One of the most common questions I am asked about penguins is “Do they really mate for life?” My usual answer is that I prefer to call them “long term pairs.” One reason is that if a bird loses their mate for any reason, they will find a new one. The other reason is a bird named Penelope.
I’ve seen most of my penguins flirt with each other, but Penelope is something else. In the few years Penelope has been in my zoo, sh has had 3 mates, none of which were “lost,” and has had trysts with a couple other males. Because her genes are important to the penguin breeding program, she’s pretty much approved to raise chicks with all of the males she has paired with. The only problem is keeping track of who is the father! We’ve actually looked into having som of her offspring DNA tested to be sure they are carrying the important genes the breeding program is looking for.
As important as a family tree is in breeding zoo animals, it was considered even more important in ancint Israel. The Bible is full of lists of names showing the lineage of important figures. If you couldn’t trace your family, you were looked down on. So you would think that when God sent His Son to be born on earth, He would have chosen a family with a prestigious pedigree. Though the Bible does trace Jesus’ family back to King David as the prophets promised, His parentage was questioned from the beginning.
Joseph must have been shocked when his fiancé told him she was pregnant. He knew he wasn’t the father and the explanation Mary offered seemed ridiculous. He was ready to break off their engagement. Only a direct message from an angel reassured him.
So, as important as a person’s parentage was, the most important Person in history was considered illegitimate, except by those who put their faith in Him.