Thursday, April 05, 2007

Genealogy Quote #6

3:23 Unlike Matthew, who placed his genealogy at the very beginning of his Gospel (1:1–17), Luke placed his genealogy between the accounts of Jesus’ baptism and temptation. There is OT precedent for this in Moses’ genealogy (Exod 6:14–25), which is not recorded at the beginning of his life but just before he started his ministry.32

The genealogy contains seventy-seven ancestors. 33 The exact arrangement of generations, in contrast to Matt 1:1–17, is uncertain. The intended pattern may be: Jesus to exile (3 x 7 generations); exile to David (3 x 7 generations); David to Abraham (2 x 7 generations); Abraham to Adam, son of God (3 x 7 generations). 34

With this genealogy of Jesus we encounter a classic problem involving the differences between the Matthean and Lukan genealogies. There are several minor differences in form 35 and in content. For example, Matthew’s genealogy stopped at Abraham, whereas Luke’s went back to “Adam, the Son of God”; Matthew added occasional descriptions (cf. 1:3, 5–6, 11–12, 16–17); Luke listed sixty names not found in Matthew. 36

The key issue, however, involves the differences in names between David and Jesus in the two genealogies. Thirty-eight names are different, and most important is the difference in the name of the alleged grandfather of Jesus. According to Matt 1:16 it was Jacob, but according to Luke 3:23 it was Heli. Numerous attempts have been made to explain this. Most scholars think that at present the two lists resist any and all attempts at harmonization. 37 Others seeking to harmonize the two accounts have offered various explanations. 38

The existence of such extensive genealogies in Jesus’ day is well established. The rabbi Hillel was able to trace his genealogy back to David, and Josephus (Life 1.3) also gave his own extensive genealogy. Yet at the present time with the material available, no truly satisfying solution has been brought forward to resolve this difficulty.39

Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old. If Jesus was born during the reign of Herod (1:5; Matt 2:1–19) who died in 4 B.C., and if Jesus was born ca. 6 B.C. and began his ministry ca. 28 (see comments on 3:1), Jesus would indeed have been in his early thirties. There does not seem to be here any reference or allusion to David’s age when he began his reign (“thirty years old,” 2 Sam 5:4), and there is even less likely an allusion to Gen 41:46 or Num 4:3. Luke may simply not have been able to be more specific about Jesus’ age.

He began his ministry. Compare Luke 23:5; Acts 1:22; 10:37. Jesus’ ministry began with his anointing by the Spirit.

So it was thought. This assumes that the reader has read Luke 1–2 and knows of the virginal conception. Luke 3:23 was therefore written after Luke 1–2. The best translation seems to be, “Jesus was the son (supposedly) of Joseph, the son of Heli, ” although “Jesus was the son (supposedly of Joseph), of Heli” is possible.

3:24 Matthat. This is the Matthan of Matt 1:15. A major agreement in both genealogies is that Matthat/Matthan was the great-grandfather of Jesus.

3:27 Rhesa. No available records indicate that Zerubbabel had a son by this name.

Neri. Although Matt 1:12 and 1 Chr 3:17–19 name Jeconiah as Zerubbabel’s grandfather, Jer 22:30 may suggest that Jeconiah was childless and that he adopted Neri as son and heir.

3:28–31 The names (up to David) are all different from Matt 1:7–12.

3:32–34 The names in these verses are the same as in Matt 1:2–6 except for Admin [or Ram] and Arni [or Hezron]. The textual variants in Codex Beza, the Itala, and various church fathers probably are due to an attempt to harmonize the Lukan list with that of Matthew.

3:38 The son of Adam. Clearly Luke’s universalistic perspective must be seen here. Jesus is the fulfillment not just of Jewish hopes but of the hopes of all people, both Jew and Gentile. For out of Adam the whole human family has come (cf. Acts 17:26), and Jesus is the son of Adam. Luke (like Paul in Rom 5:12–21; 1 Cor 15:22, 45–49) obviously thought of Adam as a historical person.

The son of God. For a parallel to this, see Philo, On the Virtues , 204–5. There is a sense in which Adam was a type of Jesus in that he did not have a human father, for the one who gave him life was God himself. Similarly God through his Spirit was the creative power who gave life to his Son, Jesus.

Source : Quinton Howitt

No comments: