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,…
The general facts are these —
1. The genealogy in St. Matthew descends from Abraham to Jesus, in accordance with his object in writing mainly for the Jews; whereas St. Luke's ascends from Jesus to Adam, and to God, in accordance with his object in writing for the world in general.
2. The generations are introduced in St. Matthew by the word "begat"; in St. Luke by the genitive with the ellipse of "son."
3. Between David and Zerubbabel St. Matthew gives only fifteen names, but St. Luke twenty-one; and they are all different except that of Shealtiel (Salathiel).
4. Between Zerubbabel and Joseph St. Matthew gives only nine generations, but St. Luke seventeen; and all the names are different. The difficulty as to the number of the generations is not serious. It is a matter of daily experience that the number of generations in one line often increases far more rapidly than that in another. Moreover the discrepancies in these two lists may all be accounted for by noticing that Matthew adopts the common Jewish plan of an arbitrary numerical division into tesseradecads. When this system was adopted, whole' generations were freely omitted, for the sake of preserving the symmetry, provided that the fact of the succession remained undoubted (cf. Ezra 7:1-5 with 1 Chronicles 6:3-15). The difficulty as to the dissimilarity of names will of course only affect the two steps of the genealogies at which they begin to diverge, before they again coalesce in the names of Shealtiel and of Joseph. A single adoption, and a single levirate marriage, account for the apparent discrepancies. St. Matthew gives the legal descent through a line of kings descended from Solomon — the jus successionis; St. Luke the natural descent — the jus sanguinis. St. Matthew's is a royal, St. Luke's a natural pedigree.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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,