As I write today, I am fully immersed in chasing a rabbit trail discovered in the book of Ezra. As usual, I am writing my trail in order to keep it in my brain. Also as usual, I have more questions and ponderings than actual answers and certainties. If you are so inclined to wonder with me about the parentage of Zerubbabel, then Come Seek With Me!
Sheshbazzar, The Prince of Judah
In Ezra 1:8, we see King Cyrus of Babylon liberating the captives of Judah and returning the items from YHVH’s temple to “Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.” If you are like me and think this prince’s name sounds Babylonian, we are tracking together. (Recall that Daniel’s name was changed to Belteshazzar).
- So in what way was this Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah?
- What might his Hebrew name have been?
- Can we find him in the royal line?
To begin the investigation, let us turn to Matthew 1:1-24, where we see the genealogy of Yeshua. Since we are talking about the royal line, we may reason that mention of this prince, “Sheshbazzar” will be mentioned there.
Except, being a Babylonian name, of course, it is not there.
But we can find 2 possible candidates: Shealtiel and Zerubbabel.
Because they were born from the line of Jeconiah/JehioachIN who was the last of the kings of Judah to be taken into captivity. Interestingly, we are told that this king was treated kindly in Babylon.
To preserve the royal line of King Yeshua… It HAD to be protected in order for Yeshua to be 100% legitimate in His claim to the rightful rulership of Israel.
Isn’t that beautiful?
Back to Prince Sheshbazzar…
Our next move is to look at the name Sheshbazzar in Strong’s Concordance. It appears that scholars think that Sheshbazzar is indeed Zerubbabel.
Zerubbabel would have been Jeconiah/JehoiachIN’s grandson, but as we seek for Zerubbabel’s father, multiple names begin to appear.
This is Where it Gets Interesting
If we follow the thought train that Sheshbazzar is indeed Zerubbabel, then we realize that it was to Zerubbabel that Cyrus entrusted the vessels of the House of YHVH upon Judah’s release from captivity.
Notice that Ezra 1:8 records Sheshbazzar (Zerubbabel) as the PRINCE of Judah.
Now, let us go back to Matthew 1:1-24 and revisit Yeshua’s genealogy. In it, we learn that Zerubbabel’s father is Shealtiel.
Ok, so what’s the big deal Debbie?
Well, 1 Chronicles 3:19 tells us that Zerubbabel is the son of Pedaiah.
It’s not unusual for a genealogy to skip a generation and link a grandfather to a grandson, but a careful look tells us that this is NOT what has happened here.
1 Chronicles 3:17-18 is very clear that Pedaiah is Shealtiel’s brother.
That makes Shealtiel an uncle to Zerubbabel, not his biological father.
So why the Inconsistency? I have a theory…
What if Pedaiah died or was taken as a slave?
What if Zerubbabel was taken as a slave and Pedaiah was unable to redeem him?
What if Shealtiel stepped into his brother’s place as “kinsman redeemer?”
What if YHVH’s choice for Judah’s Prince did not run perfectly through the line of the first borns, and YHVH tucked Zerubbabel neatly into just the right place at the right time to be the son of the first born and inherit the royal title?
There are a lot of “what ifs” within this theory…but you know what that tells me?
YHVH’s way WILL go forth.
Zerubbabel was not born in the perfect spot to become the Prince of Judah…but that is exactly what he became. And at the time of YHVH’s choosing, a pagan Babylonian king, peacefully handed over the implements of YHVH’s temple and sent Zerubbabel back to Jerusalem to rebuild.
YHVH is not dependent on us in any way to place His people where they need to be in order to complete His will.
- He chose Abram, a gentile, to create His nation, Israel.
- He chose Jacob, the youngest, to carry His covenant.
- He chose Moses, raised as an Egyptian, to deliver His people and mediate His Torah.
- He chose David, a young shepherd, to be His king.
- He chose Solomon, the son of a union that began in adultery, to build His temple.
- He chose Zerubbabel, perhaps an adopted son in need of a kinsman redeemer, to be His Prince and build His second temple.
- He overcame the curse of the royal family to make sure that Yeshua was born, both from the seed of David (through his son Nathan – through Mary) AND the cursed royal line (through Solomon by adoption – through Joseph).
What About Us?
We may have been born or adopted into the “wrong” family. We may be orphaned. We may feel rejected by culture. We may talk the wrong way. We may be abused. We may be poor. We may be sick and weary. But HallaluYAH, if we are seeking after YHVH, He has us EXACTLY where we are meant to be in order to be used as His vessel for His purpose!
As we learned when David was selected from among his brothers, “man looks at the outward appearance, but YHVH looks into the heart.”
Zerubbabel, the Prince who would lead the captives of Judah back into the Land to build the temple, was YHVH’s man for the job.
His circumstances, birth order, and the birth order of his biological father was immaterial to YHVH’s plan.
In fact, Zerubbabel did such a good job leading the people and building the temple, that some thought he might indeed be the Messiah. We know that he could not have been, as the blood of the royal line was cursed…but, there is an amazing picture of GRACE even under the curse.
We live under a curse. But there is GRACE for us, too.
Redeemed by Our Kinsman
I hope you will Come Seek With Me again soon!