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je-na-al'-o-ji, jen-a-al'-o-ji:

1. Definition

2. Biblical References

3. Importance of Genealogies

4. Their Historical Value

5. Principles of Interpretation

6. Principles of Compilation

7. Sources

8. Principal Genealogies and Lists


1. Definition:

The Old Testament translates (once, Nehemiah 7:5) the noun yachas; cepher ha-yachas, "book of the genealogy"; also translates a denominate verb in Hithpael, yachas, "sprout" "grow" (compare family "tree"); hithyaches, "genealogy"; the idea is conveyed in other phrases, as cepher toledhoth, "book of the generations," or simply toledhoth, "generations." In the New Testament it transliterates genealogia, "account of descent," 1 Timothy 1:4 Titus 3:9. In Matthew 1:1, biblos geneseos, "book of the generation" of Jesus Christ, is rendered in the American Revised Version, margin "the genealogy of Jesus Christ"; a family register, or register of families, as 1 Chronicles 4:33, etc.; the tracing backward or forward of the line of ancestry of individual, family, tribe, or nation; pedigree. In Timothy and Titus refers probably to the Gnostic (or similar) lists of successive emanations from Deity in the development of created existence.

2. Biblical References:

According to the Old Testament, the genealogical interest dates back to the beginnings of sacred history. It appears in the early genealogical tables of Genesis 5; 10; 46, etc.; in Exodus 6:14-27, where the sons of Reuben, Simeon and especially Levi, are given; in Numbers 1:2; Numbers 26:2-51, where the poll of fighting men is made on genealogical principles; in Numbers 2:2, where the positions on the march and in camp are determined by tribes and families; in David's division of priests and Levites into courses and companies (1 Chronicles 6-9); is referred to in the account of Jeroboam's reign (2 Chronicles 12:15 margin, "the words of Iddo, after the manner of genealogies"); is made prominent in Hezekiah's reforms when he reckoned the whole nation by genealogies (1 Chronicles 4:41 2 Chronicles 31:16-19); is seen in Jotham's reign when the Reubenites and Gadites are reckoned genealogically (1 Chronicles 5:17). Zerubbabel took a census, and settled the returning exiles according to their genealogies (1 Chronicles 3:19-24 1 Chronicles 9 Ezra 2 Nehemiah 7; Nehemiah 11; Nehemiah 11 12). With the rigid exclusion of all foreign intermixtures by the leaders of the Restoration (Ezra 10 Nehemiah 10:30; Nehemiah 13:23-31), the genealogical interest naturally deepened until it reached its climax, perhaps in the time of Christ and up to the destruction of Jerusalem. Josephus, in the opening of his Life, states that his own pedigree was registered in the public records. Many families in Christ's time clearly possessed such lists (Luke 1:5, etc.). The affirmed, reiterated and unquestioned Davidic descent of Christ in the New Testament, with His explicit genealogies (Matthew 1:1-17 Luke 3:23-38); Paul's statement of his own descent; Barnabas' Levitical descent, are cases in point. Davididae, descendants of David, are found as late as the Roman period. There is a tradition that Herod I destroyed the genealogical lists at Jerusalem to strengthen his own seat, but more probably they persisted until the destruction of Jerusalem.

3. Importance of Genealogies:

Genealogical accuracy, always of interest both to primitive and more highly civilized peoples, was made especially important by the facts that the land was promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, that the priesthood was exclusively hereditary, that the royal succession of Judah lay in the Davidic house, that the division and occupation of the land was according to tribes, families and fathers' houses; and for the Davididae, at least, that the Messiah was to be of the house of David. The exile and return, which fixed indelibly in the Jewish mind the ideas of monotheism, and of the selection and sacred mission of Israel, also fixed and deepened the genealogical idea, prominently so in the various assignments by families, and in the rejection in various ways of those who could not prove their genealogies. But it seems extreme to date, as with many modern critics, its real cultivation from this time. In the importance attached to genealogies the Hebrew resembles many other ancient literatures, notably the Egyptian Greek, and Arabic, but also including Romans, Kelts, Saxons, the earliest history naturally being drawn upon genealogical as well as on annalie lines. A modern tendency to overestimate the likeness and underestimate the unlikeness of the Scripture to its undoubtedly cognate literatures finds in the voluminous artificial genealogical material, which grew up in Arabia after the time of the caliph Omar, an almost exact analogue to the genealogical interest at the time of the return. This, however, is on the assumption of the late date of most of the genealogical material in the older New Testament books, and rests in turn on the assumption that the progress of religious thought and life in Israel was essentially the same as in all other countries; an evolutionary development, practically, if not theoretically, purely naturalistic in its genesis and progress.

4. Their Historical Value:

The direct historical value of the Scripture genealogies is variously estimated. The critically reconstructive school finds them chiefly in the late (priestly) strata of the early books, and dates Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah (our fullest sources) about 300 B.C., holding it to be a priestly reconstruction of the national history wrought with great freedom by the "Chronicler." Upon this hypothesis the chief value of the genealogies is as a mirror of the mind and ideas of their authors or recorders, a treasury of reflections on the geographical, ethnological and genealogical status as believed in at their time, and a study of the effect of naive and exaggerated patriotism dealing with the supposed facts of national life, or else, in the extreme instance, a highly interesting example of bold and inventive juggling with facts by men with a theory, in this particular case a priestly one, as with the "Chronicler." To more conservative scholars who accept the Old Testament at its face value, the genealogies are a rich mine of historical, personal and ethnographic, as well as religious, information, whose working, however, is much hindered by the inevitable corruption of the text, and by our lack of correlative explanatory information. Much interesting illustrative matter may be looked for from such archaeological explorations as those at Gezer and elsewhere under the Palestine Exploration Society, the names on the pottery throwing light on the name-lists in Chronicles, and the similar discoveries on the supposed site of Ahab's palace in Samaria, which also illustrate the conflict between Baal and Yahweh worship by the proportion of the proper names compounded by "Baal" or "Jah" (see Macalister, Bible Sidelights from Gezer, 150; PEF, 1905, 243, 328; Harvard Theological Review, 1911). In spite of all such illustrative data, however, the genealogies must necessarily continue to present many insoluble problems. A great desideratum is a careful and systematic study of the whole question by some modern conservative scholar endowed with the patience and insight of the late Lord A.C. Hervey, and equipped with the fruits of the latest discoveries. While much curious and suggestive information may be derived from an intensive study of the names and relationships in the genealogies (although here the student needs to watch his theories), their greatest present value lies in the picture they present of the large-hearted cosmopolitanism, or international brotherliness, in the older ones, notably Genesis 10, recognizing so clearly that God hath made of one all nations to dwell on the earth; and, as they progress, in the successive selection and narrowing as their lines converge upon the Messiah.

5. Principles of Interpretation:

In the evaluation and interpretation of the genealogies, certain facts and principles must be held in mind.

(1) Lists of names necessarily suffer more in transmission than other literature, since there is almost no connectional suggestion as to their real form. Divergences in different versions, or in different stages, of the same genealogy are therefore to be looked for, with many tangles hard to unravel, and it is precisely at this point that analytic and constructive criticism needs to proceed most modestly and restrain any possible tendency unduly to theorize.

(2) Frequently in the Scriptural lists names of nations, countries, cities, districts or clans are found mingled with the names of individuals. This is natural, either as the personification of the clan or nation under the name of its chief, or chief progenitor, or as the designation of the individual clan, family or nation, from its location, so common among many nations. Many of the cases where this occurs are so obvious that the rule may not be unsafe to consider all names as probably standing for individuals where the larger geographical or other reference is not unmistakably clear. This is undoubtedly the intent and understanding of those who transmitted and received them.

(3) It is not necessary to assume that the ancestors of various tribes or families are eponymous, even though otherwise unknown. The Scriptural explanation of the formation of tribes by the expansion and division of families is not improbable, and is entitled to a certain presumption of correctness. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to establish a stopping-point for the application of the eponymous theory; under its spell the sons of Jacob disappear, and Jacob, Isaac and even Abraham become questionable.

(4) The present quite popular similar assumption that personal details in the genealogy stand for details of tribal history, as, for instance, the taking of a concubine means rather an alliance with, or absorption of, an inferior tribe or clan, is a fascinating and far-reaching generalization, but it lacks confirmation, and would make of the Scripture an allegorical enigma in which historical personages and events, personified peoples or countries, and imaginary ancestors are mingled in inextricable confusion.

(5) Scriptural genealogies are often given a regular number of generations by omitting various intermediate steps. The genealogies of Jesus, for instance, cover 42 generations, in 3 subdivisions of 14 each. Other instances are found in the Old Testament, where the regularity or symmetry is clearly intentional. Instance Jacob's 70 descendants, and the 70 nations of Genesis 10. This has in modern eyes an artificial look, but by no means necessarily involves violence done to the facts under the genealogist's purview, and is readily and creditably accounted for by his conceptions and purposes. The theory that in some cases the requisite number has been built up by the insertion of imaginary names(see Curtis, ICC, "Chronicles," 135) has another aspect, and does not seem necessary to account for the facts, or to have sufficient facts to sustain it. See21:5, (6) below. It involves a view of the mental and moral equipment and point of view of the Chronicler in particular, which would not seem to leave him many shreds of either historical, or "religious" value, and which a sounder criticism will surely very materially modify.

(6) Much perplexity and confusion is avoided by remembering that other modes of entrance into the family, clan, tribe or nation obtained than that by birth: capture, adoption, the substitution of one clan for another just become extinct, marriage. Hence, "son of," "father of," "begat," have broader technical meanings, indicating adoptive or official connection or "descent," as well as actual consanguinity, nearer or remote, "son" also meaning "grandson," "great-grandson," etc. Instance Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, of the tribe of Judah, styled (1 Chronicles 2:18) a descendant of Hezron and son of Hur, but also, in token of his original descent, called the Kenizzite or "son of Kenaz" (Joshua 15:17), etc. Similarly, where in an earlier genealogy a clan or individual is assigned to a certain tribe, and in a later to another, it has been "grafted in." But while these methods of accretion clearly obtained, the nations freely absorbing neighboring or surrounding peoples, families, or persons, families likewise absorbing individuals, as in American Indian, and many other tribes; yet, as in them, the descent and connection by birth constituted the main line, and in any given case has the presumption unless clear facts to the contrary exist.

(7) The repetition of the same name in the same genealogy, as in that of the high priests (1 Chronicles 6:1-15), rouses "suspicion" in some minds, but unnecessarily. It is very natural, and not uncommon, to find grandfathers and grandsons, especially among the Hebrews, receiving the same name (Luke 1:59). This would be especially to be expected in a hereditary caste or office like the priesthood.

(8) The existence of the same name in different genealogies is not uncommon, and neither implies nor should cause confusion.

(9) The omission of one or many links in the succession, often clearly caused by the desire for symmetry, is frequent where the cause is unknown, the writers being careful only to indicate the connection more or less generally, without feeling bound to follow every step. Tribes were divided into families, and families into fathers' houses; tribe, family and fathers' house regularly constituting links in a formal genealogy, while between them and the person to be identified any or all links may be omitted. In similar fashion, there is an absence of any care to keep the successive generations absolutely distinct in a formal fashion, son and grandson being designated as alike "son" of the same ancestor. Genesis 46:21, for instance, contains grandsons as well as sons of Benjamin, Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Nanman, Ehi, etc. This would be especially true where the son as well as the father became founder of a house. Some confusion is occasionally caused by the lack of rigid attention to precise terminology, a characteristic of the Hebrew mind. Strictly the tribe, shebheT (in the Priestly Code (P), maTTeh), is the larger subdivision, then the clan, mishpachah, "family," and then the "house" or "fathers' house," bayith, or beth 'abh, beth 'abhoth; but sometimes a "fathers' house" is a tribe (Numbers 17:6), or a clan (1 Chronicles 24:6). In this connection it is to be remembered again that sequence of generations often has to do with families rather than with individuals, and represents the succession to the inheritance or headship, rather than the actual relationship of father and son.

(10) Genealogies are of two forms, the descending, as Genesis 10: "The sons of Japheth: Gomer," etc.; "The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz," etc.; and the ascending, Ezra 7:1: "Ezra, the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah," etc. The descending are the usual.

(11) Feminine names are occasionally found, where there is anything remarkable about them, as Sarai and Milcah (Genesis 11:29), Rebekah (Genesis 22:23), etc.; or where any right or property is transmitted through them, as the daughters of Zelophehad, who claimed and were accorded "a possession among the brethren of (their) father" (Numbers 26:33; Numbers 27:1-11), etc. In such cases as Azubah and Ephrath, successive wives of Caleb (1 Chronicles 2:18-20), many modern critics find tribal history enshrined in this case, "Caleb" or "dog" tribe having removed from Azubah, "deserted" to Ephrathah, Bethlehem, in Northern Judah. But the principle is not, and cannot be, carried Out consistently.

(12) The state of the text is such, especially in Chronicles, that it is not easy, or rather not possible, to construct a complete genealogical table after the modern form. Names and words have dropped out, and other names have been changed, so that the connection is often difficult and sometimes impossible to trace. The different genealogies also represent different stages in the history and, at many places, cannot with any knowledge now at our command be completely adjusted to each other, just as geographical notices at different periods must necessarily be inconsistent.

(13) In the present state of our knowledge, and of the text, and also considering the large and vague chronological methods of the Hebrews, the genealogies can give us comparatively little chronological assistance. The uncertainty as to the actual length of a generation, and the custom of frequently omitting links in the descent, increases the difficulty; so that unless they possess special marks of completeness, or have outstanding historical relationships which determine or corroborate them, or several parallel genealogies confirm each other, they must be used with great caution. Their interest is historical, biographical, successional or hereditary, rather than chronological.

6. Principles of Compilation:

The principal genealogical material of the Old Testament is found in Genesis 5; 10; 11; 22; 25; 29; 30; 35; 36; 46; Exodus 6; Numbers 1; 2; 7; 10; 13; 26; 34; scattered notices in Joshua, Ruth, 1 Samuel; 2 Samuel 3; 5; 23; 1 Kings 4; 1 Chronicles 1-9; 11; 12; 15; 23-27; 2 Chronicles 23; 29; Ezra 2; 7; 10; Ne 3; 7; 10; 11; 12. The genealogies of our Lord (Matthew 1:1-17 Luke 3:23-38) are the only New Testament material. The Old Testament and New Testament genealogies bring the record down from the creation to the birth of Christ. After tracing the descent from Adam to Jacob, incidentally (Genesis 10) giving the pedigree of the various nations within their purview, the Hebrew genealogists give the pedigree of the twelve tribes. As was to be expected, those tribes, which in the developing history assumed greater prominence, received the chief attention. Dan is carried down but 1 generation, and credited with but 1 descendant; Zebulun 1 generation, 3 sons; Naphtali 1 generation, 4 sons; Issachar 4 generations, 15 descendants; Manasseh 4 generations, 39 descendants; Asher 7 generations, 40 descendants; Reuben 8 (?) generations, 22 descendants; Gad 10 generations, 28 descendants; Ephraim 14 (?) generations, 25 descendants. Levi, perhaps first as the priestly tribe, Judah next as the royal, Benjamin as most closely associated with the others, and all three as the survivors of the exile (although representatives of other tribes shared in the return) are treated with the greatest fullness.

7. Sources:

Chronicles furnishes us the largest amount of genealogical information, where coincident with the older genealogies, clearly deriving its data from them. Its extra-canonical sources are a matter of considerable difference among critics, many holding that the books cited by the Chronicler as his sources ("The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah," "The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel," "The History of Samuel the Seer," "The History of Nathan the Prophet," etc., to the number of perhaps 16) are our canonical books, with the addition of a "Midrashic History of Israel," from which he quotes the most freely. But the citations are made with such fullness, vividness, and particularity of reference, that it is hard to believe that he did not have before him extensive extra-canonical documents. This is the impression he clearly seeks to convey. Torrey (AJSL, XXV, 195) considers that he cit, es this array of authority purely "out of his head," for impressiveness' sake, a theory which leaves the Chronicler no historical value whatever. It is extremely likely that he had before him also oral and written sources that he has not cited, records, private or public lists, pedigrees, etc., freely using them for his later lists and descents. For the post-exilic names and lists, Ezra-Nehemiah also furnish us much material. In this article no attempt is made at an exhaustive treatment, the aim being rather by a number of characteristic examples to give an idea of the quality, methods and problems of the Bible genealogies.

8. Principal Genealogies and Lists:

In the early genealogies the particular strata to which each has been assigned by reconstructive critics is here indicated by J, the Priestly Code (P), etc. The signs "=" or ":" following individual names indicate sonship.

(1) Genesis 4:16-24.-The Cainites (Assigned to P).

Seven generations to Jabal, Jubal and Tubal-cain, explaining the hereditary origin of certain occupations (supposed by many to be a shorter version of chapter 5).

(2) Genesis 4:25, 26.-The Sethites (Assigned to J).

(3) Genesis 5:1-32.-The Book of the Generations of Adam (Assigned to the Priestly Code (P), Except 5:29 J).

Brings the genealogy down to Noah, and gives the chronology to the Flood. The numbers in the Hebrew Massoretic Text, the Samaritan Hebrew, and the Septuagint differ, Massoretic Text aggregating 1,656 years, Samaritan 1,307 years, and Septuagint 2,242 years. Some scholars hold this list to be framed upon that of the ten Babylonian kings given in Berosus, ending with Xisuthrus, the Babylonian Noah. An original primitive tradition, from which both lists are derived, the Hebrew being the nearer, is not impossible. Both the "Cainite" list in Genesis 4 and this "Sethite" list end with three brothers.

(4) Genesis 10:1-32.-The Generations of the Sons of Noah.

"The Table of Nations" (assigned to the Priestly Code (P), 10:1-7; J, 10:8-19; the Priestly Code (P), 10:20; J, 10:21; the Priestly Code (P), 10:22; J, 10:24-30; the Priestly Code (P), 10:31, 32). Found in abridged form in 1 Chronicles 1:5-24.

I. Japheth = Gomer, Magog, Badai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, Tiras.

1. Gomer = Ashkenaz, Riphath (1 Chronicles 1:6, Diphath), Togarmah.

2. Javan = Elisha, Tarshish, Kittim, Dodanim (Rodanim, 1 Chronicles 17, is probably correct, a "d", having been substituted by a copyist for "r").

II. Ham = Cush, Mizraim, Put, Canaan.

1. Cush = Seba, Havilah, Sibtah, Raamah, Sabteca (Nimrod).

2. Mizraim = Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim (whence the Philis), Caphtorim.

3. Canaan = Zidon (Chronicles, Sidon), Heth; the Jebusite, Amorite, Girgashite, Hivite, Arkite, Sinite, Arvadite, Zemarite, Hittite.

4. Raamah (son of Cush) = Sheba, Dedan.

III. Elam = Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, Aramaic

1. Aram = Uz, Hul, Gether, Mash (Chronicles, Meshech).

2. Arpachshad = Shelah = Eber = Peleg, Joktan.

3. Joktan (son of Eber) = Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, Jobab.

4. Peleg (son of Eber) = Reu = Serug = Nahor = Terah = Abraham.

Nearly all these names are of peoples, cities or districts. That Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, Nahor, Terah, Abraham, Nimrod, and probably Peleg, Reu, Serug, represent actual persons the general tenor of the narrative and the general teaching of Scripture clearly indicate, although many critics consider these also as purely eponymous. The others can mostly be more or less clearly identified ethnographically or geographically. This table represents the nations known to the writer, and in general, although not in all particulars, expresses the ethnographical relationships as far as they are now known to modern research. It follows a partly ethnological, partly geographical scheme, the descendants of Japheth in general representing the Aryan stock settled in Asia Minor, Media, Armenia, Greece, and the islands of the Mediterranean; those of Ham representing the Hamitic races in Ethiopia, Egypt, in Southwest Arabia, and Southern Babylonia. Many modern writers hold that in making "Nimrod" the son of "Cush," the Scripture writer has confused "Cush," the son of Ham, with another "Gush," the Cassei, living near Elam, since the later Babylonians and Assyrians were clearly Semitic in language and racial characteristics. Nevertheless the Scripture statement is accordant with early traditions of a Hamitic settlement of the country (Oannes the fish-god coming out of the Red Sea, etc.), and perhaps also with the fact that the earliest language of Babylonia was non-Sem. The sons of Canaan represent the nations and peoples found by the Hebrews in Palestine, the Phoenicians and the Canaanites. Heth is the great Hittite nation, by language and racial type strikingly non-Sem. Among the sons of Shem, Eber is by many considered eponymous or imaginary, but the hypothesis is not necessary. Most Assyriologists deny the connection of Elam with Shem, the later Elamites being non-Sem; the inscriptions, however, show that the earlier inhabitants up to 2300 B.C. were Semitic Lud must be the Lydians of Asia Minor, whose manners and older names resemble the Semitic Asia Minor presents a mixture of races as manifold as does Palestine. The sons of Joktan are tribes in Western and Southern Arabia. Havilah is given both as a son of Cush, Hamite, and of Joktan, Semite, perhaps because the district was occupied by a mixed race. It would seem, however, that "begat" or "son of" often represents geographical as well as ethnological relations. And where the classification of the Scripture writer does not accord with the present deliverances of archaeology, it must be remembered that at this distance conclusions drawn from ethnology, philology and archaeology, considering the present incomplete state of these sciences, the kaleidoscopic shifting of races, dynasties and tongues through long periods, and our scanty information, are liable to so many sources of error that dogmatism is precarious. The ancient world possessed a much larger amount of international knowledge than was, until recently, supposed. A writer of 300 B.C. had a closer range and could have had sources of information much more complete than we possess. On the assumption of the Mosaic authorship, that broad, statesmanlike mind, learned in all the knowledge of the Egyptians, and, clearly, profoundly influenced by Babylonian law and literature, may be credited with considerable breadth of vision and many sources of information. Aside from the question of inspiration, this Table of Nations; for breadth of scope, for inclusiveness (though not touching peoples outside of the life of its writer), for genial broadmindedness, is one of the most remarkable documents in any literature.

(5) Genesis 11:10-27.-The Generations of Shem (assigned to P).

From Shem to Abraham. The list is also chronological, but the versions differ, Massoretic Text making 290 years, from Shem to Abraham, Samaritan Hebrew, 940, and Septuagint 1,070. Septuagint inserts Cainan, 130 years, otherwise agreeing with the Samaritan to the birth of Abraham. Arpachshad may be rendered "the territory of Chesed," i.e. of the Chasdim, Chaldeans. Eber therefore is descended from Arpachshad, Abraham, his descendant, coming from Ur-Chasdim.

(6) Genesis 11:23-26; 22:20-24.-The Children of Nahor (11:23-26 P; 22:20-24 J).

Uz, Buz, Kemuel, etc. These descendants of Abraham's brother probably represent Aramean tribes chiefly East or Northeast of Canaan. Aram may be the ancestor of the Syrians of Damascus. Uz and Buz probably belong to Arabia Petrea, mentioned in Jeremiah 25:23 with the Arabian tribes Dedan and Thema. Chesed in this list probably stands, not for the Chaldeans of Babylonia, but for a related tribe of Northern Syria. In Genesis 10:23 (assigned to P) Uz is the son of Aram, and in 10:22 Aram is a son of Shem. On the purely tribal hypothesis, this is either a contradiction, or the later statements represent other tribal relationships or subdivisions. Probably other individuals or tribes are indicated. Chronicles does not have this list, it being a side stream.

(7) Genesis 16:15; 21:1-3; 25 (also 1 Chronicles 1:28-33).-The Sons of Abraham by Sarah, Hagar, Keturah (Genesis 16:15 assigned to P; 21:1-3 to J, the Priestly Code (P), J, P; Genesis 25:1-6 J; 25:7-11 P; 25:11b J; 25:12-17 P; 25:18 J; 25:19, 20 P; 25:21-26a J; 25:26b P; 25:27-34 J).

The descendants of Abraham through Hagar and Ishmael represent the Ishmaelite tribes of Arabia living North and Northwest of the Joktanidae, who chiefly peopled Arabia. Twelve princes are named, possibly all sons of Ishmael, perhaps some of them grandsons. The number has seemed "suspicious" as balancing too exactly the twelve tribes of Israel. But twelve is an approved Semitic number, determining not necessarily the sons born, but the "sons" mentioned. The Arabians generally were frequently given the name Ishmaelites, perhaps because of the greater prominence and closer contact of these northern tribes with the Hebrews. The sons of Keturah seem to have been chiefly Arabian tribes, whose locations are unknown. Midian, of the sons of Keturah, is the well-known and powerful tribe in the Arabian desert near the Aelanitic Gulf, bordered by Edom on the Northwest Sheba and Dedan are also mentioned as Cushites (Genesis 10:7). Very likely the tribes extensively intermarried, and could claim descent from both; or were adopted into one or the other family.

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1. The Problems Involved

2. Nature and Importance of the Issue


1. Peculiarities of Matthew's Genealogy

2. Explanation of the Foregoing

3. Peculiarities of Luke's Genealogy

4. Explanation of the Foregoing


1. Divergences

2. Correspondence


1. Text of Matthew 1:16

2. General Conclusions


I. Introduction.

1. The Problems Involved:

The genealogy of Jesus as contained in the First and Third Gospels presents three special problems which lie somewhat part from general questions of New Testament criticism:

(1) the construction and purpose of each list taken separately;

(2) the relation of the two lists, in their coincidences and variations, to each other;

(3) the relationship of both lists to the statement concerning the virgin birth of our Lord with which they are directly connected. These questions necessarily involve the conclusion to be arrived at concerning the trustworthiness of the list of names as forming an actual historical connection between Jesus and His ancestors according to the flesh.

2. Nature and Importance of the Issue:

Before these problems are dealt with, it would be well to consider the kind and degree of importance to be attached to the question at issue. As we see it, the only vital point at stake is the balance, sanity and good judgment of the evangelists.

(1) That Jesus had a line of ancestors by His human birth may be taken for granted. The tradition, universal from the earliest times among believers and granted even by the bitterest opponents, that He was connected with the line of David, may also readily be accepted. The exact line through which that connection is traced is, on general principles, of secondary importance. The fact is that, while natural sonship to David on the part of the Messiah was of vital importance to many Jewish inquirers, it failed of any very enthusiastic endorsement on the part of Jesus Himself (see the truly remarkable interview recorded in Mark 12:35-37). The expressions of Paul in this connection will be referred to later; at this point it is sufficient to say that physical kinship to David cannot be insisted upon as the only justification for his words.

(2) If, then, the purpose of the evangelists in having recourse to these lists is worth while, the question of their correctness need not even be raised. Unless some vital issue is involved, the supposition of a special inspiration to go behind lists currently accepted is gratuitous. No such issue seems to be presented here. The Davidic kinship of Jesus, in any sense essential to His Messiahship, is independent of the lists which are used to justify it. This is preliminary to the actual discussion and need not prevent us from giving all due credit to lists which could not have been carelessly compiled nor lightly used.

II. The Genealogies Separately.

1. Peculiarities of Matthew's Genealogy:

(1) The construction and incorporation of Joseph's genealogical tree is, in the light of all the facts, the primary consideration.

(2) The artificial division into three groups of fourteen generations each. The apparent defect in this arrangement as it actually stands (the third group lacks one member) is probably traceable to a defect of the Septuagint version of 1 Chronicles 3:11, which is reproduced in the Greek gospel (see Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, English translation, 564, note 4). This arrangement into groups is the more striking because it makes 14 generations from the captivity to Joseph, where Luke makes 20 or 21, and because the first group of 14 is formed by the omission of three names. It is perfectly clear, therefore, that this artificial grouping is essential to the purpose of the evangelist.

(3) The insertion of the names of brothers, thus following the historical lists and broadening the genealogy by including collateral lines.

(4) The insertion of the names of women-a practice not only foreign but abhorrent to ordinary usage. This peculiarity is the more marked when we notice that these names introduce what would be considered serious blots in the family history of the Davidic house (see Matthew 1:5, 7).

(5) The principle upon which the division into periods is constructed:

(a) from Abraham to David,

(b) from David to the Captivity,

(c) from the Captivity to Jesus. Attention has repeatedly been called to the fact that this gives a definite historical movement to the genealogy. It involves the origin, the rise to power, the decay and downfall of the house of David (see Allen, ICC, "Matthew," 2; compare Zahn, N T, English translation, I, 535).

2. Explanation of the Foregoing:

Of the many theories which have been constructed to explain the foregoing six peculiarities of the genealogy of Matthew, altogether the most satisfactory is that of Professor Zahn. His contention is that the list was framed not to prove the natural connection of Jesus with the house of David-a fact which no one doubted-but to defend the one vital point where attack had been made, namely, the legitimacy of Jesus' connection with David. No one seems to have questioned that Jesus was born of Mary and was closely connected with the royal house. The question was whether He was of legitimate birth. It was charged-and the slander which was very early in origin and circumstantial in character obtained an extraordinary hold upon the hostile Jewish mind-that Jesus was the illegitimate offspring of Mary. The Gospel of Matthew meets that slander by giving a bird's-eye view of the movement of the history from Abraham to the Messiah in the form of a genealogy of Joseph, who in the light of all the facts concerning the origin of Jesus marries Mary and gives her the protection of his stainless name and royal lineage. The extraordinary boldness and brilliancy of this apologetic method ought not to be overlooked. The formal charge that Jesus is son of Mary, not of Joseph, is admitted-the slander involved is refuted by bringing Joseph forward as a witness for Mary. Nothing could have been more natural for a man fearless in the confidence of truth; nothing could have been more impossible for one insecure in his hold upon the facts. So far as the genealogy is concerned, just the moment we realize that the purpose is not to prove the natural sonship of Jesus to David, but to epitomize the history, all hesitancy and apprehension concerning the historicity of the successive names disappear. The continuity of blood relationship through these successive generations becomes of no essential importance. Zahn's explanation (the argument in full should be read by every student), simple in itself, explains all the facts, as a key fits a complicated lock. It explains the choice of a genealogy as a method of epitomizing history and that genealogy Joseph's, the artificial grouping at the expense of changing the traditional lists, the inclusion of the names of brothers and of women.

3. Peculiarities of Luke's Genealogy:

(1) The choice of Joseph's genealogical tree on the part of one who is so deeply interested in Mary.

(2) The reversal of order in going back from Joseph to his ancestors. Godet emphasizes the fact that, in the nature of the case, a genealogy follows the order of succession, each new individual being added to the roll of his family. Luke's method indicates that his genealogy has been constructed for a special purpose.

(3) The carrying of the line back of the history of the covenant, which begins with Abraham, to Adam, who represents the race in general. This fact, together with another, that the line of Joseph is traced to David through Nathan who was not David's heir, proves that Luke was not concerned with establishing the Davidic standing of Jesus.

(4) The placing of the genealogy, not at the beginning of the Gospel, but at the beginning of the ministry, between the baptism and the temptation.

(5) The omission of the article before the name of Joseph.

4. Explanation of the Foregoing:

(1) In his comment upon the fourth peculiarity enumerated above, namely, the placing of the genealogy at the beginning of the ministry, Godet (Gospel of Luke, American edition, 126) has this to say: "In crossing the threshold of this new era, the sacred historian casts a general glance over the period which thus reaches its close, and sums it up in this document, which might be called the mortuary register of the earlier humanity." In other words, in connecting the genealogy directly with the ministry, Luke exhibits the fact that his interest in it is historical rather than antiquarian or, so to say, genealogical. As Matthew summarizes the history of the covenant people from the days of Abraham by means of the genealogical register, modified so as to make it graphic by its uniformity, so Luke has written the story of the humanity Jesus, as the Second Adam, came to save, by the register of names summarizing its entire course in the world.

It has recently been commented upon that genealogical lists such as those of Genesis and the New Testament are not infrequently used to convey ideas not strictly germane to the matter of descent or the cognate notion of chronology. For example, the statements as to the longevity of the patriarchs are of historical interest only-they are not and could never have been of value for chronological purposes (see Warfield, "Antiquity and Unity of Human Race," Princeton Review, February, 1911).

(2) In commenting upon the order which Luke adopts, Godet (who has thrown more light upon this portion of the Gospel than anyone else) says: "The ascending form of genealogy can only be that of a private instrument, drawn up from the public document with a view to the particular individual whose name serves as the starting-point of the whole list" (127).

(3) From the fact that the name of Joseph is introduced without an article Godet draws three conclusions:

(a) that this name belongs rather to the sentence introduced by Luke;

(b) that the genealogical document which he consulted began with the name of Heli;

(c) and consequently, that this piece was not originally the genealogy of Jesus or of Joseph, but of Heli (ibid., 128).


(a) The importance of these considerations is twofold. In the first place it indicates that Luke is bringing together two separate documents, one of which contained a statement of the foster-fatherhood of Joseph, while the other contained the genealogy of Heli, between whom and Joseph there existed a relationship which made Luke desirous of connecting them.

(b) In addition, the absence of the article serves to call attention to something exceptional in the relationship of Joseph to the rest of this ancestral line which is brought into connection with his name. To this point we shall recur later. We have an explanation for all the suggested problems except one, and that one, in a sense, the most difficult of all, namely, the choice of Joseph's genealogy.

III. The Genealogies Compared.

1. Divergences:

In order, however, to discuss this question intelligently, we must enter upon the second stage of our inquiry-as to the relationship between the two lists.

(1) The most notable fact here is of course the wideness of the divergence together with the contrasted and unintelligible fact of minute correspondence. Between Abraham and David the two lists agree. Between David and Joseph there is evident correspondence in two (see Matthew 1:12 Luke 3:27), and possible correspondence in four names (that is, if Abiud (Matthew 1:13)) and Judah (Luke 3:30) are the same). This initial and greatest difficulty is of material assistance to us because it makes one conclusion certain beyond peradventure. The two lists are not divergent attempts to perform the same task. Whatever difficulties may remain, this difficulty is eliminated at the outset. It is impossible that among a people given to genealogies two lists purporting to give the ancestry of a man in the same line could diverge so widely. There is, therefore, a difference between these lists which includes the purpose for which they were compiled and the meaning which they were intended to convey.

2. Correspondence:

(2) Two of the most striking points in the lists as they stand may be brought into connection and made to explain each other. The two lists coincide in the names of Zerubbabel and Shealtiel-they differ as to the name of Joseph's father, who is Jacob according to Matthew and Heli according to Luke. As to the second of these two important items this much is clear. Either these two lists are in violent contradiction, or else Joseph was in some sense son of both Jacob and Heli. Now, in connection with this seeming impossibility, turn to the other item. The names of Shealtiel and Zerubbabel belong to the captivity. Their being common to both lists is easily explained by the fact that during that troubled period a number of collateral family branches might be narrowed down to one or two common representatives (see Zahn, op. cit., 535). In the New Testament genealogies Zerubbabel is the son of Shealtiel-according to 1 Chronicles 3:19 he is the nephew of Shealtiel and the son of Pedaiah. He is, therefore, at one and the same time heir and, legally, son of two men and would appear as such on two collateral lists.

Shealtiel himself appears in Matthew (1:12) as the son of Jechoniah and in Luke (3:27) as the son of Neri. In 1 Chronicles 3:17 he appears as son of Jechoniah. The name of Neri is peculiar to Luke, so that we cannot check his use of it and discover the actual parentage of Shealtiel. His appearance in two lists with a double reference of parentage is not surprising in view of what we have already seen. Besides this, a reasonable explanation at once appears. In Jeremiah 36:30 it is asserted that Jehoiakim should have "none to sit upon the throne of David," and of his son (Jehoiachin, Jechoniah, Coniah) it is said (Jeremiah 22:30), "Write ye this man childless," etc. It has been rightly pointed out (see HDB, II 557) that this means simply legal proscription, not actual childlessness. It suggests, however, that it might be thought necessary to provide in the genealogy an heir not of their blood for the two disgraced and proscribed members of the royal house, In view of these facts the contradictory references as to Joseph's parentage present no difficulty.

Joseph may easily have been and undoubtedly was, legally, son and heir of both Jacob and Heli. Godet's objection to this is based upon the supposition that Heli and Jacob were brothers, which leaves the divergence beyond these two names unexplained. It is evident, however, that the kinship between Jacob and Heli might have been more distant than this supposition calls for.

(3) When we come to explain how it happened that Joseph was connected with both these lines and that Matthew chose one list and Luke the other we are necessarily shut up to conjecture. There is one supposition, however, which is worthy of very careful consideration because it solves so many and such difficult problems. The authorities have been divided as to whether Luke's genealogy is Joseph's, as appears, or Mary's. Godet makes a strong showing for the latter, and, after all has been said per contra, some of his representations remain unshaken (compare Godet and Plummer sub loc.). Most of the difficulties are removed at one stroke, and the known facts harmonized, by the simple supposition that Luke has given us the meeting-point of the lineage both of Joseph and Mary who are akin. This explains the apparent choice of Joseph's list; the peculiar position of his name in that list; the reversal of the order; the coincidences and discrepancies with reference to Matthew's; the early tradition of Mary's Davidic origin; the strange reference in the Talmud (Chaghigha' 77 4) to Mary as the daughter of Heli; the visit of Mary with Joseph to Bethlehem at the time of the registration; the traditional discrepancy of ages between Joseph and Mary, such that (apparently) Joseph disappears from the scene before Jesus reaches maturity. Against this nothing of real weight can be urged (the kinship with Elisabeth is not such: see Edersheim, LTJM, I, 149) except that it is too simple and too felicitous. Its simplicity and felicitous adjustment to the whole complex situation is precisely its recommendation. And there we may let the matter rest.

IV. The Genealogies and the Virgin Birth.

We have now to deal with the relationship of the genealogies to the virgin-birth statement which forms the vital center of the infancy narratives and to the general question of the Davidic origin of Jesus.


1. Text of Matthew 1:16:

The first part of this question may be most directly approached by a brief consideration of the text of Matthew 1:16. The text upon which the Revised Version (British and American) is based reads: "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." Beside this there are two readings, one contained in the so-called Ferrar group of manuscripts, and the other in the Sinaitic which, differing among themselves, unite in ascribing the parentage of Jesus to Joseph. This has been seized upon by negative critics (see for list and discussion Machen, Princeton Review, January, 1906, 63; compare Bacon, HDB, article "Genealogy of Jesus Christ," Am. Jour. Theol., January, 1911, who long ago gave in his advocacy to the supposition that the evangelists could easily reconcile the supernatural birth with the actual paternity of Joseph) to support the idea of a primitive Christian tradition that Joseph was the father of Jesus. Of this contention Zahn leaves nothing, and concludes his argument with this statement: "The hope of finding indications in old manuscripts and versions that the authors of lost Gospels or brief writings which may have been worked over in our Matthew and Luke regarded Joseph as the physical father of Jesus, should at last be dismissed. An author who knew how to make even the dry material of a genealogy to its least detail contribute to the purpose of his thought concerning the slandered miracle of the Messiah's birth, cannot at the same time have taken over statements from a genealogy of Joseph or Jesus used by him which directly contradicted his conception of this fact. Any text of Matthew which contained such statements would be condemned in advance as one altered against the author's interest" (op. cit., 567). It is interesting to note that Allen (ICC, "Matthew," 8), starting from the extreme position that the Sinaitic form of statement, of all extant texts, most nearly represents the original, reaches the same conclusion as Zahn, that Matthew's Gospel from the beginning taught the virgin birth.

2. General Conclusions:

(1) It is clear, therefore, from the general trend as well as from specific statements of both Gospels, that the genealogies and the birth-narratives were not floating traditions which accidentally touched and coalesced in mid-stream, but that they were intended to weld inseparably the two beliefs that Jesus was miraculously conceived and that He was the heir of David. This could be done only on the basis of Joseph's genealogy, for whatever the lineage of Mary, Joseph was the head of the family, and the Davidic connection of Jesus could only be established by acknowledgment of Him as legal son by Joseph. Upon this basis rests the common belief of the apostolic age (see Zahn, ibid., 567, note references), and in accordance with it all statements (such as those of Paul, Romans 1:3 2 Timothy 2:8) must be interpreted.

(2) For it must be remembered that, back of the problem of reconciling the virgin birth and the Davidic origin of Jesus, lay the far deeper problem-to harmonize the incarnation and the Davidic origin. This problem had been presented in shadow and intimation by Jesus Himself in the question: "David himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he his Son?" It is further to be noticed that in the annunciation (Luke 1:32) the promised One is called at once Son of God and Son of David, and that He is the Son of God by virtue of His conception by the Spirit-leaving it evident that He is Son of David by virtue of His birth of Mary. With this should be compared the statement of Paul (Romans 1:3, 1): He who was God's Son was "born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." This is at least most suggestive (see Orr, Virgin Birth of Christ, 119, with note, p. 121), for it indicates that as Paul and Luke were in very close sympathy as to the person of our Lord, so they are in equally close sympathy as to the mystery of His origin. The unanimity of conviction on the part of the early church as to the Davidic origin of Jesus is closely paralleled by its equally firm conviction as to His supernatural derivation. The meeting-point of these two beliefs and the resolution of the mystery of their relationship is in the genealogies in which two widely diverging lines of human ancestry, representing the whole process of history, converge at the point where the new creation from heaven is introduced.


The literature on this subject is very copious. The works referred to in the text will serve to introduce the reader to more extensive investigations. The whole situation is well summarized by Plummer (ICC, "Luke," sub loc.).

Louis Matthews Sweet



1076. genealogia -- the making of a pedigree, a genealogy
... the making of a pedigree, a genealogy. Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration:
genealogia Phonetic Spelling: (ghen-eh-al-og-ee'-ah) Short Definition ...
// - 6k

35. agenealogetos -- without genealogy
... without genealogy. Part of Speech: Adjective Transliteration: agenealogetos Phonetic
Spelling: (ag-en-eh-al-og'-ay-tos) Short Definition: of unrecorded ...
// - 6k

1075. genealogeo -- to trace ancestry
... to trace ancestry. Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: genealogeo Phonetic Spelling:
(ghen-eh-al-og-eh'-o) Short Definition: I put into a genealogy, reckon my ...
// - 6k

1078. genesis -- origin, birth
... Word Origin from ginomai Definition origin, birth NASB Word Usage birth (2),
genealogy (1), life (1), natural (1). origin, birth, genealogy. ...
// - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
3187. yachas -- to enroll oneself or be enrolled by genealogy
... 3186, 3187. yachas. 3188 . to enroll oneself or be enrolled by genealogy.
Transliteration: yachas Phonetic Spelling: (yaw-khas') Short Definition: genealogy ...
/hebrew/3187.htm - 6k

3188. yachas -- genealogy
... 3187, 3188. yachas. 3189 . genealogy. Transliteration: yachas Phonetic
Spelling: (yakh'-as) Short Definition: genealogy. Word Origin ...
/hebrew/3188.htm - 6k


... Genealogy. From "Memorials of Two Sisters: Susanna & Catherine Winkworth"
Edited by their niece Margaret J. Shaen.1908? DICKENSON. ...
/.../winkworth/lyra germanica the christian year/genealogy.htm

Writing i. Africanus on the Genealogy in the Holy Gospels. ...
... I."The Epistle to Aristides. Writing I. Africanus on the Genealogy in the Holy
Gospels.� [Africanus on the Genealogy in the Holy Gospels. ...
/.../africanus/the writings of julius africanus/writing i africanus on the.htm

C. The Genealogy of Jesus. Ch. 3:23-38
... CHS. 3:1 TO 4:13 C. The Genealogy Of Jesus. Ch. 3:23-38. ... The genealogy of Jesus given
by Luke contains marked differences from that recorded by Matthew. ...
/.../erdman/the gospel of luke an exposition/c the genealogy of jesus.htm

Matthew's Genealogy of Jesus Christ
... MATTHEW Chaps. I to VIII MATTHEW'S GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST. ... To begin a Gospel with
a genealogy strikes us modern Westerns as singular, to say the least of it. ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture a/matthews genealogy of jesus christ.htm

Faustus Recurs to the Genealogy and Insists Upon Examining it as ...
... Book XXVIII. Faustus recurs to the genealogy and insists upon examining
it as regards its consistency with itself. Augustin takes ...
/.../faustus recurs to the genealogy.htm

Of the Genealogy of Shem, in Whose Line the City of God is ...
... Book XVI. Chapter 10."Of the Genealogy of Shem, in Whose Line the City of
God is Preserved Till the Time of Abraham. It is necessary ...
/.../ of god/chapter 10 of the genealogy of.htm

Whether Christ's Genealogy is Suitably Traced by the Evangelists?
Christ's genealogy is suitably traced by the evangelists? ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/whether christs genealogy is suitably.htm

Concerning Our Lord's Genealogy and Concerning the Holy Mother of ...
... Book IV. Chapter XIV."Concerning our Lord's genealogy and concerning the
holy Mother of God . Concerning the holy and much-lauded ...
/.../exposition of the orthodox faith/chapter xiv concerning our lords genealogy.htm

Genealogy According to Luke.
... Part First. The Period of Christ's Life Prior to His Ministry. IV. Genealogy
According to Luke. ^C Luke 3:23-38. ^c 23 And Jesus ...
/.../mcgarvey/the four-fold gospel/iv genealogy according to luke.htm

Genealogy of Jesus According to Matthew.
... Part First. The Period of Christ's Life Prior to His Ministry. III. Genealogy
of Jesus According to Matthew. ^A Matthew 1:1-17. ...
/.../mcgarvey/the four-fold gospel/iii genealogy of jesus according.htm

Smith's Bible Dictionary

In Hebrew the term for genealogy or pedigree is "the book of the generations;" and because the oldest histories were usually drawn up on a genealogical basis, the expression often extended to the whole history, as is the case with the Gospel of St. Matthew, where "the book of the generation of Jesus Christ" includes the whole history contained in that Gospel. The promise of the land of Canaan to the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob successively, and the separation of the Israelites from the Gentile world; the expectation of Messiah as to spring from the tribe of Judah; the exclusively hereditary priesthood of Aaron with its dignity and emoluments; the long succession of kings in the line of David; and the whole division and occupations of the land upon genealogical principles by the tribes, occupation of the land upon genealogical principles by the tribes, families and houses of fathers, gave a deeper importance to the science of genealogy among the Jews than perhaps any other nation. When Zerubbabel brought back the captivity from Babylon, one of his first cares seems to have been to take a census of those that returned, and to settle them according to their genealogies. Passing on to the time of the birth of Christ, we have a striking incidental proof of the continuance of the Jewish genealogical economy in the fact that when Augustus ordered the census of the empire to be taken, the Jews in the province of Syria immediately went each one to his own city. The Jewish genealogical records continued to be kept till near the destruction of Jerusalem. But there can be little doubt that the registers of the Jewish tribes and families perished at the destruction of Jerusalem, and not before. It remains to be said that just notions of the nature of the Jewish genealogical records are of great importance with a view to the right interpretation of Scripture. Let it only be remembered that these records have respect to political and territorial divisions as much as to strictly genealogical descent, and it will at once be seen how erroneous a conclusion it may be that all who are called "sons" of such or such a patriarch or chief father must necessarily be his very children. Of any one family or house became extinct, some other would succeed to its place, called after its own chief father. Hence of course a census of any tribe drawn up at a later period would exhibit different divisions from one drawn up at an earlier. The same principle must be borne in mind in interpreting any particular genealogy Again, when a pedigree was abbreviated, it would naturally specify such generations as would indicates from what chief houses the person descended. Females are named in genealogies when there is anything remarkable about them, or when any right or property is transmitted through them. See (Genesis 11:29; 22:23; 25:1-4; 35:22-26; Exodus 6:23; Numbers 26:33)

ATS Bible Dictionary

A record of one's ancestors, either the line of natural descent from father to son, or the line in which, by the laws, the inheritance descended, or that preserved in the public records. Never was a nation more careful to preserve their genealogies than the Hebrews, for on them rested the distinction of tribes, the ownership of lands, and the right to the highest offices and privileges, 1 Chronicles 5:1,17 9:1 2Ch 12:15 Ezra 2:62. Hence their public tables of genealogies were kept secure amid all vicissitudes. We find in the Bible a record carried on for more than 3,500 years, 1 Chronicles 1:1-54 3:1-24 6:1-81; and thus were guarded the proofs that Christ was born according to prophecy of the seed of Abraham, and heir to the throne of his father David, Luke 1:32 2 Timothy 2:8 Hebrews 7:14. In the evangelists we have the genealogy of Christ for 4,000 years. The two accounts in Mt 1...1-25 and Luke 3:1-38, differ from each other; one giving probably the genealogy of Christ's reputed father Joseph, and the other that of his mother Mary. The two lines descend from Solomon and Nathan, David's sons; they unite in Salathiel, and again in Christ. Joseph was the legal father of Christ, and of the same family connections with Mary; so that the Messiah was a descendant of David both by law and "according to the flesh." The discrepancies between the various genealogies may be reconciled in accordance with peculiar Jewish laws. The public records, which Josephus says were scrupulously kept down to his day, perished with the ruin of the Jews as a nation. It is now, therefore, impossible for any pretended Messiah to prove his descent from David.

Melchizedek was "without descent," Hebrews 7:3, as regards the Jewish race. No sacred records proved his right to be numbered among that people of God. His priesthood was of a different kind from that of Aaron and his sons. Compare Ezra 2:62.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) An listing of the descent of a person or family from an ancestor; enumeration of ancestors and their children in the natural order of succession; a pedigree.

2. (n.) Regular descent of a person or family from a progenitor; pedigree; lineage.

Genealogy (29 Occurrences)
... 2. (n.) Regular descent of a person or family from a progenitor; pedigree;
lineage. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. GENEALOGY. je ...
/g/genealogy.htm - 70k

Enrolled (23 Occurrences)
... he was the firstborn; but, because he defiled his father's couch, his birthright
was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; and the genealogy is not to ...
/e/enrolled.htm - 13k

Registered (21 Occurrences)
... he was the firstborn; but, inasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright
was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; but the genealogy is not ...
/r/registered.htm - 13k

Genealogies (17 Occurrences)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary (n.) Plural of Genealogy. ... And the number of them reckoned
by genealogy for service in war was twenty and six thousand men. (See RSV). ...
/g/genealogies.htm - 12k

Genealogical (26 Occurrences)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary (a.) of or pertaining to genealogy; as, a genealogical
table; genealogical order. Multi-Version Concordance ...
/g/genealogical.htm - 15k

Enrollment (9 Occurrences)
... Bela: Ezbon, and Uzzi, and Uzziel, and Jerimoth, and Iri, five; heads of fathers'
houses, mighty men of valor; and they were reckoned by genealogy twenty-two ...
/e/enrollment.htm - 9k

Register (14 Occurrences)
... rej'-is-ter. See GENEALOGY; QUIRINIUS. ... And I found a register of the genealogy of
them which came up at the first, and found written therein, (KJV DBY WBS). ...
/r/register.htm - 13k

... 1. (n.) A line of ancestors; descent; lineage; as, the dog has a good pedigree;
genealogy; a register or record of a line of ancestors. ...
/p/pedigree.htm - 7k

Reckoned (98 Occurrences)
... Hebrews 7:6 and he who was not reckoned by genealogy of them, received tithes from
Abraham, and him having the promises he hath blessed, (YLT). ...
/r/reckoned.htm - 36k

Listed (48 Occurrences)
... he was the firstborn; but, because he defiled his father's couch, his birthright
was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; and the genealogy is not to ...
/l/listed.htm - 21k

Bible Concordance
Genealogy (29 Occurrences)

Matthew 1:1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Hebrews 7:3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God), remains a priest continually.

Hebrews 7:6 but he whose genealogy is not counted from them has accepted tithes from Abraham, and has blessed him who has the promises.

1 Chronicles 4:33 and all their villages that were around the same cities, to Baal. These were their habitations, and they have their genealogy.

1 Chronicles 5:1 The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn; but, because he defiled his father's couch, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.

1 Chronicles 5:7 His brothers by their families, when the genealogy of their generations was reckoned: the chief, Jeiel, and Zechariah,

1 Chronicles 5:17 All these were registered by genealogy in the days of Jotham king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel.

1 Chronicles 7:2 And the sons of Tola: Uzzi and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Ibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their fathers' houses, mighty men of valour according to their generations, even of Tola; their number in the days of David was two and twenty thousand and six hundred.
(See NIV)

1 Chronicles 7:4 And with them, by their generations, after their fathers' houses, were bands of the host for war, six and thirty thousand; for they had many wives and sons.
(See NIV)

1 Chronicles 7:5 Their brothers among all the families of Issachar, mighty men of valor, reckoned in all by genealogy, were eighty-seven thousand.

1 Chronicles 7:7 The sons of Bela: Ezbon, and Uzzi, and Uzziel, and Jerimoth, and Iri, five; heads of fathers' houses, mighty men of valor; and they were reckoned by genealogy twenty-two thousand thirty-four.

1 Chronicles 7:9 They were reckoned by genealogy, after their generations, heads of their fathers' houses, mighty men of valor, twenty thousand two hundred.

1 Chronicles 7:40 All these were the children of Asher, heads of the fathers' houses, choice and mighty men of valor, chief of the princes. The number of them reckoned by genealogy for service in war was twenty-six thousand men.

1 Chronicles 8:28 These were heads of fathers' houses throughout their generations, chief men; these dwelt in Jerusalem.
(See NIV)

1 Chronicles 9:1 And all Israel were registered by genealogy; and behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel. And Judah was carried away to Babylon because of their transgression.

1 Chronicles 9:9 and their brethren, according to their generations, nine hundred and fifty and six. All these men were heads of fathers' houses by their fathers' houses.
(See NIV)

1 Chronicles 9:22 All these who were chosen to be porters in the thresholds were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their office of trust.

1 Chronicles 9:34 These were heads of fathers' houses of the Levites, by their generations, chief men; these dwelt at Jerusalem.
(See NIV)

1 Chronicles 26:31 Of the Hebronites was Jerijah the chief, even of the Hebronites, according to their generations by fathers' houses. In the fortieth year of the reign of David they were sought for, and there were found among them mighty men of valour at Jazer of Gilead.
(See RSV)

2 Chronicles 12:15 And the matters of Rehoboam, the first and the last, are they not written among the matters of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer, concerning genealogy? And the wars of Rehoboam and Jeroboam 'are' all the days;

2 Chronicles 31:16 besides those who were reckoned by genealogy of males, from three years old and upward, even everyone who entered into the house of Yahweh, as the duty of every day required, for their service in their offices according to their divisions;

2 Chronicles 31:17 and those who were reckoned by genealogy of the priests by their fathers' houses, and the Levites from twenty years old and upward, in their offices by their divisions;

2 Chronicles 31:18 and those who were reckoned by genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their office of trust they sanctified themselves in holiness.

2 Chronicles 31:19 Also for the sons of Aaron the priests, who were in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every city, there were men who were mentioned by name, to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all who were reckoned by genealogy among the Levites.

Ezra 2:62 These sought their register among those who were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they deemed polluted and put from the priesthood.

Ezra 8:1 Now these are the heads of their fathers' houses, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king:

Ezra 8:3 Of the sons of Shecaniah, of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah; and with him were reckoned by genealogy of the males one hundred fifty.

Nehemiah 7:5 My God put into my heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first, and I found written therein:

Nehemiah 7:64 These sought their register among those who were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they deemed polluted and put from the priesthood.



Genealogy of Abraham, by his Wife Keturah

Genealogy of Esau

Genealogy of Ishmael

Genealogy of Jacob

Genealogy of Jesus Christ

Genealogy of Joseph

Genealogy of Nahor

Genealogy of No Spiritual Significance

Genealogy of Pharez to David

Genealogy of the Descendants of Noah

Genealogy of the Jews Who Returned from the Captivity

Genealogy: from Adam to Noah

Genealogy: General Scriptures Concerning

Genealogy: To Abraham

Genealogy: To Jesus

Related Terms

Enrolled (23 Occurrences)

Registered (21 Occurrences)

Genealogies (17 Occurrences)

Genealogical (26 Occurrences)

Enrollment (9 Occurrences)

Register (14 Occurrences)


Reckoned (98 Occurrences)

Listed (48 Occurrences)

Valor (45 Occurrences)

Records (50 Occurrences)

Laban (52 Occurrences)

Registration (17 Occurrences)

Cyrus (20 Occurrences)

Generation (150 Occurrences)

Polluted (80 Occurrences)

Valour (66 Occurrences)

Melchisedec (10 Occurrences)

Reckoning (32 Occurrences)

Melchizedek (12 Occurrences)

Patriarchs (6 Occurrences)


Males (51 Occurrences)

Upwards (18 Occurrences)

Located (5 Occurrences)

Genealogically (2 Occurrences)

Freeman (9 Occurrences)

Rebekah (31 Occurrences)

Responsibilities (5 Occurrences)

Rhesa (1 Occurrence)

Excluded (14 Occurrences)

Deemed (14 Occurrences)

Mahath (4 Occurrences)

Melea (1 Occurrence)

Mattathias (2 Occurrences)

Prefects (18 Occurrences)

Ancestral (14 Occurrences)

Record (71 Occurrences)

Levi (79 Occurrences)

Virgin (62 Occurrences)

Courses (28 Occurrences)

Birth (357 Occurrences)

Zechari'ah (51 Occurrences)

Charges (58 Occurrences)

Nobles (71 Occurrences)

Kinsmen (74 Occurrences)

Considered (80 Occurrences)

Duties (46 Occurrences)

Abiud (1 Occurrence)

Assemble (77 Occurrences)

Redeemed (78 Occurrences)

Matthew (5 Occurrences)

Common (118 Occurrences)

Saul (371 Occurrences)

Upward (74 Occurrences)

Family (438 Occurrences)

Moses (9295 Occurrences)

Divisions (92 Occurrences)

Villages (106 Occurrences)


Belonging (90 Occurrences)

Trust (201 Occurrences)

20200 (1 Occurrence)

26000 (2 Occurrences)

22034 (1 Occurrence)

212 (1 Occurrence)

Nathan (42 Occurrences)

Nogah (2 Occurrences)


Nahshon (11 Occurrences)

Neriah (10 Occurrences)

Nahum (3 Occurrences)

Uz'ziel (16 Occurrences)

Uzzi (11 Occurrences)

Uzziel (17 Occurrences)

Outstanding (7 Occurrences)

Jannai (1 Occurrence)

Jorim (1 Occurrence)

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