Sign up ×
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In Matthew's genealogy of Jesus, he records the names of both of the sons of Judah and Tamar: Perez and Zerah, who were twins. Zerah is not a direct ancestor of Jesus, since the line goes through Perez. Yet, Matthew doesn't record the names of any other sons who were not part of the line he traces - not even Esau who like Zerah was a twin. Jeconiah's brothers are briefly mentioned in 1:11, but not by name. Why would Matthew include Zerah's name, then, into the genealogy?

share|improve this question
Interesting question. – Raphael Rosch Apr 1 '14 at 7:46
This may help. In the lineage of Jesus a daughter of Perez marries a son of Zerah. – user6838 Feb 3 at 7:10

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Judah was the father of Peretz, but Tamar was known as the "mother of Peretz and Zerah" and the emphasis is on the maternal side in this verse, as in verses 5 and 7 referring respectively to the sons of the matriarchs Rahav, Ruth and Bat-Sheva.

See also the wording of the genealogy in Chronicles I 2:4 where the twins are mentioned as the sons of Tamar.

See also Genesis 28:5, "Rebekah, mother of Jacob and Esau".

share|improve this answer

Could it have to do with the fact that the Zerahite line spawned Prince Eochaidh (later crowned as King Heremon) of Ireland, who married Tea Tephi, King Zedekiah's daughter? Tea Tephi was apparently brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah along with the "Stone of Destiny". The Davidic Royal line then transfers to Scotland (along with the coronation "Stone of Destiny") and then ultimately to England. Hence, fulfilling God's promise to David that he would never lack a man on the throne, as well as His promise to Judah that "the sceptre would not depart from him until Shiloh (Messiah) comes". Could be why the Holy Spirit had Matthew include Zerah in his genealogy.

share|improve this answer
Hi Jim. Welcome to This answer seems to speculative (and the linked site provides no evidence for its claims). Rather than "Could it have to do with ..." do you think you could provide firm evidence for seeing an Irish connection to the Davidic line? – Dick Harfield May 2 at 6:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.