Which was the son of Eli;
meaning, not that Joseph was the son of Eli; for he was the son of Jacob, according to (Matthew 1:16) , but Jesus was the son of Eli; and which must be understood, and carried through the whole genealogy, as thus; Jesus the son of Matthat, Jesus the son of Levi, Jesus the son of Melchi… till you come to Jesus the son of Adam, and Jesus the Son of God; though it is true indeed that Joseph was the son of Eli, having married his daughter; Mary was the daughter of Eli: and so the Jews speak of one Mary, the daughter of Eli
, by whom they seem to design the mother of our Lord: for they tell F2 us of one,
``that saw, (yle tb Myrm) , "Mary the daughter of Eli" in the shades, hanging by the fibres of her breasts; and there are that say, the gate, or, as elsewhere F3, the bar of the gate of hell is fixed to her ear.''
By the horrible malice, in the words, you may know who is meant: however, this we gain by it, that by their own confession, Mary is the daughter of Eli; which accords with this genealogy of the evangelist, who traces it from Mary, under her husband Joseph; though she is not mentioned, because of a rule with the Jews F4, that
``the family of the mother is not called a family.''
Jamieson, Fausset, Brown
being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, &c.--Have we in this genealogy, as well as in Matthew's, the line of Joseph? or is this the line of Mary?--a point on which there has been great difference of opinion and much acute discussion. Those who take the former opinion contend that it is the natural sense of this verse, and that no other would have been thought of but for its supposed improbability and the uncertainty which it seems to throw over our Lord's real descent. But it is liable to another difficulty; namely, that in this case Matthew makes Jacob, while Luke makes "Heli," to be Joseph's father; and though the same man had often more than one name, we ought not to resort to that supposition, in such a case as this, without necessity. And then, though the descent of Mary from David would be liable to no real doubt, even though we had no table of her line preserved to us (see, for example, Luke 1:2-32, and incredible--that two genealogies of our Lord should be preserved to us, neither of which gives his real descent. Those who take the latter opinion, that we have here the line of Mary, as in Matthew that of Joseph--here His real, there His reputed line--explain the statement about Joseph, that he was "the son of Hell," to mean that he was his son-in-law, as the husband of his daughter Mary (as in Ruth 1:11,12), and believe that Joseph's name is only introduced instead of Mary's, in conformity with the Jewish custom in such tables. Perhaps this view is attended with fewest difficulties, as it certainly is the best supported
v. 23, etc. Matthew had given us somewhat of this. He goes no higher than Abraham, but Luke brings it as high as Adam. Matthew designed to show that Christ was the son of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth are blessed, and that he was heir to the throne of David; and therefore he begins with Abraham, and brings the genealogy down to Jacob, who was the father of Joseph, and heir-male of the house of David: but Luke, designing to show that Christ was the seed of the woman, that should break the serpent’s head, traces his pedigree upward as high as Adam, and begins it with Ei, or Heli, who was the father, not of Joseph, but of the virgin Mary
. And some suggest that the supply which our translators all along insert here is not right, and that it should not be read which, that is, which Joseph was the son of Heli, but which Jesus; he was the son of Joseph, of Eli, of Matthat, etc., and he, that is, Jesus, was the son of Seth, of Adam, of God, v. 38. The difference between the two evangelists in the genealogy of Christ has been a stumbling-block to infidels that cavil at the word, but such a one as has been removed by the labours of learned men, both in the early ages of the church and in latter times, to which we refer ourselves. Matthew draws the pedigree from Solomon, whose natural line ending in Jechonias, the legal right was transferred to Salathiel, who was of the house of Nathan, another son of David, which line Luke here pursues, and so leaves out all the kings of Judah. It is well for us that our salvation doth not depend upon our being able to solve all these difficulties, nor is the divine authority of the gospels at all weakened by them; for the evangelists are not supposed to write these genealogies either of their own knowledge or by divine inspiration, but to have copied them out of the authentic records of the genealogies among the Jews, the heralds’ books, which therefore they were obliged to follow; and in them they found the pedigree of Jacob, the father of Joseph, to be as it is set down in Matthew; and the pedigree of Heli, the father of Mary, to be as it is set down here in Luke. And this is the meaning of hos enomizeto (v. 23), not, as it was supposed, referring only to Joseph, but uti sancitum est lege—as it is entered into the books, as we find it upon record; by which is appeared that Jesus was both by father and mother’s side the Son of David, witness this extract out of their own records, which any one might at that time have liberty to compare with the original, and further the evangelists needed not to go; nay, had they varied from that, they had not gained their point. Its not being contradicted at that time is satisfaction enough to us now that it is a true copy, as it is further worthy of observation, that, when those records of the Jewish genealogies had continued thirty or forty years after these extracts out of them, long enough to justify the evangelists therein, they were all lost and destroyed with the Jewish state and nation; for now there was no more occasion for them.
The People’s New Testament
The descendant of a long line of kings was a poor carpenter of Nazareth. As the husband of Mary he was the legal father of Jesus, and Matthew gives his line of descent. A comparison of the table given by Luke will show that it differs in part from that of Matthew. Between David and Joseph the lists are widely different. Several views, all possible, have been presented, but the most probable explanation is that Matthew gives the line of Joseph, the legal line, and that Luke gives the line of Mary
, the mother of our Lord. As the Jews regarded only male descent, unless Joseph, the supposed father, was a descendant of David they would not have recognized the genealogy as a fulfillment of the prophecies that Christ should be the Son of David; while Luke, himself a Gentile and writing for Gentiles, was more particular to give the line that shows that Jesus is really the Son of David. If Mary was the daughter of Heli, especially if an heiress, Joseph, by marriage, would become the "son of Heli." That there is no contradiction between the two tables is shown by the fact that the Jews who best understood their genealogies never charged it. These tables were preserved with great care, for various reasons, until Christ was born, but it is asserted that Herod destroyed them. If this is incorrect, they did not survive the destruction of Jerusalem.
Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament
Being Son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli (wn uioß wß enomizeto Iwshp tou Helei). For the discussion of the genealogy of Jesus see on "Mt 1:1"-17. The two genealogies differ very widely and many theories have been proposed about them. At once one notices that Luke begins with Jesus and goes back to Adam, the Son of God, while Matthew begins with Abraham and comes to "Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ" (Matthew 1:16). Matthew employs the word "begot" each time, while Luke has the article tou repeating uiou (Son) except before Joseph. They agree in the mention of Joseph, but Matthew says that "Jacob begat Joseph" while Luke calls "Joseph the son of Heli." There are other differences, but this one makes one pause. Joseph, of course, did not have two fathers. If we understand Luke to be giving the real genealogy of Jesus through Mary, the matter is simple enough
. The two genealogies differ from Joseph to David except in the cases of Zorobabel and Salathiel. Luke evidently means to suggest something unusual in his genealogy by the use of the phrase "as was supposed" (wß enomizeto). His own narrative in Luke 1:26-38 has shown that Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus. Plummer objects that, if Luke is giving the genealogy of Jesus through Mary, uioß must be used in two senses here (son as was supposed of Joseph, and grandson through Mary of Heli). But that is not an unheard of thing. In neither list does Matthew or Luke give a complete genealogy. Just as Matthew uses "begat" for descent, so does Luke employ "son" in the same way for descendant. It was natural for Matthew, writing for Jews, to give the legal genealogy through Joseph, though he took pains to show in Matthew 1:16,18-25 that Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus. It was equally natural for Luke, a Greek himself and writing for the whole world, to give the actual genealogy of Jesus through Mary. It is in harmony with Pauline universality (Plummer) that Luke carries the genealogy back to Adam and does not stop with Abraham
The son of Heli - That is, the son - in - law: for Heli was the father of Mary
. So St. Matthew writes the genealogy of Joseph, descended from David by Solomon; St. Luke that of Mary, descended from David by Nathan. In the genealogy of Joseph (recited by St. Matthew) that of Mary is implied, the Jews being accustomed to marry into their own families.
Being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph
This same phrase is used by Herodotus to signify one who was only reputed to be the son of a particular person: τουτονπαιςνομιζεται he was SUPPOSED to be this man's son.
Much learned labour has been used to reconcile this genealogy with that in St. Matthew, Matthew 1:1-17, and there are several ways of doing it; the following, which appears to me to be the best, is also the most simple and easy. For a more elaborate discussion of the subject, the reader is referred to the additional observations at the end of the chapter.
MATTHEW, in descending from Abraham to Joseph, the spouse of the blessed virgin, speaks of SONS properly such, by way of natural generation: Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob, Luke, in ascending from the Saviour of the world to GOD himself, speaks of sons either properly or improperly such: on this account he uses an indeterminate mode of expression, which may be applied to sons either putatively or really such. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being, as was SUPPOSED the son of Joseph-of Heli-of Matthat, considerable support from Raphelius's method of reading the original ωνωςενομιζετουιοςιωσηφτουηλι, being (when reputed the son of Joseph) the son of Heli, not always speak of sons properly such, is evident from the first and last person which he names: Jesus Christ was only the supposed son of Joseph, because Joseph was the husband of his mother Mary: and Adam, who is said to be the son of God, was such only by creation. After this observation it is next necessary to consider, that, in the genealogy described by St. Luke, there are two sons improperly such: i.e. two sons-in-law, instead of two sons.
As the Hebrews never permitted women to enter into their genealogical tables, whenever a family happened to end with a daughter, instead of naming her in the genealogy, they inserted her husband, as the son of him who was, in reality, but his father-in-law. This import, bishop Pearce has fully shown, νομιζεσθαι bears, in a variety of places-Jesus was considered according to law, or allowed custom, to be the son of Joseph, as he was of Heli.
The two sons-in-law who are to be noticed in this genealogy are Joseph the son-in-law of Heli, whose own father was Jacob, Matthew 1:16; and Salathiel, the son-in-law of Neri, whose own father was Jechonias: 1 Chronicles 3:17, and ; Matthew 1:12. This remark alone is sufficient to remove every difficulty. Thus it appears that Joseph, son of Jacob, according to St. Matthew, was son-in-law of Heli, according to St. Luke. And Salathiel, son of Jechonias, according to the former, was son-in-law of Neri, according to the latter.
Mary therefore appears to have been the daughter of Heli
; so called by abbreviation for Heliachim, which is the same in Hebrew with Joachim
Sceptics claim that the genealogies of Matthew and Luke contradict, because they supposedly give different fathers for Joseph, the husband of Mary.
However, Luke is tracing Mary’s line
, showing that she was also a descendant of David, as implied in Luke 1:32. Conversely Matthew traced the legal line from Joseph to David, but this line was cursed because of Jeconiah (Jer. 22:17–30). This curse means that if Joseph had been Jesus’s biological father, then Jesus would not have been eligible to sit on King David’s throne. Here are some reasons that Luke should be understood as giving Mary’s line:
Luke’s nativity narrative mainly presents Mary’s perspective, while Matthew presented Joseph’s perspective. So readers of the original Greek would realize that the writers intended to present Mary’s and Joseph’s lines respectively.
The reason Luke didn’t mention Mary explicitly is that rules for listing Jewish ancestry generally left out the mothers’ names.
A clear pointer to the fact that the genealogy in Luke is Mary’s line is that the Greek text has a definite article before all the names except Joseph’s. Any Greek-speaker would have understood that Heli must have been the father of Joseph’s wife, because the lack of an article would mean that he would insert Joseph into the parenthesis (as was supposed) in Luke 3:23. So he would read it not as ‘Jesus … being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli’, but as ‘Jesus … being son (as was supposed of Joseph) of Heli’ (NB: the original Greek had no punctuation or even spaces between words). Indeed, the Jewish Talmud, no friend of Christianity, dating from the first few centuries AD, calls Mary the ‘daughter of Heli’, which could have come only from this understanding of what Luke meant.