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The genealogy of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament is intermingled with so many others that are useless that it cannot be distinguished. If Moses had kept only the record of the ancestors of Christ, that might have been too plain. If he had not noted that of Jesus Christ, it might not have been sufficiently plain. But, after all, whoever looks closely sees that of Jesus Christ expressly traced through Tamar, Ruth, etc.
- Blase Pascal, Pensees (578), 1660

Genealogies of Jesus

Divisions (Mat 1:1)

There are four major division of genealogies.

Data of the Genealogies

Adam - Noah

Gen 5 MT 1 Chr 1 - MT Luke 3
3 - Adam 1 - Adam 38 - Adam
4 - Seth 1 - Sheth 38 - Seth
5 - Enos 1 - Enosh 38 - Enos
9 - Cainan 2 - Kenan 37 - Cainan
12 - Mahalaleel 2 - Mahalaleel 37 - Maleleel
15 - Jared 2 - Jered 37 - Jared
18 - Enoch 3 - Henoch 37 - Enoch
21 - Methuselah 3 - Methuselah 37 - Mathusala
25 - Lamech 3 - Lamech 36 - Lamech
28-29 - Noah 4 - Noah 36 - Noe

Noah - Abraham

Gen 11 MT 1 Chr 1 - MT Luke 3 Gen 11 (LXX) 1 Chr 1 (LXX)
(10:)32 - Noah 4 - Noah 36 - Noe 10:32 - Noe 4 - Noe
10 - Shem 24 - Shem 36 - Sem 10 - Sem 24 - Sem
10 - Arphaxad 24 - Arphaxad 36 - Arphaxad 10 - Arphaxad 24 - Arphaxad
    36 - Cainan 12 - Cainan  
12 - Salah 24 - Shelah 35 - Sala 12 - Sala 24 - Sala
14 - Eber 25 - Eber 35 - Heber 14 - Heber 25 - Eber
16 - Peleg 25 - Peleg 35 - Phalec 16 - Phaleg 25 - Pheleg
18 - Reu 25 - Reu 35 - Ragau 18 - Ragau 25 - Ragau
20 - Serug 26 - Serug 35 - Saruch 20 - Seruch 26 - Seruch
22 - Nahor 26 - Nahor 34 - Nachor 22 - Nachor 26 - Nachor
24 - Terah 26 - Terah 26 - Thara 24 - Tnarrha 26 - Tnarrha
26 - Abram 27 - Abram 34 - Abraham 26 - Abram 27 - Abram

Textual Transmission Observations

New Testament follows Gen 11 LXX reading. 1 Chronicles (MT and LXX) follows Gen (MT). Cainan may have appeared to be repeating from Gen 5:9 list and been dropped from MT listing in Genesis. 1 Chron may have repeated this before it was copied to LXX for 1 Chr 1

Abraham - David

Ruth 4 1 Chron 1-2 Luke 3
  1:28 - Abraham 34 - Abraham
  34 - Isaac 34- Isaac
  2:1 - Israel 34 - Jacob
  1 - Judah 33 - Juda
18 - Pharez 4 - Pharez 33 - Phares
18 - Hezron 5 - Hezron 33 - Esrom
19 - Ram 9 - Ram 33 - Aram
19 - Amminadab 10 - Amminadab 33 - Aminadab
20 - Nahshon 11 - Nahshon 32 - Naason
20 - Salmon 11 - Salma 32 - Salmon
21 - Boaz 11 - Boaz 32 - Booz
21 - Obed 12 - Obed 32 - Obed
22 - Jesse 12 - David 32 - Jesse
22 - David 15 - David 31 - David

David - Jesus

1 Chron 3 1/2 Kings Matt 1 Luke 3
1 - David 1 Kings 5:7 - David 6 - David 31 - David
5 - Solomon 5:7 - Solomon 6 - Solomon 31 - Nathan
10 - Rehoboam 11:43 - Rehoboam 7 - Roboam 31 - Mattatha
10 - Abia 14:31 - Abijam 7 - Abia 31 - Menan
10 - Asa 15:8 - Asa 7 - Asa 31 - Melea
10 - Jehoshaphat 15:24 - Jehoshaphat 8 - Josaphat 30 - Eliakim
11 - Joram 22:50 - Jehoram 8 - Joram 30 - Jonan
11 - Ahaziah 2 Kings 8:24 -  Ahaziah 8 - Ozias 30 - Joseph
11 - Joash 11:2 - Joash (*)   30 - Juda
12 - Amaziah 14:1 - Amaziah   30 - Simeon
12 - Asariah 14:21 - Azariah   29 - Levi
12 - Jotham 15:7 - Jotham 9 - Joatham 29 - Mattat
13 - Ahaz 16:1 - Ahaz 9 - Achaz 29 - Jorim
13 - Hezekiah 16:20 - Hezekiah 9 - Ezekias 29 - Eliezer
13 - Manasseh 20:21 - Manasseh 10 - Manasses 29 - Jose
14 - Amon 21:18 - Amon 10 - Amon 28 - Er
14 - Josiah 21:26 - Josiah 10 - Josias 28 - Elmodam
15 - Jehoiakim 23:34 - Eliakim = Jehoiakim   28 - Cosam
16 - Jeconiah 24:6 - Jehoiachin 11 - Jechonias 28 - Addi
      28 - Melchi
      27 - Neri
17 - Salathiel   12 - Salathiel 27 - Salathiel
    12 - Zorobabel 27 - Zorobabel
    13 - Abiud 27 - Rhesa
    13 - Eliakim 27 - Joanna
    13 - Azor 26 - Juda
    14 - Sadoc 26 - Joseph
    14 - Achim 26 - Semei
    14 - Eliud 26 - Mattathias
    15 - Eleazar 26 - Maath
      25 - Nagge
      25 - Esli
      25 - Naum
      25 - Amos
      25 - Mattathias
      24 - Joseph
      24 - Janna
      24 - Melchi
      24 - Levi
    15 - Matthan 24 - Mattat
    15 - Jacob 23 -Heli
    16 - Joseph 23 - Joseph
    16 - Jesus 23 - Jesus

Differences Between OT and NT Genealogies

Gaps in the Genealogies

It is fairly easy to demonstrate that there are "gaps" in the genealogies. These were well known to the audience of the book.

The phrase "son of" can mean "descendent of", and does not necessarily mean "a single generation". As an example:

Mat 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Jesus was not the son of David or Abraham in the sense that neither of them was his father.In this instance, "son of" means "descendent of". Jesus is frequently called the son of David. We would use the phrase "descendent of David."

Spelling Inconsistencies

Several issues:

Name Changes

God frequently changed the name of someone to include Himself in their name. This was standard practice in that culture and time. This practice was not limited to Israel. For instance Esarhaddon is mentioned in 2 Kings 19:37 means "Assur has given a brother." Asurnasipal means "Assur preserves the son." Assur was the name of one of the Assyrian deities.

2 Ki 23:34 And Pharaoh nechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there.

Role of the Septuagint

The New Testament relies on the text of the LXX more closely than it does the MT.

Differences Between New Testament Genealogies

Thus all the very apparent weaknesses are strength. Example; the two genealogies in Saint Matthew and Saint Luke. What can be clearer than that this was not concerted?   - Pascal, Pensees (578).

. Now, when men lived so long, children lived long with their parents. They conversed long with them. But what else could be the subject of their talk save the history of their ancestors, since to that all history was reduced, and men did not study science or art, which now form a large part of daily conversation? We see also that in these days tribes took particular care to preserve their genealogies. Pascal, Pensees (626).

Solutions to problem of Matthew/Luke Differences

The most common contemporary solution to the differences between Matthew and Luke's genealogy is that Luke's is Mary and Matthew's is Joseph's genealogy. As an example.

Luke traces Mary’s geneaology up from David’s son Nathan, whereas Matthew traces Joseph's geneaology up from David’s son, Solomon, while Chronicles follows a different son of Zerubbabel up. See Web site.

The opinion that Luke's genealogy is that of Mary was unknown to Christian antiquity. In the fifteenth century it was first propounded by Roman Catholic Church to do honour (as they supposed) to Mary. It was first broached by Annius of Viterbo, a.d. 1502.

The problem is the text does not say this at all.

Julius Africanus ca 230 AD said:

Matthan, descended from Solomon, begat Jacob. Matthan dying, Melchi, descended from Nathan, begat Hell by the same wife. Therefore Hell and Jacob are uterine brothers. Hell dying childless, Jacob raised up seed to him and begat Joseph, his own son by nature, but the son of Hell by law. Thus Joseph was the son of both.

Christian antiquity is agreed that:-

  1. Both genealogies are those of Joseph.
  2. That Joseph was the son of Jacob or of Heli, either by adoption, or because Jacob and Heli were either own brothers or half-brothers; so that,-
  3. On the death of one of the brothers, without issue, the surviving brother married his widow, who became the mother of Joseph by this marriage; so that Joseph was reckoned the son of Jacob and the son of Heli.
  4. Joseph and Mary were of the same lineage, but the Hebrews did not reckon descent from the side of the woman. For them St. Luke's genealogy is the sufficient register of Christ's royal descent and official claim. St. Luke gives his personal pedigree, ascending to Adam, and identifying Him with the whole human race. (See ANF, Vol 6, Julius Africanus, Epistle to Aristides, ca 230 AD)

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Copyright 2001 - Douglas Gilliland