Skip to comments.Surprising (to me) evidence that Luke's Genealogy of Jesus is through Mary
Posted on 03/03/2011 12:02:37 PM PST by dangus
For a long time I've known of one explanation for the divergence of Matthew's and Luke's genealogies of Jesus: that Luke traces Christ Jesus' genealogy through the Blessed Virgin Mary Mary, while Matthew traces it through St. Joseph. Instead of reading as:
being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of 'Eli,Luke's gospel, it is proposed, should read as:
being, even as of Joseph, of 'Eli.This makes more sense than it would seem, since "the son of" is an interpolation which exists only in English, and the Greek word, "'ws," is actually more readily translated as "even as" than as "as was supposed." Thus, we could interpret Luke as saying:
Even though he was the son of Joseph (by law), Jesus was descended by 'Eli (by blood).
My problem with this intellectually was that it seemed to contradict the tradition that the Blessed Virgin Mary's father was Joachim, which seems even to predate any record of Christians being puzzled over the apparently conflicting gospels. The Catholic Church, to my knowledge never regarded this tradition as Revelation, but wouldn't it's spread have been hampered if at any time the Church had recognized that Eli, not Joachim, was Jesus' maternal grandfather? Even as the Protoevangelicum of James was denied, the underlying tradition, including the identification of Jesus' maternal grandfather as Joachim, persisted. Further, this argument appears to have occurred to no-one.
But then I discovered something others had discovered long earlier:
The same person named "Jeconiah" in Matthew is called "Eliakim" in Luke. What's more, whereas "Jehoiakim" was commonly shortened to "Joachim," among Greeks, "'Eliakim" is commonly shortened to "'Eli" among Jews. Hence, had someone been deliberately named after an ancestor named "Jehoiakim," he would have been known as "'Eli" to Jews, and "Joachim" to Greeks. This is, in fact, how the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia reconciles the two gospels.
Sure enough, it's Luke's gospel where Jesus' grandfather is identified as "'Eli," the same genealogy where Jehoaikim is called "'Eliakim."
Now, there's further amazing wordplay going on here, which gets lost in English bibles, where "'Eli" is usually written as "Heli." (This is unfortunate, since most English bibles do not do this in Old Testament names, coming to us as they do from Hebrew; hence, it's hard to relate "'Eli" to "'Eliakim.") Since the initial "H" is unspoken, it is contracted, even in written Greek, so that "Heli" becomes "'Eli." "Eli," is a biblical name for God.
The enigma of Joachim is thus resolved: Earlier Christians weren't bothered by the assertion that Jesus' grandfather was Joachim, because they were quite aware of the association of Joachim to 'Eli and Jehoakim.
If it seems odd to suppose that Joachim and 'Eliakim are the same name, dissimilar as they are, keep in mind that Joachim is really Jehoiakim. "Jeho" and "'Eli" both mean "God" when used as prefixes in names. Which brings us to a final astounding bit of wordplay: When Luke says Jesus is the son of Eli, he is saying that Jesus is the son of God.
I hate writing in HTML code. It makes me focus on cleaning up my HTML, rather than on cleaning up my sentence flow and English.
This account is one of the miracles of God found in the Bible. Because of the promise to King David the line through Solomon had to bring the Messiah. But when God declared the Jeconiah (or Coniah) curse, the Messiah could not come through Solomon. Thus Nathan, another son of David, brought about the promised One.
The prophecies of the OT were fulfilled with Mary’s line from Nathan bringing the Messiah. But with Joseph’s line, given in Matthew, the Annointed One came through adoption and Solomon’s line.
Some of these are confusing also because people were defined by Genealogy and the names had less importance.
You were defined by your Mother and Father and not your name.
So when you look at it, if you see Joseph listed multiple times and people appear to be related, you have to realize that there is actually many Josephs with different Mother and Fathers.
Most of the time when someone comes up with something weird in the Genealogy in the Bible, it is related to the interpretation and giving too much weight to the names.
Sure, I’ve heard this expounded well before. The line through Joseph is the legal line.
He is the rightful King through Joseph, and the rightful Priest through Mary, and it just so happens there were 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 generations from David to the deportation to Babylon, and 14 generations from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ.
I’m sure it was all just coincidence!
“I discovered something others had discovered long earlier.”
Generally tends to be the case. There’s a reason why tradition is the way it is. :)
As another poster stated, the line through Joseph is the legal line. The line through Mary was the blood line, due to the traditions of the Jews reckoning the blood line through the mother. You might not be 100% sure of the father, but you ALWAYS knew who the mother was.
No offense, Dangus, and I certainly don’t wish to come across as confrontational, but is not this entire matter irrelevant? Jesus’ ‘grandparents’ were not that in the traditional or even genealogical sense since He was divinely conceived. Jesus’ ‘genealogy’ was God. He possessed no traits, or DNA of any human being. Our Blessed Maria was chosen as the woman who would carry Jesus in her womb and give birth to Him, and not to slight the significance of this but her connection to Jesus was entirely emotional, or spiritual, and in no way biological.
... her connection to Jesus was entirely emotional, or spiritual, and in no way biological.
So, Mary wasn't His Mother... according to you. Also, by your thesis, Jesus wasn't fully God and fully man, He was only God. He was not "a man like us in all ways but sin."
Dude, your theology and history is completely screwed up and anti-Biblical. To what church do you belong?
Sorry, but jla does not respond to blatant; abject idiocy.
Get a clue and try submitting a sensible post.
Actually, no, it is VERY relevant. Jesus was the fulfillment of all of the OT promises. If the genealogy had been broken along the way, God would not have fulfilled His promises through the Covenants made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David. If there is one thing the Bible tells us in its historical narrative, it's that God fulfills His promises... and that is very relevant to every believer.
>> No offense, Dangus, and I certainly dont wish to come across as confrontational, but is not this entire matter irrelevant? <<
It’s apologetics, not spirituality. Various sources have long used the divergent genealogies as a basis for denying the historical truthfulness of the bibles. Some of these sources even come from within Christian churches. I’d heard the argument that Luke traced the geneaology through Mary, but have always been reluctant to argue based on it, since it didn’t make complete sense to me intellectually. Contrary to accusations of numerous Freepers, I don’t promote arguments I don’t firmly believe in. (I may speculate about alternative explanations when someone argues that there aren’t alternatives to his assertions.)
There is a point, as the church fathers say, what is not assumed is not saved.
The big principle in the incarnation is that we are connected to God precisely because he connected himself to man by taking on human flesh. By taking up the physical flesh, Jesus as fully man and God is able to redeem that flesh. Jesus in taking on humanity, becomes a new man, where he can thus stand in the place as a new Adam and submit himself in obedience, so that all of us may be redeemed when we are born again in Christ through baptism.
It is extremely important, because it totally completes the transformation and recapitulation of all of man into Christ. Just as all men have a family, Christ has a family that we can become part of.
***Jesus grandparents were not that in the traditional or even genealogical sense since He was divinely conceived. Jesus genealogy was God. He possessed no traits, or DNA of any human being.***
Actually, it does matter. Jesus was fully God, fully man. Had to be to fulfill His divine mission.
No, sorry, that doesn’t compute. Jesus is “true God and true man.” To argue otherwise is some sort of false Manichaeanism. He called himself both Son of God and Son of Man.
There’s a brief discussion here, which I think most Catholics and Protestants can agree with:
Various understandings of the curse of Jeconiah, (Jer. 22:30) that none of his sons would regarding the validity of Jesus:
One way to explain this, is to examine which son of David is Mary related to and which is Joseph related to, and why isn’t it one of the other sons of David! :)
***He is the rightful King through Joseph,***
NO HE IS NOT!
The geneology in MATTHEW lists Jechonias/Jehoiakim as a forbearer but the Prophet Jeremiah says this about his descendents.
Jer 36:30 Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.
Therefore, Jesus is not descended through Joseph, but through Mary in Luke.
*** Our Blessed Maria was chosen as the woman who would carry Jesus in her womb and give birth to Him, and not to slight the significance of this but her connection to Jesus was entirely emotional, or spiritual, and in no way biological.***
Sounds a lot like the Gnostic belief that Mary was just the conduit for Jesus, like water through a pipe.
Both Matthew and Luke give a genealogical list for the descent of Jesus. When these are compared, differences and difficulties appear immediately. The most obvious difference is that Matthew's list begins with Abraham and descends to Jesus, whereas Luke's list begins with Jesus and ascends to Adam, the son of God. This in itself presents no difficulty; but when comparing, it is quite another matter. Of course only Luke gives the generations from Adam to Abraham, and the lists of progenitors between Abraham and David as given by Matthew and Luke are nearly identical. No problem comes until we compare the two versions of the succession from David to Jesus:
Matthew's list Luke's list (in inverse order) David David Solomon Nathan Rehoboam Mattatha Abijah Menna Asa Melea Jehoshaphat Eliakim Jehoram Jonam Uzziah Joseph Jotham Judah Ahaz Simeon Hezekiah Levi Manasseh Matthat Amon Jorim Josiah Eliezer Jeconiah Joshua Shealtiel............ Er Zerubbabel........ . Elmadam Abiud . . Cosam Eliakim . . Addi Azor ? ? Melki Zakok . . Neri Akim . ............Shealtiel Eliud ...............Zerubbabel Eleazar Rhesa Matthan Joanan Jacob Joda Joseph (husband of Mary) Josech Jesus Semein Mattathias Maath Naggai Esli Nahum Amos Mattathias Joseph Jannai Melki Levi Matthat Heli Joseph Jesus ("the son, so it was thought, of Joseph")For students of a harmony of the gospels the above comparison presents two problems; the difference in the number of generations and the dissimilarity of names. How can the two genealogies be harmonized without sacrificing the historical integrity of either?
Recent critical studies have generally regarded past attempts at harmonization as just so much frustrated effort. Both H.C. Waetjen and M.D. Johnson summarily dismiss past efforts to preserve full historical authenticity as unconvincing, strained, and beside the point. In any event, it is said, historicity will not effect significantly the reader's existential response or understanding of New Testament theology. Instead, each genealogy must be understood individually and theologically in relation to the gospel in which it appears and the thought of the evangelist that is intended to express. The content and structure of each supposedly is arbitrary to suit the evangelist's purpose. What those specific purposes were need not occupy our attention here, for the analyses of scholars such as Waetjen and Johnson follow the assumptions and methodology of much recent New Testament critical scholarship. Their analyses will be no better than their assumptions and methodology. And the fundamental question of the historical reliability of the genealogies cannot be bypassed in so a cavalier a fashion. Consequently we turn our attention to the problems of harmonizing the two lists of Jesus' ancestral descent.
The first problem, the difference in the number of generations, is the easier to resolve. Although it is true that Matthew lists twenty-six progenitors between David and Jesus, compared with Luke's forty, two factors must be kept in mind. First, it is not uncommon for the generations in one line of descent to increase more rapidly than in another. Second, and more important, in Jewish thinking son might mean "grandson," or, even more generally, "descendant" (as "Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham," Matt. 1:1). Similarly, begat (rendered by the patter "'X' [was] the father of 'Y'" in the New International Version, Matt. 1:2-16) does not necessarily mean "was the actual (that is, immediate) father of" but instead may simply indicate real descent. Just the fact that Matthew casts his list in the form of three groups of fourteen generations suggests this was a convenient though arbitrary arrangement from which some generations may have been omitted. In fact, it can be shown that Matthew's list has omissions (cf. 2 Kings 8:24; 1 Chron. 3:11; 2 Chron. 22:1,11; 24:27; 2 Kings 23:34; 24:6). Omission of generations in biblical genealogies is not unique to this case, and Jews are known to have done it freely. The purpose of a genealogy was not to account for every generation, but to establish the fact of an undoubted succession, including especially the more prominent ancestors.
The second problem is more difficult to resolve. In the two lists of succession, between David and Joseph all the names are different except Shealtiel and Zerabbabel (connected in the list by dotted lines). How is this to be accounted for? Some exegetes unnecessarily despair of finding an adequate solution or even suggest the lists are in error. Others see them as redactional devices by which the writers sought to fulfill their theological purposes in writing. But among the attempts to harmonize the genealogies with each other, four proposals deserve consideration.
Each of the three proposals discussed thus far would resolve the apparent conflict between the genealogies in Matthew and Luke. Each also appears to be within the realm of reasonable possibility. It must be pointed out that all three, however, rely upon conjecture that is possible but far from certain. In the first two views one must appeal to levirate marriages or collateral lines to resolve difficulties. The third view rests on the conjecture that Joseph takes Mary's place in the genealogy. In addition, the first must explain why Luke rather than Matthew is interested in the legal lineage of Joseph. Both the first and second views must explain why Luke, in light of his apparent interest in and close association with Mary, would be concerned with Joseph's genealogy at all. Interested as he was in Jesus's humanity, birth, and childhood, why would Luke give the genealogy of the man who was Jesus' legal but not physical father? These questions are not unanswerable, but they do leave the field open for a view less dependent on conjecture, one that does not raise these questions.
- Placing the phrase "so it was thought, of Joseph" in parentheses, and thus in effect removing it from the genealogy, is grammatically justified. In the Greek text Joseph's name occurs with the Greek definite article prefixed; every other name in the series has the article. By this device Joseph's name is shown to be not properly a part of the genealogy. Jesus was only thought to be his son. This would make Jesus the son (that is, grandson or descendant) of Heli, Mary's progenitor, and is consistent with Luke's account of Jesus' conception, which makes clear that Joseph was not his physical father (Luke 1:26-39).
- This view allows the most natural meaning of begat to stand. In other words, begat refers to actual physical descent rather than to jumps to collateral lines.
- Matthew's interest in Jesus' relation to the Old Testament and the Messianic kingdom makes it appropriate that he give Joseph's really descent from David through Solomon - a descent that is also Jesus' legal descent - and thus gives him legal claim to the Davidic throne.
- Because Luke emphasizes the humanity of Jesus, his solidarity with the human race, and the universality of salvation, it is fitting that Luke show his humanity by recording his human descent through his human parent, Mary. His pedigree is then traced back to Adam.
- The objection that Mary's name is not in Luke's version needs only the reply that women were rarely included in Jewish genealogies; though giving her descent, Luke conforms to custom by not mentioning her by name. The objection that Jews never gave the genealogy of women is met by the answer that this is a unique case; Luke is talking about a virgin birth. How else could the physical descent of one who had no human father be traced? Furthermore, Luke has already shown a creative departure from customary genealogical lists by starting with Jesus and ascending up the list of ancestors rather than starting at some point in the past and descending to Jesus.
- This view allows easy resolution of the difficulties surrounding Jeconiah (Matt. 1:11), Joseph's ancestor and David's descendant through Solomon. In 2 Sam. 7:12-17 the perpetuity of the Davidic Kingdom though Solomon (vv. 12-13) is unconditionally promised. Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) later was the royal representative of that line of descent for which eternal perpetuity had been promised. Yet for his gross sin (2 Chron. 24:8-9), Jeconiah was to be recorded as if childless, and no descendant of his would prosper on the Davidic throne (Jer. 22:30). This poses a dilemma. It is Jeconiah through whom the Solomonic descent and legal right to the throne properly should be traced. Solomon's throne had already been unconditionally promised eternal perpetuity. Yet Jeconiah will have no physical descendants who will prosper on that throne. How may both the divine promise and the curse be fulfilled?
First, notice that Jeremiah's account neither indicates Jeconiah would have no seed, nor does is say Jeconiah's line has had its legal claim to the throne removed by his sin. The legal claim to the throne remains with Jeconiah's line, and Matthew records that descent down to Joseph. In 1:16, Matthew preserves the virgin birth of Jesus and at the same time makes clear that Jesus does not come under the curse upon Jeconiah. He breaks the pattern and carefully avoids saying that Joseph (a descendant of Jeconiah) begat Instead he refers to "Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus." In the English translation the antecedent of "whom" is ambiguous. But in the Greek text, "whom" is feminine singular in form and can refer only to Mary who was not a descendant of Jeconiah. As to human parentage, Jesus was born of Mary alone, through Joseph his legal father. As Jesus' legal father, Joseph's legal claim passed to Jesus. But because Jesus was not actually Jeconiah's seed, although of actual Davidic descent through Mary, descendant of Nathan, Jesus escaped the curse on Jeconiah's seed pronounced in Jeremiah (22:30. Thus the problem is resolved.
What we have then are two different genealogies of two people. Probably even the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel of Matthew and Luke are different persons. This view does not depend on conjecture, rests with evidence within the texts themselves, fits the purposes of the evangelists, and easily resolves the problem surrounding Jeconiah. Of this view L.M. Sweet appropriately wrote, "Its simplicity and felicitous adjustment to the whole complex situation is precisely its recommendation."
Although it is not, strictly speaking, a harmonistic problem, one other difficulty of lesser significance found in Matthew's record of Josephs's genealogy needs discussion here. In 1:17, Matthew divides the generations from Abraham to Christ into three groups of fourteen generations; from Abraham to David, from David to the deportation of Babylon, and from the deportation to Christ. In part, this was likely a device used by Matthew to aid memory; it does not imply that he mentioned every progenitor. At least five names are omitted: Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, Jehoiakim, and Eliakim. As previously stated, this procedure was not unusual and presents no real problem.
With three groups of fourteen generations, however, one does expect to find forty two different names. But there are only forty-one. Although one set has only thirteen different names, the problem is only apparent. Matthew does not speak of forty-two different names but of three groups of fourteen generations, which he divides for himself. David's name concludes the first set and stands first in the second set (cf. 1:17). In other words, David is counted twice and is thus given special prominence in the genealogy that shows Jesus' Davidic throne rights through his legal father, Joseph. Another means used for increasing the focus on David is the title assigned to him in Matthew 1:6. He is called King David, and is the only person in the genealogy to whom a title is given. Possibly the Davidic emphasis is even further enhanced by the number 14. The sum of the numerical value of the Hebrew letters in the name David is 14. To the modern reader this might seem overly subtle, but it was not necessarily so in ancient Semitic thought. The numerical value of David's name, however, is not necessary to the resolution of this problem. Again, alleged discrepancies between and in the genealogical lists of Matthew and Luke are shown to be more apparent than real. Reasonable solutions to the problems exist and even throw further light on the text.
Johnson, Marshall D. The Purpose of the Biblical Genealogies: With Special Reference to the Setting of the Genealogies of Jesus, 1969 pp. 139-256.
Machen, J. Gresham. The Virgin Birth of Christ, 1930.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, "The Genealogy of Jesus Christ," L. M. Sweet.
Waetjen, Herman C. "The Genealogy as the Key to the Gospel according to Matthew," Journal of Biblical Literature 95 (1976): 205-230.
Pulled from the NIV Harmony of the Gospels by Thomas and Gundry.
You need to brush up on your Roman Catholic christology. Mary is called, “Theotokos,” or “Mother of God” (more literally, “One who gave childbirth to God”) by the Catholic Church specifically to emphasize the fact that Jesus was fully human in every way, even though he was also fully divine. This is to clarify and expand upon Luke 1:43, where St. Elizabeth calls the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Mother of my Lord” (here, the translation is closer to simply, “mother of my lord.”); Whereas Luke 1:43 might be taken in any of a variety of ways (”Mama of my Lord,” “Maternal guardian of my Lord,” “Legal mother of my Lord,”), the title Theotokos was chosen to emphasize the biological aspect of “mother”; that Mary wasn’t simply “mother” in some limited sense, but in the most complete sense possible.
As Cyril of Alexandria explained to Nestorius at the infallible Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, “the holy fathers... have ventured to call the holy Virgin Theotokos, not as though the nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of their existence from the holy Virgin, but because from her was born his holy body, rationally endowed with a soul, with which body the Word was united according to the hypostasis, and is said to have been begotten according to the flesh...
...Confessing the Word to be united with the flesh according to the hypostasis, we worship one Son and Lord, Jesus Christ. We do not divide him into parts and separate man and God as though they were united with each other [only] through a unity of dignity and authority... nor do we name separately Christ the Word from God, and in similar fashion, separately, another Christ from the woman, but we know only one Christ, the Word from God the Father with his own flesh... But we do not say that the Word from God dwelt as in an ordinary human born of the holy virgin... we understand that, when he became flesh, not in the same way as he is said to dwell among the saints do we distinguish the manner of the indwelling; but he was united by nature and not turned into flesh... There is, then, one Christ and Son and Lord, not with the sort of conjunction that a human being might have with God as in a unity of dignity or authority; for equality of honor does not unite natures. For Peter and John were equal to each other in honor, both of them being apostles and holy disciples, but the two were not one. Nor do we understand the manner of conjunction to be one of juxtaposition, for this is insufficient in regard to natural union.... Rather we reject the term ‘conjunction’ as being inadequate to express the union... [T]he holy virgin gave birth in the flesh to God united with the flesh according to hypostasis, for that reason we call her Theotokos... If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is, in truth, God, and therefore that the holy virgin is Theotokos (for she bore in a fleshly manner the Word from God become flesh), let him be anathema.
(”Anathema”, here, means, roughly, “excommunicated”; “Hypostasis” means, roughly, “unified in one substance”: “Hypo” meaning “under,” and “stasis” meaning “state”; Hence, “hypostasis” is the “underlying state.”)
Then show me where I’ve erred.
I did... and so did Dangus. You called me an idiot.
That Jesus is true God and true man is a paradox. We know that he was a human being. We know he is God, but any effort to fathom this will necessarily come up short.
Well, then, I guess Matthew is mistaken when he says "the genealogy of Jesus Christ"? And, I guess, according to you, Luke is also mistaken since he doesn't mention Mary in Jesus's lineage.
Obviously, Matthew did show the lineage of Jesus through Joseph. And, again obviously, neither Matthew nor his Inspirer had a problem with Jechoniah/Jechonias being in the lineage of Jesus. So, there must be an explanation.
Fortunately, for the legalists, there is a known (actually more than one) explanation. But, even if the explanation weren't known, there still had to be an explanation.
You have to believe that, when God Promised David that his descendants would sit on the throne forever, that He knew what would happen with Jechonias and had already instituted the plan.
Jehoiakim had a son, Jechonias, whose first son, Salathiel, had a right to the throne of Israel but who had no children. But Jechonias apparently took another wife who had a son, Pedaiah, by another marriage, and he had a son, Zerubbabel. By Levirate custom, Zerubbabel, has no blood line connection to Jechonias, for he has no blood relationship with Salathiel. But, he is in the blood line of David through his grandmother Neri. So, yes, Jesus is descended through Joseph and Mary, and it just so happens that His right to the throne of Israel, as the last king of Israel, traces through both Joseph and Mary - God's way of making sure there is no legitimate claim that Jesus does not have a legal right to the throne of David.
****Well, then, I guess Matthew is mistaken when he says “the genealogy of Jesus Christ”? ****
The words of Jeremiah....
Jer 36:30 Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.
If JOSEPH is the true father of Jesus then the Holy Spirit is not! That makes Jesus just another man.
The geneology in LUKE is of Mary, even the jews of that time believed it.
I was merely pointing out that:
1) Luke lists Jesus' lineage as through Joseph (that's the way lineages were presented). I didn't say Joseph was Jesus' "true" father, but, according to Levirate custom, is legitimately listed in His lineage (as listed in both Matthew and Luke), and,
2) Jesus has legal right to the throne through both Mary and Joseph (you might also want to read Jeremiah 22 and Haggai 2 for even more about the curse of Jeconiah - you see, it all has to fit together, not just selected peices).
Joseph was Jesus' earthly father, as accounted in Jewish law. That does diminish in the very least that Mary was "with child from the Holy Spirit". In fact, to me, it speaks of just how awesome God is - He made sure that there can be no legitimate argument that Jesus is not the Messiah.
Word omitted - good help is hard to find. Sorry.