Genealogies of Jesus

Gospel of Matthew 1.2-16 (on left) compared to Gospel of Luke 3.23-38

(1) From the point of convergence in Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel (at the time of the Babylonian captivity, about 550 bce), Matthew lists seven generations until Joseph, while Luke lists 18. At an estimated 25-30 years per generation, we would expect about 17-20 (500 years), as in Luke. There are no convergences of names in between, except possibly with Joseph's grandfather Matthan (Mt) // Matthat (Lk). The names found in GLuke between Zerubbabel and Joseph (Jesus supposed father) are otherwise unknown in extant ancient literature.

= Jesus, ... being the son (as was supposed) of
= Joseph, the son of
Jacob   // Heli, 3.24 the son of
        // Matthat, the son of
Matthan // Levi, the son of
        // Melchi, the son of
        // Jan'na-i, the son of
Eleazar // Joseph, 3.25 the son of
        // Mattathi'as, the son of
        // Amos, the son of
Eliud   // Nahum, the son of
        // Esli, the son of
        // Nag'ga-i, 3.26 the son of
Azor    // Ma'ath, the son of
        // Mattathi'as, the son of
        // Sem'e-in, the son of
Eliakim // Josech, the son of
        // Joda, 3.27 the son of
Abiud   // Jo-an'an, the son of
        // Rhesa, the son of
= Zerub'babel, the son of [1 Chron 3.19 (son of Pedaiah, Shealtiel's brother!)]
= She-al'ti-el, the son of [1 Chron 3.17]

(2) Despite the convergence of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel (around the year 550 bce), the genealogies again are completely different after the mention of David (around 1000 bce). Matthew has 14 generations, all reflecting the royal dynasty of the kingdom of Judah, while Luke has 20 generations with no obvious connections in preserved Judaic traditions. We would expect about 15-18 generations, on average. The same span in the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 3.10-17 contains 17 names.

Jechoniah   // Neri, 3.28 the son of [see 1 Chron 3.14-15 for GMatt sequence]
            // Melchi, the son of
Josiah      // Addi, the son of
            // Cosam, the son of
Amos        // Elma'dam, the son of
            // Er, 3.29 the son of
Manasseh    // Joshua, the son of
            // Elie'zer, the son of
Hezekiah    // Jorim, the son of
            // Matthat, the son of
Ahaz        // Levi, 3.30 the son of
            // Simeon, the son of
Jotham      // Judah, the son of
Uzziah      // Joseph, the son of [see 1 Chron 3.10-14 for GMatt list]
Joram       // Jonam, the son of
Jehoshaphat // Eli'akim, 3.31 the son of
Asa         // Me'le-a, the son of
Abijah      // Menna, the son of
Rheoboam    // Mat'tatha, the son of [1 Chron 3.10;
Solomon     // Nathan, the son of [see 1 Chronicles 3.5 for both names]

(3) The lineages from Abraham to David are virtually identical, reflecting Jewish scriptural traditions, with one difference in the spelling of the name Salmon (Mt) // Sala (Lk), and a problem with Matthew's one name Ram where Luke has two names Arni and Admin.

= David, 3.32 the son of [1 Chron 2.15 and 3.1]
= Jesse, the son of [1 Chron 2.12f]
= Obed, the son of [1 Chron 2.12]
= Bo'az, the son of [1 Chron 2.11]
Salmon // Sala, the son of [1 Chron 2.11 Salma]
= Nahshon, 3.33 the son of [1 Chron 2.10]
= Ammin'adab, the son of [1 Chron 2.10]
Ram    // Admin, the son of [1 Chron 2.9f & Ruth 4.18f have Ram]
       // Arni, the son of [much textual confusion here in Luke; Aram?]
= Hezron, the son of [1 Chron 2.5]
= Perez, the son of [1 Chron 2.4 and 4.1]
= Judah, 3.34 the son of [1 Chron 4.1]
= Jacob, the son of [also known as Israel; 1 Chron 1.35 and 2.1]
= Isaac, the son of
= Abraham, the son of [1 Chron 1.28 and 34]

(4) Obviously, GMatthew and GLuke present two different genealogies from David to Joseph, with Luke's being more "believable" in terms of the number of generations listed. Matthew's use of the traditional royal lineage in section "2" probably fits conceptually with the idea that Jesus as "Messiah/Christ" is considered both "king" and "son of David," and may have been chosen with that in view. There is no similar explanation for Luke's list in this section.