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The Life of Jesus Critically Examined






IN the history of the birth of the Baptist, we had the single account of Luke; but regarding the genealogical descent of Jesus we have also that of Matthew; so that in this case the mutual control of two narrators in some respects multiplies, whilst in others it lightens, our critical labour. It is indeed true that the authenticity of the two first chapters of Matthew, which contain the history of the birth and childhood of Jesus, as well as that of the parallel section of Luke, has been questioned: but as in both cases the question has originated merely in a prejudiced view of the subject, the doubt has been silenced by a decisive refutation.†

Each of these two gospels contains a genealogical table designed to exhibit the Davidical descent of Jesus, the Messiah. That of Matthew (i. 1-17.) precedes, that of Luke (iii. 23-38.) follows, the history of the announcement and birth of Jesus. These two tables, considered each in itself, or both compared together, afford so important a key to the character of the evangelic records in this section, as to render a close examination of them imperative. We shall first consider each separately, and then each, but particularly that of Matthew, in comparison with the passages in the Old Testament to which it is parallel.

In the Genealogy given by the author of the first Gospel, there is a comparison of the account with itself which is important, as it gives a result, a sum at its conclusion, whose correctness may be proved by comparing it with the previous statements. In the sum-

†Kuinöl, Comm. in Matth. Proleg., p. xxvii. f.

[??]*With this view of the passage compare Pe Wette, Exeg. Handbuch zum N. T.,


ming up it is said, that from Abraham to Christ there are three divisions of fourteen generations each, the first from Abraham to David, the second from David to the Babylonish exile, the third from the exile to Christ. Now if we compute the number of names for ourselves, we find the first fourteen from Abraham to David, both included, complete (2-5); also that from Solomon to Jechonias, after whom the Babylonish exile is mentioned (6-11); but from Jechonias to Jesus, even reckoning the latter as one, we can discover only thirteen (12-16). How shall we explain this discrepancy? The supposition that one of the names has escaped from the third division by an error of a transcriber*, is in the highest degree improbable, since the deficiency is mentioned so early as by Porphyry.† The insertion, in some manuscripts and versions, of the name Jehoiakim‡ between Josias and Jechonias, does not sup- ply the deficiency of the third division; it only adds a superfluous generation to the second division, which was already complete. As also there is no doubt that this deficiency originated with the author of the genealogy, the question arises : in what manner did he reckon so as to count fourteen generations for his third series? Truly it is possible to count in various ways, if an arbitrary inclusion and exclusion of the first and last members of the several series be permitted. It might indeed have been presupposed, that a generation already included in one division was necessarily excluded from another: but the compiler of the genealogy may perhaps have thought otherwise; and since David is twice mentioned in the table, it is possible that the author counted him twice: namely, at the end of the first series, and again at the beginning of the . second. This would not indeed, any more than the insertion of Jehoiakim, fill up the deficiency in the third division, but give too many to the second; so that we must, with some commentators§, conclude the second series not with Jechonias, as is usually done, but with his predecessor Josias: and now, by means of the double enumeration of David, Jechonias, who was superfluous in the second division, being available for the third, the last series, including Jesus, has its fourteen members complete. But it seems very arbitrary to reckon the concluding member of the first series twice, and not also that of the second: to avoid which inconsistency some interpreters have proposed to count Josias twice, as well as David, and thus complete the fourteen members of the third series without Jesus. But whilst this computation escapes one blunder it falls into another ; namely, that whereas the expression >GREEK FOR PETER< is supposed to include the latter, in >GREEK FOR PETER<, the latter is excluded. This difficulty may be avoided by counting Jechonias twice instead of Josias, which gives us fourteen names for the third division, including Jesus; but then, in order not to have too many in the second, we must drop

* Paulas, p. 292,

† Hieron, in Daniel, init.

‡ See Wetstein. § e. g. Frische, Comm. in Matth., p. 13.


the double enumeration of David, and thus be liable to the same charge of inconsistency as in the former case, since the double enumeration is made between the second and third divisions, and not between the first and second. Perhaps De Wette has found the right clue when he remarks, that in v. 17, in both transitions some member of the series is mentioned twice, but in the first case only that member is a person (David), and therefore to be twice reckoned. In the second case it is the Babylonish captivity occurring between Josias and Jechonias, which latter, since he had reigned only three months in Jerusalem (the greater part of his life having passed after the carrying away to Babylon), was mentioned indeed at the conclusion of the second series for the sake of connexion, but was to be reckoned only at the beginning of the third.*

If we now compare the genealogy of Matthew (still without reference to that of Luke) with the corresponding passages of the Old Testament, we shall also find discrepancy, and in this case of a nature exactly the reverse of the preceding : for as the table considered in itself required the duplication of one member in order to complete its scheme, so when compared with the Old Testament, we find that many of the names there recorded have been omitted, in order that the number fourteen might not be exceeded. That is to say, the Old Testament affords data for comparison with this genealogical table as the famed pedigree of the royal race of David, from Abraham to Zorobabel and his sons; after whom the Davidical line begins to retire into obscurity, and from the silence of the Old Testament the genealogy of Matthew ceases to be under any control. The series of generations from Abraham to Judah, Pharez, and Hezron, is sufficiently well known from Genesis; from Pharez to David we find it in the conclusion of the book of Ruth, and in the 2nd chapter of the 1st Chronicles ; that from David to Zerubbabel in the 3rd chapter of the same book ; besides passages that are parallel with separate portions of the series.

To complete the comparison: we find the line from Abraham to David, that is, the whole first division of fourteen in our genealogy, in exact accordance with the names of men given in the Old Testament : leaving out however the names of some women, one of which makes a difficulty. It is said v. 5 that Rahab was the mother of Boaz. Not only is this without confirmation in the Old Testament, but even if she be made the great-grandmother of Jesse, the father of David, there are too few generations between her time and that of David (from about 1450 to 1050 B.C.), that is, counting either Rahab or David as one, four for 400 years. Yet this error falls back upon the Old Testament genealogy itself, in so far as Jesse's great-grandfather Salmon, whom Matthew calls the husband of Rahab, is said Ruth iv. 20, as well as by Matthew, to be the son of a Nahshon, who according to Numbers i. 7, lived in the time of the

* Exegt. Handbuch, i. 1, S. 12 f.


march through the wilderness*: from which circumstance the idea was naturally suggested, to marry his son with that Rahab who saved the Israelitish spies, and thus to introduce a woman for whom the Israelites had an especial regard (compare James ii. 25, Heb. xi. 31) into the lineage of David and the Messiah.

Many discrepancies are found in the second division from David to Zorababel and his son, as well as in the beginning of the third. Firstly, it is said v. 8 Joram begat Osias ; whereas we know from 1 Chron. iii. 11, 12, that Uzziah was not the son, but the grandson of the son of Joram, and that three kings occur between them, namely, Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah, after whom comes Uzziah, (2 Chron. xxvi. 1, or as he is called 1 Chron. iii. 12, and 2 Kings xiv. 21, Azariah). Secondly: our genealogy says v. 11, Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren. But we find from 1 Chron. iii. 16, that the son and successor of Josiah was called Jehoiakim, after whom came his son and successor Jechoniah or Jehoiachin. Moreover brethren are ascribed to Jechoniah, whereas the Old Testament mentions none. Jehoiakim, however, had brothers : so that the mention of the brethren of Jechonias in Matthew appears to have originated in an exchange of these two persons.-A third discrepancy relates to Zorobabel. He is here called, v. 12, a son of Salathiel; whilst in 1 Chron. iii. 19, he is descended from Jechoniah, not through Shealtiel, but through his brother Pedaiah. In Ezra v. 2, and Haggai i. 1, however, Zerubbabel is designated, as here, the son of Sheatiel.-In the last place, Abiud, who is here called the son of Zorobabel, is not to be found amongst the children of Zerubbabel mentioned 1 Chron. iii. 19 f.: perhaps because Abiud was only a surname derived from a son of one of those there men- tioned.†

The second and third of these discrepancies may have crept in without evil intention, and without any great degree of carelessness, for the omission of Jehoiakim may have arisen from the similar sound of the names >HEBREW< and which accounts also for the transposition of the brothers of Jechoniah; whilst respecting Zorobabel the reference to the Old Testament is partly adverse, partly favourable. But the first discrepancy we have adduced, namely, the omission of three known kings, is not so easily to be set aside. It has indeed been held that the similarity of names may here also have led the author to pass unintentionally from Joram to Ozias, instead of to the similar sounding Ahaziah, (in the LXX. Ocliozias). But this omission falls in so happily with the author's design of the threefold fourteen, (admitting the double enumeration of David), that we cannot avoid believing, with Jerome, that the oversight was made on purpose with a view to it.‡ From

* The expedient of Kuinöl, Comm, in Matth. p. 3, to distinguish the Rahab here mentioned from the celebrated one, becomes hence superfluous, besides that it is perfectly arbitrary.

† Hoffmann, S. 154, according to Hug, Einl., ii. S. 27

‡ Compare Fritsche, Com., in Matth., p. 19; Paulus, exeget. Handbuch, i. S. 289; De Wette, exeg. Handb, in loco.


Abraham to David, where the first division presented itself, having found fourteen members, he seems to have wished that those of the following divisions should correspond in number. In the whole remaining series the Babylonish exile offered itself as the natural point of separation. But as the second division from David to the exile gave him four supernumerary members, therefore he omitted four of the names. For what reason these particular four were chosen would be difficult to determine, at least for the three last mentioned.

The cause of the compiler's laying so much stress on the threefold equal numbers, may have been simply, that by this adoption of the Oriental custom of division into equal sections, the genealogy might be more easily committed to memory*: but with this motive a mystical idea was probably combined. The question arises whether this is to be sought in the number which is thrice repeated, or whether it consists in the threefold repetition? Fourteen is the double of the sacred number seven; but it is improbable that it was selected for this reason,† because otherwise the seven would scarcely have been so completely lost sight of in the fourteen. Still more improbable is the conjecture of Olshausen, that the number fourteen was specially chosen as being the numeric value of the name of David‡; for puerilities of this kind, appropriate to the rabbinical gematria, are to be found in no other part of the Gospels. It is more likely that the object of the genealogists consisted merely in the repetition of an equal number by retaining the fourteen which had first accidentally presented itself: since it was a notion of the Jews that signal divine visitations, whether of prosperity or adversity, recurred at regular periodical intervals. Thus, as fourteen generations had intervened between Abraham, the founder of the holy people, and David the king after God's own heart, so fourteen generations must intervene between the re-establishment of the kingdom and the coming of the son of David, the Messiah.§ The most ancient genealogies in Genesis exhibit the very same uniformity. As according to the >GREEK FOR PETER<, cap. v., from Adam * the first, to Noah the second, father of men, were ten generations: so from Noah, or rather from his son, the tenth is Abraham the father of the faithful.||

This à priori treatment of his subject, this Procrustes-bed upon which the author of our genealogy now stretches, now curtails it, almost like a philosopher constructing a system,-can excite no predisposition in his favour. It is in vain to appeal to the custom

*Fritsche in Matth., p. 11.

† Paulus, S. 292. ‡ Bibl. Comm., p. 46, note.

§ See Schneckenburger, Beiträge zur Einleitung in das N. T., S. 41 f., and the passage cited from Josephus, B. j. vi. 8. Also may be compared the passage cited by Schöttgen, horæ hebr. et talm. zu Matth. i. from Synopsis Sohar, p. 132, n. 18. Ab Abrahamo usque ad Salomonem XV. sunt generationes, atque tune luna fuit in. plenilunio. A Salomone usque ad Zedekiam iterum sunt XV. generationes, et tune Luna defecit, et Zedekia: effossi sunt oculi.

|| De Wette has already called attention to the analogy between these Old Testament genealogies and those of the Gospels, with regard to the intentional equality of numbers. Kritik der mos. Geschichte, s 69. Comp. s. 48.


of Oriental genealogists to indulge themselves in similar license; for when an author presents us with a pedigree expressly declaring that all the generations during a space of time were fourteen, whereas, through accident or intention, many members are wanting,-he betrays an arbitrariness and want of critical accuracy, which must shake our confidence in the certainty of his whole genealogy.

The genealogy of Luke, considered separately, does not present so many defects as that of Matthew. It has no concluding statement of the number of generations comprised in the genealogy, to act as a check upon itself, neither can it be tested, to much extent, by a comparison with the Old Testament. For, from David to Nathan, the line traced by Luke has no correspondence with any Old Testament genealogy, excepting in two of its members, Salathiel and Zorobabel; and even with respect to these two, there is a contradiction between the statement of Luke and that of 1 Chron. iii. 17. 19. f.: for the former calls Salathiel a son of Neri, whilst, according to the latter, he was the son of Jechoniah. Luke also mentions one Resa as the son of Zorobabel, a name which does not appear amongst the children of Zerubbabel in 1 Chron. iii. 17. 19. Also, in the series before Abraham, Luke inserts a Cainan, who is not to be found in the Hebrew text, Gen. x. 24; xi. 12 ff., but who was however already inserted by the LXX. In fact the original text has this name in its first series as the third from Adam, and thence the translation appears to have transplanted him to the corresponding place in the second series as the third from Noah.


If we compare the genealogies of Matthew and Luke together, we become aware of still more striking discrepancies. Some of these differences indeed are unimportant, as the opposite direction of the two tables, the line of Matthew descending from Abraham to Jesus, that of Luke ascending from Jesus to his ancestors. Also the greater extent of the line of Luke; Matthew deriving it no farther than from Abraham, while Luke (perhaps lengthening some existing document in order to make it more consonant with the universalism of the doctrines of Paul*:) carries it back to Adam and to God himself. More important is the considerable difference in the number of generations for equal periods, Luke having 41 between David and Jesus, whilst Matthew has only 26. The main difficulty, however, lies in this: that in some parts of the genealogy, in Luke totally different individuals are made the ancestors of Jesus from those in Matthew. It is true, both writers agree in de- riving the lineage of Jesus through Joseph from David and Abraham, and that the names of'the individual members of the series

*See Chrysostom and Luther, in Credner, Einleitung in d. N. T., 1, S. 143 f. Winer, bibl. Realwörterbuch, 1. s. 659.


correspond from Abraham to David, as well as two of the names in the subsequent portion: those of Salathiel and Zorobabel. But the difficulty becomes desperate when we find that, with these two exceptions about midway, the whole of the names from David to the foster-father of Jesus arc totally different in Matthew and in Luke. In Matthew, the father of Joseph is called Jacob; in Luke, Heli. In Matthew, the son of David through whom Joseph descended from that king is Solomon; in Luke, Nathan: and so on, the line descends, in Matthew, through the race of known kings; in Luke, through an unknown collateral branch, coinciding only with respect to Salathiel and Zorobabel, whilst they still differ in the names of the father of Salathiel and the son of Zorobabel. Since this difference appears to offer a complete contradiction, the most industrious efforts have been made at all times to reconcile the two. Passing in silence explanations evidently unsatisfactory, such as a mystical signification*, or an arbitrary change of names†, we shall consider two pairs of hypotheses which have been most conspicuous, and are mutually supported, or at least bear affinity to one another.

The first pair is formed upon the presupposition of Augustine, that Joseph was an adopted son, and that one evangelist gave the name of his real, the other that of his adopted father‡; and the opinion of the old chronologist Julius Africanus, that a Levirate marriage had taken place between the parents of Joseph, and that the one genealogy belonged to the natural, the other to the legal, father of Joseph, by the one of whom he was descended from David through Solomon, by the other through Nathan.§ The farther question : to which father do the respective genealogies belong ? is open to two species of criticism, the one founded upon literal expressions, the other upon the spirit and character of each gospel: and which lead to opposite conclusions. Augustine as well as Africanus, has observed, that Matthew makes use of an expression in describing the relationship between Joseph and his so-called father, which more definitely points out the natural filial relationship than that of Luke: for the former says >GREEK FOR PETER<: whilst the expression of the latter,>GREEK FOR PETER<, appears equally applicable to a son by adoption, or by virtue of a Levirate marriage. But since the very object of a Levirate marriage was to maintain the name and race of a deceased childless brother, it was the Jewish custom to inscribe the firstborn son of such a marriage, not on the family register of his natural father, as Matthew has done here, but on that of his legal father, as Luke has done on the above supposition. Now that a person so entirely imbued with Jewish opinions as the author of the first gospel, should have made a mistake of this kind,

* Orig, homil. in Lucam 28.

† Luther, Werke, Bd. 14. Walch. Ausg. S. 8 ff.

‡ De consensu Evangelistarum, ii. 3, u. c. Faust., iii. 3 ; amongst the moderns, for example, E. F. in Henke's Magazin 5, 1, 180 f, After Augustina hail subsequently become acquainted with the writing of Africanus, he gave up his own opinion for that of the latter. Retract. ii. 7.

§ Eusebius, H. E. i. 7, and lately e.g. Schleiermacher on Luke, p. 53.


cannot be held probable. Accordingly, Schleiermacher and others conceive themselves bound by the spirit of the two gospels to admit that Matthew, in spite of his >GREEK FOR PETER<, must have given the lineage of the legal father, according to Jewish custom: whilst Luke, who perhaps was not born a Jew, and was less familiar with Jewish habits, might have fallen upon the genealogy of the younger brothers of Joseph, who were not, like the firstborn, inscribed amongst the family of the deceased legal father, but with that of their natural father, and might have taken this for the genealogical table of the first-born Joseph, whilst it really belonged to him only by natural descent, to which Jewish genealogists paid no regard.* But, besides the fact which we shall show hereafter, that the genealogy of Luke can with difficulty be proved to be the work of the author of that Gospel;-in which case the little acquaintance of Luke with Jewish customs ceases to afford any clue to the meaning of this genealogy;-it is also to be objected, that the genealogist of the first gospel could not have written his >GREEK FOR PETER< thus without any addition, if he was thinking of a mere legal paternity. Wherefore these two views of the genealogical relationship are equally difficult.

However, this hypothesis, which we have hitherto considered only in general, requires a more detailed examination in order to judge of its admissibility. In considering the proposition of a Levirate marriage, the argument is essentially the same if, with Augustine and Africanus, we ascribe the naming of the natural father to Matthew, or with Schleiermacher, to Luke. As an example we shall adopt the former statement; the rather because Eusebius, according to Africanus, has left us a minute account of it. According to this representation, then, the mother of Joseph was first married to that person whom Luke calls the father of Joseph, namely Heli. But since Heli died without children, by virtue of the Levirate law, his brother, called by Matthew Jacob the father of Joseph, married the widow, and by her begot Joseph, who was legally regarded as the son of the deceased Heli, and so described by Luke, whilst naturally he was the son of his brother Jacob, and thus described by Matthew.

But, merely thus far, the hypothesis is by no means adequate. For if the two fathers of Joseph were real brothers, sons of the same father, they had one and the same lineage, and the two genealogies would have differed only in the father of Joseph, all the preceding portion being in agreement. In order to explain how the discordancy extends so far back as to David, we must have recourse to the second proposition of Africanus, that the fathers of Joseph were only half-brothers, having the same mother, but not the same father. We must also suppose that this mother of the two fathers of Joseph, had twice married; once with the Matthan of Matthew, who was descended from David through Solomon and the line of kings, and to whom she bore Jacob; and also, either before or after, with the

* S. 53. Comp. Winer, bibl. Realwörterbuch, 1 Bd. s. 660


Matthat of Luke, the offspring of which marriage was Heli: which Heli, having married and died childless, his half-brother Jacob married his widow, and begot for the deceased his legal child Joseph.

This hypothesis of so complicated a marriage in two successive generations, to which we are forced by the discrepancy of the two genealogies, must be acknowledged to be in no way impossible, but still highly improbable: and the difficulty is doubled by the untoward agreement already noticed, which occurs midway in the discordant series, in the two members Salathiel and Zorobabel. For to explain how Neri in Luke, and Jechonias in Matthew, are both called the father of Salathiel, who was the father of Zorobabel;-not only must the supposition of the Levirate marriage be repeated, but also that the two brothers who successively married the same wife, were brothers only on the mother's side. The difficulty is not diminished by the remark, that any nearest blood-relation, not only a brother, might succeed in a Levirate marriage,-that is to say, though not obligatory, it was at least open to his choice. (Ruth iii. 12. f. iv. 4 f.*) .For since even in the case of two cousins, the concurrence of the two branches must take place much earlier than here for Jacob and Heli, and for Jechonias and Neri, we are still obliged to have recourse to the hypothesis of half-brothers; the only amelioration in this hypothesis over the other being, that these two very peculiar marriages do not take place in immediately consecutive generations. Now that this extraordinary double incident should not only have been twice repeated, but that the genealogists should twice have made the same selection in their statements respecting the natural and the legal father, and without any explanation,-is so improbable, that even the hypothesis of an adoption which is burdened with only one-half of these difficulties, has still more than it can bear. For in the case of adoption, since no fraternal or other relationship is required, between the natural and adopting fathers, the recurrence to a twice-repeated half-brotherhood is dispensed with; leaving only the necessity for twice supposing a relationship by adoption, and twice the peculiar circumstance, that the one genealogist from want of acquaintance with Jewish customs was ignorant of the fact, and the other, although he took account of it, was silent respecting it.

It has been thought by later critics that the knot may be loosed in a much easier way, by supposing that in one gospel we have the genealogy of Joseph, in the other that of Mary, in which case there would be no contradiction in the disagreement:† to which they are pleased to add the assumption that Mary was an heiress.‡ The opinion that Mary was of the race of David as well as Joseph has been long held. Following indeed the idea, that the Messiah, as a second Melchizedec, ought to unite in his person the priestly with

* Comp. Michaelis, Mos. Recht. ii. S. 200. Winer, bibi, Realwörterb. ii. S. 22 f.

† Thus e.g. Spanheim, dubia evang. p. 1. S. 13 ff. Lightfoot, Michaelis, Paulus, Kuinöl, Olshausen, lately Hoffman and others.

‡ Epiphanius, Grotius. Olshausen, S. 43.


the kingly dignity*, and guided by the relationship of Mary with Elizabeth, who was a daughter of Aaron (Luke i. 36); already in early times it was not only held by many that the races of Judah and Levi were blended in the family of Joseph†; but also the opinion was not rare that Jesus, deriving his royal lineage from Joseph, descended also from the priestly race through Mary.‡ The opinion of Mary's descent from David, soon however became the more prevailing. Many apocryphal writers clearly state this opinion§, as well as Justin Martyr, whose expression, that the virgin was of the race of David, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham, may be considered an indication that he applied to Mary one of our genealogies, which are both traced back to Abraham through David.||

On inquiring which of these two genealogies is to be held that of Mary? we are stopped by an apparently insurmountable obstacle, since each is distinctly announced as the genealogy of Joseph; the one in the words >GREEK FOR PETER< the other by the phrase >GREEK FOR PETER<. Here also, however, the >GREEK FOR PETER< of Matthew is more definite than the >GREEK FOR PETER< of Luke, which according to those interpreters may mean just as well a son-in-law or grandson; so that the genitive of Luke in iii. 23 was either intended to express that Jesus was in common estimation a son of Joseph, who was the son- in-law of Heli, the father of Mary**:-or else, that Jesus was, as was believed, a son of Joseph, and through Mary a grandson of Heli.*** As it may here be objected, that the Jews in their genealogies were accustomed to take no account of the female line,**** a farther hypothesis is had recourse to, namely, that Mary was an heiress, i.e. the daughter of a father without sons; and that in this case, according to Numbers xxxvi. 6, and Nehemiah vii. 63, Jewish custom required that the person who married her should not only be of the same race with herself, but that he should henceforth sink his own family in hers, and take her ancestors as his own. But the first point only is proved by the reference to Numbers; and the passage in Nehemiah, compared with several similar ones, (Ezra ii. 61; Numbers xxxii. 41; comp. with 1 Chron. ii. 21 f.) shows only that sometimes, by way of exception, a man took the name of his maternal ancestors. Tins difficulty with regard to Jewish customs, however, is cast into shade by one much more important. Although undeniably the genitive case used by Luke, expressing simply derivation in a general

* Testament XII Patriarch., Test. Simeon c. 71. In Fabric. Codex pseudepigr., V.T. p. 542: >GREEK FOR PETER< (the races of Levi and Juda) >GREEK FOR PETER<

†Comp. Thilo, cod. apocr. N. T. 1, S. 374 ff.

‡Thus e.g. the Manichæan Faustus in Augustin. contra Faust. L. xxiii. 4. § Protevangel. Jacobi c. 1 f. u. 10. and evangel. de nativitate Mariæ c. 1. Joachim and Anna, of the race of David, are here mentioned as the parents of Mary. Faustus on the contrary, in the above cited passage, gives Joachim the title of Sacerdos.

|| Dial. c. Tryph. 43. 100. (Paris, l742.)

** Paulus. The Jews also in their representation of a Mary, the daughter of Heli, tormented in the lower world, (see Lightfoot), appear to have taken the genealogy of Luke, which sets out from Heli, for that of Mary,

*** e.g. Lightfoot horæ, p. 750; Osiander, S. 86.

**** Juchasin f. 55, 2. in Lightfoot S. 183. and Bava bathra, f. 110, 2. in Wetstein S. 230 f. Comp. Joseph. Vita, 1.


sense, may signify any degree of relationship, and consequently that of son-in-law or grandson; yet this interpretation destroys the consistency of the whole passage. In the thirty-four preceding members, which are well known to us from the Old Testament, this genitive demonstrably indicates throughout the precise relationship of a son; likewise when it occurs between Salathiel and Zorobabel: how could it be intended in the one instance of Joseph to indicate that of son- in-law? or, according to the other interpretation, supposing the nominative >GREEK FOR PETER< to govern the whole series, how can we suppose it to change its signification from son to grandson, great-grandson, and so on to the end? If it be said the phrase >GREEK FOR PETER< is a proof that the genitive does not necessarily indicate a son in the proper sense of the word, we may reply that it bears a signification with regard to the immediate Author of existence equally inapplicable to either father-in-law or grandfather.

A further difficulty is encountered by this explanation of the two genealogies in common with the former one, in the concurrence of the two names of Salathiel and Zorobabel. The supposition of a Levirate marriage is as applicable to this explanation as the other, but the interpreters we are now examining prefer for the most part to suppose, that these similar names in the different genealogies belong to different persons. When Luke however, in the twenty-first and twenty-second generations from David, gives the very same names that Matthew (including the four omitted generations), gives in the nineteenth and twentieth, one of these names being of great notoriety, it is certainly impossible to doubt that they refer to the same persons.

Moreover, in no other part of the New Testament is there any trace to be found of the Davidical descent of Mary: on the contrary, some passages are directly opposed to it. In Luke i. 27, the expression >GREEK FOR PETER< refers only to the immediately preceding >GREEK FOR PETER<, not to the more remote >GREEK FOR PETER<. And more pointed still is the turn of the sentence Luke ii. 4>GREEK FOR PETER<, where >GREEK FOR PETER< might so easily have been written instead of >GREEK FOR PETER<, if the author had any thought of including Mary in the descent from David. These expressions fill to overflowing the measure of proof already adduced, that it is impossible to apply the genealogy of the third Evangelist to Mary.


A consideration of the insurmountable difficulties, which unavoidably embarrass every attempt to bring these two genealogies into harmony with one another, will lead us to despair of reconciling them, and will incline us to acknowledge, with the more


free-thinking class of critics, that they are mutually contradictory.* Consequently they cannot both be true: if, therefore, one is to be preferred before the other, several circumstances would seem to decide in favour of the genealogy of Luke, rather than that of Matthew. It does not exhibit an arbitrary adherence to a fixed form and to equal periods: and whilst the ascribing of twenty generations to the space of time from David to Jechonias or Neri, in Luke, is at least not more offensive to probability, than the omission of four generations in Matthew to historical truth; Luke's allotment of twenty-two generations for the period from Jechonias (born 617 B.C.) to Jesus, i.e. about 600 years, forming an average of twenty-seven years and a half to each generation, is more consonant with natural events, particularly amongst eastern nations, than the thirteen generations of Matthew, which make an average of forty-two years for each. Besides the genealogy of Luke is less liable than that of Matthew to the suspicion of having been written with a design to glorify Jesus, since it contents itself with ascribing to Jesus a descent from David, without tracing that descent through the royal line. On the other hand, however, it is more improbable that the genealogy of the comparatively insignificant family of Nathan should have been preserved, than that of the royal branch. Added to which, the frequent recurrence of the same names is, as justly remarked by Hoffmann, an indication that the genealogy of Luke is fictitious.

In fact then neither table has any advantage over the other. If the one is unhistorieal, so also is the other, since it is very improbable that the genealogy of an obscure family like that of Joseph, extending through so long a series of generations, should have been preserved during all the confusion of the exile, and the disturbed period that followed. Yet, it may be said, although we recognize in both, so far as they are not copied from the Old Testament, an unrestrained play of the imagination, or arbitrary applications of Other genealogies to Jesus,-we may still retain as an historical basis that Jesus was descended from David, and that only the intermediate members of the line of descent were variously filled up by different writers. But the one event on which this historical basis is mainly supported, namely, the journey of the parents of Jesus to Bethlehem in order to be taxed, so far from sufficing to prove them to be of the house and lineage of David, is itself, as we shall presently show, by no means established as matter of history. Of more weight is the other ground, namely, that Jesus is universally represented in the New Testament, without any contradiction from his adversaries, as the descendant of David. Yet even the phrase >GREEK FOR PETER< is a predicate that may naturally have been applied to Jesus, not on historical, but on dogmatical grounds. According to the

* Thus Eichorn, Einl. in das N. T. 1 Bd. S, 425. Kaiser, bibl. Theol. 1, S. 232. Wegscheider, Institut. § 123, not. d. de Wette, bibl. Dogm. § 279, and exeget. Handbuch 1. 2, S. 32. Winer,, bibl. Realwörterb. 1, S. 660 f. Hase, Leben Jesu, § 33. Fritzsche, Comm. in Matt. p. 35. Ammon, Fortbildung des Christenthums zur Weltreligion, 1, S. 196 ff.


prophecies, the Messiah could only spring from David. When therefore a Galilean, whose lineage was utterly unknown, and of whom consequently no one could prove that he was not descended from David, had acquired the reputation of being the Messiah; what more natural than that tradition should under different forms have early ascribed to him a Davidical descent, and that genealogical tables, corresponding with this tradition, should have been formed? which, however, as they were constructed upon no certain data, would necessarily exhibit such differences and contradictions as we find actually existing between the genealogies in Matthew and in Luke.*

If, in conclusion, it be asked, what historical result is to be deduced from these genealogies ? we reply: a conviction, (arrived at also from other sources,) that Jesus, either in his own person or through his disciples, acting upon minds strongly imbued with Jewish notions and expectations, left among his followers so firm a conviction of his Messiahship, that they did not hesitate to attribute to him the prophetical characteristic of Davidical descent, and more than one pen was put in action, in order, by means of a genealogy which should authenticate that descent, to justify his recognition as the Messiah.†

*See De Wette, bibl. Dogm. and exeg. Handb. 1, 1, S. 14 ; Hase, L. J. Eusebius gives a not improbable explanation of this disagreement (ad. Steph. quæst. iii., pointed out by Credner, 1, p. 68 f.) that besides the notion amongst the Jews, that the Messiah must spring from the royal line of David, another had arisen, that this line having become polluted and declared unworthy of continuing on the throne of David (Jerem. xxii. 30), by the wickedness of its later reigning members, a line more pure though less famed was to be preferred to it.

† The farther consideration on the origin and import of these genealogies, which arise from their connexion with the acount of the miraculous birth of Jesus, must be reserved till after the examination of the latter point.

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