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Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus 1

Running Head: MATTHEW 1:1-17 AND LUKE 3:23-38 GIVE DIFFERENT


Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus

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Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus 2

Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus

Genealogy is basically a record of one’s ancestors (or descendants). The Holy Bible

gives two such genealogies for Jesus Christ, one in Matthew 1:1-17 by Matthew and the other

in Luke 3:23-38 by Luke. Though both of them are clearly serving their purpose by showing

that Jesus was a descendent of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and King David but still there

are some slight differences that have confused many to question why do we have two

different genealogies for one person i.e. Jesus Christ? I have tried my best to answer that

question in the following paragraphs.

First let us start by looking at the differences between the two versions of genealogies:

• Matthew has used 41 names; Luke 71.

• Matthew has a very specific structure (3 sets of 14 names); Luke's is simply a list.

• Matthew has used four women; Luke has none.

• Matthew’s order descends; Luke ascends.

• Matthew starts with Abraham; Luke ends at Adam.

The use of less number of names in Matthew can be explained by saying that it was

basically designed for memory-retention. Thus, the purpose of omissions is to simplify the

list and to make it easier to learn/memorize.

The major cause of the ruckus is that two apparently different versions of genealogy

are given for Joseph (whereas people very often ignore that none is given for Mary). The

reason, according to majority of researchers, is very simple, one of the two provided

genealogies actually belongs to Mary. Common sense asks that how could it be possible for

Joseph to have two sets of ancestors, whereas Mary have none.
Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus 3

Another theory suggests that Matthew and Luke give different genealogies - one

through Solomon the son of David (the royal line) and the other through Nathan the son of

David (the non-royal line). Thus Mathew traced the royal line and Luke traced the natural

line. Matthew's genealogy is only intended to show the Jewish character of the King, whereas

Luke's purpose is to show the universal aspect of him. Hence Matthew has his emphasis on

Jesus' royalty and Luke on his humanity.

Let us see the two versions of genealogies first:

LUKE - Adam, the father of Seth, the father of Enosh, the father of Cainan, the father of

Mahaleleel, the father of Jared, the father of Enoch, the father of Methuselah, the father

of Lamech, the father of Noah, the father of Shem, the father of Arphaxad, the father of

Cainan, the father of Shelah, the father of Heber, the father of Peleg, the father of Reu,

the father of Serug, the father of Nahor, the father of Terah, the father of

MATTHEW - Abraham, the father of Isaac, the father of Jacob, the father of Judah, the

father of Perez, the father of Hezron, the father of Ram, the father of Admin, the father

of Amminadab, the father of Nahshon, the father of Salmon, the father of Boaz, the

father of Obed, the father of Jesse -- the father of

(Mary) LUKE David, father of (Joseph) MATTHEW

Nathan Solomon

Mattatha Rehoboam

Menna Abijah

Melea Asa

Eliakim Jehoshaphat

Jonam Joram

Joseph Uzziah
Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus 4

Judah Jotham

Simeon Ahaz

Levi Hezekiah

Matthat Manasseh

Jorim Amon

Eliezer Josiah

Joshua Jeconiah

Er Shealtiel

Elmadam Zerubbabel

Cosam Abihud

Addi Eliakim

Melchi Azor

Neri Zadok

Shealtiel Achim

Zerubbabel Eliud

Rhesa Eleazar

Joanan Matthan

Joda Jacob

Josech Joseph

Semein Joseph Adopted Jesus
as his own son giving him
all legal rights involving heirship.

Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus 5












supposedly of Joseph (Mary)


(Why are there different genealogies for Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 3? (Matthew

1:16 - Luke 3:23). Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry.)

Some amounts these differences as proofs of erroneous concoctions in the Bible. But

one can not miss the eerie feeling that the Jews were famous for their meticulous record

keeping, especially genealogies. It is unimaginable that Matthew and Luke could trace a same

person through two distinctly contradictory genealogies belonging to the same lineage. The

mentioning of the names of Shealtiel and Zerubbabel is likely a reference to different

individuals having same names.

Overstreet 1981, p. 304 has noted that “the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel of Matthew and

Luke …. are indeed distinct…. writer (also) has a first cousin… with the same first and last
Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus 6

name as his own… (thus) the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel of Matthew are not the same as those

of Luke.”

Another theory is that Matthew is actually tracing the primary lineage whereas Luke

is basically taking into account the occurrence of levirite marriage (marriage of a man to his

brother’s widow, in that case a son carries the name of his new father). Though possible, but

very unlikely, that from David to Jesus every generation would have had a “levirite


Though a number of theories have been presented to explain the occurrence, but the

most widely accepted is that Luke's genealogy basically belongs to Mary, and Matthew's to

Joseph. Advocates of this theory argue that tracing a genealogy through the mother’s side is

obviously unusual, but so was the virgin birth.

Interestingly enough, both Joseph and Mary were descendents of David. Thus,

Joseph's record assures that the legal requirements of primogeniture (inheritance rights etc)

gets satisfied, whereas Mary's demonstrates the authentic bodily descent from David. Thus,

everyone should remain assure that all the requirements (both legal and genetic) are fully


Job’s Sufferings were a Repercussion of his Faulty Reasoning

Bible is a cornucopia of multiple tales (usually of prophets and people with exemplary

beliefs), most of these tales are intended for some enlightenment and some are there for

teaching us lessons about the mysterious ways of God. One of such moving story is of Job

and his sufferings and his unshakeable belief in God and his tests.Job’s suffering explains

why God gives more importance to the character than the pain/discomfort one experiences in

this life.
Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus 7

According to bible, Job was an extremely virtuous man. He always tried to avoid acts

of disobedience of God’s laws carefully. He always behaved impeccably. But just like any

other mortal human being, he was not perfect. He also had certain weaknesses (Mark 14:38).

God tested his character to see his loyalty to Him under hardships. The reason why the

account of Job has been put into the Scripture is to reassure righteous people, in their times of

trauma and discouraging experiences, about trusting in God and to wait patiently for the

resolution of their problems.

He was truly a loyal servant and believer of God. He was gifted, for his steadfastness,

by God thousands of animals and a number of servants and friends and a very large family of

seven obedient sons and three daughters.

Why was he chosen for this test of suffering by the hands of the Lord? One should

always keep the fact in mind that God does not deliberately cause misery and distress on his

believers for no obvious reason. As He has said in Psalms 69:33-36, “The Lord hears the

needy and does not despise his captive people.”

The reason is the hardships one experience, and way he/she deal with it, is actually a

test of his/her true selves. It is actually how one deal with despondency and anguish what

makes him/her who he/she is.

Our sufferings are not a repercussion of our wrongdoings only. They are basically a

training ground through which we become better believers than before. One finds his true

identity only through terrible experiences.

The incident is preceded by God’s boasting about Job’s righteousness in front of

Satan. (Job 1:8). And Satan challenged, “. . . Stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has,

and [Job] will surely curse You to Your face!” (Job 1:9-11). The succeeding events

demonstrated that Satan was wrong. Job was not weak in character.
Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus 8

God gave Satan permission to rob Job of his earthly possessions even of his family

and to trouble him with some excruciating boils (Job 1:12-19). Job valiantly embraced his

troubles and said, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of

the LORD” (Job 1:21).

When “Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each

one came . . . (to) mourn with him, and to comfort him” (Job 2:11). After passing a week with

him lamenting, they started discussing his suffering as consequences of calamities. When Job

listed all his complaints to his friends to show the unfairness of life his three friends, believed

that God is actually punishing Job for some sin he is hiding from everyone but could not hide

from God. Job strictly denied the allegation. Later God verified his account on both the

matters i.e. unfairness of life and his involvement in any sin.

But during his hardships, loses and sufferings Job progressively started resenting God.

This is a common observation with people caught up in any unfathomable mishap. The next

few chapters tell the story of imperfect reasoning and allegations from Job’s three friend and

Job’s persistent denials. In the end Job’s one younger friend Elihu comes to his rescue he

came to the conclusion that Job’s point of view was faulty and imprecise. Job was convinced

of the notion that his troubles are not serving any purpose.

He has himself decided that God’s treatment to him is not fair. Elihu recognized Job’s

obsession with his virtuousness (Job 33:8-9) and the fact that he was trying to blame God

instead of finding lessons from his hardships and troubles.

It was Elihu who, in response to Job’s complaints, replied: “Do you think this is right?

Do you say, ‘My righteousness is more than God’s’?” (Job 35:2).

Rather than taking his adversities as an opportunity to learn patience and for allowing

God to mold him in his own model of liking, Job started growing in his bitterness towards his
Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus 9

own Creator. He was adamant to presence of any chance that he might have learnt something

of value from these sufferings. Job’s basic complaint was that God was indifferent to him and

his callings, and He was not acknowledging his virtuousness properly.

As a response God tested Job by challenging him to try to discipline a huge sea

creature, a beast that was “made without fear” (Job 41:33-34): “Can you draw out Leviathan

with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line which you lower? Can you put a reed through his

nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook? Will he make many supplications to you? Will he speak

softly to you?” (Job 41:1-3, 4-10).

At the end of the day, Job finally realized that the root of his problem is his lack of

comprehension and exaggerated belief in his personal righteousness. This changed his

opinion about God’s sense of fairness forever. He realized that his constantly critical attitude

towards God was flawed: “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for

me, which I did not know . . . I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye

sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:3-6).

The reason why Job’s personal experience has been recorded in such great details is

that people can understand the stupidity of thinking too of themselves. “Pride goes before

destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly,

than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Proverbs 16:18-19). Job’s story explains the reason

behind the virtuous people’s likelihood of getting discouraged at traumatic times and as a

consequence being tempted to blame God for the reason of not swiftly intervening for their

help. Just like Job, people may fail to fully understand and appreciate the fact that God sees

far more and farther than any of us can. The story of Job inspires us, to reprimand and correct

ourselves, and also to prepare ourselves to handle the adversities of life calmly.
Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus 10

God allows suffering to creep in the life of His believers only to fortify their faith.

The reason is that when the support of our friends and family is taken away from us only than

we depend upon God. It is actually the deprivation of the ephemeral supports from our

earthly companions that forces us to surrender our will to the will of our Lord. Job got chosen

for the same reason so as to make his steadfastness of faith and complete submission to the

Lord a lesson to the lesser of the believers like us.

Regardless of the severity of the test/trial one should never even assume that God is

not listening or He does not care. It is His way of teaching us lessons that are way beyond our

present and conventional wisdom and understanding.

One must always try to keep in mind the admirable advice from King David: “Wait

on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the

LORD!” (Psalm 27:14). One should try to learn from Job’s tale to keep an enduring belief

and trust in God even in the hardest of his/her sufferings (James 5:10-11).
Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus 11


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Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World. Oxford

University Press, 2nd edition.

Blank, W. Why 2 Genealogies For Jesus Christ? The Church of God. Daily Bible Study. A

Ministry of God’s Word. Retrieved December 22, 2008 from

Brown, T. Why Job Suffered. Tom Brown Ministries. Word of Life Church. Retrieved

December 22, 2008 from

John Piper. (2004). Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. Crossway Books & Bibles.

Learning From the Sufferings of Job. Why Does God Allow Suffering? Bible Study Course

Lesson 4. (November/December 1998). The Good News Expanded Edition.E1-E16.

Nettelhorst, R.P. (June 1988). The Genealogy of Jesus. Journal of the Evangelical

Theological Society.

Phillip Eichman (1994). Job and the Problem of Innocent Suffering. Retrieved December 22,

2008 from

Stedman, R. C. (1981). Expository Studies in Job: Behind Suffering. Discovery Books.

Discovery Foundation, Palo Alto, California.

Vaillancourt, D. (2007). Two Genealogies of Jesus: Jesus' Ancestry is Presented in Two

Different Ways in the Bible. Retrieved December 22, 2008 from
Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 Give Different Genealogies of Jesus 12

Why are there different genealogies for Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 3? (Matthew 1:16 -

Luke 3:23). Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. Retrieved December 22,

2008 from

Robert Sutherland. (2006). Putting God on Trial: The Biblical Book of Job. Trafford


Overstreet, R. L. (Fall 1981). Difficulties of New Testament Genealogies. Grace Theological

Journal. Volume 2, Number 2, p. 303-326.