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What's the Deal with Matthew's Genealogy?

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  • What's the Deal with Matthew's Genealogy?

    What's the Deal with Matthew's Genealogy?
    For most Christians who read the Bible casually or devotionally, Matthew’s genealogy — the very first chapter of the New Testament — is one of the dullest passages in all of Scripture. It was a tremendously important passage for the author and his audience, however; and for me, it is an incredibly fascinating window into the author’s methods and who he thought Jesus was. It also contains numerous puzzles — some more easily solved than others. What’s so interesting about this long list of begats? Read on and find out more than you probably ever wanted to know.

    The author is only a hobbyist in biblical studies, but presents a very readable case. I'd be interested in critiques from any of the usual suspects.

    As ever, Jesse

  • #2
    Interesting.

    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


    "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

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    • #3
      I enjoy begats as much as I enjoyed gozintas.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

      Comment


      • #4
        'Genesis' is widely known as the book of 7 'generations' in Hebrew (תּוֹלְדֹ֖ת), culminating in the genesis of Moses and Aaron in Numbers: Gen 2,4 5,1 6,9 10,1 11,10.27 25,19 Num 3,1. Following that, Aaron and the priests were the keepers of their genealogies since the priesthood was an inherited office. I think Matthew wanted to show how Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law, a new Moses as it were, so it is understandable that he would craft his book on the beginning of the Torah.

        Matthew also wants to show how Jesus is the new David, hence the 3 x 14 generations, 14 being gematria for David in Hebrew. This seems more likely to me than counting up the weeks. What about the missing third 14th? The Parousia or return of the Son of Man maybe? That's pretty speculative.

        The rest was too long to read. Davies and Allison have an excellent 3-volume commentary on Matthew if you want explore more.
        βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
        ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

        אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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        • #5
          The thesis was that Matthew used the Septuagint as his source for the genealogical info.

          "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


          "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

          My Personal Blog

          My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
            The thesis was that Matthew used the Septuagint as his source for the genealogical info.
            I know, and I agree, but the LXX is a translation of the Hebrew and this important idea is easier to see in the Hebrew.
            βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
            ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

            אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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            • #7
              Originally posted by robrecht View Post
              The rest was too long to read. Davies and Allison have an excellent 3-volume commentary on Matthew if you want explore more.
              I think I've just been punked.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lao tzu View Post
                I think I've just been punked.
                Is that a good thing? I hope so, but it doesn't sound so good. Did you write this? What do you think are the most important ideas contained therein? My ADD prevents me from reading too much, unless it is really, really interesting. I promise my people at work that I will read the first half of the first sentence of every single one of their emails. If I don't know why I need to read the rest of the email at that point, then I probably won't.
                βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
                ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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                • #9
                  Matthew 1:11
                  Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.

                  12

                  And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel.


                  Yup. There are 14 generations post exile, and 14 prior to the exile.

                  Jeconiah was last in the line before the Babylonian exile. He was also the first in the line after the exile, so he counts twice. From our way of looking at things, it's a bit weird, but it is legitimate.
                  sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                    Matthew 1:11
                    Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.

                    12

                    And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel.


                    Yup. There are 14 generations post exile, and 14 prior to the exile.

                    Jeconiah was last in the line before the Babylonian exile. He was also the first in the line after the exile, so he counts twice. From our way of looking at things, it's a bit weird, but it is legitimate.
                    Not sure if I counted correctly, so please check me.
                    2 Ἀβραὰμ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰσαάκ, Ἰσαὰκ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰακώβ, Ἰακὼβ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰούδαν καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ, 3 Ἰούδας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Φάρες καὶ τὸν Ζάρα ἐκ τῆς Θαμάρ, Φάρες δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἑσρώμ, Ἑσρὼμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀράμ, 4 Ἀρὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀμιναδάβ, Ἀμιναδὰβ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ναασσών, Ναασσὼν δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Σαλμών, 5 Σαλμὼν δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Βόες ἐκ τῆς Ῥαχάβ, Βόες δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωβὴδ ἐκ τῆς Ῥούθ, Ἰωβὴδ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰεσσαί, 6 Ἰεσσαὶ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Δαυὶδ τὸν βασιλέα.

                    Δαυὶδ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Σολομῶνα ἐκ τῆς τοῦ Οὐρίου, 7 Σολομὼν δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ῥοβοάμ, Ῥοβοὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀβιά, Ἀβιὰ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀσάφ, 8 Ἀσὰφ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσαφάτ, Ἰωσαφὰτ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωράμ, Ἰωρὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ὀζίαν, 9 Ὀζίας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωαθάμ, Ἰωαθὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀχάζ, Ἀχὰζ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἑζεκίαν, 10 Ἑζεκίας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Μανασσῆ, Μανασσῆς δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀμώς, Ἀμὼς δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσίαν, 11 Ἰωσίας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰεχονίαν καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος.

                    12 Μετὰ δὲ τὴν μετοικεσίαν Βαβυλῶνος Ἰεχονίας ἐγέννησεν τὸν Σαλαθιήλ, Σαλαθιὴλ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ζοροβαβέλ, 13 Ζοροβαβὲλ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀβιούδ, Ἀβιοὺδ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἐλιακίμ, Ἐλιακὶμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀζώρ, 14 Ἀζὼρ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Σαδώκ, Σαδὼκ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀχίμ, Ἀχὶμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἐλιούδ, 15 Ἐλιοὺδ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἐλεάζαρ, Ἐλεάζαρ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ματθάν, Ματθὰν δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰακώβ, 16 Ἰακὼβ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσὴφ τὸν ἄνδρα Μαρίας, ἐξ ἧς ἐγεννήθη Ἰησοῦς ὁ λεγόμενος Χριστός.

                    17 Πᾶσαι οὖν αἱ γενεαὶ ἀπὸ Ἀβραὰμ ἕως Δαυὶδ γενεαὶ δεκατέσσαρες, καὶ ἀπὸ Δαυὶδ ἕως τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος γενεαὶ δεκατέσσαρες, καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος ἕως τοῦ Χριστοῦ γενεαὶ δεκατέσσαρες.

                    If I counted correctly, Abraham to David is 14 only if David is counted in the first group of 14.

                    But if David is counted again in the second group, you get 15, not 14, so it does not seem that Matthew wants David to be counted in both groups.

                    So why should we count Jeconiah twice?
                    Last edited by robrecht; 07-21-2014, 11:15 PM.
                    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
                    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lao tzu View Post
                      What's the Deal with Matthew's Genealogy?
                      For most Christians who read the Bible casually or devotionally, Matthew’s genealogy — the very first chapter of the New Testament — is one of the dullest passages in all of Scripture. It was a tremendously important passage for the author and his audience, however; and for me, it is an incredibly fascinating window into the author’s methods and who he thought Jesus was. It also contains numerous puzzles — some more easily solved than others. What’s so interesting about this long list of begats? Read on and find out more than you probably ever wanted to know.

                      The author is only a hobbyist in biblical studies, but presents a very readable case. I'd be interested in critiques from any of the usual suspects.

                      As ever, Jesse
                      Near the end the author starts freely speculating regarding the source of names in the last set of generations. The idea that Matthew was trying to push that Jesus was descended from both Judah and Aaron is rather far-fetched IMO. How can one have more than one line of patrilineal descent? Names are by no means unique. It's not all that far-fetched to posit that there were descendants of both Judah and Reuben named Hezron.

                      And in an honor-shame society, adding in impure ancestresses would only further degrade Jesus' honor, not make Mary look acceptable in comparison.
                      Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

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                      sigpic
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                      • #12
                        So why should we count Jeconiah twice?
                        For the reason stated, and because of the way Matthew worded it.

                        The entry for David is much the same as for the other entries.
                        Mat 1:6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

                        However, the entry for Jeconiah is split around the exile.

                        Jeconiah was the last in line before the exile.
                        Mat 1:11 Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
                        Jeconiah was first in the line after the exile.
                        Mat 1:12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel.
                        After David until the exile, how many generations are listed father to son? Jeconiah was the last son in the line born before the exile.
                        After the commencement of the exile until the birth of Christ, how many generations are listed father to son? Jeconiah was the first father in the line after Israel was sent into captivity.

                        The base-line for the start of the second count is David. The base line for the third count is not a person, but the captivity in Babylon - as here:
                        Mat 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.
                        Last edited by tabibito; 07-22-2014, 05:57 AM.
                        sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                          For the reason stated, and because of the way Matthew worded it.

                          The entry for David is much the same as for the other entries.
                          Mat 1:6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

                          However, the entry for Jeconiah is split around the exile.

                          Jeconiah was the last in line before the exile.
                          Mat 1:11 Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
                          Jeconiah was first in the line after the exile.
                          Mat 1:12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel.
                          After David until the exile, how many generations are listed father to son? Jeconiah was the last son in the line born before the exile.
                          After the commencement of the exile until the birth of Christ, how many generations are listed father to son? Jeconiah was the first father in the line after Israel was sent into captivity.

                          The base-line for the start of the second count is David. The base line for the third count is not a person, but the captivity in Babylon - as here:
                          Mat 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.
                          So Matthew had to fudge things a little bit to make things work. Leave off a few generations to make the middle group consist of 14 and double count the Babylonian deportation generation to make the third group equal 14 generations. I think this is probably the best explanation.
                          βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
                          ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                          אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by robrecht View Post
                            I know, and I agree, but the LXX is a translation of the Hebrew and this important idea is easier to see in the Hebrew.
                            I had wondered about that - I knew it was a translation from Hebrew so I was wondering about it. Is it a compromised translation, as this thesis would seem to imply (the author made no such direct statement, FYI) or if there's some other reason for the variance the author seems to see?

                            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                            "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                            My Personal Blog

                            My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                              Near the end the author starts freely speculating regarding the source of names in the last set of generations. The idea that Matthew was trying to push that Jesus was descended from both Judah and Aaron is rather far-fetched IMO. How can one have more than one line of patrilineal descent? Names are by no means unique. It's not all that far-fetched to posit that there were descendants of both Judah and Reuben named Hezron.

                              And in an honor-shame society, adding in impure ancestresses would only further degrade Jesus' honor, not make Mary look acceptable in comparison.
                              Um, wouldn't Aaron be coming in by the matrilineal line? Or did I misunderstand him?

                              "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                              "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                              My Personal Blog

                              My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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