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Genealogy of Jesus

Updated on March 26, 2014

Matthew's Genealogy of Jesus

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; 8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; 9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; 10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; 11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: 12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; 15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; 16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. (The Apostle Matthew 1:1-17)

Book of Kells, Luke's Genealogy of Jesus; copied by Celtic monks, AD 800
Book of Kells, Luke's Genealogy of Jesus; copied by Celtic monks, AD 800

Luke's Genealogy of Jesus

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, 24 Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph, 25 Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge, 26 Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda, 27 Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri, 28 Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er, 29 Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, 30 Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim, 31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David, 32 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson, 33 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda, 34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor, 35 Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, 36 Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, 37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan, 38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God. (Luke the Evangelist, 3:24-38)


The Family Tree of Jesus of Nazareth

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, ...

The Evangelist Luke give us the genealogy of Christ from Mary through David to God. Luke opens his genealogy by writing: “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.” Actually, Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli, since Heli was the father of Mary. The difference between Luke’s genealogy and that of Matthew (Mt 1:1-17) is clearly set forth here; Matthew has Jacob as the father of Joseph (Matthew 1:16). Matthew’s list follows the Davidic covenant (Psalms 132:11-17; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12) through David’s son Solomon down to Joseph. In that Jesus was the adopted son of Joseph, he inherited all rights as a legal firstborn. He, therefore, had a legal claim to the throne of Israel through his father Joseph by adoption. Luke, on the other hand, stresses the genealogy of Christ through Mary, back to David through David’s son Nathan (verse 31). While Matthew shows Jesus to be the son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1), thus the national Messiah and king of Israel, Luke does not stop his record at Abraham but continues on to Adam and ultimately to God (verse 38). Luke’s clear intent is to show Jesus to be the Son of God and the universal Savior. All of the Gospels speak of the universality of Christ’s mission, but Luke makes it his main theme.


The Christology of Luke’s Genealogy

Jesus says of himself, “I am the root and the offspring of David” (Revelation 22:16). The imagery is that of a (family) tree, of which Jesus declares himself to be both the root and offspring (or branch). The dual nature of Christ is portrayed in this imagery and demonstrated in Luke’s genealogy: This is true in that the root of David’s family tree is shown to be God (v38) and the offspring (branch) is shown to be Jesus (verse 23). Thus, by Jesus’s self identification of being both the root and offspring of David’s genealogy, Jesus is declaring Himself to be both the son of David (i.e. man) and David’s God.


Challenges of the Genealogy

First, neither Matthew’s nor Luke’s list of generations is complete. At times one is said to be the son (or father) of another when they may be several generations removed. Secondly, many persons had more than one name which may appear in one list by one name and in another list by yet another. Thirdly, one may be said to be a son, or father, of another when they would not be so by blood but by law. Fourthly, the greatest challenge presented by the two genealogies of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38) is the appearance of the same two names, Salathiel and Zorobabel (Matthew 1:12; Luke 3:27) in both list at a juncture that seems impossible. Finally, the fifth challenge (not found in the New Testament lists, but are extant in Old Testament listing) is that Zorobabel is said to be the son Salathiel (Ezra 3:2, 8; 5:2; Ne 12:1; Hag 1:1, 12, 14; 2:2, 23; *Matthew 1:12; *Luke 3:27), but also the son of Pedaiah (1 Chr 3:19).

The reader will see that the five challenges listed above will be sorted out in the revelations that come to us through these genealogies.


Revelations Within the Genealogies of Christ

Matthew divides his list from Abraham to Christ into three sets of 14 generations a piece (Matthew 1:17). For the Apostle to do this he had to skip over some generations to keep his number to a very neat and purposeful fourteen. (So when Matthew says that so-and-so begat so-and-so, it may have been a grandson or a great grandson in view). I say purposeful because Matthew’s theme is to introduce Jesus as the King of Israel - the son of David. The number fourteen is the number of David’s name in the science of gematria. Gematria turns names into numbers and numbers into names. The Hebrew had no separate set of symbols to represent numbers, but used their alphabet. The name David, in Hebrew, is spelled דוד: transliteration: dvd. The three letters have a numerical value of 14: D (4) + V (6) + D (4) = 14. So in manifesting Jesus as the son of David, Matthew uses the devise of gematria to covertly establish the theme for his book. In that he has 3 sets of 14 would not be lost on his readers (he wrote for and to the Jews) for they would see in the number 3 a confirmation that the number 14 was very intentional since 3 is the biblical number of confirmation. For Matthew to achieve his last set of fourteen generations he included Mary thus showing the validity of genealogical descent of covenant prerogatives through a woman (see Genesis 3:15). Mary was the daughter-in-law of Joseph’s father, Jacob, ergo, Jacob's daughter by law. One should remember this, in that we are far from finished with the “female factor.”

From vv2-6 Matthew takes the reader from Abraham to king David. Here we see the Abrahamic covenant manifested. In vv6-11 the reader is taken from David’s son Solomon to Jechonias (Jechoniah). In these passages the Davidic covenant is in view. Finally in vv12-16 Matthew introduces the generations from Salathiel to Jesus, and in doing so the new covenant is proclaimed.

Covenant prerogatives had to be transferred from Solomon’s lineage to Nathan’s because God rejected Jechonias (also called: Jechoniah, Jehoiachin, and Coniah) and his descendants from the Davidic covenant (see Jeremiah 22:24-30 also see Zach 12:12). This necessary transfer was accomplished by the migration of a woman from Nathan’s lineage to that of Solomon’s; most likely the wife of Salathiel (also called: Shealtiel). This particular female would be a descendent of Neri: (Lk 3:27) thus making Salathiel the son-in-law of Neri. The precedent for this type of listing is established in Luke 3:23 where Joseph is said to be the son of Heli: when in truth he was the son-in-law by his marriage to Mary. Therefore, Zorobabel would be the grandson of Neri on his mother’s side. Through this process Zorobabel, who is of great importance to the Davidic covenant (he is identified with the Messiah; Haggai 2:23 cf Jeremiah 22:24 and especially Zechariah 3:8 where he is called “The Branch”; also see the prophets Haggai [Hag 2:21-22] and Zechariah [Zech 4:6-7]) would be considered the descendant of David through Nathan. Thus, God maintains the curse on Jechoniah (Jeremiah 22:24–28) while fulfilling his promise to David that his seed would occupy the throne forever (Ps 132:11-17). (It is an interesting side note that both Solomon and Nathan were sons of Bathsheba - 1 Chr 3:5.)

There is another move away from the male bloodline of Jechoniah after Zorobabel which most likely took place with Zorobabel’s daughter, Shelomith (1Chr 3:19). Here she holds the place in the genealogy of her family; which would never be the case (certainly not normative) unless her name was necessary to maintain the family line. This “Female Factor” would be in harmony with the theme of gynecological redemption being provided through the “seed” of the woman (see Genesis 3:15) and, which would shed light on why, to this very day, the Jewish religion recognizes ONLY the offspring of a Jewish woman as the heir to Jewish prerogatives. This is to say, one must have a Jewish mother to be a Jew. Ergo: an offspring of a Jewish man and a Gentile woman would not be a Jew, but the offspring of the gentile man and a Jewish woman would be a Jew. This is seen in Acts 16:3 where Paul had Timothy circumcised. Timothy was the son of a Gentile father and a Jewish mother.

Zorobabel (Luke 3:27) was born in Babylon, but returned to Jerusalem as governor (Zachariah 2:2); all accounts but one list him as the son of Shealtiel (the New Testament - Salathiel). The one challenge to this is found in 1 Chr 3:19, where he is said to be the son of one Pedaiah. Now we know that Pedaiah was the brother of Salathiel (vv17&18). It is thought by most that Salathiel died before siring any children to continue his name, in which case his brother enter into a levirate (brother-in-law) marriage ( Deut 25:5; Ruth 2:20) with his widow and sired Zorobabel in behalf of his dead brother Salathiel. This is the only scenario that would allow both brothers, Salathiel and Pedaiah to be listed as the father of Zorobabel.

Conclusion

In this way, the Lord God renewed the covenant promises to Zorobabel that he had withdrawn from his grandfather Jechoniah (Jeremiah 22:24-30). See Jeremiah 23:5-6; Zechariah 3:8; Haggai 2:7-9; 2:20-23 compared to Jeremiah 22:24 with Haggai 2:23. Zorobabel is called “The Branch” (Jeremiah 23:5-6 cf Zachariah 3:8); the “Signet Ring” (Seal) (Haggai 2:23); along with the High Priest, Joshua, he is called the “Anointed” which would be “Christ” in Greek. Thus, Zorobabel is the renewed type of the Messiah. Yahweh had maintained His curse on the blood line of Jechoniah and remained faithful to His covenant with David.


Apostolically Speaking

☩ Jerry L Hayes

Own this debate classic today. Click here for more information.

the Jesus Debate: A Debate On The Person of Jesus, Between Modalism/Oneness and Arianism/Unitarianism
the Jesus Debate: A Debate On The Person of Jesus, Between Modalism/Oneness and Arianism/Unitarianism

The Jesus debate is a formal discussion on the person of Jesus Christ between the Modalist and Unitarian theologies. Modalism holds that God has manifested Himself in the economy of One triune being. The One Being existing in the different modes of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While the Unitarian view holds that God is but one being Who is limited to the Father; that the Son is separate and distinct Being from the Father Who is not God, but the Son of God. Modalism (called Oneness in the twenty-first century) teaches the full deity of Jesus and His full humanity as well. the Arian view of Unitarianism represented by Willy Olmo in this book affirms the Father to be the only person of God and Jesus to be His Son.

 

The Generations of Christ

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    • Bishop J L Hayes profile image
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      Jerry Lynn Hayes Sr 3 years ago from Texas City, Texas

      The dual nature of Christ is portrayed in this imagery and demonstrated in Luke’s genealogy: This is true in that the root of David’s family tree is shown to be God (v38) and the offspring (branch) is shown to be Jesus (verse 23). Thus, by Jesus’s self identification of being both the root and offspring of David’s genealogy, Jesus is declaring Himself to be both the son of David (i.e. man) and David’s God.

    • Judah's Daughter profile image

      Judah's Daughter 3 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Love it! Educational and inspiring!

    • Bishop J L Hayes profile image
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      Jerry Lynn Hayes Sr 3 years ago from Texas City, Texas

      JD, thank you for stopping by. It is always encouraging to hear from you.

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