Why are the genealogies of Matthew and Luke different?

Hello K,

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When we study the genealogies of Matthew (1:1-17) and the one by Luke (3:23-38), several factors become clear which dispel the conflict:

1- Matthew reported the lineage of Christ only back to Abraham; Luke traced it all the way back to Adam.

2- Matthew used the expression “begat” Luke used the expression “son of,” which results in his list being a complete reversal of Matthew’s.

3-The two genealogical lines parallel each other from Abraham to David.

4-Begining with David, Matthew traced the paternal line of descent through Solomon; Luke traced the maternal line through Solomon’s brother, Nathan.

5- The two lines (paternal and maternal) link together in the intermarriage of Shealtiel and Zerubbabel. But the linkage separates again in the two sons of Zerubbabel—Rhesa and Abiud.

6-The two lines come together once again for a final time in the marriage of Joseph and Mary. Joseph was the end of the paternal line, while Mary was the last of the maternal line as the daughter of Heli.

7-Joseph was a direct-line, blood descendant of David. And this is the purpose of Matthew’s genealogy: it demonstrated Jesus’ legal right to inherit the throne of David. However, an equally important factor was His blood descent from David—a point that could not be established through Joseph since “after His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). This feature of Christ’s Messiah-ship was established through His mother Mary, who was also a blood descendant of David (Luke 1:30-32). Both the blood of David and the throne of David were necessary factors to qualify Jesus as the Messiah.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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