by Heinrich Hofmann*
New Testament | Matthew 1:6-16 ~ David » Solomon » Roboam » Abia » Asa » Josaphat » Joram » Ozias » Joatham » Achaz » Ezekias » Manasses » Amon » Josias » Jechonias » Salathiel » Zorobabel » Abiud » Eliakim » Azor » Sadoc » Achim » Eliud » Eleazar » Matthan » Jacob » Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.Scholars and others4 have tried to solve the puzzle by asserting that Luke really describes the lineage of Mary descended from David's son Nathan, whereas Matthew describes Joseph's lineage through David's son Solomon. Others have sought answers in a Levirate marriage scenario, and so forth.
New Testament | Luke 3:23-31 ~ David » Nathan » Mattatha » Menan » Melea » Eliakim » Jonan » Juda » Simeon » Levi » Matthat » Jorim » Eliezer » Jose » Er » Elmodam » Cosam » Addi » Melchi » Neri » Salathiel » Zorobabel » Rhesa » Joanna » Juda » Joseph » Semei » Mattathias » Maath » Nagge » Esli » Naum » Amos » Mattathias » Joseph » Janna » Melchi » Levi » Matthat » Heli » Joseph (as was supposed) » Jesus
But, several years ago, I heard a Jewish / Christian speaker maintain that Matthew's genealogy listing was really Mary's because some unknown scribe had changed “Joseph the father of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” to what we now have in Matthew 1:16 as “Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”5
This “maternal ancestry in Matthew” does not seem to be as widely considered, perhaps because some believe the David»Solomon line raises the Jeconiah/Jeconias curse problem.6 However “Jews for Jesus” gives a thorough and thoughtful consideration of this issue.7 Also, if royal lineage is of prophetic importance, does not that royal lineage come only through King Solomon's line?8 Did we ever hear of King Nathan? And what an interesting "scribal amendment(?)"—to create one of the major objections to Jesus as Messiah for mainstream Judaism.9
And speaking of Mary's inclusion in the lineage (and why shouldn't she be as the ONLY mortal in the final equation?): is it not divinely(?) apt—since the Jesus story is so disruptive of traditions and expectations—to insert a female name into the male line just before that disruptive Jesus? And what's also of (disruptive?) interest are the references in Matthew's full lineage list of 5 women (4 of whom might be termed infamous).10
We're not likely to definitively solve this lineage puzzle with the resources we have at present, but by acknowledging discrepancies and considering possible answers, are we not “helping the thinker believe; helping the believer think” which is the insightful mantra of the itinerant group RZIM?11 Of course, it's difficult to cover all matters in limited time, but deep questions are fundamental to learning: just ask Alma12; just re-read the Gospels looking for all the deep questions Jesus asked and answered.
1. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genealogy_of_Jesus (Section: "Fulfillment of prophecy")
2. New Testament 2019: Come Follow Me—For Individuals and Families, p. 8 (Matthew 1:1-17)
3. New Testament | Matthew 1:6–16 ~ 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.
New Testament | Luke 3:23–31 ~ 23 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,
4. A few examples:
5. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genealogy_of_Jesus at section: "Maternal ancestry in Matthew"
6. https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/issues-v05-n06/the-genealogy-of-the-messiah/ (see particularly section: "The lineage of Joseph, Jesus’ father" and thereafter) https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/why-are-jesus-genealogies-in-matthew-and-luke-different/
8. Consider https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/must-the-messiah-be-a-descendent-of-solomon/ ; https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1714864/jewish/Is-the-Messiah-a-Descendant-of-King-Solomon.htm
10. https://www.wycliffe.org/blog/posts/unlikely-heroes-the-women-of-matthew-1; https://www.biblestudytools.com/blogs/the-good-book-blog/women-in-jesus-genealogy.html ; http://holinesstoday.org/meet-five-unique-women-in-jesus-family-tree
11. RZIM: https://www.rzim.org/
12. Book Of Mormon | Alma 32
*Image attribution: Heinrich Hofmann [Public domain]
Representation of Jesus Christ, extracted from the painting "Christ And The Rich Young Ruler" by Hoffmann, June 1889
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