Apparent Conflicts in Matthew 1

(Resolved by Angela Reeves)

Introduction

For several months, I was puzzled about some apparent conflicts concerning the Matthew 1 genealogy that extends from Abraham to Messiah. One major question I had was concerning the omission from this list of four kings of Judah, although they are clearly biologically in this line.

Matthew 1:8-9: “And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias” — Between Joram and Ozias are three kings who are omitted: Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah.

AHAZIAH – 2 Kings 8:24-25: “And Joram slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead. In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign.”

JOASH – 2 Kings 11:2: “But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain. And he was with her hid in the house of Yehovah six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land. And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of Yehovah, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of Yehovah, and showed them the king’s son.”

2 Kings 11:21: “Seven years old was Jehoash when he began to reign.”

AMAZIAH – 2 Kings 12:19-21: “And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla. For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.”

Omission of the Three Kings

So, why were these three kings omitted? The omission appears to be very intentional, as verse 17 of chapter 1 says, “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.”

Ahab’s Offspring

When I realized the ancestry of these three kings, the omission started to make sense to me. Ahaziah is the grandson, Joash is the great-grandson, and Amaziah is the great great-grandson of Ahab. Jehoshaphat’s (king of Judah) son Joram had married into the house of Ahab. This fact alone would not seem to be reason for their omission, but the prophecy given concerning the house of Ahab and the fact that these three kings turned and did wickedly could be reason for their omission. 2 Kings 9:7-9, in a prophecy spoken to Jehu, says, “And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of Yehovah, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel: And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah:” A reading of 2 Kings 9 and 10 shows how zealous Jehu was in smiting the house of Ahab. At the time that he killed Ahaziah, Ahaziah’s own mother Athaliah executed Ahaziah’s children, except Joash, who at the time was an infant and was hidden by his aunt. Notice the specificity of the prophecy – “him that pisseth against the wall.” From the texts, I have not found any of Ahab’s male offspring who survived the executions of Jehu or the slaughters of Athaliah, except for Joash (certainly not old enough to piss against the wall).

Joash

Joash did well for a time. 2 Kings 12:2 says, “And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of Yehovah all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” 2 Chronicles 24:15-22 says, “But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died. And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward his house. Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them. And they left the house of Yehovah God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass. Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto Yehovah; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear. And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of Yehovah, that ye cannot prosper? Because ye have forsaken Yehovah, he hath also forsaken you. And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of Yehovah. Thus, Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, Yehovah look upon it, and require it.” So Joash turned after the death of Jehoiada the priest and did wickedly. His own servants then conspired against him and killed him. He was not even buried in the sepulchers of the kings.

Amaziah

Amaziah, son of Joash, seemed to begin well. However, he also turned. 2 Chronicles 25:14-15 says, “Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them. Wherefore the anger of Yehovah was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand?” 2 Chronicles 25:27 records, “Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following Yehovah they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after him, and slew him there.”

The whole posterity of Ahab was cut off in the time of Jehu, except for Joash, who because of his age would have been excluded from the prophecy. While these last two kings, Joash and Amaziah, did well, would not things have been well with them? But after they turned, being the great-grandson and great great-grandson of Ahab, is it possible that the iniquity of Ahab was visited upon them? Exodus 20:5-6 – “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I Yehovah thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

I consider these things – their ancestry and the prophecy concerning the house of Ahab – as very likely reasons for their omission from the genealogy of Matthew 1.

Jehoiakim’s Omission

The fourth king omitted from the Matthew 1 genealogy is Jehoiakim. Notice verse 11 says, “And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon.” There was a king between Josiah and Jechoniah. He is Jehoiakim, son of Josiah and father of Jechoniah. Some manuscripts do actually read, “Josias begat Jakim, and Jakim begat Jechonias.” When I included Jehoiakim in the genealogy, another puzzle was solved. Without including Jehoiakim, the number of generations do not add up to the specifications in verse 17 – “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” With Jehoiakim included, the generations count correctly.

The Luke 3-Matthew 1 Genealogical Difference

Another concern that some folks have with the Matthew 1 genealogy is the difference between it and the Luke 3 genealogy. The Matthew genealogy is easily seen as Joseph’s genealogy. Notice the specific wording of verse 16 – “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” The prophecy of Jeremiah 22:24-30 shows that this genealogy in Matthew could not be Yeshua’s: “As I live, saith Yehovah, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; And I will give thee into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return. Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? Is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? Wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of Yehovah. Thus saith Yehovah, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.” If no seed of Coniah will sit upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah, and Coniah is included in this Matthew 1 genealogy, then this could not be the genealogy of Yeshua.

Notice the specific wording in Luke 3:23: “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being as was supposed the son of Joseph, which was of Heli.” I understand this verse to be saying that folks supposed that Yeshua was the son of Joseph, but that He (Yeshua) actually was of Heli, who I would understand to be the father of Mary.

The wording of the Luke 3 genealogy is just so different from that of the Matthew 1 genealogy. The Matthew genealogy leads up to Joseph — clearly seen in verse 16: “And Jacob BEGAT Joseph the husband of Mary . . .”

I understand the Matthew genealogy to be Joseph’s and the Luke genealogy to be Mary’s.

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