D'varim / Deuteronomy 17:15 "You shall set a king over you, one whom the L-rd, your G-d, chooses; from among your brothers, you shall set a king over yourself; you shall not appoint a foreigner over yourself, one who is not your brother."
G-d selected the human Jewish kings of the bible and gave the right to the kingship in perpetuity to King David and his son Solomon.
Sanhedrin 20b and Sotah 41b (Gemara in the Talmud) tell us that we Jews were obligated to appoint a king (it is one of three obligations when we came to the land of Israel). The other two mitzvot were to destroy Amalek; and to build a Mikdash. The Rambam even wrote that the mitzvah of appointing a king precedes and seems to be a prerequisite to the other two mitzvot.
If it is such a positive thing to appoint a king, why did the prophet Shmuel (Samuel) become angry when the people asked for a king (Shmuel Alef / 1 Samuel 8:5)?
Chazal (Radak, Rambam and Ralbag for three) said that Samuel was angry at the way they phrased their request. The people DEMANDED a king -- as if they can command G-d. They should have ASKED G-d to give them a king, not demand that one be appointed. This was disrespectful to G-d.
On top of that they did not ask for a Jewish king, but rather for a king ‘like all the nations."
A Jewish king is NOT like other kings. Thus this was also insulting to G-d.
Remember that non-Jewish kings were often worshiped as gods -- and the Radak says that some people wanted a king to lead them to serve idols – as was done for foreign rulers. . . Jewish humans are not worshiped (not David, Saul, Solomon or some non-king such as Jesus).
When Shmuel / Samuel the prophet anoints the first Jewish king (Shaul / Saul) he says: "And Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it on his head, and kissed him. And he said, "Indeed, the L-rd has anointed you to be a ruler over His inheritance." Shmuel Alef / Samuel 1 10:1.
The L-rd anointed Saul to be king. G-d anointed Saul, through the Torah dictated method of his anointment with the שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹֽדֶשׁ shĕmĕn mish'ḥat kōdĕsh (“anointment-of-holiness oil”)— which is the only oil that can be used to anoint a Jewish king. It is mentioned in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:25 and again in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:31.
Consider Shmuel Alef / 1 Samuel 9:17 "When Samuel saw Saul, HaShem spoke up to him, "This is the man whom I said to you, This one will rule over my people. He will save My people from the hand of the Philistines, for I have looked upon My people, for their cry has come to Me.""
G-d selected Shaul / Saul as king. G-d is the 'king of kings" but you seem to be confusing that with earthly kings. Who ruled Israel before Samuel? Does the name Joshua ring a bell? How about the various Judges? In other words there were always rulers -- and G-d had said there would be an earthly king.
The Jews did not reject G-d as king (He is the eternal king), they simply wanted an earthly king to lead them since the multiple judges had become a fragmented government. There is a similarity in American history. The original form of American government did not have a strong central government and it was failing -- causing the United States to institute a constitution with a president (modern form of "king"), a congress (Sanhedrin) and court (Sanhedrin).
Israel did NOT reject G-d by wanting a human king, but indeed fulfilled what G-d said we would do -- and per our sages were commanded to do.
There is nothing in the T'nach (bible) that says the messiah will be born in or even arrive in בֵּֽית־לֶ֣חֶם / Beit Lĕḥĕm (aka Bethlehem).
The Christian bible misuses the words of the prophet Michah / Micah who said that the messiah will be a descendant of King David. It was David who was of Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah. "And David was the son of this Ephraitite man from the House of Lĕḥĕm (Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah, aka Bethlehem) of Judah." Shmuel Alef / 1 Samuel 17:12
The prophet Micah was not prophesying that the messiah will be born in the town of Bethlehem. There is no prophecy that the messiah will be born in Bethlehem -- or even where the messiah might be born.
The prophet Micah was stating that the messiah will be a descendant of King David (which Jesus was not if one believes in the virgin birth since lineage only passes from the biological father -- and G-d is not a son of David!).
Michah / Micah 5:1 (2 in Christian translations) says “But as for you, Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah... (there were two Bethlehems - Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah was in the land of the tribe of Judah and the other was in the Galilee) you are too small to be among the thousands of Judah (so small you aren't even counted)- (but) from you [the messiah] shall emerge for Me, to be a ruler over Israel; and his origin is from of old, from early times (days of old).”
So there is no prophecy that the messiah will be born in Bethlehem. Just how many people do you suppose were born in Bethlehem? People are still born there -- Bethlehem of Judah still exists. Again -- something as ordinary as a person being born somewhere -- something that "fits" tens of thousands if not more -- is not and cannot be a messianic prophecy.
On top of misstating that the messiah will be born in Bethlehem of Judah (based on incorrectly applying the words of Micah) the anonymous author of the book of Matthew misquotes Micah -- and REVERSES what the prophet wrote.
The Christian translations start Micah 5 with the last sentence from the previous chapter. Line 4:14 in the T'nach reads "Now you shall gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops; he has laid siege to us. With a rod they strike the judges of Israel on the cheek." Christian translations call this line 1 of chapter 5 -- but this is either sloppy translation or outright deceit. We know this is the last line of chapter 4, and not the firs tline of chapter 5 (as in Christian versions) because line 4:14 is separated from 5:1 (the sentence about Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah by a paragraph-break in the Hebrew text. This paragraph-break means it is a new section.
The application of Line 4:14 is “quoted” by Matthew as if it is the first line of a new chapter and thus part of a "prophecy" about Jesus -- and this seems to have been a purposeful dishonesty because Matthew reverses what Micah actually says by ignoring that paragraph-break.
The prophet Micah states clearly that the Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah was a small, unimportant place -- so small that it was “too small to be reckoned among the ‘thousands’ of Judah.” (meaning it had to have fewer than 1000 citizens). Even though it is a small, insignificant place King David was born there -- and the messiah will eventually come from the line of David -- this insignificant boy from an insignificant town.
Matthew totally reverses Micah, saying ""'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"
Micah: “But as for you, Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah... you are too small to be among the thousands of Judah (so small you aren't even counted)-
Matthew: "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"
We seem to be in opposite land!
So, while in this season many sing of the "Little Town of Bethlehem" and picture Jesus being born there to fulfill a prophecy that the messiah will be born there -- you have been duped. Matthew lied when he wrote "When he (Herod) had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’"
There is no such prophecy of where the messiah will be born.
The prophet did not write that Bethlehem of Judah was "by no means least" -- he wrote the opposite!
UriYosef has written an interesting article entitled "O Little Town of Bethlehem -- of Galilee" which is worth reading. He writes "Two distinct geographical places named בֵּֽית־לֶ֣חֶם / Beit Lĕḥĕm (aka Bethlehem) are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible: One, the familiar city that is located in the territory of the Tribe of Judah, is referenced on 40 occasions. The other, a more obscure one referenced only once (as one of the 12 named cities in the territory of the Tribe of Zebulun), is located in the lower Galilee some four miles (approximately 7 kilometers) northwest of Nazareth. . .
Uri notes that archaeological studies show that the town in Judah (the one mentioned in the Book of Matthew) appears unoccupied in the time frame Jesus was supposedly born there. From 37 BCE to 70 CE there is zero archaeological evidence that anyone lived there.
There was another Bethlehem -- this one located in the Galilee -- and not that far from Nazareth. This would mean that Matthew named the wrong town (not Judah, but Galilee) -- and that this town was not the one mentioned by the prophet Micah.
I do recommend reading Uri's article. His summary lists points worth repeating here:
Recently the blog has focused on how Jews know that Jesus was not the messiah (he did not have the correct parentage, he did not fulfill the prophecies and human sacrifice is forbidden. The Torah also teaches us that no one can atone for the sins of another -- each of us is responsible for his / her own sins. That last topic -- our personal responsibility -- brings me back full circle to the intention of this blog.
The focus of this blog is not on Jesus (as a person or a god). The goal of this blog is to explain what Jews believe and to show how these beliefs are based firmly in the Jewish bible (primarily the Torah, the Five Books of Moses). The other books of the bible (Prophets and Writings) do nothing more but re-enforce what G-d already taught us in the Torah. We are forbidden from adding to or subtracting from the mitzvot of the Torah. Think about it -- the prophets spent most of their effort trying to return Jews to Torah observance!
This blog exists to help teach uneducated Jews and interested non-Jews the teachings of Torah (and thus Judaism) -- and to refute the assumption by many a missionary that Judaism and Christianity are "the same" -- except they believe the messiah has come (Jesus) while the Jew still awaits the messiah.
This assumption is false. There are far more differences between Judaism and Christianity than there are similarities.
Let's just list a few differences, Remember: what one Christian believes another will reject -- some Christian reading the list will say "I don't believe in "original sin" or "faith over works", but the list of what Christians believe is based on a majority of "normative" Christian teaching and beliefs:
A Jew cannot be Christian and remain Jewish. A Jew accepting the beliefs of another religion (gods) and rejecting those promises we made to G-d to do and to hear is endangering his or her immortal soul. A Jew can never stop being a Jew, and thus turning to עבודה זרה / avodah zarah (strange / foreign worship, aka idolatry) is cutting that person off from G-d and the Jewish people. That person is an apostate to the Jewish people until such time as he or she returns to G-d and repents of their idolatry.
The term idolatry in Judaism means any form of worship we did not know at Sinai, and any thinking Christian must realize that the Jews of Sinai did not pray to or through Jesus.
The website Simple to Remember puts it well. Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
(What exactly is the Messiah?)
As mentioned in this post Jesus was not eligible to be the messiah if he was a "virgin birth." The messiah must be born of human Jewish parents. The father must not only be Jewish, he must be of the tribe of Judah and descended from Kings David and Solomon. The messiah will be a normal human. He will not be a demigod, The messiah will not possess supernatural qualities either, and performing miracles is not a criteria to be the messiah either.
The Messiah (moshiach ben David -- the messiah son of David) must be descended on his father's side from King David (see B'reshit / Genesis 49:10, Yeshayahu / Isaiah 11:1, Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Yechezkel / Ezekiel 34:23-24). If the virgin birth story was true, and Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus then Jesus did not even have the most basic right to even try to be the messiah.
The T'nach (Jewish bible) makes it clear that the messiah must be descended from King David and King David's son Solomon. Some missionaries will claim that the "promise" that the throne must pass through Solomon is conditional, but this is untrue.
2 Samuel 7:12-16 – When your days (King David) will be completed and you will lie with your forefathers, then I shall raise up your seed after you, that which will issue from your loins, and I shall establish his kingdom. (13) He shall build a Temple for My sake, and I shall make firm the throne of his kingdom forever.
And then read 1 Chronicles 22:9-10 – Behold a son will be born to you; he will be a man of peace, and I shall give him peace from all his enemies around about, for Solomon will be his name, and I shall give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. (10) He shall build a House in My Name, and he shall be to Me as a son, and I to him as a Father, and I shall prepare the throne of his kingdom forever.
And while you're at it read 1 Kings 8:15-20; 1 Chronicles 17:11-15, 22:9-10, and 28:3-7. Torah is clear that the messiah must be a physical offspring of both David and Solomon. The Torah specifies that blood rights, such as tribal lineage, are transmitted exclusively from a father to his biological sons. Whenever the Israelites were selected to serve in the army, it was done "according to the house of their father (Bamidbar / Numbers 1:17 - 18).
"Who is a Jew" passes maternally (see D'varim / Deuteronomy 7:1–5, Vayikra / Leviticus 24:10, and Ezra 10:2–3) and lineage (tribal status) passes paternally (by the father -- assuming one first has a Jewish mother) -- and ALL of this is found in the written Torah. Sh'mot / Exodus 6:14, 6:25, B'midbar / Numbers 17:21, 34:14, 36:1, Y'hoshua / Joshua 14:1, 19:51, 21:1, 22:14, Ezra 1:5, 2:59, 2:68, 3:12, 4:2-3, 8:1, 10:16; N'ḥemyah / Nehemiah 7:61, 7:69-70, 8:13, 12:12, 12:22-23. According to the Torah, lineage/pedigree, a blood right, is passed exclusively by a biological father to his sons.
Ergo the virgin birth totally disqualifies Jesus from being the messiah.
Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Joseph was Jesus biological father. Joseph impregnated his wife, Mary, and she gave birth to a child, Jesus. The Christian bible tells us that Joseph was of the tribe of Judah, so would a normal human child from Joseph's sperm be eligible to be the messiah?
The Christian bible gives two different and conflicting lineages for Joseph. Some missionaries will claim that one of those is actually the lineage of Mary (even though the Christian bible says that both are the lineage of Joseph). If one were Mary's birth lineage it would be immaterial as a wife takes her husband's tribe upon marriage. Her birth tribe becomes moot (ancient history, unimportant). A woman does not pass tribal rights to her children -- that is passed only from the father as shown by all those passages quoted earlier in this post.
Does the lineage of Joseph given by Matthew and also by Luke put Jesus in the running to be the messiah?
Let's examine each one.
Matthew skips four kings in his lineage. Melachim 1 / I Kings Chapters 1 through Melachim II / II Kings Chapter 24, Divrei Hayamim I / I Chronicles 3:10-17, and Divrei Hayamim II / II Chronicles Chapters 1-36 show the lineages from King Solomon to King Jeconiah. Matthew skips: Ahaziah son of Jehoram, Jehoash son of Ahaziah, Amaziah son of Jehoash and Uzziah son of Amaziah (also called Azariah.
Why does Matthew eliminate 4 kings representing 81 years of leadership?
Matthew 1:17 states "so all the generations from Abraham to David are 14 generations, and from David to the Babylonian exile are 14 generations, and from the Babylonian exile until the messiah are 14 generations"
This is inaccurate. There were 18 generations -- Matthew eliminated four of them. The T'nach lists the list of lineage in three separate places in the T'nach. Link.
Eliminating four generations still might put Joseph, and his sons, in line to claim kingship, but Mathew makes one more and far more serious error in his list. Matthew left out a generation and the names given after Zerubbabel don't match 1 Chronicles 3. With such glaring errors can Matthew's genealogy be trusted?
Matthew includes King Jeconiah in his lineage for Jesus and Joseph. Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 22:30 states that none of Jeconiah's heirs will ever be kings of the Jews. Thus by including Jeconiah in Jesus (and Joseph)'s lineages Matthew has just eliminated Jesus from the possibility of ever being an anointed (messiah) king of the Jews.
Some missionaries try to "get around" the problem of Jeconiah's line being cursed and removed from the throne. They claim that the curse on Jeconiah was lifted and they point to a Talmudic passage which says that Jeconiah repented, and G-d forgave him. Yet missionaries reject the Talmud! This missionary attempt to put Jeconiah back in the kingly lineage also throws a monkey wrench into the Christian theology that says that only blood can atone for sins. If Jeconiah can ask for forgiveness and be forgiven, why does anyone need Jesus to die for their sins?
Bottom line regarding Matthew's lineage for Joseph: it excludes both Joseph and Jesus from kingship because it includes Jeconiah in the line and G-d removed him from any future descendants being kings. (Again, if Joseph was not Jesus' biological father he had no rights to the throne either).
OK, what about Luke? Luke gives a totally different lineage than Matthew. Would a male child from Joseph and his wife, Mary, be eligible for the Jewish throne? The third chapter of Luke is irrelevant to this discussion because it describes lineage of David's son Nathan, not Solomon. (Luke 3:31). Based on Luke's lineage Jesus would not have the correct pedigree to be messiah.
So from the very start -- his lineage -- Jesus was not eligible to be a messiah. But having the right lineage (which many even alive today can boast -- after all Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines) does not make anyone the messiah.
To be the messiah a man must not only have the right lineage (which Jesus lacked), he must also be anointed with the שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ shemen mish'ḥat kodesh (“Oil of Anointment of Sanctity”). Notice the word מִשְׁחַת /mish'ḥat? It means anointment. This special mixture of spice and olive oil is the only one that was used for “anointing” Jewish kings or priests. You can read about it in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-33:
" G-d spoke to Moses, saying: 30:23 You must take the finest fragrances, 500 [shekels] of distilled myrrh, [two] half portions, each consisting of 250 [shekels] of fragrant cinnamon and 250 [shekels] of fragrant cane, 30:24 and 500 shekels of cassia, all measured by the sanctuary standard, along with a gallon of olive oil. 30:25 Make it into sacred anointing oil. It shall be a blended compound, as made by a skilled perfumer, [made especially for] the sacred anointing oil. 30:26 Then use it to anoint the Communion Tent, the Ark of Testimony, 30:27 the table and all its utensils, the menorah and its utensils, the incense altar, 30:28 the sacrificial altar and all its utensils, the washstand and its base. 30:29 You will thus sanctify them, making them holy of holies, so that anything touching them becomes sanctified. 30:30 You must also anoint Aaron and his sons, sanctifying them as priests to Me. 30:31 Speak to the Israelites and tell them, 'This shall be the sacred anointing oil to Me for all generations. 30:32 Do not pour it on the skin of any [unauthorized] person, and do not duplicate it with a similar formula. It is holy, and it must remain sacred to you. 30:33 If a person blends a similar formula, or places it on an unauthorized person, he shall be cut off [spiritually] from his people."
Jesus was never anointed with this, the only oil used to anoint Jewish kings. Any claims of being anointed by the "holy spirit" or another oil is immaterial -- it is not the right method for anointing Jewish kings as defined by G-d in the Torah (bible).
Lastly, and most important of all, Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies. Missionaries counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright; in the T'nach no concept of a second coming exists. In fact, the T'nach says when a person dies, "on that day his plans all perish." T'hillim / Psalm 146:4.
The excuse of Jesus’ “second coming” is an admission that Jesus failed to fulfill these essential Messianic passages. Couldn't anyone claim to be the messiah -- and promise to fulfill the prophecies "next time"? The question then becomes why anyone should believe that person was the Messiah when they first came upon the scene?
Paul seemed to realize that the two lineages were a problem. He wrote "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless." Titus 3:9.
By "the beginning" I mean let us start with the very first disqualification of Jesus as a potential messiah. The "table stakes" (entry fee if you will) to be the messiah is a man who is a direct descendant of Kings David and Solomon on his father's side.
Tribal lineage is only passed by a Jewish biological father impregnating a Jewish woman (his wife or concubine). The mother must be Jewish because "who is a Jew" is passed maternally (link), while tribal status is passed by the Jewish father IF the mother is Jewish. For those who want to understand in more depth why "who is a Jew" is passed maternally follow the link.
Christianity teaches of the virgin birth of Jesus, and this supposed miracle is actually the very first thing that totally disqualifies Jesus from being a Jewish king (messiah). Joseph was married to Mary. Some missionaries try to avoid the issue of Jesus' legitimacy by stating that Mary was engaged to Joseph, but not yet married. Thus there is no question of adultery, because she was engaged, but not married. Nice try, but (there was no such thing as an engagement in ancient Judaism). Marriage was a two part process, and in the first stage (eirusin) the couple might not live together, but they were still considered married. Also note that Joseph is said to have thought to divorce Mary (Matthew 1:19). One divorces a wife, not a fiance.
As an outsider (non-Christian) it is odd to me that a missionary can become so in love with the idea of a virgin birth that they ignore that Jews are a real people, with real laws. At the time Jesus was supposedly born we had a real country (even though it was occupied by the Romans). Jewish law (halacha) was given by G-d. These are not man-made rules, these are the very words G-d commanded us to do and to follow. In this post we will discuss Jewish law taken from the bible and it will show why the virgin birth disqualifies Jesus from even being a member of the tribe of Judah, let alone a messianic "wannabe."
In the beginning (of the covenants with our people: Abraham, not Adam!) no one was Jewish. Abraham had a covenant with G-d, so did Isaac, as did Jacob, but the first Jews were created (converted if you will) at Sinai when G-d revealed Himself to the entire nation and we agreed to be His people. The laws relating to "who is a Jew" relate, then, only post-Sinai (again, some missionaries seem to ignore chronological order!). The first "You shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughter to his son, and you shall not take his daughter for your son. For he will turn away your son from following Me, and they will worship the gods of others, and the wrath of the L-rd will be kindled against you, and He will quickly destroy you.” D'varim / Deuteronomy 7:3-4. see also Ezra 10:2-3..
Tribal lineage however is passed only by the Jewish father (if the mother is Jewish). We also know this because this is what G-d tells us in the T'nach (bible). Start with Bamidbar / Numbers 1:17-18 where the pedigrees are decreed by the men (not the women). according to their families (tribes). Rashi (great biblical commentator) wrote "They brought the records of their pedigrees and witnesses of their birth claims, so that each one should trace his genealogy to a tribe."
Every tribal lineage can only be transmitted from a father to his biological sons (assuming the mother is Jewish -- if the mother is not Jewish the child has no Jewish status at all, including no tribe). The Torah discusses that only men transmit tribal status in Bamidbar / Numbers 1:17-18 (quoted above) , including the right to priesthood and kingship (Sh'mot / Exodus 40:15; Baidbar / Numbers 25:12-13).
This is what G-d has decreed in the Torah. And G-d does not lie.
"G-d is not a man that He should lie, nor is He a mortal that He should relent. Would He say and not do, speak and not fulfill?" Bamidbar / Numbers 23:19.
"And also, the Eternal One of Israel will neither lie nor repent, for He is not a human to repent." 1 Samuel 15:29
"I am G-d and not a man. In your midst is the Holy One." Hosea 11:9.
"Who is a Jew" passes maternally (see D'varim / Deuteronomy 7:1–5, Vayikra / Leviticus 24:10, and Ezra 10:2–3) and lineage (tribal status) passes paternally (by the father -- assuming one first has a Jewish mother) -- and ALL of this is found in the written Torah. Sh'mot / Exodus 6:14, 6:25, B'midbar / Numbers 17:21, 34:14, 36:1, Y'hoshua / Joshua 14:1, 19:51, 21:1, 22:14, Ezra 1:5, 2:59, 2:68, 3:12, 4:2-3, 8:1, 10:16; N'ḥemyah / Nehemiah 7:61, 7:69-70, 8:13, 12:12, 12:22-23.
Some missionaries will argue that Tzelafchad / Zelophehad's daughters (בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד) inherit from their father. This, they insist, means that Mary could pass her tribe on to Jesus whether or not Joseph was the biological father. First of all, there is not one passage in the Christian bible which says it is Mary's lineage (although missionaries will try to fit one of two conflicting lineages to her). It would not matter what her birth tribe was since a woman's birth tribe "goes away" upon marriage. A woman becomes a member of her husband's tribe when she marries him. The story of Tzelafchad/ Zelophehad's daughters re-enforces the fact that tribal status is passed only by men (and not women).
Tzelafchad / Zelophehad's five daughters are told they may inherit their fathers "things" only so long as they remain in their father's tribe. If they marry in the same tribe then that property stays in the tribe (because it is the tribe of their husband as well as their birth tribe).
The part that the missionaries do not quote is Bamidbar / Numbers 36 which shows that if any of Tzelafchad / Zelopehahd's daughters married into a different tribe they would lose their father's property -- proving yet again that this type of inheritance is only from the male (father) and not the woman:
"You have also been commanded by G-d to give the hereditary property of Tzelafchad our brother to his daughters. 36:3 'But if they marry a member of another Israelite tribe, then the hereditary property coming to us from our fathers will be diminished, since it will be added to the tribe into which they marry. Our hereditary property from the lottery system will thus be diminished. 36:4 Even if the Israelites have the jubilee, their hereditary property will be added to the property of the tribe into which they marry, and it will be subtracted from the property of our fathers' tribe.'
36:5 Moses gave the Israelites instructions at G-d's command, saying, 'The tribe of Joseph's descendants have a just claim. 36:6 This is the word that G-d has commanded regarding Tzelafchad's daughters: You may marry anyone you wish as long as you marry within your father's tribe.
36:7 The hereditary property of the Israelites will thus not be transferred from one tribe to another, and each person among the Israelites will remain attached to the hereditary property of his father's tribe.
36:8 'Thus, every girl who inherits property among the Israelite tribes shall marry a member of her father's tribe. Each Israelite will then inherit his fathers' hereditary property, 36:9 and the hereditary property will not be transferred from one tribe to another. Each of the Israelite tribes will then remain attached to its hereditary property.' 36:10 Tzelafchad's daughters did exactly as G-d had commanded Moses. 36:11 Machlah, Tirtzah, Chaglah, Milcah and No'ah, the daughters of Tzelafchad, married their cousins. 36:12 They thus married into the families of Manasseh son of Joseph, and their hereditary property remained with their father's family." Bamidbar / Numbers 36:2-8.
Ergo the tale of Tzelafchad's daughters clearly shows that tribal rights pass only through the men -- unless the women do not marry (and thus remain in their father's tribe). The story of Tzelfchad's daughters actually refutes the missionary argument rather than supporting it.
One final missionary argument (when all else fails) is that Jesus was adopted by Joseph, thus giving him the right to the tribe of Judah.
Nice try, but Jewish law does not work that way. Tribal status does not pass to an adopted child.
If adoption into the royal line were possible, one would have to wonder why Athaliah took such drastic measures following the death of her sons at the hands of Jehu and his men: "And Athaliah, Ahaziah's mother, saw that her son was dead, and she rose and destroyed all those of royal descent." 2 Kings 11:1. Had adoption been a viable solution to the problem of an heir, Athaliah would have been able to pursue that route -- but instead when her son died she killed those that had the lineage to claim the throne. See also 2 Kings 9:27, 10:13-14. Yoash the son of Ahaziah was saved (hidden away), and he did have the lineage to the royal family.
Tribal status only pass from biological Jewish father of a specific tribe who has a child with a Jewish woman. Adoption doesn't pass tribal lineage and neither do women (a woman takes her husband's tribe upon marriage and the tribe of her birth is immaterial). If the woman has a child from a man other than her husband that child would have no tribal status (being the result of adultery per Jewish law).
Ask the missionary who argues for adoption into kingship if Queen Elizabeth II of England had adopted a boy prior to giving birth to Charles would that adopted son be in line for the British throne? The answer is NO. So why is it so hard for them to understand the same is true of Jewish law? While Jewish law is different from British -- this concept is the same.
Add to this the fact that Jewish "adoption" significantly different from Roman / Christian adoption. In Judaism the concept of being adopted and having your birth parents "forgotten" is non-existent.
A Jew who is adopted into a family of a tribe other than his birth tribe does NOT take the tribe of the adopting family. The argument is false. In Judaism an adopted child retains the tribe of his birth (if he had one). A girl retains her father's tribal status until such time as she marries outside of that tribe (and then she is a member of her husband's tribe).
In Ketuvim (Writings) we are told that Esther is adopted by her cousin Mordechai (Book of Esther 2:7). Esther's full name is used twice in the story --- and both times it is tied to her birth father (Esther daughter of Avihayil). (Book of Esther 2:15 and 9:29) -- in other words, she is called by the name of her biological father, not her adoptive father.
A child born as a priest (a kohein) is ALWAYS a kohein even if adopted by someone from the tribe of Judah. Adoption does NOT change tribal status -- it is only biological from a Jewish father to his Jewish child.
In Mary's case if the father of her child was anyone other than Joseph the child was a mamzer and had no tribal status at all. When a woman marries she takes on the tribe of her husband (as if her birth tribe simply disappeared). Mary's lineage is totally immaterial -- excepting that she had to be Jewish.
So adoption by Joseph of Jesus would not make Jesus a member of the tribe of Judah.
A child may be raised by persons other than his or her biological parents, but the heritage (parentage) does not change as it does in Western society. From the Guide for the Jewish Adoptive Parent:
"It might come as a surprise to learn that adoption, as a legal institution does not exist in Jewish tradition, at least not in the same way that it is understood in civil law. . . Adoption as a legal institution was rare in Biblcal and Rabbinical literature. The Bible contains several incidents of foster care which, though not the equivalent of adoption, are noteworthy. Most famous of these was Moses, who was raised by Pharaoh's daughter. Later Rabbinic sources praise this pagan woman for her piety and note that Moses' name was given to him by his foster mother; his Hebrew name, presumably given to him at birth, is not remember. Ruth's son Oved was nursed and perhaps raised by her mother-in-Law Naomi. . . Esther, orphaned at an early age is raised by her cousin Mordecai. . .
"Rabbinic law also describes no formal adoption procedure. Rather the Rabbinic court provided for the care of needy children by the appointment of a legal guardian, an apotropos, who was responsible for the child's economic and educational welfare. An apostropos was appointed for orphaned children and an asufi (foundling; a child with no known parents), and occasionally when biological parents were incapable of providing adequate care. It was considered meritorious to take into one's house children in need of care and to raise them along with one's own family.
"There are crucial differences between the Jewish and civil institutions of adoption. While Jewish law recognizes the possibility of creating a facsimile of parental and filial obligations that could approximate those in a biological relationship, the natural bond between parent and child cannot be legally severed. Though a child might be physically removed from the biological parents, some legal relationship to them was preserved"
The Encyclopedia Judaica states (reprinted at the Jewish Virtual Library):
Adoption is not known as a legal institution in Jewish law.
According to halakhah the personal status of parent and child is based on the natural family relationship only and there is no recognized way of creating this status artificially by a legal act or fiction.
However, Jewish law does provide for consequences essentially similar to those caused by adoption to be created by legal means. These consequences are the right and obligation of a person to assume responsibility for (a) a child's physical and mental welfare and (b) his financial position, including matters of inheritance and maintenance. The legal means of achieving this result are (1) by the appointment of the adopter as a "guardian" (see *Apotropos ) of the child, with exclusive authority to care for the latter's personal welfare, including his upbringing, education, and determination of his place of abode; and (2) by entrusting the administration of the child's property to the adopter. The latter undertaking to be accountable to the child and, at his own expense and without any right of recourse, would assume all such financial obligations as are imposed by law on natural parents vis-à-vis their children. Thus, the child is for all practical purposes placed in the same position toward his adoptors as he would otherwise be toward his natural parents, since all matters of education, maintenance, upbringing, and financial administration are taken care of (Ket. 101b; Maim., Yad, Ishut, 23:17–18; and Sh. Ar., EH 114 and Tur ibid., Sh. Ar., ḤM 60:2–5; 207:20–21; PDR, 3 (n.d.), 109–125). On the death of the adopter, his heirs would be obliged to continue to maintain the "adopted" child out of the former's estate, the said undertaking having created a legal debt to be satisfied as any other debt (Sh. Ar., ḤM 60:4).
Indeed, in principle neither the rights of the child toward his natural parents, nor their obligations toward him are in any way affected by the method of "adoption" described above; but in fact, the result approximated very closely to what is generally understood as adoption in the full sense of the word.
Along with the laws defining that tribal status passes only by a Jewish father impregnating his wife (or concubine) with his zera (think "sperm") we also have the many promises by G-d to King David that the right to kingship would never be removed from King Solomon. Thus the messiah must be descended not only to a member of the tribe of Judah, but the messiah must also be descended from Kings David and Solomon. This post is long enough, I will save that discussion for another post.
Sophiee Saguy has been countering false missionary claims about Judaism and the T'nach (Jewish bible) for nearly twenty years. You may find her on FaceBook and at the Messiah Truth forum.