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A Literal Translation of the New Testament






 

Jesus' Genealogy

 

 

by Hal Dekker

 

2010.07.19

 

Last page update: 2014.09.07

 

 

According to the translations of the Greek texts, many questions and suppositions have arisen over the genealogy in Mat. 1:1-16, over who’s genealogy is it, Mariam’s, the mother of Jesus down according to the flesh, or Joseph’s genealogy, Mariam’s husband, as is erroneously translated in KJV and virtually every other translation.

The first clue we can find to answering this question is to simply count the generations one by one to see if they actually agree with the “checksum” total number of generations the Matthew's text lists for us to see.

Mat.
1:17 (LIT/UBS4) Therefore (oun), all (pasai) the (hai) generations (geneai) from (apo) Abraham (abraam) until (heōs) David (dauid), fourteen (dekatessares) generations (geneai)

 

and (kai) from (apo) David (dauid) until (heōs) the (tēs) house with (metoikesias) Babylon (babulōnos), fourteen (dekatessares) generations (geneai)

 

and (kai) from (apo) the (tēs) house with (metoikesias) Babylon (babulōnos) until (heōs) the (tou) Christ (Christou), fourteen (dekatessares) generations (geneai).

 

In Matthew’s record, Mat. 1:2-6, Abraham to David, there are 14 generations, and in Mat. 1:7-11, Solomon to Jechonias, there are 14 generations, and in Mat. 1:12-16, Salathiel to Jesus, there are 14 generations.
 

3 X 14 generations = 42 generations, correct?  Here’s the names of the last 14 generations:

29.Salathiel
30.Zorobabel
31.Abiud
32.Eliakim
33.Azor
34.Sadoc
35.Achim
36.Eliud
37.Eleazar
38.Matthan
39.Jacob
40.Joseph
41.Mariam
42.Jesus

Anyone see any apparent problems with the English translations apparently contradicting themselves, by translating Joseph as Mariam’s “husband”, when it is clear that Matthew regarded this particular Joseph as Mariam’s father?  According to Matthew, the last three generations which he counts as generations in his list are Joseph, Mariam and Jesus, showing this Joseph in his list not as Mariam’s husband, but as her father.  Otherwise this Joseph and Mariam couldn’t be counted as two generations, father and daughter.  This is why translating the word andra in Mat. 1:16 as "husband" is wrong. 

 

The translators ignore the social idiom in Middle Eastern cultures of a female having a "head", one who is in charge of her, the one who has authority over her.  The one in authority over a female as her "head", or as her "male", is first her father, until she becomes married.  At the time of a woman's marriage her husband then becomes her "head" or "male".  The word andra in Mat. 1:16 should be translated as simply "male", which is exactly what that word means, no more and no less; to not only leave out private interpretation, but to allow the holy scriptures to reflect this ancient social idiom.  Just because translators don't understand a social idiom when they come across it is still no excuse to fudge the text to say something else totally erroneous.  Apostle Paul explains this in 1 Cor. 11.
 

In Mat. 1:16 the English translations all erroneously translate the Greek word andra, a form of the common noun anēr, Strong’s # 435, as “husband”, instead of simply "male".  Matthew listed Joseph as the 40th generation, and showing him as the father of Mariam; as Joseph, Mariam and Jesus Christ being the 40th through 42nd generations respectively.  What do translators think the word "generation" means?

This is a good example of how Bible Study, of opening the ancient texts of God’s Word and working it with your own two hand’s, to substantiate and verify the things you’ve heard preached and taught, as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11), to see if they can actually be corroborated in the ancient texts.  Exactly what needs to be substantiated and verified to one another are the names in the two lists of genealogies, the names of the generations in the list in Mat. 1:1-17 to the names in the list in Luke 3:23-28.

Matthew doesn’t simply imply, in a round about way, that the particular “Joseph” in his list is not the same Joseph as Mariam’s husband, because he counts that Joseph as a generation.  This unquestionably states that this Joseph in his list is Mariam’s father!  This agrees with what Matthew set out to do according to his opening verse, which was to show the genealogy, down according to the flesh, of Jesus Christ; of how he can genealogically be considered to be in line for the throne of his great, great, great, you count the number of greats, grandfather, king David.

Mat. 1:1 (LIT/UBS4) A scroll (biblos) of genesis (geneseōs) of Jesus (Iēsou) Christ (Christou), son (huiou) of David (dabid), son (huiou) of Abraham (abraam).

So we can see that the translators, who all translated andra in Mat. 1:16, were not paying very close enough attention to the contextual meaning Matthew was giving to his use of the word andra.  Why?  They all have their heads full of traditional Christian teaching about this passage, which teaching began hundreds of years ago with someone's own private interpretation which became "orthodox", found its way into virtually all translations.  You may say "So what!".  You may not wish to know that this is not the one and only passage and subject matter suffering in quality of translation.  What about passages with subject matters about sin, confession of sin, repentance, discipleship, salvation/wholeness, the new birth above in God's gift of His paternal Spirit, sonship, the new covenant, passages about subject matters in any area of theology?

Mat. 1:16 (LIT/UBS4) but (de) Jacob (Iakōb) generated (egennēsen) the (ton) Joseph (Iōsēph) the (ton) male (andra) of Mariam (Marias), out (ek) of whom (hēs) was generated (egennēthē) Jesus (Iēsous), the one (ho) being said (legomenos) [to be] Christ (Christos).

Yes, anēr is often used in the texts to refer to the “male” of a “female”, which in our culture we would say, the “husband of a woman”. But as you, me and everyone can see here in Mat. 1:12-16, anēr is absolutely not always used as meaning “husband”, but is counted as a generation, which states that this particular “Joseph” is Mariam’s father. Now if you want to look up anēr in a concordance, anēr is never translated as “father”, but that is exactly to what it refers in this passage on account of the common social idiom. 

This is verified in the Aramaic text, (not the English translations of it!) much more explicitly, through more specific wording which corroborates and locks down even tighter what Matthew says here. We won’t get into the Aramaic text and its specific wording here and now.

Let’s look at it from another angle of textual evidence, which we can discover through hands-on study of, not mortal-made theologies, BUT, God’s Word.

Luke 3:23 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) Jesus (Iēsous) himself (autos), causing himself to start (archomenos), was being (ēn) as if (hōsei) thirty (triakonta) years (etōn) [of age];

 

being (ōn) a son (huios), as (hōs) was being decided (enomizeto), of Joseph (iōsēph), [son] of the (tou) Heli (ēli),

Luke’s record says, concerning the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry in the flesh, that Jesus was being decided by others (Mat. 13:55; Mark 6:3) to be the son of the Joseph the carpenter, which, as we know from other scriptures, is the name of Mariam’s husband.  We can see in Luke’s record that he clearly makes a reference to this particular Joseph in his list as Mariam’s husband, because he says that Jesus was being decided to be the son of this Joseph.  Matthew’s record made no such statement or implication like this.  In Matthew’s record, his Joseph was the son of Jacob.  But here in Luke’s record this Joseph is the son of Heli.  

 

Given all of the clear contextual evidence it’s clear to me that Matthew and Luke are speaking of two distinctly different individuals, both with the same name of Joseph.  I believe the Joseph in Matthew’s record was Mariam’s father, and the Joseph in Luke’s record was Mariam’s husband.

 

According to the law, Jesus had to be registered as being the son of someone, and so he was registered as the son of this wonderful man Joseph, a carpenter; who was willing to endure the subsequent public humiliation from the rumors and talk of him gendering a child through Mariam out of wedlock. The religious and legal authorities hardly would have taken Joseph and Mariam seriously if they would have submitted the Highest God as Jesus’ paternal Father (Luke 1:32).

This study illustrates one more good reason why Bible students absolutely cannot go by English “translations”. This isn’t simply the one and only translation problem. There are thousands of them just like this one, which is the reason why I’m creating the LIT translation, to make a translation free of mortal-made theological bias!

If this in Matthew’s record is true, as I absolutely believe it is, then Matthew’s record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ lists, as the last three generations of the 42 generations, Joseph the father of Mariam, then Mariam Jesus’ mother, and then Jesus Christ himself, the 42nd generation. If this particular Joseph is the father of Mariam, then all of the other scripture references throughout God’s Word about Jesus “according to the flesh” (lit. Gk., down the flesh), in Gen. 3:15, John 1:14, Acts 2:30, Rom. 1:3, Heb. 2:14, and so on (you find them all), all fit together, and all of the dots connect, symphonically, miraculously, without any apparent contradictions.  Matthew’s list makes clear from where Jesus Christ obtained his flesh and bone, and that he indeed was a mortal man!

This is from where Jesus’ flesh came, through his mother Mariam. Since we know, as a simple natural fact, that the blood of a mortal offspring comes solely from the paternal parent, this is how Jesus’ blood was sinless, and made it fit to be shed to wash us all clean from the penalty for our sin. But this record in Matthew shows where Jesus obtained his flesh, when the Word became flesh, became the soul-based (Gk. psuchikos), mortal (Gk. anthrōpos) Jesus the Christ, and “tented” (Gk. skēnoō) among us (John 1:14).

If anyone wishes to do their own Bible study, to do “discipleship 101” to Jesus Christ, then I recommend that they take all of their mortal-made theological theory books and clear them off of the desk, to make room for the ancient texts of God’s Word!

 

A careful observation of the genealogy of both Mariam (Mat. 1:1-17),and her husband Joseph (Luke 3:23-28), show that they both can trace their genealogies back as descendants of the house of David.  In the community in which Mariam and Joseph lived, since Jesus was legally recorded as the paternal son of Joseph, Mariam’s husband (but in truth, Jesus was the God’s only begotten son), the community believed Jesus to be a child conceived out of wedlock (John 8:41).  However, since Jesus' step-father Joseph could trace his royal pedigree back to the house of David, as could Mariam, this gave Jesus a legal “standing” in the community as a descendent of the House of David, in spite of his supposed ill-conceived birth, which allowed Jesus to take part in events in the community in which a common born ill-conceived child would have been denied.  But in truth, Jesus’ claim to the throne of David, down the flesh, was through his mother Mariam, and not through his step father Joseph, Mariam’s husband.

Through Mariam, Jesus was genetically of the House of David, but through Joseph, Mariam’s husband, Jesus was legally of the House of David, because in that culture legality followed paternity, and Jesus was being supposed to be the son of Joseph, Mariam’s husband.

I believe Mat. 1:1-17 clearly shows Mariam's genealogy, and Luke 3:23-38 clearly shows her husband Joseph's genealogy. Both Mariam's father and husband each were coincidentally named Joseph.

 

 

Brother Hal Dekker