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Matthew 1:1-17, con’t

May 16, 2011
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The much bigger problem in Matthew 1:1-17, besides its discrepancies with the Gospel of Luke, is the lack of three generations in the list. Compare any Davidic genealogy in the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament), such as 1 Chronicles 3:10-16. You can easily see that there are three other generations in the line between Joram (Jehoram) and Uzziah (Azariah): Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah.

My first thought is to say that this is blatant dishonesty. The passage says there are fourteen generations from David to Josiah; there were actually (according to the Hebrew Bible) seventeen. Let’s consider some of the attempts to justify these omissions.

 Ccel.org says, “But such omission was not unusual in Jewish genealogies; minor figures were often deleted — The main purpose was to establish essential connections  not minor details”

 Okay, but the passage just gave us a total of fourteen, so why would there be an ellipsis? The passage says nothing about time, for generation to mean a period of time. (The “thus/so” of verse 17 would also rule that out.) More theories can be found here and here. Besides the attempt at explanation that I mentioned before, the latter link says maybe they’re just errors, not contradictions. I have no idea what that might mean.

I haven’t read all of the former link’s arguments. I was already familiar with the theory that Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah were omitted because of the Ahab/Athaliah heritage on their mothers’ sides. That assumes, of course, that the Hebrews ever went by maternal genealogy. I honestly have no idea whether they did or not, but I’m not familiar with an instance they did. That still wouldn’t, of course, account for the disagreement in the number of generations.

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