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Matthew 1:16 vs Luke 3:23

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  • Matthew 1:16 vs Luke 3:23

    Matthew 1:16
    Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
    Luke 3:23
    When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli,
    What was the name of Joesph's father?

  • #2
    Good question, sadly I don't have an answer but will be interested in finding out what others have to say.
    Thus says YHWH, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls.
    -Jeremiah 6:16

    Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. - Matthew 11:29


    • #3
      This is from a Bible commentary - "It has been said, also, that Joseph was the legal son and heir of Heli/Eli, though the real son of Jacob, and thus the two lines terminated in him. This was the ancient explanation of most of the fathers, and on the whole is the most satisfactory. It was a law of the Jews, that if a man died without children, his brother should marry his widow. Thus the two lines might have been intermingled.

      According to this solution, which was first proposed by Africanus, Matthan, descended from Solomon, married Estha, of whom was born Jacob. After Matthan's death, Matthat being of the same tribe, but of another family, remarried his widow, and of this marriage Heli was born. Jacob and Heli were therefore children of the same mother. Heli dying without children, his brother Jacob married his widow, and begat Joseph, who was thus the legal son of Heli. This is agreeable to the account in the two evangelists. Matthew says that Jacob begat Joseph; Luke says that Joseph was the son of Heli; that is, was his legal heir, or reckoned in law to be his son"
      -- sigpic-God’s Spirit is your power source—don’t let sin break the connection.


      • #4
        Here's something I found online:

        One of the best treatments of this problem is The Virgin Birth of Christ by J. Gresham Machen (New York: Harper Brothers, 1930). The solution Machen argues for is that "while the Matthean genealogy traces the successive heirs to the throne of David from David to Joseph, the Lucan genealogy traces the ancestors of Joseph back to David." (p. 206).

        He explains, "The Lucan genealogy, in other words, starts with the question, 'Who was Josheph's "father"?' the answer to that question is, 'Heli.' . . . In the Matthean genealogy, on the other hand, we start with the question, 'Who was the heir to David's throne?' The answer is, "Solomon,' and so on down to Joseph." (p. 207).

        You can see the signal that something like this is happening by comparing how the genealogies are the same from Abraham to king David, and then they diverge. For example, in Luke 3:31 it says that Nathan is David's son, while in Matthew 1:6 it says that David was the father of Solomon. Now we know from 2 Samuel 5:14 that Nathan and Solomon were both sons of David. But only Solomon was the heir of the throne (1 Kings 1:13).

        So the possible solution to why the genealogies are different from David down to Joseph is that Luke is giving the physical ancestors (or in one or two cases a very close adoptive relation), while Matthew is most interested in showing that the father of Jesus is the legal heir to the throne of David.

        The correctness of this view of the purpose and the meaning of each genealogy is confirmed by the fact that the genealogy in Luke begins at the end and works backward, whereas the genealogy in Matthew begins at the beginning. Where the point was to trace the actual descent of Joseph back to David that could be done by recording the tradition of the family as to his actual father, Heli, and the actual father of Heli, and so on up to Nathan the son of David. But where the point was to mention the successive heirs of the Davidic throne, it was natural to begin with David and work down. (p. 207).

        What then actually happened in the generations just before Jesus? Here is one possible scenario. And that is all we can do is offer plausible solutions since the actual facts are hidden from us.

        Matthew's genealogy

        Luke's genealogy

        Suppose that Eleazar, the legal heir of David's throne died without widow or son. Customarily a more or less close relative would be counted as his legal descendent and be said to have been "begotten" by him. Suppose also that Matthan is that relative and is the same person as Matthat (in Luke) with an alternative spelling. That would mean that Jacob and Heli are brothers. Then suppose that Jacob dies before he has sons. According to the custom of Levirate marriage (see Matthew 22:25) the brother of the deceased man is to marry and raise up descendants for the sake of the name of the dead brother. Thus Heli marries Jacob's wife and they give birth to Joseph, Jesus' father. In this way Joseph is the legal heir through Jacob's line, but the actual physical son of Heli.

        Perhaps the best lesson from this complicated hypothetical case is simply that apparent contradictions in the Bible do have plausible and possible solutions and we should be slow to throw out a book that has proved itself over and over for thousands of years as the mighty, saving, transforming word of God.
        To This Day


        • #5
          I believe Matthew gives us Joseph's genealogy
          I believe Luke gives us Mary's genealogy

          Why I believe Luke records Mary’s genealogy
          --a. The phrase ‘so it was thought’ speaks to an exception
          --b. Luke’s birth account tends to follow Mary’s perspective
          --c. Jewish custom left off the mother’s name from a genealogy
          --d. The original greek had no punctuation or parenthesis
          --e. Even 1st century unbelievers believed Heli was Mary’s father
          --f. Church tradition considers Heli to be Mary’s father
          --g. Biological descendants of Jeconiah was cursed from kingship

          Supporting commentary...

          John Gill

          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.

          Matthew Henry

          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

          John Wesley

          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.

          Adam Clarke

          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

          Jonathon Sarfati

           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.
          Last edited by matthew94; Jul 12th 2007, 04:03 PM. Reason: added underlining for ease of reading
          The Matthew Never Knew
          The Knew Kingdom


          • #6
            So we really have no clue? I guess it makes the writers look honest. If they were trying to fake the story of Jesus then they surely would have collaborated their stories.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Yishai View Post
              So we really have no clue?
              I thought Matthew94's post was pretty explanatory to me....but that's just me I guess.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Yishai View Post
                Matthew 1:16

                Luke 3:23

                What was the name of Joesph's father?
                Here is a chart of the regal line, and the natural line ("seed of the woman") and the scripture references on what law applied. Our promise in Genesis came thru the seed of the woman.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by David Taylor View Post
                  I thought Matthew94's post was pretty explanatory to me....but that's just me I guess.
                  Ditto here, however we do not know that to be true. It is a possibility.............


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Yishai View Post
                    Matthew 1:16

                    Luke 3:23

                    What was the name of Joesph's father?

                    Matthew traces his ancestors through Joseph, Luke traces his ancestors through Mary- the first name in the geneology should read "son in law"

                    Matthew shows him to be the Jewish Messiah descended from David and Soloman

                    Luke shows him to be human descended from the first man


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Yishai View Post
                      Matthew 1:16

                      Luke 3:23

                      What was the name of Joesph's father?
                      At the risk of incurring everyone's wrath, it is just possible the writer's of Matthew and Luke were clueless about the other's manuscript and wrote the genealogies based on the best information available to them.

                      The various explanations offered are all plausible if one is operating from the perspective that these are part of a divinely inspired inerrant set of writings. If one is operating from the perspective that these writings are inspired but not necessarily inerrant then the first paragraph is also plausible.

                      But, since we do not have the original manuscripts of any of the New Testament (or Old Testament for that matter), the best that can be offered in way of an answer is a guess.




                      • #12
                        if you read the Gospels certian themes jump out from them:

                        Matthew:Jesus was the Messiah
                        Mark:Jesus was a servant
                        Luke:Jesus was human
                        John:Jesus was God

                        of course he was ALL four and each gospel shows him to be, but there is a theme to each one..........the Messiah had to be descended from David and Soloman, Matthew shows this to be the case, he traces his line through Joseph, Luke traces his line through Mary, who was also a desendant of David, but not of Soloman, Luke traces Jesus through Mary to show is human side that he descended from Adam who was the first human, the second name in Luke's Gospel should read "son in law" and not actual son.........


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by OldChurchGuy View Post
                          At the risk of incurring everyone's wrath, it is just possible the writer's of Matthew and Luke were clueless about the other's manuscript and wrote the genealogies based on the best information available to them.


                          No wrath, just a question. Wouldn't that mean that Matthew and Luke were not inspired by God to write the Gospels?


                          • #14
                            Heli was Mary's Father. Therefore in Luke it reads Joseph son of Heli. This "son" might be a more distant relationship than a biological son. It should read Joseph the son in law of Heli. Then Luke's Gospel traces Jesus' descent through his mother's line.

                            Matthew traces Jesus' "descent" through Joseph's line. Matthew leaves out names because of what he was trying to show in his Gospel. He was trying to show that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah who had to come from David and Solomon's line.

                            So two different genealogies, but no contradictions. Mary simply married someone from the same tribe as herself, which was not uncommon. So we can see that Mary is also from the line of David, but not from Solomon's line. Joseph was from both and by human terms the Messiah had to be from both.


                            • #15
                              It should be borne in mind that if this occurred in some other religion's scriptures (say the Qur'an), most people here would be quick to jump all over it as a blatant contradiction.

                              All the explanations here proceed from the assumption that there isn't a contradiction. Nothing in the text justifies any of the above explanations.

                              My point?

                              When you are defending the text as being "without contradiction" and at the same time you are explaining away problematic portions by assuming there are no contradictions in the text and finding some (any!) explanation that allows for that, you are being quite circular in your reasoning.

                              No one is going to buy into what you are saying if you tell them:

                              1. I believe in the Bible because it is without contradictions
                              2. I can show it is without contradictions by assuming it is without contradictions and concocting appropriate explanations

                              Reasoning should be well-founded.