The genealogy of Jesus reported by Matthew has some interesting features often overlooked by the casual reader. Learn about some of these in this 3-minute video.

MUSINGS 002 from Mike Licona on Vimeo.

    13 replies to "Matthew’s Math and His Genealogy of Jesus"

    • NW

      I’m sorry, but what does the numeric value of David’s name have to do with the use of Jechoniah in Matthew’s genealogy? The connection between the two was not made clear in the video.

    • Mike Licona

      NW: My point is that Matthew apparently didn’t have 14 generations to list in his third set. So, he used Jechonia’s name again in order to get 14. It’s precisely what appears to be Matthew’s interest in the number 14 here that has led a number of scholars to believe he was employing gemetria to emphasize Jesus’ Davidic ancestry.

    • C Michael Patton

      The two groups who seem to see things out of focus forcing modern standards of historical recording upon the Biblical text are ultra-conservatives and atheists. Sigh…

    • Davids Gibbs

      But please clarify: Are there literally only 42 (14X3) generations between Abraham and Jesus ? So what was Matthew trying to prove? Infact if we follow the history of the Old Testament what is the real timeline between Adam and Jesus: 4000 years? 10, 000 years? or 4 millions of years? I guess what I am askign os whether the OT timeline matches with secular history: eg could the Exodus really have taken palce aorund 1400 BC or King David lived around 800 BC etc

    • Marv

      A modest proposal: can some of us chip in and get Mike a keyboard?

      Apologies, just my goofy way of representing those of us who’d just as soon read a written blog post than watch the same material in a video post. Surely it’s simpler and easier for the author as well…

      As it is, for some reason at the moment what ought to be a video is a big blank rectangle. That doesn’t usually happen. But it pretty much never happens with written words.

      I’d love to comment on the content, but… where is it?

    • Mike Licona

      Marv: One can’t please everyone. I decided to go the way of video since many will watch a video who won’t read an article.

      I’m sorry you’re not able to view it. I’m not a computer guy. So, I don’t have any ideas for you. Perhaps try viewing it in a different browser?

    • Phil McCheddar

      Hi Mike,
      Do you think most of Matthew’s original readers would have easily recognised the significance of the symbol 14 or was it more a case of Matthew giving some inside information to those in the know?
      Do you know of any other genealogies in ancient texts that do not show a strictly accurate family blood line but instead are stylised to express theological (or other) significance?

    • NW


      Many thanks for the response.

    • Dallas

      Though I am inclined to agree with you concerning the emphasis of the number 14, might I suggest that this issue has as much to do with inclusive counting by the Hebrews. The distance from Abraham to David can only be fourteen generations by including both Abraham and David in the count. David is counted twice. The carrying away into Babylon is viewed as one historical generation in the narrative, even though two biological generations are mentioned.

      I would also add that Matthew did not add up the “fourteens” to make 42 as we are so tempted to do. In fact, if we count the generations from Abraham to Christ, using exclusive counting, we actually get 40 generations. This is because David would be counted only once, and by reason of exclusive counting, one must exclude either Abraham or Christ from the count.

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    • Francis

      How do you reconcile the genealogy of Shealtiel/Zerubbabel though? Are they descendants of Nathan, or descendants of Solomon? Why (and how) did the genealogy diverge again after Zerubbabel?

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