Matthew 1:2

1:2  Ἀβραὰμ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰσαάκ Ἰσαὰκ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰακώβ Ἰακὼβδὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰούδαν καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ

1:2. Abraam gennaō Isaak de Isaak gennaō Iakōb de Iakōb gennaō Ioudas kai autos adelphos 

1:2 Abraham [“father of a multitude”,father of the faith] fathered Isaac [“to laugh”], then Isaac fathered Jacob [“heel-catcher or supplanter”], then Jacob fathered Judah [“he shall be praised”] and his brothers [brethren].

From the root of Abraham, we see Isaac whose name means to laugh or “he laughs” – it is from the Hebrew root יִצְחָק which is a sporting/mocking type of laughter – one might suppose a laughter of disbelief or pride. 

How interesting!

Especially interesting when we examine the name of his half brother יִשְׁמָעֵאל Ishmael = “God will hear”  

There are so many questions that we can ask when we see the name of Abram changed to Abraham, the name of Isaac who was not given a new name, the name of Jacob changed to Israel, and then the twelve brothers who made up the tribes of Israel alluded to by the mention of Judah, who wasn’t the eldest brother, but the fourth child of Jacob and Leah.  

So many questions:

Why didn’t Isaac get a new name?

– My thoughts: It was prophesied to Abraham that he would have a son and his name would be Isaac, so this name was already given to him by God. Whatever name his parents might have had in plan for him was supplanted by the name prophesied to Abraham when his wife Sarah laughed. So Isaac started out with his “new name” day one.

Why was Judah mentioned instead of Ruben, the eldest?

– The lineage of Jesus Christ was through Judah and Tamar, and Christ was the son of promise.

-Reuben’s inappropriate behavior towards Bilhah, led Jacob to give his birthrite away.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,

My might and the beginning of my strength,

The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.

Unstable as water, you shall not excel,

Because you went up to your father’s bed;

Then you defiled it;

He went up to my couch.”

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