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Q301 : Omissions from Matthew’s Genealogy

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Q301 : Omissions from Matthew’s Genealogy

In Matthew 1:17, passage states that all generations from Abraham to David were fourteen, from David to Babylon Captivity (BC) were fourteen, from BC to Christ were fourteen.

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.1

However, Matthew skipped generations in the David to BC section and likely the BC to Christ. How do we account for this and why?


Endnotes:

1.NKJV, Mat. 1:17


Sources:

NKJVUnless indicated otherwise, all Scripture references are from the New King James Version, copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

A301 : by Tony Garland

As you observe, Matthew purposefully divided his genealogy of Jesus into three groups of fourteen, explicitly identifying the points of division (David and the Babylonian Captivity, Mat. 1:17). The groups are as follows (Mat. 1:2-16):

Group 1: Abraham to David

  1. Abraham begot Isaac,
  2. Isaac begot Jacob,
  3. Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.
  4. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar,
  5. Perez begot Hezron, and
  6. Hezron begot Ram.
  7. Ram begot Amminadab,
  8. Amminadab begot Nahshon, and
  9. Nahshon begot Salmon.
  10. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab,
  11. Boaz begot Obed by Ruth,
  12. Obed begot Jesse, and
  13. Jesse begot
  14. David the king.
Group 2: David to the Babylonian Captivity

  1. David the king begot
  2. Solomon by her [who had been the wife] of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam,
  3. Rehoboam begot Abijah, and
  4. Abijah begot Asa.
  5. Asa begot Jehoshaphat,
  6. Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and
  7. Joram begot Uzziah.
  8. Uzziah begot Jotham,
  9. Jotham begot Ahaz, and
  10. Ahaz begot Hezekiah.
  11. Hezekiah begot Manasseh,
  12. Manasseh begot Amon,
  13. Amon begot Josiah.
  14. Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers
about the time they were carried away to Babylon.

Group 3: Babylonian Captivity to Christ

And after they were brought to Babylon,

  1. Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and
  2. Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel.
  3. Zerubbabel begot Abiud,
  4. Abiud begot Eliakim, and
  5. Eliakim begot Azor.
  6. Azor begot Zadok,
  7. Zadok begot Achim, and
  8. Achim begot Eliud.
  9. Eliud begot Eleazar,
  10. Eleazar begot Matthan, and
  11. Matthan begot Jacob. And
  12. Jacob begot
  13. Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born
  14. Jesus who is called Christ.
The dividing points in the genealogy are established by Matthew 1:17 (Abraham-to-David, David-to-captivity, captivity-to-Christ) and by clues in the text: the extra phrases the king associated with the mention of David and the mention of the Babylonian Captivity between the two mentions of Jeconiah.

Why did Matthew choose to present the genealogy of Jesus in this way?

Why are names omitted between Abraham to David?

Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, and Jehoiakim appear to be missing. The first three are in 1 Chronicles 3:11-12 (cf. 2 Chronicles 26), and the last is in 2 Kings 24:6. Mathew 1:17 shows that Matthew was selecting three sets of fourteen, so his omissions were deliberate.1

Since Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah, were the near offspring of the evil king and queen Ahab and Jezebel, perhaps they were purposefully omitted from the first group.3

Or perhaps Matthew omitted them to form three groups of equal number as a helpful memory aid.5

Since Matthew mentions “generations”, it has been suggested he selected representatives of generations from among a greater number of kings:

. . . Mat. 1:17 states that there are fourteen generations “from David until the carrying away into Babylon.” . . . but some may still insist that as the Books of Kings and Chronicles relate that seventeen monarchs ruled over the Kingdom of Judah from David to Josiah, an inaccuracy of some kind must be admitted. . . . However, it must be pointed out that technically speaking, there were but fourteen actual generations between David and Josiah: 1. David; 2. Solomon; 3. Rehoboam; Abijah (reigned 3 years); 4. Asa; 5. Jehoshaphat; 6. Jehoram; Ahaziah (reigned 1 year); 7. Joash; 8. Amaziah; 9. Uzziah; 10. Jotham; 11. Ahaz; 12. Hezekiah; 13. Manasseh; Amon (reigned 2 years); 14. Josiah. Although there were seventeen kings, as shown in the outline above, there reigned for such short terms that it may not properly be said that the duration of their governing or its omission is that of a “generation”. Moreover, it actually could be misleading to insist that the interval from David to Josiah was that of seventeen generations whereas it is that of seventeen monarchies.6

Why is king David counted twice?

David appears to be counted twice for several reasons:

  1. As the first sovereign king from the tribe of Judah, He is the connecting link between the patriarchal line (Acts 2:29) and the royal line leading to Christ.7 Matthew’s gospel, written primarily to Jews, intends to demonstrate that Jesus is the promised king in the line of Judah (Gen. 49:10) in accord with promises given to David (2S. 7:8-19; 1Chr. 17:9-16, 27). Matthew emphasizes this point by adding the phrase “the king” following each mention of David.
  2. The emphasis upon David is also intended to underscore the connection between the rule of Jesus and the Times of the Gentilesa (discussed below).
Why are there three divisions?

As mentioned above, one possible reason for the three-fold division was to help in remembering the genealogy.

However, it is my view that the three divisions are intended to underscore the relationship of Jesus with the throne of David, and specifically His relationship to the Times of the Gentilesb.

The first group begins with Abraham. Prior to Abraham, there were no Jewish/Gentile distinctions in history—because Abraham is the “father of the Jews” (Luke 1:73; John 8:56; Rom. 4:1; Jas. 2:21). God began the formation of the Jews by his election of Abraham (Rom. 11:28-29), through Isaac, and Jacob (who is Israel, Gen. 32:29; Isa. 48:1).8 Therefore, prior to Abraham, there was no such thing as a Gentile because there was no separate line of descent leading to what would become Israel. The point is this: you can’t have “Times of the Gentiles” until you first have Gentiles! The first group ends with David who is the first Jewish king in the line of Judah (Gen. 49:10), to reign on the “throne of David.” Thus the first group connects the foundation of the Jewish/Gentile distinction (the election of a Jewish nation) with the establishment of a Jewish king, representing God’s rule in the midst of the theocracy of Israel.

The second group spans from the first king in the promised line of Judah to rule upon the throne of David (David), to the last king to rule on that same throne (Jeconiah and his brothers) at which time God placed a curse on the kingly line of descentc and deposed the last king to rule on the throne of David, Jeconiah’s uncle, Zedekiahd. In contrast to “The Times of the Gentiles” mentioned by Jesus (Luke 21:24), this period could be considered as “The Times of the Jews”—a period when a king in the prophesied line of Judah was reigning on the geopolitical throne of David from Jerusalem.

Matthew emphasizes the Babylonian Captivity as the dividing line between this group and the next because the destruction of Jerusalem and deportation of the Jews at the hand of king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was the event which brought about the end of Jewish rule from the throne of David and began the Times of the Gentilese.

The third group marks the historical period during which no Jewish ruler in the line of Judah sat upon the throne of David. Consider that the end of the second group could be rewritten as: . . . [king] Manasseh begot [king] Amon, [king] Amon begot [king] Josiah, [king Josiah] begot [king] Jeconiah and his brothers . . . However, following the return from Babylon there are no more kings ruling on the throne of David. So the list would continue as, [king] Jeconiah [prior to the deportation] begat [never was king] Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot [never was king] Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel begot [never was king] Abiud . . . etc. Notice that following the Babylonian captivity even though these men are in the line of Judah, qualified genealogically to reign on the throne of David, none ever do! This is because of the curse on the kingly line of descentf, and because the next descendant of David qualified to reign on the Davidic throne is the one Matthew mentions last in the third group: Jesus!

Thus, Matthew is pointing to Jesus as Shiloh (Gen. 49:10), the one qualified to restore kingly rule from the throne of David. This is why the gospels record John the Baptist and Jesus emphasizing the kingdom as being at hand (Mat. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7). There was the real potential for the Jews to accept Jesus as king, bringing the “Times of the Gentiles” to an end in their day. Alas, they rejected Jesus as king and chose to remain under Gentile (Roman) rule, declaring “we have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:14-15)

By rejecting their king, the Jews ensured that the Times of the Gentiles, which began under Nebuchadnezzar, would continue with their global dispersion—only to end at the return of Jesus (Luke 21:24).


Endnotes:

1.Ref-0028, December 2000 - February 2001, 31
2.Ref-0084, 260
3.“The fact that Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah were the sons of Ahab and Jezebel would be sufficient ground for omitting them.”2
4.Ref-0084, 259
5.“. . . Matthew deliberately counts David in two places to give symmetry to the division, which made an easy help to the memory.”4
6.Ref-0186, 42
7.Ref-0186, 40, 43
8.Concerning God’s election of Israel: Ex. 3:7, 15, 18; 6:6; 19:5-6; 34:10; Lev. 20:26; Deu. 4:7-8, 34, 37; 7:6-8; 10:15; 14:2; 26:18-19; 28:10; 32:8-9; 2S. 7:23-24; 1K. 3:8; 8:53; 1Chr. 16:13; 17:21; Ps. 47:3-4; 105:6, 43; 106:5-7; 135:4; 147:19-20; Isa. 41:8-9; 43:1-4, 10, 15, 20-22; 44:1-2, 21; 45:4; 48:12; Jer. 10:16; Zec. 8:23; Mat. 24:22; Acts 13:17; Rom. 9:4; 11:5, 28.


Sources:

Ref-0028Creation Magazine (Creation Ministries International), [www.CreationOnTheWeb.com].
Ref-0084A. T. Robertson, A Harmony of the Gospels (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1950).
Ref-0186Floyd Nolen Jones, Chronology of the Old Testament (Woodlands, TX: KingsWord Press, 1999). ISBN:0-9700328-2-Xg.


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