Luke 3:24
Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph,
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3:23-38 Matthew's list of the forefathers of Jesus showed that Christ was the son of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth are blessed, and heir to the throne of David; but Luke shows that Jesus was the Seed of the woman that should break the serpent's head, and traces the line up to Adam, beginning with Eli, or Heli, the father, not of Joseph, but of Mary. The seeming differences between the two evangelists in these lists of names have been removed by learned men. But our salvation does not depend upon our being able to solve these difficulties, nor is the Divine authority of the Gospels at all weakened by them. The list of names ends thus, Who was the son of Adam, the son of God; that is, the offspring of God by creation. Christ was both the son of Adam and the Son of God, that he might be a proper Mediator between God and the sons of Adam, and might bring the sons of Adam to be, through him, the sons of God. All flesh, as descended from the first Adam, is as grass, and withers as the flower of the field; but he who partakes of the Holy Spirit of life from the Second Adam, has that eternal happiness, which by the gospel is preached unto us.See, on this genealogy, the notes at Matthew 1:1-16. 24-30. son of Matthat, &c.—(See on [1563]Mt 1:13-15). In Lu 3:27, Salathiel is called the son, while in Mt 1:12, he is called the father of Zerubbabel. But they are probably different persons.Ver. 24-38 There have been great disputes about the genealogy of our Saviour, as recorded both by Matthew and Luke. The adversaries of Christian religion have taken no small advantage from the seeming difference between them, which even many sober writers have thought it no easy matter to reconcile. The apostle hath cautioned us against giving too much heed to endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith, 1 Timothy 1:4; yet certainly it is our duty, as well for the stopping the mouths of such as would clamour against the truth of the whole Scripture, (if not of the whole Christian religion), as, so far as we can, to vindicate holy writ from their little cavils, and thereby also to confirm those who are weak in faith. To make these things as clear as we can: It is plain that both the evangelists agree in their design, by setting down the genealogy of our Saviour, to prove him lineally descended both from Abraham and David, the two persons to whom was made the promise of the Messiah, and the stability of his kingdom, and also in the names of the first fourteen generations, mentioned by Matthew, and here by Luke, Luke 3:32,33, and to Abraham, Luke 3:34. Their disagreement lieth in four things.

1. In the form of the pedigree; Matthew beginning with those who were first, Luke with those who were last in order of time. But this is no valuable exception, one evangelist counts forward, another backward.

2. Matthew counts by three periods, each consisting of fourteen generations; Luke doth not: but neither is this of any moment.

3. Matthew sits down our Saviour’s genealogy before he tells us any thing of his conception or birth; Luke, after his relation of his conception, birth, and baptism.

4. Matthew derives our Saviour’s genealogy but from Abraham; Luke, from Adam.

All these differences lay no foundation for any exception. Several accounts are given why Luke carrieth up the genealogy to Adam; the best seemeth to be this: that Matthew intending his history primarily for the Jews, judged it enough to prove Christ the Son of Abraham, and the Son of David; but Luke designing the information of the whole world, derives him from the common father of mankind. By which means he also showeth the antiquity of the gospel, and lets us know that Christ was he who was promised to Adam, before Abraham’s time, and that the grace of the gospel is not limited to the seed of Abraham. Thus also Luke supplieth what was wanting in Matthew, and truly derives both the first and second act from God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of us all. But besides these differences (hardly worth the taking notice of under that notion) there are some seeming contradictions in the genealogies, yet not such but I think a fair account may be given of to any who will but first consider:

1. That they all lie in what Luke hath, from Luke 3:23-31, and from the latter end of Luke 3:34 to the end. So that in Luke 3:32,33, and part of Luke 3:34, we have nothing to reconcile.

2. That these words the son is in the Greek only Luke 3:23, where Christ is said to be "the son of Joseph," but ever after it is supplied by the translators. So as the Greek runs thus: The Son of Joseph, which was of Heli, which was of Matthat, which was of Levi, which was of Melchi, &c. Which consideration cuts off the first cavil, how Joseph could be the son of Jacob, as Matthew saith, and the son of Heli, as Luke saith; for indeed Luke saith no more than, And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, Luke 3:23; that is, Christ was of Heli, the supposed son of Joseph, but truly of Heli, the father of Mary his mother. I know that some think Jacob was also called Heli (as it was ordinary with the Jews to have two names); others think that Joseph is called the son, because he was the son-in-law of Heli, by the marriage of the virgin Mary his daughter. (Naomi calleth those her daughters who were but her legal daughters, Ruth 1:11) In this the most agree. But I must confess I think it is Christ, who is here said to be of Heli (though he was reputed, and generally taken, to be the son of Joseph).

3. That Luke is here deriving our Saviour, not from his supposed father Joseph, but from Mary his true mother. It is not to be conceived that Luke, after such a narration of the predictions of his conception as he had given us in the first chapter, should go to derive Christ from Joseph; and this gives us a fair account why the names are so different from David’s time to the birth of Christ. Joseph (whose pedigree Matthew relates) deriving from Solomon, who was the son of David, succeeding him in the kingdom. Mary (whose pedigree Luke relates) descending from Nathan, Luke 3:31 1 Chronicles 3:5 tells us he was another son of David. So as after David’s time the persons named which before were the same in our Saviour’s pedigree became diverse, some the progenitors of Joseph, whom Matthew reckons, others the progenitors of Mary, whom Luke nameth. This answereth the objection from the differing number of the persons from Joseph to Zorobabel (excluding them both). Matthew reckoneth but nine, Luke here reckoneth eighteen, in Luke 3:23-28. From Zorobabel to David Luke reckons twenty-two progenitors, Matthew but fourteen, (leaving out three kings of the half blood of Ahab, of which we gave an account in our notes: See Poole on "Matthew 1:1"), so as the Scripture nameth seventeen, though Matthew leaves out three. In two different lines, it is not impossible that one person in so many years might have so many more progenitors than another, supposing Matthew designed to reckon all, which it is plain from his leaving out three kings named in Scripture that he did not.

4. That ordinarily the Jews had two names, sometimes three. All Josiah’s sons had each of them two at least. Matthew had also the name of Levi, &c. This solves the difference from Luke 3:27, where Rhesa is said to be the son of Zorobabel, whenas Matthew saith, Matthew 1:13, Zorobabel begat Abiud. That Abraham was the son of Terah or Thara, and Terah the son of Nachor, appeareth from Genesis 11:24,26. That Saruch or Serug was the son of Reu or Ragau, appeareth from Genesis 11:20 1 Chronicles 1:25. That Reu was the son of Peleg, (here called Phalec), and Peleg the son of Eber, and Eber the son of Sala, appears from Genesis 11:18 1 Chronicles 1:25. But in Genesis 11:12 we read, that Sala was the son of Arphaxad, whereas he is here said to be the son of Cainan, and Cainan is made the son of Arphaxad. So as Luke maketh Sala grandchild to Arphaxad; Moses makes no mention of Cainan at all, but mentions Salah as begotten by Arphaxad. Those who are curious to know what is said for the resolution of this difficulty, may read it largely both in Spanheim’s Dubia Evangelica, and Mr. Pool’s Synopsis Criticorum. It is a difficulty which hath exercised many very learned men, and I doubt whether ever any yet satisfied himself in the resolution of it. It is not probable that Luke should correct what Moses said; the best account I can give of it is, the Septuagint in Genesis 11:12 have it just as Luke here hath it; and it is certain that Luke, in his quotations out of the Old Testament, doth generally follow the Septuagint, being the translation most in use among them. Beza tells us of an ancient copy of the Gospel he had, which mentions no Cainan. The best of it is, that it is a matter of no great moment, for the question is not, whether Sala was the son of Arphaxad, (for so he was, though Arphaxad was his grandfather, in the same sense that Christ is called the Son of Abraham, and the Son of David, and Elisabeth the daughter of Aaron, Luke 1:50) but whether he was the immediate son of Arphaxad or Cainan; whether Moses omitted Cainan, or some transcriber of Luke added Cainan out of the Septuagint (being then the current translation among them): the last is most probable. For the other part of the genealogy, Luke 3:36-38, it plainly agreeth with Genesis 5:6 6:10. So that I must profess I see no great difficulty to reconcile the genealogies, admitting the one to give the genealogy of Joseph, and the other to give the genealogy of Mary. That indeed Mary was the daughter of Heli is not to be proved by Scripture, nor yet contradicted, but it is very probably judged so. And though we cannot prove that Cainan, mentioned Luke 3:36, was added out of some later copies of the Septuagint, yet it is more than probable it was so. Which two things if we admit, I see no great difficulty remaining, but a fair agreement between both the evangelists. For I presume none will stumble at the alteration of some letter, or omission of some letter in a name, or addition to it in the end; there is nothing more ordinary than that, when names are mentioned in several languages. Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi,.... These two, Grotius says, are omitted in the ancient exemplars; and he thinks they ought to be left out; and for which he mentions the authorities of Irenaeus, Africanus, Eusebius, Nazianzen, Jerom, and Augustin: but not only the Vulgate Latin, but all the Oriental versions, retain them:

which was the son of Melchi: and who, he thinks, was the immediate father of Eli:

which was the son of Janna: frequent mention is made, in the Jewish writings (e) of , "king Jannai", who is said to be the same with king Jochanan, or John, the son of Simeon, the son of Mattithiah, that was called Hyrcanus; and his son Alexander, that reigned after him, was also called Jannai (f); but whether either of these is the same with this Janna, is not certain: but this may be observed, that they were both before the times of Herod, and the birth of Jesus, some years. And Jannai is called; in the chronicle of Jedidiah of Alexandria, or Philo the Jew (g), Hyrcanus the second, who reigned sixteen years:

which was the son of Joseph. This Joseph, according to the same chronicle, is called Joseph the second, and surnamed Arsis, and was greatly honoured by Ptolemy, and governed sixty years; and accordingly we shall meet with another Joseph anon.

(e) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 11. 2. & passim. (f) Juchasin. fol. 15. 1. & 16. 2.((g) Apud. Vorst. Not. ad. Chronol. R. David Ganz, p. 311.

Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph,
Luke 3:24-38. The genealogy. One is surprised to find in Lk. a genealogy at all, until we reflect on his preface with its professed desire for accuracy and thoroughness, and observe the careful manner in which he dates the beginning of John’s ministry. One is further surprised to find here a genealogy so utterly different from that of Mt. Did Lk. not know it, or was he dissatisfied with it? Leaving these questions on one side, we can only suppose that the evangelist in the course of his inquiries came upon this genealogy of the Saviour and resolved to give it as a contribution towards defining the fleshly relationships of Jesus, supplying here and there an editorial touch. Whether this genealogy be of Jewish-Christian, or of Pauline-Christian origin is a question on which opinion differs.Verses 23b-38. - THE EARTHLY GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST. Although in every Hebrew family the hope seems to have been cherished that the promised Messiah would be born among them, yet generally the prophetic utterances were understood to point to the Deliverer springing from the royal house of David. To demonstrate that this was actually true in the case of the reputed Son of Mary and Joseph, both the genealogies contained in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were compiled from private and public records. It is well known that these family trees were preserved with care in well-nigh every Jewish family. The sacred books compiled after the return from Babylon - 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah - with their long tables of descent, show us that these family records existed then. Josephus (second century) thus writes: "I relate my genealogy as I find it recorded in the public tables" ('Life,' ch. 1.). In his work against Apion (1:7) he says, "From all the countries in which our priests are scattered abroad, they send to Jerusalem [in order that their children may be placed on the official roll] papers with the names of their parents and their ancestors; these papers are formally witnessed." It follows that, if such care were taken in the case of the numerous priestly houses, equal attention would be paid to their family records by the comparatively few families who boasted their descent from King David and the ancient royal house. R. Hillel, the renowned teacher, who lived in the days of Jesus Christ, belonged to the poor among the people, and yet he was able to prove, from existent records, that he was one of David's descendants. Some seventy years later, the grandchildren of Jude, the reputed brother of the Lord, a son of Joseph, were summoned to Rome, and appeared before the Emperor Domitian as descendants of the old royal house of David. Now, no further comment would be necessary upon this elaborate "table" of St. Luke did there not exist in St. Matthew's Gospel another family tree, purporting to be the line of Messiah's ancestors. Between these two tables there are many important differences. How are these to be explained? On this subject in different times many works have been written. In the present Commentary the writer does not propose to examine the details of the two tables of SS. Matthew and Luke; the question of the existence of the two records will alone be dealt with. The various smaller points of discrepancy in the registers of SS. Matthew and Luke, although curious and striking, are utterly barren of interest to the great majority of students of the Divine Word. The reader who may wish to examine these is referred - among modern scholars' works on this subject - to Bishop Harvey's exhaustive work on the genealogy of the Lord; to Archdeacon Farrar's Excursus in his 'Commentary on St, Luke' in the 'Cambridge Bible for Schools;' and to Professor Godet's Commentary on this Gospel. We will confine ourselves here to three points.

(1) Why does St. Luke insert his table of Messiah's earthly descent in this place?

(2) For what reason does he trace up the long ancestral line to Adam?

(3) What is the broad outline of the explanation of St. Luke's divergency from the genealogical table of St. Matthew? (1) and (2) can be shortly answered.

(1) St. Luke felt that this was the most suitable place in his narrative for such a table. His work was evidently most carefully and skillfully arranged upon the lines of formal history. Up to this point the story was mainly concerned with other personages - with the parents of the great forerunner John, with Mary the Virgin and Joseph, with the angels, with the shepherds, with Simeon and with Anna, and especially with the work of John the Baptist. But from henceforth all the minor persons of the Divine story pass into the background. There is now one central figure upon whom the whole interest of the Divine drama centers - Jesus. This, the moment of his real introduction on the world's stage, was, as St. Luke rightly judged it, the time to give the formal table of his earthly ancestry.

(2) Different from the Hebrew evangelist St. Matthew, whose thoughts were centred on the chosen race, and whose horizon was bounded by Palestine, or at least by those cities where his countrymen of the dispersion lived and worked, and who only cared to show that his Messiah had sprung from the great patriarch, the father of the tribes of Israel, St. Luke, feeling that the scene of the work of his Messiah was bounded by no Jewish horizon, traces up his Lord's reputed line of earthly ancestors to the first father of the human race. The Jesus of Luke was the Savior, not only of the children of Abraham, but of the children of Adam. The noble Isaiah-prophecy, which we feel was one of the great mainsprings of Paul's life and work, was the real reason of Luke, the disciple of Paul, tracing up Messiah's family line to Adam. "It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a Light to the Gentiles" (Isaiah 49:6). Luke alone records the incident and the words of Simeon in the temple.

(3) The genealogy given by St. Luke differs from that presented by St. Matthew, because St. Luke has extricated from family records the line of Mary, while St. Matthew has elected to chronicle the family of Joseph. This solution of the differences between the two lists was apparently first suggested by Annius of Viterbo, at the close of the fifteenth century. Among the many eminent modern scholars who accept it, I would instance Professor Godet and Dean Plumptre. The arguments in favor of this view - viz, that the genealogy is Mary's, not Joseph's - are the following. The table begins as follows: "And Jesus... being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Hell, which was the son of Matthat," etc. In the original Greek all the older authorities, before the name Joseph, omit the article τοῦ, of the. This article is found before all the names in the long list with this solitary exception. This absence of the article τοῦ certainly puts the name of Joseph in a special position in the series of names, and leads us to suppose that the genealogy is not that of Joseph, but of Hell (Hell being the father of Mary, the omission of her name will be treated later on.) The twenty-third verse would then read thus: "And Jesus,... (being as was supposed the son of Joseph)," after which parenthesis the first link in the chain would be Jesus, the heir and grandson, and in that sense the son of Hell. It is by no means unusual in the Old Testament to find the grandson termed the "son" of his grandfather (compare, for instance, 1 Chronicles 8:1 and 3 with Genesis 46:21; Ezra 5:1 and Genesis 6:14 with Zechariah 1:1, 7). On the omission of Mary's name, Godet quotes from the Talmud ('Treatise Bava Bathra,' 110, a), and urges with great truth that not only among the Hebrews did ancient sentiment not accord with the mention of a mother as the genealogical link. The Talmud treatise most singularly comes to our help again by mentioning that Mary the mother of Jesus was called the daughter of Heli. We have before dwelt upon the fact that not only general ancient tradition, but the plain sense of the gospel story, ascribed to Mary a royal Davidic descent. 'Bava Bathra' (quoted by Godet), with great force, asks (though with a different design), what sensible man, after declaring at the commencement of the list that the relationship of Joseph and Jesus was destitute of all reality (ὡς ἐνομίζετο), could take pleasure in drawing up such a list of ancestors? This most pertinent question can only be answered by showing that the list is a list, not of Joseph's ancestors, but of Mary's, who was in very truth the mother of Jesus. In coming to any conclusion respecting the real history of the drawing up the two distinct genealogical tables, the one of Joseph, the other of Mary, it will be ever well to bear in mind that the early chapters of the two narratives of SS. Matthew and Luke, where the events of the birth and infancy of the Lord are told, were most probably based on memories written and oral, proceeding from two distinct centres or circles of believers, eye-witnesses many of them of the things they related or of which they preserved a faithful memory in writing. The one circle - to use Godet's words - of which Joseph was the center, and which we suppose consisted of Cleopas, his brothers James and Jude the sons of Joseph, of whom one was the first bishop of the flock in Jerusalem, included, too, Simeon a son of Cleopas, the first successor of James. The narratives preserved amongst these persons might easily reach the ears of the author of the First Gospel, who doubtless lived in the midst of this flock. But a cycle of narratives must also have formed itself round Mary. These doubtless are those which Luke has preserved. The genealogy, then, of St. Matthew, which has Joseph in view, must have proceeded from his family. That given, on the other hand, by St. Luke, no doubt issued from the circle of which Mary was the center. The other differences in the two genealogies are minor and of far less interest; they are exhaustively discussed in the various monographs which have been written on this subject, and to which reference has been made above.

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