The Berean Expositor
Volume 52 - Page 63 of 207
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Matthew traces the genealogy of Joseph back through Jacob who begat him, to
Solomon, David and Abraham. Luke traces Joseph's genealogy back through Heli, his
father-in-law, to Nathan, David, Abraham and Adam. Joseph is therefore the begotten
son of Jacob, and thus the son of David through Solomon; while Mary, the wife of
Joseph and daughter of Heli, was descended equally from David, but through Solomon's
brother Nathan, and so Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli.
There is another difficulty which is related to King Jeconiah who, through his
wickedness was rejected by the Lord who changed his name to Coniah, removing the
letters "Je" which form part of the Lord's name. Jeremiah was authorized to pronounce:
". . . . . Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man
of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah"
(Jer. 22: 30).
Yet we know that Coniah was not childless, for I Chron. 3: 17 gives us the names of
his sons. Looking carefully at what Jeremiah says, we should note that he is dealing with
the throne in saying "no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David
and ruling any more in Judah". In other words Jeconiah's children were debarred from
the throne and the line through Solomon comes to an end. It is evident that Salathiel (or
Shealtiel) whose father is recorded by Luke to have been "Neri . . . . . the son of Nathan,
which was the Son of David", had succeeded to the royal title and was therefore looked
upon as the son of Jeconiah by legal adoption, the royal line being transferred from the
line of Solomon to that of Nathan his brother, at this point, possibly by a marriage
between the families.
Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph; Luke the genealogy of Mary. This was
necessary because of that bar that was set up to any of the literal seed of Coniah. As the
crown rights were forfeited, Nathan's line succeeds, so that the Saviour Who was born in
Bethlehem has the full right to the throne of David.
Another difficulty is the appearance of women in the genealogy. Women do not
normally appear in Jewish pedigrees and in Matthew's case they are women of doubtful
character, Tamar, Rahab, Bathsheba, and Ruth was a foreigner, a Moabitess. The reason
is surely that the One Who declared He had come to call sinners to repentance, does not
scorn such a descent. He was a friend of publicans and sinners, and in His infinite grace
and love stoops to reach them in their deepest needs.
We do not say that we have the answer to every problem in these genealogies. Many
of our difficulties are caused by our differing outlook, laws and customs from those of
N.T. days and we should remember that the Bible is not bound to explain every point that
we find difficult today. What is absolutely necessary for us to know, God has expressed
in His Word and this awaits our faith to grasp and receive the abundant blessing that