS LOOKING FOR THE MESSIAH AT THIS TIME IN HISTORY.
Have you ever heard that before? It makes total sense!! That is why people flocked out to the countryside to see John baptizing people. “Could he be who we have been expecting?” I am sure Herod was acquainted with Jacob’s prophetic words to his son Judah. This gives a whole new understanding as to why, “When Herod the king heard this (the King of the Jews had been born), he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” (Matt 2:3)
Ahh, good stuff! I love learning new things each time I read the Bible. A prophecy given 1859 years before Christ comes to pass! That’s incredible!!
What did you get out of the reading? I highly recommend you get a notebook or day planner to write something each day that stands out to you. Make it brief! You don't have to spend a lot of time writing. I have found that if I even write one sentence, I remember the reading better than if I write nothing at all.
I will touch base with you again in about a week. Until then, happy reading!