FROM THE BOOK "THE DISCREPANCIES OF THE BIBLE"
THE TWO GENEALOGYS OF CHRIST - MATTHEW AND LUKE
There are two principal theories respecting these genealogies.
1. That held by Alford, Ellicott, Hervey, Meyer, Mill, Patritius,
Wordsworth, and others - that both genealogies are Joseph's;
Matthew exhibiting him as the legal heir to the throne of David,
that is, naming the successive heirs of the kingdom from David to
Jesus the reputed son of Joseph; while Luke gives Joseph's
private genealogy or actual descent. This theory is very
ingeniously and elaborately set forth in Lord Arthur Hervey's
work 4 upon the subject to which the reader is referred.
2. That held by Auberlen, Ebrard, Greswell, Kurtz, Lange,
Lightfoot, Michaelis, Neander, Robinson, Surenhusius, Wieseler,
and others - that Matthew gives Joseph's, and Luke, Mary's,
genealogy. Although the alleged discrepancies may be removed upon
either hypothesis, yet we must give the preference to the SECOND,
for the following reasons.
(1) The latter theory seems supported by several early Christian
writers, - Origen, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Athanasius, and Justin
(2) It is indirectly confirmed by Jewish tradition. Lightfoot 2
cites from the Talmudic writers concerning the pains of hell, the
statement that Mary the daughter of Heli was seen in the infernal
regions, suffering horrid tortures. 3 This statement illustrates,
not only the bitter animosity of the Jews toward the Christian
religion, but also the fact that, according to received Jewish
tradition, Mary, was the daughter of Heli; hence, that it is her
genealogy which we find in Luke.
(3) This theory shows us in what way Christ was the "Son of
David" If Mary was the daughter of Heli, then Jesus was strictly
a descendant of David, not only legally, through his reputed
father, but actually, by direct personal descent, through his
mother. The latter consideration is one of the very first
interest and importance.
(4) This theory affords a very simple explanation of the whole
matter. Mary, since she had no brothers, was an heiress;
therefore her husband, according to Jewish law, was reckoned
among her father's family, as his son. So that Joseph was the
actual son of Jacob, and the legal son of Heli. In a word,
Matthew sets forth Jesus' right to the theocratic crown, Luke,
his natural pedigree. The latter employs Joseph's name, instead
of Mary's, in accordance with the Israelite law that
"genealogies must be reckoned by fathers, not mothers."
1. See Kitto, ii. 92-94, 547.
2. Harae Hebraicae on Luke iii.28
3. "Suspensam per glandulas mamarum," etc.
Entered on this Website January 2008