Two accounts of the Genealogy of Jesus are presented in the Bible, and, despite some disagreement, they both agree that Jesus was descended from Abraham through David and was the legal son of Joseph, but the biological son of Mary by the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit, and by divine nature Son of God the Father.
Genealogy in Matthew
- Jesus (The Christ)
See Matthew 1:1-17.
Genealogy in Luke
See Luke 3:23-38.
The Levirate marriage of Jacob to the widow of his brother Eli
A knowledge of history, the Bible, and anciently documented Christian tradition provides answer to the question, "How can Jacob be the father of Joseph the son of Eli?"
See Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book 1 (Chapter VII)
The law of Levirate marriage according to the Law of Moses, Deuteronomy 25:5-6, commands:
|“||If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married outside the family to a stranger; her husband's brother shall go in to her and take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his brother who is dead, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. RSVCE||”|
"As Joseph, then, is our proposed object, we are to show how it happened that each is recorded as his father; both Jacob as deduced from Solomon, and Eli, from Nathan; also how it happened that these two, Jacob and Eli, were brothers; and moreover, how the fathers of these, Matthan and [Matthat], being of different families are proved to be the grandfathers of Joseph.
"Matthan and [Matthat], having married in succession the same woman, had children, who were brothers by the same mother, as the law did not prohibit a widow, whether she became such by divorce, or by the death of her husband, to marry again. Matthan, therefore, who traces his lineage from Solomon, first had Jacob, by Estha, for this is her name as handed down by tradition. Matthan dying, and [Matthat], who traces his descent from Nathan, though he was of the same tribe, but of another family, having, as before said, married her, had a son, Eli. Thus, then, we shall find the two of different families, Jacob and Eli, brothers by the same mother. Of these, the one, Jacob, on the death of his brother, marrying his widow, became the father of the third, viz. Joseph; his son both by nature and calculation. Wherefore it is written, Jacob begat Joseph. But according to the law he was the son of Eli, for Jacob, being his brother, raised up seed to him. Wherefore the genealogy, traced also through him, will not be rendered void, which, according to Matthew, is given thus--'but Jacob begat Joseph.' But Luke, on the other hand, says, 'who was the son, as was supposed, (for this he also adds,) the son of Joseph, the son of Eli, the son of [Matthat].' For it was not possible to express the legal genealogy more distinctly, so that he entirely omits the expression, ' He begat, ' in a generation like this, until the end; having traced it back as far as Adam, 'who was the son of God,' he resolves the whole series by referring back to God. Neither is this incapable of proof, nor is it an idle conjecture.... Matthan, whose descent is traced to Solomon, begat Jacob; Matthan dying, [Matthat], whose lineage is from Nathan, by marrying the widow of the former, had Eli. Hence, Eli and Jacob were brothers by the same mother. Eli dying childless, Jacob raised up seed to him, having Joseph, according to nature belonging to himself, but by law to Eli. Thus Joseph was the son of both."Eusebius goes on to say
"So far Africanus; and the lineage of Joseph thus being traced, Mary also, at the same time, as far as can be, is evinced to be of the same tribe, since by the Mosaic law, intermarriages among different tribes were not permitted. For the injunction is, to marry one of the same kindred, and the same family, so that the inheritance my not be transferred from tribe to tribe."This is in reference to the Law of Moses, See Numbers 27:8, which says "If a man dies and has no son, then you shall cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter." This indicates that Mary was her father's only child, and therefore that his inheritance had passed to her. By the law of Moses, Numbers 36:8,
|“||Every daughter who possesses an inheritance in any tribe of the people of Israel shall be wife to one of the family of the tribe of her father, so that every one of the people of Israel may possess the inheritance of his fathers." (boldface emphasis added) RSVCE||”|
Joseph descended from David through Solomon by nature is the twelfth generation from the deportation to Babylon, Mary is the thirteenth, and Jesus is the fourteenth generation. Some writers have suggested that Joseph was about fifty years old when Mary about fifteen years of age was betrothed to him.
Jesus was Mary's firstborn son (Luke 2:7). The legal term "firstborn" (Greek πρωτότοκος prototokos), however, does not necessarily connote that other children were born afterwards. This is evident from Luke 2:23, and Exodus 13:2-12 (see the Greek text πρωτότοκον πρωτογενὲς) to which Luke refers. "Opening the womb" άνοιγμα μήτρα (διανοῖγον μήτραν) is there given as the equivalent of "firstborn" (prototokos). An only child was thus no less "firstborn" than the first of many. In Israel, "firstborn" means the lawful heir. Thus, Jesus is Mary's firstborn, and her heir.
See St. Joseph.
An in-depth analysis of the controverted phrase "brethren of the Lord" can be found at Catholic Encyclopedia: The Brethren of the Lord.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 C. F. Cruse, A.M., The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine, Translated from the Greek by The Rev. C. F. Cruse, A.M., Assistant Professor in the University of Pennsylvania, with notes selected from the edition of Valesius, 1874, London: George Bell and Sons, York Street. Covent Garden. Printed by William Clowes and Sons. Stanford Street and Charing Cross. page 21.
- ↑ Eusebius, page 23
- ↑ "the vow of perpetual virginity" according to Augustine, de virgin. 4, Gregory of Nyssa, Grotius, Jansen, Maldonatus, Bisping, and others.