Three consecutive kings of Judah are omitted: Ahaziah, Jehoash, and Amaziah. These three kings are seen as especially wicked, from the cursed line of Ahab through his daughter Athaliah to the third and fourth generation. The author probably felt justified in omitting them in creating a second set of fourteen.
Another omitted king is Jehoiakim, the father of Jeconiah, also known as Jehoiachin. In Greek the names are even more similar, both being sometimes called Joachim. When Matthew says, “Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile,” he appears to conflate the two, because Jehoiakim, not Jeconiah, had brothers, but the exile was in the time of Jeconiah. While some see this as a mistake, others argue that the omission was once again deliberate, ensuring that the kings after David spanned exactly fourteen generations.
The final group seems to contain only thirteen generations. If Josiah’s son was intended as Jehoiakim, then Jeconiah could be counted separately after the exile. Another possibility is that Mary is counted as a generation, proceeding laterally by her marriage to Joseph. Though such a reckoning is otherwise unknown, it may have seemed necessary in light of the claim of a virgin birth.Some have even proposed that Matthew’s original text had one Joseph as the father of Mary, who then married another man of the same name.
If only thirteen generations span the time from Jeconiah, born about 616 BC, to Jesus, born about 4 BC, as Matthew says, the average generation gap would be around forty-seven years — rather unlikely. However, in the Old Testament there are even wider gaps between generations. Also, we do not see any instances of papponymic naming patterns – where children are named after their grandparents – which was a common custom throughout this period. This may indicate that Matthew has telescoped this segment by collapsing such repetitions.
In the Gospel of Luke, the genealogy appears at the beginning of the public life of Jesus. This version is in ascending order from Joseph to Adam. After telling of the baptism of Jesus, Luke 3:23–38 states, “Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was [the son] of Heli, …” (3:23) and continues on until “Adam, which was [the son]of God.” (3:38) The Greek text of Luke’s Gospel does not use the word “son” in the genealogy after “son of Joseph”. Robertson notes that, in the Greek, “Luke has the article tou repeating uiou (Son) except before Joseph”.
In the ancestry of David, Luke agrees completely with the Old Testament. Cainan is included between Shelah and Arphaxad, following the Septuagint text (though not included in the Masoretic text followed by most modern Bibles).
Augustine notes that the count of generations in the Book of Luke is 76, a number symbolizing the forgiveness of all sins. This count also agrees with the seventy generations from Enoch set forth in the Book of Enoch, which Luke probably knew. Though Luke never counts the generations as Matthew does, it appears he also followed hebdomadic principle of working in sevens. However, Irenaeus counts only 72 generations from Adam.
The reading “son of Aminadab, son of Aram,” from the Old Testament is well attested. The Nestle-Aland critical edition, considered the best authority by most modern scholars, accepts the variant “son of Aminadab, son of Admin, son of Arni,” counting the 76 generations from Adam rather than God.
Luke’s qualification “as was supposed” (ἐνομίζετο) avoids stating that Jesus was actually a son of Joseph, since his virgin birth is affirmed in the same gospel. From as early as John of Damascus, the view of “as was supposed of Joseph” regards Luke as calling Jesus a son of Eli—meaning that Heli (Ἠλί, Heli) was the maternal grandfather of Jesus, with Luke tracing the ancestry of Jesus through Mary.Therefore per Adam Clarke (1817), John Wesley, John Kitto and others the expression “Joseph, [ ] of Heli”, without the word “son” being present in the Greek, indicates that “Joseph, of Heli” is to be read “Joseph, [son-in-law] of Heli”. There are, however, other interpretations of how this qualification relates to the rest of the genealogy. Some see the remainder as the true genealogy of Joseph, despite the different genealogy given in Matthew.
Family Tree: David to Jesus
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