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Jesus Christ

Was Heli listed as Joseph's father in Luke 3 verse 23 because Jacob did not live up to godly standards when Jacob was listed as the father of Joseph and the husband of Mary in Matthew 1 verse sixteen?


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November 16, 2015 11:13PM

Who was Jesus' grandfather on his father's side?

  • Jacob

Matthew 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

  • Heli

Luke 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.

Because of the Jewish Levirite laws, both are correct, but in different ways. In Jewish law, if a man died childless, his brother was to marry the widow, and the first son born would legally be the dead man's heir (Deuteronomy 25:5-6). In the story of Ruth, we see that this was not limited to brothers; the nearest male relative willing to take on the responsibility would marry the widow.

The logical (and traditional Roman Catholic and Orthodox) understanding is that Joseph's mother was originally the wife of Heli, but that he died without offspring. His kinsman Jacob then took the widow as his wife, and she bore Joseph. So, while "Jacob begat Joseph", legally Joseph was the son of Heli. Both were descendants of Zerubabel, and apparently Jacob was the nearest kinsman to Heli willing to fulfill the Levirite duty. Matthew follows the natural line of descent, while Luke follows the legal line of descent.

There is another line of thought which has the Luke genealogy following the ancestors of Mary, but this is problematic since Mary was a relative of Elizabeth (Luke 1:36), who was of the line of Aaron the descendant of Levi (Luke 1:5), and thus she could not be of the line of David the descendant of Judah.

There is another line of thought, though Elisabeth was of the house of Aaron, Mary could be of the house of david, for those two houses often intermarried, as uniting of royalty and the priesthood in the Messiah.

Also look at Mat.1:6 from David starts at Solomon whose mother was Urias, but the linage starts at Nathan who also was a son of David in Luke 3:31, two differant genealogies. Due to Levirate laws, a close kin would marry the widowed wife. Being that Heli died and Yaakov, or Jacob, took the place as husband and impregnated the wife, giving birth to Yosef, or Joseph.

"Well why is the rest of the geneology different!?" you may ask. Good question, may I add! I was very concerned if this interfered with messianic prophecy in the Nevi'Im. I easily traced the two records of lineage back to find the relationship and the two accounts, one in Luke, another in Matthew, and they both, as prophecy foretold, were descendants of King Dawid, or David.

I was greatly relieved as it all made sense now. Dawid begat four sons in Jerusalem. Two of which were Nathan, and Solomon. These two men are the last of the differences of the accounts. So, either way, prophecy is fulfilled. The only difference is that one accounted the legal record, while the other accounted the biological record. So, prophecy is fulfilled and Yeshua, or Jesus, is from the lineage of Dawid. Simple indeed!

The answer is a simple one. Heli was Joseph's Father in Law. In the bible, the Father in Law takes the Son in Law as his own. The different names of lineage should tell you that they are different. This is an awesome account of lineage in the bible. Joseph is seen in the lineage of David, and Mary's family as well. Jesus was not only qualified to be the Messiah, as he tried to get them to understand in his teachings, but HE was double qualified, on both sides of the family.

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November 16, 2015 11:09PM

If we look at the genealogies more fully, we can soon see that there can be no answer to this Question. Matthew gave Jacob as Joseph's father, while Luke gave Heli as his father. But Jacob's father was Matthan son of Eleazer, while Heli's father was Matthat son of Levi, so they were not brothers. Going further back, Matthew gives Zorobabel's paternal grandfather as Jechonias, while Luke says Neri.
Matthew and Luke were satisfying an apparent need to know more about Jesus, but had little information to go on. We should accept these inconsistencies rather than look for spiritual or moral reasons for them.