The Star – part 2

 Matthew has highlighted the prophetic riddle of the Old Testament so much so, that we are barely into chapter 2 and had to skip over much of chapter 1 to get here. He is excited to share the prophetic riddle. This is important as the Star of Bethlehem is examined closely. In Matthew’s genre of riddle, does he intend to tell us that there is a literal star? or does he use it as a figure as well?

Not a literal star?

If the star was a normal star in a constellation, then it wouldn’t hover over a single point such as Bethlehem. It would move in a arc like the rest of he stars save Polaris, which hovers over the north pole. In order to use it to get to Bethlehem you would need:

To know its path precisely, through the sky
The precise time
A clean horizon
Altitude above sea level or a floating mirror
An accurate measure of angle from the horizon


Since no one know s what star it was, it is unlikely they knew the precise path of it. Others have been well known for millennia.
Accurate time pieces did not exist
As strangers, even if they could see the Mediterranean sea for a horizon, it is unlikely they knew their altitude for the adjustment.
The distance from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is less than 5 nautical miles. To navigate with this precision would require a measurement of angle from the horizon to the star with an accuracy of 5 minutes of a degree.

It is improbable that it was a normal celestial star.

Not an asteroid

If the star was an asteroid it would need to be in a nearly Geo-stationary orbit.

Why did no one else see it?
Why didn’t the wise men show it to Herod?

Not a ball of lightning?

If the star was a special phenomenon, a ball of light, which literally led them step by step to Bethlehem, then:

Why didn’t anyone else see it and follow it?
Why did they stop to see Herod, when it was leading them to Bethlehem?
Why didn’t they point it out to Herod and say, “See! We’re just following this thing.”
When the children were being killed, why didn’t the parents point to Joseph and Mary and say “They are the ones with the special beacon!”

It is improbable that it was a special ball of light.

Why did they rejoice?

Mt 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

If they had been following a literal light why does it now appear that they have seen it for the first time?

It is not the Star of David

The six pointed star called the Star of David does not originate from the Star of Bethlehem. It is a late invention and is the Mogen David; the Shield of David… not star.

What does the scripture SAY?

Matthew is showing how the mystery, which has been hidden from the beginning, is made known in Christ Jesus.

Mt 2:1 ¶ Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Mt 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east (ancient), and are come to worship him.
Mt 2:3 When Herod the king had heard [these things], he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Mt 2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
Mt 2:5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
Mt 2:6 And thou Bethlehem, [in] the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Mt 2:7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
Mt 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found [him], bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
Mt 2:9 ¶ When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
Mt 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

The prophecy says

Nu 24:17 [given to Balak of Moab through Balaam] I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

The prophecy of Balaam does not indicate a literal star. How would a star come out of David? Once we recognize that it isn’t literal, we are set free to understand the mystery.

I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not near

The prophecy calls for a man in the future, who is at a distance from Moab.

there shall come a Star out of Jacob

Using the name Jacob rather than Israel is a hint that the revelation is speaking of the flesh of the man.
Star – כוכב ‘the Son of God made distinct (clarified) כו as the Son of God כ revealed to man ב’
Jacob – יעקב ‘his flesh יע in resurrection ק revealed to man ב’

a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel

Now using Israel, his spiritual purpose is revealed:
Sceptre – שׁבט ‘shebet’ tribe, rod. Since the prophecy calls for a man, referred to as “he”, he will be the leader of captain of the tribe; a ruler. This is why Herod was worried.
Israel – ישׂראל man ישׂ joined to God אל by the revelation ר. Remember that the first name of God, Elohim, means God separated from man by a lack of understanding.
But the sceptre shabet שׁבט sounds like shabbat שׁבת sabbath which means ‘rest’. The wise men from the east; from Moab, enemies of Israel, were not afraid to come to the newborn king because they knew he was a king of peace. This also was a clue that Herod would not be a king of peace. What need would there be for peace if Herod had already accomplished it. The prophecy warns them against Herod.

shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth

smite – wound. Consider the limping side of Christ; the bruised heal, the withered thigh. He wounded his flesh to be obedient in the spirit.
corners – the corners of the field represent the Gentiles. They were not to be harvested by Israel, but by the Gentiles and sojourners.
Moab – מואב ‘those of the covenant of the father מ who are separated ו from the father אב’ (Moab is east of Israel… it is where the wise men came from.)
Sheth – שׁת buttocks, 6th (as in the 6th day).
He shall make them obedient (smite the flesh), the gentiles who are of the covenant but separated from God. And destroy all the children of Adam (of the flesh).

The wise men saw that the peace offered by the new king was in the conquering of the flesh and joining all men as new creations, no longer children of Adam.

Isa 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

The great light is the holiness of God poured out on men.

The Star

Mark had not recorded the story of the Magi and the star because he did not see it’s importance in prophecy. With study and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Matthew discerned prophecy concerning those events.

The Hebrews lived among a people ruled by a king. But the king did not want to lose power over the people and felt threatened by a male child. He ordered some people to betray the child. They refused. So the ruler had a lot of children killed while the one was taken into Egypt. The child returned to his people when he was older to set them free.

Where did the Hebrews live?

In Egypt, Persia, Jerusalem, or the earth?

Which ruler?

Pharaoh, Ahasuerus, Herod, or Satan?

Which child?

Moses, Israel, Jesus, the children of Christ?

Who was told to betray the child?

The midwives, Ahasuerus, magi, your flesh?

Which Egypt?

Egypt of Pharaoh, Persia, Egypt of Pharaoh or the world?

The histories of Moses, Israel during Esther’s time, Jesus, and the church have a lot in common. Elements of this prophetic pattern may be found in other histories. Rachab was told to betray the hidden spies, but protected them. David fled to safety among his enemies. Many died in the flood to save one.

Prophetic riddle is hidden in the shadows of time using metaphor before it was defined. History does not repeat itself so much as history contains a shadow of the cross. Simply having a pattern, one would not know if it was prophetic or recapitulating or repeating. But the words themselves use metaphor before they are defined. How can you have a metaphor of the cross before the cross?

The skeptic can never be satisfied. If there were no prophetic riddle, they would say the cross was just an event with way too much importance placed upon it. Since the riddle does exist, they say it is imposed after the fact. But since the riddle is based in at least seven layers of meaning, and consistently so, the skeptic must remain willfully ignorant of it’s existence to maintain his skepticism.

Joseph’s reluctance

Matthew records Joseph’s reluctance to take Mary as a wife. [1] Mark had not recorded it because the connection to Tamar in Ge 38 was discovered during the decade between their books.

The friend of Judah was unable to deliver the goat. [2] And Joseph (the friend of God) was unable to beget the child of promise. [3]

There was a taint on the reputation of Tamar [4] and Mary [5]

The men of the town declared that there was no harlot there. [6] There is no record of any man claiming to have been with Mary.

Later Judah declares Tamar to be righteous. [7] Joseph is told that her condition is Holy. [8]

Judah’s friend was an Adullamite, which means “justice of the people”. He was the one who looked for the harlot but could find none. It was the Holy Ghost who examined Mary and declared it was a Holy thing within her.

No “Q” document is required for Matthew to have added these details to the record of Mark. Modern scholars expect us to believe that even though there was excellent communication and commerce throughout the Roman empire, that the NT authors were unaware of each other’s writings and teachings.

If they presume that they were aware of each other, then they expect us to believe that the authors intentionally chose to contradict the writings of the others from time to time. It is more plausible that each book, written a decade or so apart, was an addendum to teach the mystery that had been revealed during the passage of that decade. The mystery was revealed through study of the word, which is why we can reproduce their teaching through a similar study.



  1. Mt 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
  2. Ge 38:23 And Judah said, Let her take [it] to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.
  3. Mt 1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: Mt 1:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
  4. Ge 38:24 ¶ And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she [is] with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.
  5. Mt 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily..
  6. Ge 38:21 Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where [is] the harlot, that [was] openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this [place].
  7. Ge 38:26 And Judah acknowledged [them], and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
  8. Mt 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.


Close enough?

When Matthew remembered that Joseph had received a visit from an angel to give Jesus his name, he recorded it because it fulfills the mystery of the hidden bride of the Messiah.

The bride was hidden from Israel

Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

The church as the bride of Christ is a great mystery. It was an unexpected surprise. Modern Jews expect the Messiah to be married. He is to have a son who inherits his kingdom. Though the teaching of a bride is throughout the OT, the bride as the church is hidden in shadows and riddle.

Matthew shares the riddle to expose the hidden bride

Jesus was named Yeshua as the command of the angel [1]. But the angel said that this fulfills the prophecy he would be called Emmanuel. [2]

Wait. How can this be the fulfillment of prophecy? Yeshua and Emmanuel are two different names. Is it just close enough? Nonsense!

Yeshua sounds like Yahweh with a ‘sh’ in the middle. That ‘sh’ sound is the Hebrew letter shin ש. It is composed of a vav ו on the right and two zayins ז on the left. It’s meaning is that the word of God came to earth, and when it returned, it had in increase. This can be expressed many ways, such as: The the marriage of the word, His word did not return void, etc.

But consider it as a marriage in the heart of Yeshua. The prophecy is that he will be called Emmanuel or ‘God with us’. How much more with us can he get than to be married to us?

Another Yeshua riddle

Incidentally, there is a second riddle in his name. Ya- shuwach שׁוח meaning ‘God humbled’. His incarnation is sometimes referred to as his humiliation. God confirms his riddles by two or three witnesses.



  1. Mt 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS (Yeshua): for he shall save his people from their sins.
  2. Mt 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Mt 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.


Prostitute/virgin bride

Matthew handled the mystery better than Mark, having had more time to study after the book of Mark was written. A riddle concerning the lost generation has been observed as well as a demonstration of his use of pattern in the title of Jesus as the Usurping Second Son. In the rest of the genealogy you may find patterns displaying the Un-begotten Son, The Only Begotten Son, and the Forsaken Son. For expediency sake, the Second Son pattern was shown as an example rather than as an exhaustive enumeration into all the riddles. John makes an appeal to the same expediency excuse. [1]

The prostitute/virgin bride

Matthew demonstrates his observance of the prostitute/virgin bride motif or pattern found in the OT. It would be wrong to assume that Mark/Peter was unaware of the circumstances of Jesus’s birth. The disciples surely shared their knowledge among each other as they recollected the happenings. But the time of Mark’s book, they had not correlated those events with the scriptures, and did not see why those details were important to the fulfillment of prophecy.

The referent of this pattern is the church which is described as both a prostitute and a virgin. God’s people have the sin nature which makes them to be their own god, yet Christ makes the church his spotless bride. Matthew uses Mary as his example since she is a part of the literal life of Christ which is also a prophecy of the bride of Christ. If all things speak of Christ, then they look like each other sometimes.

Often one, and sometimes two women who are closely associated, participate in the establishment of the prostitute/virgin bride pattern. In this pattern the person may literally be one or both, or either part may be hinted at by the riddle, the same way that men became the second son by way of riddle.


Mary was suspected of adultery [2], yet was a virgin. [3]
Mary means ‘rebellious’ yet she was faithful. Her name also means ‘death מר of God’s people ים eem [4] ‘. This is curious since Tamar who prefigures Mary, mean ‘the end ת of death מר mar. Between the two women we have a riddle.

Mary represents the church before the cross which must die with Christ [5]. Tamar represents the church after the cross when her son ends death. [6]


Eve was seduced by the serpent [7] but had a son by the seed of the woman as a hint of a virgin birth. [8]


Rebekah was a virgin who was ‘took/married’ [9] by the servant
Rebekah was ‘uncovered’ with the servant, and covered herself when she saw Isaac. [10] This is a riddle hint of he prostitute, while she remained pure.

Leah and Rachel

Leah sneaked into Jacob’s wedding tent [11], playing the role of the prostitute while Rachel remained the virgin bride. The ambiguity of the pronoun is also suggestive that Laban took his own daughter as well. This did not occur, but it is relevant to the word-play of prophecy.


Tamar played the harlot but was called more righteous than Judah. [12]


Gomer was a prostitute who named her first child Jezreel “God sows” as a hint of the virgin birth. [13]

Israel and the church

Israel was repeatedly chastised for playing the harlot, and the church is described as he virgin bride.


  1. Joh 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
  2. Mt 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
  3. Mt 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
  4. same usage as in Elohim
  5. Ro 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
  6. The names of her sons mean ‘breaking forth’ and ‘rising sun’ to prefigure Jesus as the Dayspring. Re 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
  7. Ge 3:1 ¶ Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
  8. Ge 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
  9. The Hebrew word for ‘took’ also means married
  10. Ge 24:65 For she [had] said unto the servant, What man [is] this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant [had] said, It [is] my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.
  11. Ge 29:23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him [Jacob]; and he went in unto her.
  12. [[Ge 38:26 And Judah acknowledged [them], and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
  13. Ho 1:2 ¶ The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, [departing] from the LORD. Ho 1:3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. Ho 1:4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little [while], and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.


Second son – Pharez

Pharez the literal second son

At the time of birth, of the twins Pharez and Zarah, Zarah had stuck his hand out first. The midwife declared that Zarah was first. [1]

Pharez the riddle second son

Zarah pulled his hand back and Pharez was born first. He became a usurping second son and obtained the promise and inheritance.

Though the midwife had declared Zarah to be first, she tied a scarlet thread on his wrist. The Hebrew word for ‘scarlet’ שׁני shaniy also means ‘second’. She declared by her actions that he was second. The metaphor for scarlet is ‘sin’. [2] Appropriately the first son, representing Christ before the cross, bore our sin figuratively.

Pharez’s keys

Though his name פרץ Perets means ‘breach’ the letters spell out ‘the mystery פ revealed ר in the cross ץ’. His brother’s name זרח Zerach means ‘dawning’ and together they are ‘breaking forth of dawning’. Jesus was called Dayspring. [3] as hint of Resurrection morning. They survived the threat of death (while in Tamar’s womb) to spring forth in resurrection.

Matthew points out that Parez and Zarah were of Tamar. Details matter. Some mock the idea that every detail is important as if God would blab on about trivial things. Tamar means ‘palm tree’ but contains the meaning ‘the end ת of death מר mar’. The breaking forth of the dawning; resurrection morn, was the end of death. [4]


  1. Ge 38:28 And it came to pass, when she travailed, that [the one] put out [his] hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
  2. Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
  3. Lu 1:78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
  4. Joh 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?



Second son – Judah

Judah is NOT the literal second son

Judah [1] is not a literal second son. He is the fourth son of Jacob and Leah, after Reuben [2], Simeon [3], and Levi [4].

Judah the riddle second son

As the fourth son, God plays riddles to make him the second son. Levi was not to be numbered as one of the tribes. [5] And Simeon and Levi would be dispersed. [6] With two of the first three sons out of the way, Judah becomes the second son.

Judah plays the role of he second son as well. The promise and blessing goes through him to Christ.

Since man and his wife are one flesh: Judah and his Adullamite wife are the first flesh, and Judah and Tamar are the second flesh. His son’s from the Adullamite are not fruitful, [7]

Judah’s Keys

A man and his wife are one flesh: Judah died with his first wife, yet continued to live. [8]

There is a dramatic change in his person with a scene of the cross in the midst. He is a man of the flesh as he deceived Jacob into thinking that Joseph is dead. [9] But then offers himself for his brother Benjamin’s life. [10] Between the two events, Judah had been placed in prison by Joseph, as a picture of the cross.

Judah exchanges sin with Tamar, as Christ exchanges our sin for his righteousness, and she is proclaimed to be more righteous than he. [11]


  1. ‘יהודה – God יהוה with a declaration ד in him ‘ or ‘praised’
  2. ‘see ראו a son בן’
  3. ‘hear שמ depravity עון’
  4. ‘teach ל creation (God’s purposes) י with clarity’
  5. Nu 2:33 But the Levites were not numbered among the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses.
  6. Ge 49:5 ¶ Simeon and Levi [are] brethren; instruments of cruelty [are in] their habitations. Ge 49:6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Ge 49:7 Cursed [be] their anger, for [it was] fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
  7. Ge 38:7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. Ge 38:9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled [it] on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. but those of Tamar are, and also get the inheritance.
  8. Ge 38:12 ¶ And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
  9. Ge 37:32 And they sent the coat of [many] colours, and they brought [it] to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it [be] thy son’s coat or no.
  10. Ge 44:33 Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren.
  11. Ge 38:24 ¶ And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she [is] with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. Ge 38:25 When she [was] brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these [are, am] I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose [are] these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff. Ge 38:26 And Judah acknowledged [them], and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.


Second son – Jacob

Tradition in most cultures, including the Hebrew, dictates that he first-born son receives the inheritance or favor in the inheritance. This string of second-son inheritors is out of the norm and is used by God to prophesy of Christ.

Jacob the literal second son

Esau and Jacob were twins. Esau was born first and Jacob was born right on his heels. [1]

Esau’s personality reflects that of the earthly man; the man of the flesh. He traded his birthright for a boiling pottage.

Jacob the riddle second son

Esau’s characteristics also indicate his earthly nature in riddle and symbol. When he was born he was red in color. [2] The Hebrew word for red is ‘adam’. The same as the name for the first man Adam. Esau was also hairy all over his body. Hair is a symbol for authority. In riddle is suggests that Esau was a man who gave authority to his body/flesh.

He traded his birthright for soup. In Hebrew this is zood nazid or ‘pride’ ‘son of man’s pride’. [3] This fits well with the image of Esau being earthly. When he asked for the pottage, he asked for the red (Adam) pottage, and his name was changed to Edom, which is spelled the same as Adam. [4]

Jacob was renamed Israel. Jacob lost all he had gained when he forfeited it during his reunion with Esau, but gained it all back as Israel.

Jacob’s keys

Esau was threatened with death but did not die [5]

Jacob threatened with death but did not die [6]

He slept (died) [7] and awoke with God’s blessing of fruitfulness.

Stone on the mouth of the well [8]

THe rods were striped [9]

Threatened with death [10]

Wrestled with God (underground) [11]
Next: Second son – Judah


  1. Ge 25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac [was] threescore years old when she bare them.
  2. Ge 25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
  3. Ge 25:29 ¶ And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he [was] faint:
  4. Ge 25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red [pottage]; for I [am] faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
  5. Ge 25:32 And Esau said, Behold, I [am] at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
  6. Ge 27:42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, [purposing] to kill thee.
  7. Ge 28:11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put [them for] his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
  8. Ge 29:3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.
  9. Ge 30:37 ¶ And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which [was] in the rods.
  10. Ge 32:11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, [and] the mother with the children.
  11. Ge 32:24 ¶ And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.


Second son – Isaac

In the second son theme, the second son receives the inheritance that the first son loses. Isaac is literally a second son, and he is a second son by way of riddle. Isaac tells us something about Christ as the second Adam that we did not yet see in Abraham. Isaac is the third ‘second’ in Matthews list of records.

Isaac the literal second son

Ishmael was the first born child of Abram. He was born before Abram became Abraham. A change of name does not make him literally, not a child of Abraham, but Isaac is called the only begotten son of Abraham. [1] Literally, Isaac remained the second son of Abraham. In the role of the second son, he obtained the inheritance that Ishmael literally lost. [2]

Isaac the riddle second son

The keys to teaching (the kingdom of heaven) are the symbols of the cross. For Isaac, the obvious one is when he is placed on the altar as the sacrifice. [3] Prior to that moment he represents the first son who dies desolate. The fact that he didn’t die, is a symbol of his resurrection. After that moment he is he second son who is fruitful [4] and receives the inheritance.

Next: Second son – Jacob


  1. Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten [son],
  2. Ge 17:21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
  3. Ge 22:9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
  4. Ge 25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac [was] threescore years old when she bare them.


Second son – Abraham

Abraham was the first instance of the first-son/second-son theme that Matthew saw. The theme says that he first son loses an inheritance and/or is fruitless and is also portrayed as being earthly. The second son is the heavenly son who gains the inheritance and is fruitful.

There are two ways that this theme is played out concerning Abraham. He is literally a second son and he is figuratively a second son.

Abram the literal second son

Genesis appears to give Abraham pre-eminence as the first born in the listing of the sons of Terah. This itself is a riddle, since he is the second son, as the numbers will prove out.

Ge 11:26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

Terah was 70 years of age when Abram was born

Ge 11:32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.

Terah died when he was 205.

Ge 12:4 ¶ So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram [was] seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

Upon Terah’s death Abram leaves Ur; he was 75, 205-75=130. Terah was 130 years old when Abraham was born, and 70 years when Haran was born.

Many Greek interpreters suggest that Abraham was generous in giving Lot the first pick of land when they separated. [1] Abraham may or may not have been a generous man, but we do not know it from these verses. It was Lot’s birthright, as successor to the firstborn to act on behalf of the firstborn. Lot was the house of Haran. It was was customary and proper for Abraham to defer to him.

Since Lot represents the first son, the expected pattern for the first-son/second-son theme is that he will be earthly rather than spiritual. There are two hints to this: the literal, and a riddle.

Literally, Lot chose the land that was green and pleasing to the eye [2] Lot exhibits signs of the lust of the eyes.

Consider the riddle which uses other symbols. Abraham introduces the left and right hand imagery, though we don’t have any reason to believe that he understood it. He suggests that one go left and one go right. [3] Recall how Jesus uses the left and the right with the goats and the sheep. [4]

Did Lot go right or left? Is there sufficient information for us to know? It tells us that Abram had been traveling South [5] and then Lot went East. [6] He made a left turn. He chose the path of the goat/flesh.

Abraham the riddle second son

Abraham is also a second son by way of riddle. He was born as Abram. [7] He was “born again” as Abraham. [8]

Abram “died” desolate. He did not receive the promised child (Isaac). The child of promise came to Abraham. When Ishamel was born, he was born to Abram not to Abraham. [9] Just so there is no misunderstanding about the desolation of Abram, Paul, in writing to the Hebrews confirms our method of interpretation. He calls Isaac, Abraham’s only-begotten son. Though Abraham had many more sons, the only one that counts as a son of Abraham is Isaac because he is the child of promise. [10]


  1. Ge 13:9 [Is] not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if [thou wilt take] the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if [thou depart] to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
  2. Ge 13:10 ¶ And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it [was] well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, [even] as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
  3. Ge 13:9 [Is] not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if [thou wilt take] the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if [thou depart] to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
  4. Mt 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
  5. Ge 13:3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai;
  6. Ge 13:11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
  7. Ge 11:26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
  8. Ge 17:5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
  9. Ge 16:15 ¶ And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
  10. Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten [son],