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Matt 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38


T he Genealogy of Jesus

Matt 1:1-17 Historical Notes

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.

3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram.

4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon.

5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,

6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

7 Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa.

8 Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah.

9 Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah.

10 Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah.

11 Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.

12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel.

13 Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor.

14 Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud.

15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob.

16 And Jacob begot 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, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.

Luke 3:23-38

23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli,

24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph,

25 the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,

26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah,

27 the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,

28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er,

29 the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,

30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim,

31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David,

32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,

33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,

34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,

35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,

36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,

37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan,

38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.


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Historical Notes

- There are only 2 genealogies recorded in the 4 gospel accounts. Notice that Matthew traces Jesus' legal descent from David to Joseph, and Luke traces Jesus' descent all the way back to Adam.

- God had promised long before Abraham that a Redeemer would come. When Abraham was called, he was given the promise that "through his seed" all of the world would be blessed. Later on, one of Abraham's descendants, David, was given the same promise, Messiah would come through his loins, and would also reign as King.

- The commonly accepted view is that Matthew gives Joseph's line, showing Jesus as the legal heir of the throne of David, and Luke gives Mary's line, showing Jesus' blood descent (Rom 1:3). Mary's genealogy was in her husband's name, as according to Jewish custom. Joseph's real father was Jacob and Luke 3:23 says he was the "son of heli" implying that he was son-in law of Heli. 

- Both Joseph and Mary were direct descendants of king David.

- The genealogy in Matthew proves that Jesus was born legal King of the Jews, the son of David, the son of Abraham. The King is first named "son of David" in the kingly line, true heir to David's throne, then "son of Abraham," the seed through whom the whole earth will be blessed.

- The order is significant because in the Jewish mind (Matthew's gospel account has a definite Jewish slant) the Messiah was first to present himself as King and after that as Saviour.

- Messiah had to be a legitimate descendant from king David

- Matthew, writing for the Jews, was naturally interested in pointing out the fact that Jesus was of royal line (legal descent was of the father to a Jew), and so traces the family tree down through David to Joseph (Jesus' legal, not real father) from Abraham the father of the Hebrew race and the one in covenant with Yahweh. 

- If Jesus had been the son of Mary without her being legally the wife of Joseph, a son of Solomon, His royal claim would have been rejected from the outset. Luke's genealogy presents Jesus as the Son of Man, and a descendant of David by Mary, but through the house of Nathan (not Solomon). As the Virgin born son of Mary, He had no legal right to the throne. This had to come through Joseph. 

- Luke begins with the 2nd Adam, the eternally begotten Son of God, and ascends to the 1st Adam, the son of God by creation.

- Luke showed Jesus' wider human relation with the whole human race, tracing His genealogy back to Adam, back to the beginning. He ties Him up with the whole human race without regard to racial, national, sexual, or social division.

- Luke traces the genealogy through Mary, which qualifies Jesus as a legal representative of the human race. Man forfeited the dominion in the garden and therefore man had to gain it back.

- Matthew's genealogy stands at the beginning of his Gospel, to establish the fact of Jesus' royal Hebrew origin before any other facts about His life are introduced.

- Luke's comes in as an interlude after the account of the birth and infancy of Jesus and John's ministry, to introduce the saving ministry of the Lord.

- Matthew gives the official family record of the successive births as they came; Luke starts out fixing attention on Jesus, the person of supreme importance in the narrative and Saviour of the whole race, with which He is identified by the genealogy thus extracted, in the reverse order from the public records.

- Matthew omits several names in the line, but he was only seeking to show the direct descent. This does not invalidate the line of descent.

- In Matthew's genealogy the names are divided into three groups of fourteen each, corresponding to the three periods of the national history: from Abraham to David the theocracy, from David to the Babylonian exile the monarchy, and from the exile to the time of Christ the hierarchy. Such a division was wholly in accord with the Jewish custom.

- 42 generations, 3 groups of 14 each, covering 2000 years. The 1st group- 1000 years; the 2nd group- 400 years; and the 3rd group- 600 years.

- The name David has a numerical equivalent in Hebrew of 14.  The consonants DVD = 14.

- Matthew gives the names of four women in the list (Rahab, Tamar, Ruth, Bathsheba), contrary to Jewish custom. (identifying with sinful humanity). All 4 women were involved in some sort of public scandal.

- Some of the men of the line were also notorious sinners.

- He lived without sin in spite of His hereditary handicaps. His greatness depended not upon his ancestry.

- Matthew punctures the pride of his Jewish brethren, by inserting the names which they in their hypocritical self-righteousness would have repudiated, some suggestive of disgrace, others of apostasy and covenant breaking.

- The Virgin-birth of Jesus is safe-guarded in the genealogies. The word begat is used in the successive stages of the descent down to Joseph (Matt. 1:16), but there the statement is altered. "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called the Christ." This is in harmony with Luke's statement (3:23): "Jesus being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph." Jesus was thought by the people to be the son of Joseph by physical descent. But He was genetically the son of God, begotten of the Holy Ghost.

- Mark's gospel account does not contain a genealogy probably because his purpose did not attach great importance to the family tree. He was concerned mainly with the practical outcome of the life of Jesus. The Roman readers would not think this important. The great works of Jesus would show Him to be the Son of God, and that was the main issue.

- John also does not include a genealogy in his gospel account, probably because he was dealing with the philosophic world and must define the place of Jesus in the cosmic scheme. So he goes back into the eternities and relates Him to God, the created physical universe, and all the world of intelligence’s.

- There is no example of history that records such a historical genealogy. There is no logical explanation except that God prepared the Jewish people, and their scrupulous keeping of genealogical records, to preserve an accurate account which His Son would make an entrance into this world. 

- Once the Temple was destroyed by Titus in 70 A.D., along with the genealogical records, there would be no way to absolutely prove that one was of the Davidic line.

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