Posted by: thaishin | November 26, 2009

Difference in Genealogy of Jesus in Matthew and Luke

Question:

Luke 3:23-37
excerpt
the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz – niv

Matthew 1: 1-16
excerpt
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, – niv

Both passages are consistent for genealogy before David. Matthew stop at Abraham but Luke went on to Adam. But both passage seems to differ for genealogy after David. There is no mention of Solomon in Luke.

Is there an error here?

Answer from Pastor Brian Ingalls:

There’s a really solid answer for this on the website “gotquestions.org” which makes some good points, like this one:
Some point to these differences as evidence of errors in the Bible. However, the Jews were meticulous record keepers, especially in regard to genealogies. It is inconceivable that Matthew and Luke could build two entirely contradictory genealogies of the same lineage. Again, from David through Jesus, the genealogies are completely different. Even the reference to Shealtiel and Zerubbabel likely refer to different individuals of the same names. Matthew gives Shealtiel’s father as Jeconiah while Luke gives Shealtiel’s father as Neri. It would be normal for a man named Shealtiel to name his son Zerubbabel in light of the famous individuals of those names (see the books of Ezra and Nehemiah).

It was probably just a case of Matthew tracing Jesus lineage through Joseph, which would have been the legal, Jewish way of doing things.  Luke on the other hand, probably traced the lineage through Mary which was something the Greeks did occasionally, and more probably because Mary was a real mother, while Joseph (because of the virgin birth) really wasn’t the father.  Both Mary and Joseph were descendants from David, so giving both genealogies was a way to show Jesus’ heritage could not be challenged either way.

Here’s how gotquestions explained it:
…most conservative Bible scholars assume Luke is recording Mary’s genealogy and Matthew is recording Joseph’s. Matthew is following the line of Joseph (Jesus’ legal father), through David’s son Solomon, while Luke is following the line of Mary (Jesus’ blood relative), though David’s son Nathan. There was no Greek word for “son-in-law,” and Joseph would have been considered a son of Heli through marrying Heli’s daughter Mary. Through either line, Jesus is a descendant of David and therefore eligible to be the Messiah. Tracing a genealogy through the mother’s side is unusual, but so was the virgin birth. Luke’s explanation is that Jesus was the son of Joseph, “so it was thought” (Luke 3:23).
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Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this very interesting piece.

  2. You are welcome.


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