The Lineage of Jesus - Why are there different accounts?

At Christmas time we hear the story of the birth of Jesus. There are caroles about the census being taken by the Romans that was the cause of Joseph and Mary's trip to Bethlehem. As the Bible explains, they went to Bethlehem because Joseph was of the house and lineage of David. So was Mary.

It is an accepted tradition even to this day in the Middle East for marriages to be common between cousins. Biblical scholars have documented the historical fact that Mary and Joseph were cousins. But why are the descendants in the line of Jesus different in the books of Luke and Matthew?

The reason is an interesting commentary on the accepted views on women in biblical times. It is just as interesting that the difference is also based on who is telling the story.

In the Gospel of Matthew, written by a Hebrew, the lineage of Jesus begins with Abraham and comes down through Zerubbabel's oldest son, Abihud, who was Joseph's great-eight generations back- grandfather. The names in the lineage from that point follow Abihud's descendants to Joseph. So in Matthew the line ends with Joseph, son of Jacob, the husband of Mary.

But in the Gospel of Luke, written by a Greek, the lineage of Jesus goes all the way back to Adam and comes down through Zerubbabel's youngest son, Rhesa, who was Mary's great-eight generations back- grandfather. The names in the lineage from that point follow Rhesa and end with Mary -except, even in the Greek tradition, the woman's name is not listed in the lineage. If a family ended with a daughter, it was the practice to list her husband, the son-in-law, as the last in the line. So in Luke the line ends with Joseph, son of Heli, who was Mary's husband.

For more information on this and other Biblical studies, consult Clarke's Commentary. http://jcsm.org/StudyCenter/Adam_Clarke_Commentary/

None of this changes what Jesus did for the world through his life, death and his victory over death. But it is always interesting to find the answer to a riddle. I take any argument that the Bible contains contradictions with a grain of salt. It is probably more accurate to accept that we just don't know all the answers - yet.

Merry Christmas.





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phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Strange that all these years I never noticed the difference. Your Hub and explanation is a great commentary on how cultural issues and practices impinge upon and shape history. Thanks for doing the research. :)


Elijah7 profile image

Elijah7 4 years ago from Israel - England - Hong Kong - Hawaii - Paradise

Re : "None of this changes what Jesus did for the world through his life, death and his victory over death. But it is always interesting to find the answer to a riddle. I take any argument that the Bible contains contradictions with a grain of salt. It is probably more accurate to accept that we just don't know all the answers - yet."

Like your Hub, i also LOVE this Closing Paragraph - Amen sister....

This End Time atheist agenda to try and pick Holy Scripture to pieces does NOTHING but BUILD my own Faith Higher - Amen

In fact, OFTEN, when they get REALLY oppressive i learn MORE by researchng and then ALWAYS pointing out their GROSS ERRORS - Glory...

† 2 Peter 3 : 2 - 3 †

"That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,"

Have a free Musical Gift - Maranatha † :

http://www.TheSevenThunders.org/C7-Music/I-Heard-T...


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks for the music blessing. What a great way to comment! I was surprised I hadn't heard of these different geneologies before by the naysayers. I thought the reason for the two lines was facinating. Welcome to my hubs.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you for this beautiful gift!


Elijah7 profile image

Elijah7 4 years ago from Israel - England - Hong Kong - Hawaii - Paradise

Then this must be Worship Time sister...

The Grace in your thanks just Created Seven More (i LOVE The Number SEVEN) - Amen †

† Psalm 33 : 3 †

"Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise."

† Psalm 149 : 1 †

"Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints."

† Revelation 4 : 5 †

"And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God."

http://www.TheSevenThunders.org/C7-Music/Theres-A-...

http://www.TheSevenThunders.org/C7-Music/TheWonder...

http://www.TheSevenThunders.org/C7-Music/YOU-Said....

http://www.TheSevenThunders.org/C7-Music/Holy-IS-o...

http://www.TheSevenThunders.org/C7-Music/I-Have-Be...

http://www.TheSevenThunders.org/C7-Music/THE-Young...

http://www.TheSevenThunders.org/C7-Music/Revival.m...


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I definitely feel like I've been to church! Thanks for the blessings. "a new song" I love that.


zionsphere profile image

zionsphere 4 years ago from Oregon

I agree that we can never know anything. I have noticed a few contradictions, but the message seems to be the same. To love God, and to love others as we love ourselves. So I guess all we need to know is love.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Zionsphere: Beautifully said. Welcome to my hubs. Hope you enjoy more of them.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I think a basic element of it all is to consider the purpose of the writing. The pupose and style of writing in the past is not the same as today. we are accustomed to scientifically factual, journalistic and historical writing styles. Much of this would not have mattered back then. Their interest was in spiritual truths. Also much was still in the oral trditions back then. Details did not matter so much.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

dahoglund: Welcome to my hubs and Merry Christmas. Interesting commentary - you've added good points to this hub. I appreciate it.

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    Kathleen Cochran532 Followers
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    Kathleen Cochran is a writer & former newspaper reporter/editor who traveled the world as a soldier's better half. Her works are on Amazon.



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