Re: Genealogies-Matt/Luke

Glenn Morton (
Mon, 06 May 1996 21:21:21

Paul Arveson wrote:

> Back when I was doing Bible studies for students, one bright Jewish
> student confronted me with the apparent discrepancy in genealogies
>between Matt. and Luke. I know that the standard line is that one is
>Joseph's and the other is Mary's, but that wasn't sufficient. The
>generation counts are so different. It even appears that Matthew's count
>doesn't add up to 3 groups of 14 even as he says it does, unless you
>overlap a bit.
> I examined several commentaries without much light; the best one I
>found was a careful and sincere attempt made by the 100-year old edition
>of Smith's Bible dictionary, which accounted for some but not all of the
>problems, and admitted as much (the new edition has this material
> I decided to use the Matthew genealogy problem as a question that I
>would ask of all the Bible scholars I met over the years. I thought
>that (following a suggestion from Dick Bube) I would thereby get a better
>practical definition of "inerrancy" than in any other way. For instance,
>I asked John Warwick Montgomery. He said he didn't know the answer, but
>that I should consult Jerome's commentary; Jerome would know. (I never
>located it.) I'm still doing this; the results have been quite
>interesting. They more or less follow the suspicion that inerrancy is
>qualified indefinitely depending on the difficulty of the passage.

I would suggest Eusebius' solution to the genealogy problem. He was the
first church historian after Luke. I had never read his view in modern
books and so found it very interesting. I have modified this scheme from
Eusebius because Eusebius seemed to think that Melki was the direct father
of Eli. He wasn't.

Eusebius says that both are genealogies of Joseph but one follows Joseph's
legal genealogy (from Luke); the other (from Matthew) follows the
biological lineage. Jacob and Eli are half brothers biologically. Their
fathers were unrelated yet married the same woman. Eusebius says that the
same thing happened in the next generation. Jacob and Eli were married to
the same woman. Eli had died first. Jacob marries Jesus' grandmother and
raises Joseph up as the legal heir of Eli, but Joseph is the biological
son of Jacob. This is due to the Jewish law which says a man can marry the
widow of a brother who left no offspring and raise up children for that
dead childless brother. Thus a genealogy of law is not equal to genealogy
of biology.

It looks like this.

Solomon Nathan
| |
Mattan----------?------------- Matthat
dies first | |
Jacob---?---- Eli (dies first)
Biological line | Legal line
Eli dies Jacob marries Eli's Widow raises Joseph as Eli's seed
according to Law
~~Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book
House, 1955), p.33

I think I have modified Eusebius's scheme correctly.

Foundation,Fall and Flood