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Was there any blood relationship between Joseph and Mary?

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August 26, 2015 8:50AM

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Yes there was, and the names of her parents are known, and comes down to Jewish family genealogies and their accuracy. In his "Daily Bible Illustrations" Dr Kitto writes: The fact that the descent of Jesus from David could be established by registers , and the presence of two such minute pedigrees as those of Matthew and Luke, evince that the Jews were, up to this time, still careful in the registration of family descents....The rabbins [sic] assure us that [after the captivity] they became still more careful in registering their genealogies; with immediate reference, doubtless, to the expectation of the Messiah; but with the ulterior object ...of preserving means for establishing the exact fulfillment of the predictions respecting his parentage. That such existed to even a later date is shown by Josephus, who declares that he traced his own descent in the tribe of Levi by public registers; and he expressly informs us that, however dispersed and dispossessed his nation were, they never failed to have exact genealogical tables prepared from the authentic documents which were kept at Jerusalem; and that in all their sufferings they were particularly careful to preserve these tables, which were renewed from time to time. (From page 76 of "Daily Bible Illustrations - The Life and Death of Our Lord " section "29th Week, Third Day" by Dr Kitto, exact date unknown but possibly 1871.)

The Bible tells us David's wife Bathsheba had 4 sons, 2 of whom were Nathan and Solomon:- 1Ch 3:5 ...[David's]wife Bathsheba, daughter of Ammiel, bore him four sons: Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon. Solomon became king, and among his descendants was Joseph, (the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus' stepfather); his genealogy is given in Matthew chapter 1:- Mat 1:7 [Good News Bible] From David to the time when the people of Israel were taken into exile in Babylon, the following ancestors are listed: David, Solomon (his mother was the woman who had been Uriah's wife [ie Bathsheba]), Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, and Jehoiachin and his brothers. Mat 1:12 From the time after the exile in Babylon to the birth of Jesus, the following ancestors are listed: Jehoiachin, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, and Joseph, who married Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was called the Messiah.

However, his wife Mary traced her lineage back to Solomon's brother Nathan:- Luk 3:23-31 CEV When Jesus began to preach, he was about thirty years old. Everyone thought he was the son of Joseph. But his family went back through Heli, [v. 24] Matthat, Levi, Melchi, Jannai, Joseph, [v. 25] Mattathias, Amos, Nahum, Esli, Naggai, [v. 26] Maath, Mattathias, Semein, Josech, Joda; [v. 27] Joanan, Rhesa, Zerubbabel, Shealtiel, Neri, [v. 28] Melchi, Addi, Cosam, Elmadam, Er, [v. 29] Joshua, Eliezer, Jorim, Matthat, Levi; [v. 30] Simeon, Judah, Joseph, Jonam, Eliakim, [v. 31] Melea, Menna, Mattatha, Nathan, David,

Regarding these genealogies in Matthew and Luke, Dr William Smith says in 'Smith's Bible Dictionary' (1884) in the article 'Genealogy of Jesus Christ', that:- "1. They are both the genealogies of Joseph, that is, of Jesus Christas the reputed and legal son of Joseph and Mary. 2. The genealogy of St. Matthew is Joseph's genealogy as legal successor to the throne of David. St. Luke's is Joseph's private Genealogy, exhibiting his real birth as David's son, and thus, showing why he was heir to Solomon's crown. The simple principle that one evangelist exhibits that genealogy which contained the successive heir to David's and Solomon's throne, while the other exhibits the paternal stem of him who was the heir, explains all the anomalies of the two pedigrees, their agreements as well as their discrepancies, and the circumstance of there being two at all. 3. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was in all probability the daughter of Jacob, and first cousin to Joseph, her husband. ... (Godet, Lange and many others take the ground that St. Luke gives the genealogy of Mary, rendering Luk_3:23thus: Jesus"being (as was suppposed), the son of Joseph, (but, in reality), the son of Heli." In this case, Mary, as declared in the Targums, was the daughter of Heli, and Heli was the grandfather of Jesus. Mary's name was omitted because "ancient sentiment did not comport with the mention of the mother as the genealogical link." So we often find in the Old Testament, the grandson called the son. This ... shows that Jesuswas not merely the legal but the actual descendant of David; and it would be very strange that in the gospel accounts, where so much is made of Jesusbeing the son and heir of David and of his kingdom [that] his real descent from David should not be given. ).

In his "Daily Bible Illustrations" Dr Kitto says:- "... But the two genealoogies are materially different. They coincide until David, when Matthew takes the ruling line [ie of Solomon]; whereas Luke takes the ...line by David's son Nathan....Matthew makesJoseph the son of Jacob,whereas Luke represents him as Heli, or Eli. He could not naturally have been the son of both these persons [thus] Jacob and Heli are different names for the same person. They are obviously two different genealogies from the common ancestor David.....[T]he genealogy in Matthew is that of Joseph, and the one in Luke that of Mary - the former being the legal, and the latter the real genealogy of Jesus.....

Furthermore, Mary is always called by the Jews 'the daughter of Heli' and by the early Christian writers 'the daughter of Joakim and Anna'. Now, Joakim and Eliakim (as different names in Hebrew for God) are sometimes interchanged; so that Heli or Eli is an abridged form ofEliakim interchanged for Joakim." (From page 77 of "Daily Bible Illustrations - The Life and Death of Our Lord " section "29th Week, Third Day" by Dr Kitto, exact date unknown but possibly 1871.)

The Bible says in Luke 3:23 that Mary's father was Heli, and he was the "father of Mary and father-in-law of Joseph in the line Jesus Christ's royal ancestry "

It is known from other sources that her father was also called Joachim, and her mother was Anna:- Little is known of Mary's personal history from the New Testament. Her parents are not named in the canonical texts, but in apocryphal sources, widely accepted by later tradition, were Joachim and Anne. She was a relative of Elizabeth, wife of the priest Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah, who herself was of the lineage of Aaron and so of the tribe of Levi. In spite of this, some speculate that Mary, like Joseph, to whom she was betrothed, was of the House of David and so of the tribe of Judah, and that the genealogy presented in Luke was hers, while Joseph's is given in Matthew.

Saint Joachim ... was the husband of Saint Anne and the father of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and therefore is ascribed the title of "forebearer of God", in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican traditions. The canonical Gospel accounts in the New Testament do not explicitly name either of Mary's parents, but some argue that the genealogy in Luke 3 is that of Mary rather than Joseph, thereby naming her father as Eli. ... The story of Sts Joachim and Anne appears in the apocryphal Gospel of James.

To summarize, the Bible tells us Mary's father was Heli (aka Eli, Eliakim, or Joakim, Joachim) and both an apocryphal gospel and Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican church tradition tell us her father was Joachim and mother was Anne.

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August 26, 2015 8:47AM

We do not know anything about the genealogy of Mary, so it would be impossible to answer this question in full. It is even surprising to know the ancestors of Joseph. First of all, few other than the Jewish priests of the first century BCE knew their ancestors back as far as 5 generations (The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume X), and it is unlikely that any lay people could say who were their ancestors in the male line past their grandfathers or perhaps great-grandfathers.

There is some confusion because the Gospel According to St Matthew provides a genealogy back through Joseph and then through the great Zorobabel, son of Salathiel, to King David, but the Gospel According to St Luke also provides a genealogy back through Joseph and then through the great Zorobabel, son of Salathiel, to King David. In modern times, some have suggested that the genealogy in Luke's Gospel is really that of Mary. However, Luke is quite clear - this genealogy is through Joseph, going back through Zorobabel to David. The consensus of every major translation of Luke's Gospel is that Luke's genealogy is unambiguously that of Joseph, not Mary.


It is necessary to understand that Matthew and Luke wrote their Gospels in separate communities and each was entirely unaware of the work being performed by the other. So, they were unable to compare and harmonise their work, to assist future generations better understand the life of Jesus. We should, of course, not take the genealogies too literally - the two evangelists were simply doing the best they could with the information available. Even if Luke meant 'Mary' when he said 'Joseph' in the genealogy he passed on to us, this would still not explain why Matthew gave Zorobabel's paternal grandfather as Jechonias, while Luke gave the same grandfather as Neri. A man can not have two paternal grandfathers!


Also, Luke used numerology to show that Jesus was destined for greatness (Matthew did as well, but in a different way). He had great men occur in multiples of 7 generations starting from Adam, with: Enoch at 7; Abraham at 21; David at 35; Jesus at 77. He also had ancestors called Joseph at 42 and 70 - why would the line include two Josephs at multiples of 7 unless Luke was saying that Joseph was destined for greatness (as the father of Jesus)?


The discrepancies between Matthew and Luke, the real discrepancies between each and the Old Testament, the problem of Zorobabel's ancestry, and the improbable evidence of numerology in both Matthew's and Luke's genealogies show clearly that records did not really exist for Joseph, and therefore certainly not for Mary. It is only in the post-apostolic period that attempts have been made to provide credible answers as to who Mary's parents were. Some traditions have suggested that Joseph and Mary were cousins or otherwise closely related, but without any real evidence.