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Who was Jesus’ stepfather Joseph’s father? Matthew 1:16 says it was a man named Jacob; Luke 4:23 says it was Heli. I would be interested in your answer.


You have a penchant for finding Bible difficulties. This apparent disharmony has been the source of debate for scholars for hundreds of years and no completely satisfactory conclusion that does not present difficulties of its own has ever been agreed upon.

My own personal conclusion is best illustrated by an earlier reference in Matthew 1:9 where Matthew lists Uzziah as the father of Jotham while in 2 Kings 15: 1-7 and 1 chronicles 3:12 Jotham’s father is called Azariah. Yet, in 2 Kings 15: 32, 34 Jotham’s father is called Uzziah instead of Azariah. The names are different but refer to the same king. He bore both names. Jews when life’s focus changes or some momentous event occurs effect a name change to commemorate this new direction. Azariah means, “YHVH has helped” and Uzziah means, “YHVH is my strength.” My Hebrew name initially given to me by my father was L’chaim, “to life” and later as my personality developed it became Milchamah, meaning “dressed for battle” because I was so confrontational in theological disputes. My last name ben David is of course “son of David.” There are other examples found through out scripture.

To the example, you cited. Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience and Luke most likely to a predominantly Gentile one. Different perspectives based on cultural differences. Matthew works forward through time and Luke works backwards. The formats followed by each writer contrasts greatly. Matthew stresses the Davidic line for his Jewish audience while Luke apparently records the genealogical line of Mary, placing the emphasis on G-d as Yahshua’s Father. . [By the way, both Joseph and Mary were from the Davidic and priestly lines] Yahshua had to be born of a virgin because of G-d’s curse of Jeochonia (Coniah) [another example of two names same person] whose descendants would never sit on the throne of Israel, thus eliminating Yahshua, if His lineage were biologically from Joseph. There in, we see the necessity of a virgin birth aside from the doctrine of original sin passed through the father, the male (not the female) as necessary for Yahshua to assume the kingship of Israel because He could never rule if He were descended from the line of Joseph whose ancestors included Jeochonia, which Mary’s did not. If you take note, you will find that HELI was actually Joseph’s father-in law. In Judaism many references are made that are indistinguishable as to a biological father, stepfather or even grandfather. My own grandson who is an Israeli calls me Abba (father) the same as he calls his biological father Abba. No distinction is made linguistically.

One last thought. Matthews’s genealogy is a dynastic list and Luke’s is an actual descendant list. Jewish genealogies were constructed primarily to demonstrate the family’s Jewish origins. Some of the differences noted between Matthew and Luke might be the result of levirate marriages whereas if a man died leaving no male heir to perpetuate his name his surviving brother or another male relative was obligated to marry the deceased’s wife and provide an heir to his brother name (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). This could explain some of the divergences.

Confusing isn’t it? You almost have to be born a Jew to be comfortable with it. It is so important to know the Jewish roots of the Scriptures in order to understand them. Where I see harmony, others might see contradictions.

Keep up the good work!

Shalom v’brachas, Rabbi Davis (R. Milchamah b. David)