And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Luke 3 gives a genealogy of the Messiah. No two passages of Scripture have caused more difficulty than these, and various attempts have been made to explain them. There are two sources of difficulty in these catalogues.
1. Many names that are found in the Old Testament are here omitted; and,
2. The tables of Matthew and Luke appear in many points to be different.
From Adam to Abraham Matthew has mentioned no names, and Luke only has given the record. From Abraham to David the two tables are alike. Of course there is no difficulty in reconciling these two parts of the tables. The difficulty lies in that part of the genealogy from David to Christ. There they are entirely different. They are manifestly different lines. Not only are the names different, but Luke has mentioned, in this part of the genealogy, no less than 42 names, while Matthew has recorded only 27 names.
Various ways have been proposed to explain this difficulty, but it must be admitted that none of them is perfectly satisfactory. It does not comport with the design of these notes to enter minutely into an explanation of the perplexities of these passages. All that can be done is to suggest the various ways in which attempts have been made to explain them.
1. It is remarked that in nothing are mistakes more likely to occur than in such tables. From the similarity of names, and the different names by which the same person is often called, and from many other causes, errors would be more likely to creep into genealogical tables than in other writings. Some of the difficulties may have possibly occurred from this cause.
2. Most interpreters have supposed that Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph, and Luke that of Mary. They were both descended from David, but in different lines. This solution derives some plausibility from the fact that the promise was made to David, and as Jesus was not the son of Joseph, it was important to show that Mary was also descended from him. But though this solution is plausible, and may be true, yet it wants evidence. It cannot, however, be proved that this was not the design of Luke.
3. It has been said also that Joseph was the legal son and heir of Heli, though the real son of Jacob, and that thus the two lines terminated in him. This was the explanation suggested by most of the Christian fathers, and on the whole is the most satisfactory. It was a law of the Jews that if a man died without children, his brother should marry his widow. Thus the two lines might have been intermingled, According to this solution, which was first proposed by Africanus, Matthan, descended from Solomon, married Estha, of whom was born Jacob. After Matthan's death, Matthat being of the same tribe, but of another family, married his widow, and of this marriage Heli was born. Jacob and Heli were therefore children of the same mother. Heli dying without children, his brother Jacob married his widow, and begat Joseph, who was thus the legal son of Heli. This is agreeable to the account in the two evangelists. Matthew says that Jacob begat Joseph; Luke says that Joseph was the son of Heli, i. e., was his legal heir, or was reckoned in law to be his son. This can be seen by the plan on the next page, showing the nature of the connection.
Though these solutions may not seem to be entirely satisfactory, yet there are two additional considerations which should set the matter at rest, and lead to the conclusion that the narratives are not really inconsistent.
1. No difficulty was ever found, or alleged, in regard to them, by any of the early enemies of Christianity. There is no evidence that they ever adduced them as containing a contradiction. Many of those enemies were acute, learned, and able; and they show by their writings that they were not indisposed to detect all the errors that could possibly be found in the sacred narrative. Now it is to be remembered that the Jews were fully competent to show that these tables were incorrect, if they were really so; and it is clear that they were fully disposed, if possible, to do it. The fact, therefore, that it is not done, is clear evidence that they thought it to be correct. The same may be said of the acute pagans who wrote against Christianity. None of them have called in question the correctness of these tables. This is full proof that, in a time when it was easy to understand these tables, they were believed to be correct.
2. The evangelists are not responsible for the correctness of these tables. They are responsible only for what was their real and professed object to do. What was that object? It was to prove to the satisfaction of the Jews that Jesus was descended from David, and therefore that there was no argument from his ancestry that he was not the promised Messiah. Now to make this out, it was not necessary, nor would it have conduced to their argument, to have formed a new table of genealogy. All that could be done was to go to the family records - to the public tables, and copy them as they were actually kept, and show that, according to the records of the nation, Jesus was descended from David. This, among the Jews, would be full and decided testimony in the case. And this was doubtless done. In the same way, the records of a family among us, as they are kept by the family, are proof in courts of justice now of the birth, names, etc., of individuals. Nor is it necessary or proper for a court to call them in question or to attempt to correct them. So, the tables here are good evidence to the only point that the writers wished to establish: that is, to show to the Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was descended from David. The only inquiry which can now be fairly made is whether they copied those tables correctly. It is clear that no man can prove that they did not so copy them, and therefore that no one can adduce them as an argument against the correctness of the New Testament.Luke 3:23-38. There is no Abiud reckoned amongst the sons of Zorobabel, 1 Chronicles 3:19,20; and for the others named, we have no certain account of them in any part of the holy writ. From the time of Jehoiakim were above five hundred years to the birth of Christ, of which seventy were spent in the captivity of Babylon. Zorobabel was alive at the end of the captivity, Ezra 5:2, and, as it appears, the ruler of the Jews, though not under the title and style of king. For Eliakim, Azor, Sadoc, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, and Jacob, though we have no mention of them in any canonical books of holy writ but only this, yet Matthew’s credit in the church of God ought to out weigh any other writings, pretending any thing contrary to what he saith; we are therefore obliged to believe they all lineally descended from David, but, living in a private state and condition, and holy writ not extending its history beyond Zorobabel’s time, (the time when the Jews came out of Babylon), it is no wonder that we have no better means than we have from holy writ to know their lineal descent from the royal family. That Matthew in what he wrote was guided by the unerring Spirit, and that he had rolls of pedigrees which we want, we have reason to believe. This is enough for us Christians, who own the books of the New as well as the Old Testament to be wrote by persons Divinely inspired; so, as to them, we have nothing to do but to reconcile Matthew and Luke, both whom we own to have had the same infallible inspiration and direction. If Jews or pagans argue from any other topic than this, it is enough to tell them, that the Jews kept exact genealogies, and more especially as to the descents in the tribes of Judah and Levi, that they might never be at loss as to the Messiah, whom they expected as the Son of David, nor yet as to the true high priest. Though these records and rolls of genealogy be now lost, yet we have no reason to believe they were so in Matthew’s time; of which genealogies (as to this part) doubtless what Matthew saith was but a copy, directed by that Holy Spirit by which he was inspired. 1 Chronicles 3:19, to be Meshullam, and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister, but no mention is made of Abiud: he seems to be the same with Meshullam the eldest son, who might have two names; nor is this unlikely, since it was usual, especially about the time of the Babylonish captivity, for men to have more names than one, as may be observed in Daniel and others, Daniel 1:7 where they went by one, and in Judea by another.
And Abiud begat Eliakim, &c. From hence to the 16th verse the genealogy is carried down to Joseph, the husband of Mary; which account must be taken from the genealogical tables of the Jews, to which recourse might be had, and with which it agrees; or otherwise the Jews would have cavilled at it; but I do not find any objections made by them to it. That there were genealogical books or tables kept by the Jews is certain, from the following instances (i);
"Simeon ben Azzai says, I found in Jerusalem, , "a volume of genealogies", and there was written in it, &c.''
Again (k), says R. Levi,
"they found a "volume of genealogies" in Jerusalem, and there was written in it that Hillell came from David; Ben Jarzaph from Asaph; Ben Tzitzith Hacceseth from Abner; Ben Cobesin from Ahab; Ben Calba Shebuah from Caleb; R. Jannai from Eli; R. Chayah Rabba from the children of Shephatiah, the son of Abital; R. Jose be Rabbi Chelphetha from the children of Jonadab, the son of Rechab; and R. Nehemiah from Nehemiah the Tirshathite.''
Once more (l), says R. Chana bar Chanma, when the holy blessed God causes his
"Shechinah to dwell, he does not cause it to dwell but upon families, "which are genealogized" in Israel.''
Now if Matthew's account had not been true, it might easily have been refuted by these records. The author of the old (m) Nizzachon takes notice of the close of this genealogy, but finds no fault with it; only that it is carried down to Joseph, and not to Mary; which may be accounted for by a rule of their own (n), "the mother's family is not called a family", whereas the father's is. It is very remarkable that the Jewish Targum (o) traces the descent of the Messiah from the family of David in the line of Zorobabel, as Matthew does; and reckons the same number of generations, wanting one, from Zorobabel to the Messiah, as the Evangelist does, from Zorobabel to Jesus; according to Matthew, the genealogy stands thus, Zorobabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Sadoc, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph, Jesus; and according to the Targum the order is this,
"Zorobabel, Hananiah, Jesaiah, Rephaiah, Arnon, Obadiah, Shecaniah, Shemnigh, Neariah, Elioenai, Anani; this is the king Messiah, who is to be revealed.''
The difference of names may be accounted for by their having two names, as before observed. This is a full proof, that, according to the Jews own account, and expectation, the Messiah must be come many years and ages ago.
(i) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 49. 2.((k) T. Hieros. Taanith, fol. 68. 1. B. Rabba, sect. 98. fol. 85. 3.((l) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 70. 9. (m) P. 186. (n) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 54. 2. Bava Bathra, fol. 109. 2. & 110. 2. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 6. 1. Jucbasin, fol. 55. 2.((o) In 1 Chronicles 3.24. Vid. Beckii Not. in ib. p. 56, 57.And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 15. - Eleazar begat Matthan. St. Luke makes Matthat (or Hatthan; the names are from the same root, and in some texts are identical), to be the son of Levi. This is probably the actual fact. St. Luke seems to have traced the genealogy from Zerubbabel through a younger, son, St. Matthew through an elder. But the elder line failing, Matthan, the son of Levi, of the younger branch, becomes heir to, and is called son or, Eleazar, of the senior line. As the promise of the Messiah was to the house of David, and this was known to every Jew, we need not be surprised to find the families descended from that king preserving most careful records of every branch of the family.
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