Taken from The Methodist Quarterly Review, October 1852
The great importance of the genealogical lists of our Saviour's ancestry, given in the first chapter of Matthew and the third chapter of Luke, arises from the fact, that in various passages of the Old Testament (e. g. Isa. xi, 1, 10; Jer. xxiii, 5; xxxiii, 15, &c.) it was predicted that the Messiah should be a lineal descendant of King David, so clearly as to leave no doubt, at his coming, as to his proper parentage, (Matt, xxii, 4-2.) If, therefore, it cannot be shown by an appeal to authentic records then existing, that Jesus Christ was literally and certainly " the son of David," whatever other claims he may have to our confidence or regard, still he cannot be the promised Saviour of the world. Any flaw in his title to the regal throne, would have been a fatal bar to his succession, in every Jewish mind; and the least suspicion cast upon his descent, would blast forever the hope of every Christian.
Essentially important as is this point, it is nevertheless a remarkable fact, well known to all who have devoted the slightest attention to the subject, that serious, and, indeed, very formidable difficulties arise, when we come to examine and compare the details of the two lists furnished by the Evangelists, for the express purpose of exhibiting this lineage. Discrepancies of the most palpable kind, both with ear h other and with the genealogical tables of the Old Testament, stand out at the first glance; and our perplexity is increased by finding, upon further research, that although the ingenuity and learning of commentators and critics have been lavished upon the points of disagreement from the earliest ages of the Christian Church, yet almost no two of them agree in their mode of reconcilement, and the explanations of all arc more or less inconsistent and improbable in themselves, and fail to produce entire satisfaction. We do not, therefore, presume, that any light which we may be able to shed upon this quæstio vexalissima, will fully clear it up, or, perhaps, even lead to a more definite adjustment: our reason for entering upon the investigation, is, that we cannot refrain from seeking some solution of so vital a topic, for our own sake; and our apology for offering it, is that by a free and candid discussion of its difficulties only, can the doubts of those be dissipated, "who are not willing to take for granted the general conclusions. If we fail in our attempt, we hope at least to leave the subject no worse than we found it; and we may even then take refuge in the general argument, with which most are content, and in which all are safe, namely, that whatever difficulties we may find in these genealogies, those who lived in the times when they were written, and who had the best opportunity to test their correctness, whether friends or foes to Christianity, never expressed the least suspicion of their truth and accuracy.
We shall first give a synoptical view of the names as they stand in the several passages, according to the orthography of the original languages, the Hebrew Scriptures being referred to in the Old Testament, and not the Septuagint.
What Ave propose to do, is to examine the discrepancies between the names in these several lists, wherever the difference appears to be more than one of mere orthography. Other passages, especially in the Old Testament, will be noticed as they bear upon the names successively.1
No. 13. Here Luke inserts the name of Cainan, which he had also given at No. 4. Neither of the lists of the Hebrew Scriptures has the name in this place, but the Septuagint version has it in Gen. x, 24; and in chap, xi, 12-15 it even adds his age, "and Arphaxad lived one hundred and thirty-five years, and begot Cainan; and Arphaxad lived after he begot Cainan, three hundred years, and begot sons and daughters: and he died. And Cainan lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot Sala; and Cainan lived, after he begot Sala, three hundred and thirty years, and begot sons and daughters: and he died. And Sala lived one hundred and thirty years and begot Heber; and Sala lived after he begot Heber, three hundred and thirty years, and begot sons and daughters: and he died." In 1 Chron. i, however, the Septuagint docs not mention the name of this Cainan at all, according to the best editions, (verses 11-16 and l8-23 being entirely omitted;) while those that do insert it, do so in such a confused and uncertain manner as to betray evident corruption, (verses 17, 18, "The sons of Sera: Ailam and Asour, and Arphaxad, and Loud, and Aram. And [the sons of Aram:] Ouz, and Oul, and Gether, and Mosoch. And Arphaxad [and Loud and Aram. Caina begot Cainan: and he] begot Sala," &c.) This is not the place to discuss the comparative authority of the Hebrew text and that of the Septuagint; in this instance at least, the Greek version is manifestly at fault; having evidently borrowed the name of Cainan from the antediluvian patriarch, and his numbers from those of his successor Salah, with which they precisely agree. Luke, of course, had nothing to do in this case but to copy the list as he found it in the Septuagint, at that time current in all the synagogues (?) for popular use, without needing to go into any pedantic correction; he is, therefore, noways responsible for the interpolation.
No. 30. Rachab, mentioned hereby Matthew, (ver. 5,) was evidently the wife of Salmon and mother of Boaz, just as Ruth in the latter part of the verse was the wife of Boaz and mother of Obed. But in that case, she cannot have been, as generally supposed, the "harlot" of Jericho by that name (Josh, ii); for that would give an interval of over three centuries between her and the time of David, whereas the lists all agree in furnishing but four generations with which to fill it. Nor is it likely that this coincidence was intended by the name; for the Jews held, traditionally, that the heroine of Jericho married Joshua himself, and became the ancestress of eight prophets, among whom they do not reckon David; who the Rahab of Matthew was, therefore, or why her name is inserted, it is impossible to guess.
No. 35. Here Luke's and Matthew's lists divide, the former, who wrote for the special benefit of the Gentiles, taking the natural descent through Nathan, the ninth of David's nineteen legitimate sons (1 Chron. iii, 1-9), while the latter, writing principally for the use of Jews, traces it through the regal line from Solomon, David's tenth son and successor. The true branches unite in Salathiel, (No. 55,) and the lineage is thus confirmed.
Nos. 37 and 38. These generations we think of questionable authenticity, because they would unduly protract the interval between Nos. 35 and 42; the names given at these latter numbers respectively in the two lists, being contemporary, as we shall see, whereas between them Luke gives six names, and Matthew (as in the Old Testament) only four. The suspected names, however, occur in all the MSS. and editions, and if interpolations at all, are doubtless attributable to the family records which Luke merely transcribed.
No. 43. We here find the name of Ahaziah omitted by Matthew, as arc also those of the succeeding kings, Joash and Amaziah, at the following numbers. Some have supposed that this was done in order to show a detestation of the memory of these wicked kings —a mode of ignominy to which the Jews sometimes resorted in their public records; but in that case, why were not the names of other kings, as great or even greater monsters of crime and tyranny, also thrown out? We are rather disposed to attribute the omission to some accidental imperfection of the popular Jewish list which Matthew seems to have followed; for both the Hebrew and the Greek Scriptures have these names in their proper place, (1 Chron. iii, 11, 12; compare 2 Chron. xxii. 1, 11; xxv. 1, 27.)
In 2 Chron. xxiii, 1, we find mentioned one " Maaseiah, the son of Adaiah," as one of "the captains of hundreds," during the interregnum that succeeded the violent death of Ahaziah, and that he was one of those appointed to guard the young prince Joash from the murderous tyranny of the queen dowager Athaliah. This Maaseiah, we think it not unlikely, may have been the same with Simeon of this number, (the names being somewhat similar, or perhaps two names of the same individual,) or at least a brother of his; for they were very nearly contemporary, (whether we compare the generations in an ascending or descending order from fixed points,) they were both persons of rank and apparently of princely connexions, and their fathers' names, Adaiah and Juda, present more than accidental points of resemblance, considering that they are translations from different languages.
No. 53. Here Matthew omits the name of Jehoiakim; but it is supplied in certain MSS. and versions, which read thus, " And Josias begot Jehoiakeim, and Jehoiakeim begot Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon." Most critics explain the omission as in Nos. 43-45, and reject the insertion of the name in this text, as an interpolation designed to patch up the defect. To us, however, the matter appears differently: — In the first place, it cannot be denied that the external authorities for the emended reading are at least respectable, if not decidedly weighty, and the fact of their existence makes a wide difference in the treatment of this difficulty from those of Nos. 43-45, where all the readings are unanimous. In the second place, it is also undeniable that a name is here omitted, and as the correction supplies the proper name, and at once remedies the error, there is a strong presumption that it was so written. But, thirdly, the omission not only makes Matthew guilty of an inaccuracy, by not saying enough, but also of a contradiction, in what he has said; for he sums up the list by saying, that from Abraham to David, thence to the captivity, and thence to Christ, are each fourteen generations; whereas, upon an actual enumeration of his own names, we find but forty-one generations in all. Whether, therefore, we reckon the Last term in each of the three series as included, and the first of the latter two excluded, (which is the most natural and correct mode,) or both terms as inclusive, or both as exclusive, there will in every case be more or less than fourteen, in some one of the periods or other; as the following; trial will demonstrate: —
In short, the only way to "make twice-two five" in this case, is to repeat one of the terms in one of the series, and in none of the rest; in other words, to make a single name the representative of two generations! This is accordingly done by most interpreters, and they are only puzzled to decide, whether David or Jeconiah shall be entitled to that honour. A wag might suggest, as a relief in this dilemma, that, as the Babylonian Captivity is mentioned in the list as a doubling point, this name might be conveniently pressed into service, by way of " splitting the difference," and the troublesome blank would be neatly filled at once.2 But, seriously, this counting one name twice, in order to eke out a required number, is a mere quibble, unworthy the resort of candid critics: better frankly avow an inexplicable error at once, than thus insult the inquirer with a computation which would be admitted in the settlement of no ordinary account to the value of a shilling. We, however, do not feel shut up to any such necessity in this case; we accept the improved reading, both on account of fair external, and its overwhelming internal, evidence, because there is not only good ground to believe that it is what Matthew did say, but it is also clear that it is what he meant to say,— and the whole list comes out naturally, thus:
Whether Matthew himself counted up the names, in order to verify this coincidence in the numbers of the respective series, or merely made the statement as a matter of popular remark, is itself doubtful: if the former, he could hardly have been himself satisfied with any of the ingenious expedients of modern critics; and if the latter, we may throw the whole responsibility of the error upon the computation then in vogue.
Another difficulty connected with this No., arises from the addition by Matthew, (v. 11,) after the name of Jeconiah, of the words, "and his brethren," implying; that Jehoiakim had at least more than one son. Now, in the genealogies of 1 Chron. iii, we find (at v. 16, 17) only this statement, "And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. And the sons of Jeconiah," &c. This nearly all interpreters (who have noticed the passage at all) have regarded as denying that Jeconiah had any brothers; but we do not think this by any means a warrantable inference. For, in the first place, this whole passage is too obscure and incoherent to admit any very clear or satisfactory explanation, as any one may see by a mere perusal, and as will presently more fully appear: nor are there any various readings to assist in restoring the meaning; the Septuagint also closely following the Hebrew text. But, in the next place, the passage itself gives evidence of more than one son of Jehoiakim: for, besides setting out to give his " sons," it actually enumerates as two of them Jeconiah and Zedekiah. Now it will not do to interpret the words, "Zedekiah his son," as meaning that Zedekiah was Jeconiah's son; for the very next verse sets out afresh to give Jeconiah's sons, and actually enumerates them, while the name of Zedekiah nowhere appears among them. Jeconiah and Zedekiah, therefore, were both sons of Jehoiakim, and, in the addition "his son," the pronoun in both cases refers to the same person. This Zedekiah must have been a different one from Mattaniah, the third son of Josiah, and the brother of Jehoiakim, whom the king of Babylon placed on the throne, changing his name to Zedekiah, after the deposition of Jeconiah, (1 Chron. iii, 15; 2 Kings xxiv, 17; Jer. xxvii, 1;) and in 2 Chron. xxxvi, 10, the two seem to have become confounded, unless we may there interpret, " Zedekiah his [Jeconiah's] brother'' to mean his relative, namely uncle. Lastly, the silence as to any other brother of Jeconiah, does not prove that he had no more than one; for the list in 1 Chron. iii, is by no means a complete record of the various families. And even if there were but this one brother, we think the fact would meet the requirements of Matthew's language, "Jechoniah and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon;" the Evangelist's whole object in this addition being to allude to the transmigration which the entire house then experienced, as affecting the fortunes of the Messianic stock: and we know that Jeconiah's whole family, including his mother, (and therefore no doubt his brothers also,) were carried into captivity with him. (2 Kings xxiv, 12, 14, 15.)
No. 55. Is the Salathiel in each of the lists here the same person? We take the affirmative most decidedly, notwithstanding the objections of great names; and for the following reasons: In the first place, there is a very strong presumption of identity from the names being the same; and this is not only the case with Salathiel, but also with his son Zerubbabel, where all the lists exhibit the same name. These persons, also, must have been contemporary, as the mere juxtaposition of the lists sufficiently indicates for general purposes. Now, although instances are brought, on the other side, of different persons of the same name elsewhere in genealogical and other lists, there cannot be found anywhere two consecutive names, severally contemporary with the same two in another such list, that do not belong to the same individuals. Such a coincidence is almost impossible, and not to be supposed without positive proof In the second place, then, what proof is offered to show their nonidentity? none but speculative objections and minor difficulties. The consideration of these will be the best mode of discussing whatever relates to this No.
Salathiel being the lineal son of Jeconiah, according to Matthew, could not also have been the direct son of Neri in Luke; why then should Luke, who so carefully traces back the natural descent from Jesus to Adam, here abandon the true regal line, for some lineage of inferior dignity and authenticity? Now it might be sufficient to answer, that Luke is as good evidence of direct descent from Neri, as Matthew is from Jeconiah, or that these two names may have belonged to the same person; but we admit that Jeconiah was Salathiel's proper father. The only other evidence of this is the language of 1 Chron. iii, 17, "And the sons of Jeconiah: Assir, Salathiel his son," &c. This is another instance of the obscurity of this passage before noted. As it now reads, we should take Assir to be Jeconiah's only son, and Salathiel his grandson; which, so far from deciding between Matthew and Luke in this case, would involve them both in equal and additional difficulty. A better mode of interpretation, and one more congenial with the style of enumeration throughout this chapter, would be to make Assir a son of Jeconiah, along with Salathiel and the rest in the following verse, applying the words ''his son" as in verse 16. A third mode is to regard Assir ,אַסִּר = אַסׅיר, literally a prisoner, as merely an epithet of Jeconiah, added on account of his peculiar affliction in the captivity. This will agree very well with the manner in which Matthew introduces his name as an exile. One of these latter modes of interpretation must be employed; for the chronicler sets out with proposing to give us the sons of Jeconiah, and not merely one son, Assir.
On the other hand, we claim that Salathiel was still lineally descended from Neri, and that Luke merely takes the maternal and private line, (as best agreed with his purpose,) instead of the paternal and royal one. The theory by which we reconcile these apparent contradictious, is by assuming that Neri was the grandfather of Salathiel, through the -wife of Jeconiah. In Jeremiah xxii, 12, is mentioned one " Baruch the son of Neriah the son of Maaseiah," as a contemporary of the prophet, in the tenth year of Zedekiah, who succeeded Jeconiah during the captivity. The time, names and rank of all the parties so well agree, that we are disposed to identify this Neriah with the Neri in Luke, and his father, Maaseiah, with Melchi preceding him. This latter may also not improbably have been the same with " Maaseiah, the governor of the city," in the time of Josiah the father of this Zedekiah, 2 Chron. xxxiv, 8. In Jer. li, 59, Ave have probably the same persons mentioned; another member of the family being called " Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah." Now it is traditionally believed by the Jews that Salathiel's mother was named Susannah, and that Jeconiah married her in his captivity; and, as this Neriah was an elderly person of distinction at that very time, he may well have been her father. This will easily and naturally reconcile the whole lineage, and her name, of course, would be superseded in the public records by those of her husband and father. We are aware that there is much uncertainty about this, but it arises from the nature of the case, and some such relationship, it is admitted on all hands, must have existed at this point. The only question, therefore, is, what supposition is the most simple, and agrees best with all the circumstances and probabilities known: the one we offer is at least more credible than that all these coincidences of names, dates and relations (with others soon to be presented,) are merely accidental and relate to individuals totally unconnected.
No. 56. The identity of the names Zerubbabel in the three lists, has been assumed above: the subject will bear a fuller investigation. It appears, however, from the statements in 1 Chron. iii, 17-19, that Zerubbabel was not the son directly of Salathiel, but of his brother Pedaiah; from which we conclude that Salathiel dying without heir, his brother Pedaiah took his wife, and " raised up as seed to his brother" Zerubbabel. according to the Levirate law, Deut. xxv, 5. Hence, in the list in the Chronicles, the children of Jeconiah's third son, only are given, because through them the family was continued. This mode of descent is confirmed by
No. 57. which will be more conveniently considered, under
No. 58. The only two names that correspond here are Rhesa in Luke, and Rephaiah in Chronicles. But between Rephaiah and Zerubbabel, we have, in 1 Chron. iii, 19-21, a confused list of descent, which it is very diffieult to disentangle: "And the sons of Zerubbabel: Meshullam and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister: and Hashubah, and Ohel, and Berechiah, and Hasadiah, Jushab-hesed, five. And the sons of Hananiah; Pelatiah and Jesaiah: the sons of Rephaiah," &c. Now in this series, there are several difficulties, which we -will consider in order.
(1) There are given at least six, and apparently seven, sons of Zerubbabel, besides one daughter; whereas at the close they are all reckoned as making five. This may be plausibly explained by understanding the five names that follow that of the daughter, to be those counted at the close as Zerubbabel 's proper heirs; and assigning the two that precede her, as the legal representatives of his brothers family, on account of the Levirate marriage.
(2) The line next proceeds, not through Zerubbabel's eldest, but through his second son, Hananiah: this may naturally be explained by the death of the first-born without issue.
(3) The chief difficulty arises from the mention of but two sons of Hananiah, neither of whom is Rephaiah, through whom the descent next runs. Nor can our translators be charged with falsely rendering the Hebrew text: for although they have properly followed those copies which read at the beginning of verse 21, ךּבְּנֵו־"and [the] sons of" Hananiah, etc., instead of the common text which has ךּבֶּו־, "and [the] son of;" yet they have retained in the intermediate clauses the undisputed בְּנֵי, "[the'] sons of," rather than read בְּנךֹ, "his son,"as the Septuagint apparently chose to do, from its translating, "And [the] sons (καὶ υἱοὶ) of Anania, Phalettia and Josia his son (υἱὸς αὺτοῦ), Rhapal his son," etc. Under these circumstances we can see no mode of unraveling the web of descent, except by regarding Rephaiah as another son of Hananiah, through whom the family was continued, as often before, by default of issue from the first-born Pelatiah. Even if we adopt the (construction rather than) translation of the Septuagint, Jesaiah will still be a son of Hananiah, by the same process of explanation as was applied to verse 16; but Rephaiah will then be the son of the former, rather than of his brother. Our own conclusion is somewhat corroborated by the similar position of
No. 59. The list in Chronicles proceeds, "the sons of Rephaiah, the sons of Arnan, the sons of Obadiah, the sons of Shechainah"— a series that almost defies elucidation. We arc compelled to suppose with the Seventy, that these are meant as sons in the direct line as they stand. If so, the name of Joanna in Luke will agree not ill with that of Arnan.
No. 60. Here. the Abiud of Matthew corresponds so nearly with; Obadiah in the Chronicles, that we may readily identify them; and this affords some confirmation of the position that the three lists are all along in this part the same. The name Juduh, given by Luke, is not so different as to forbid all idea of identity with the two others.
No. 61. In this generation the three lists give us, Joseph, Eliakim, Shecheniah — names that can only be harmonized by the supposition that they were different appellations of the same individual. To resort to a Levirate marriage with brothers, through whom the line should return afterward, is not advisable on so slight grounds.
No. 62. Here the names of Semei and Shemaiah agree so well, that they at once identify themselves. Matthew, however, appears to have omitted this generation altogether.
Nos. 63 and 64. As Luke alone gives the names of Mattathiah and Maath here, we arc inclined to suspect that they had crept into the public records from Nos. 69 and 74, or else from Nos. 36 and 45; the whole six names in fact being but variations of the same Hebrew name מַכּׅבְוׇח, i. q. Ματὓαῑος. If so, in
No. 65, we may easily identify the Naggai of Luke with the Neariah of the Chronicles: as Matthew omits the name altogether, there may have been some peculiar relationship between Eliakim and Azor, Nos. 61 and 66. The list in the Chronicles, however, needs some elucidation: it reads thus (1 Chron. iii, 22), " And the sons of Shechaniah; Shemaiah: and the sons of Shemaiah; Hattush and Igeal, and liariah, and Neariah, and Shaphat, six." The difficulty here is twofold: after setting out to give the sons of Schechaniah, it gives only one, Shemaiah; and in enumerating the sons of the latter, we find only one, instead of six. The Hebrew text affords no relief; and the Septuagint merely avoids the plural in speaking of the heir of Shechaniah, but leaves the rest of the verse in the same condition. The only explanation of which we can think, of a statement too palpably contradictory to have been intended in any other sense, is to include the five sons of Shemaiah with himself, as the six descendants ("sons" in the general sense) of Shechaniah: this will obviate both parts of the difficulty at once. The line then proceeds through Neariah (verse 23) as heir, instead of either of the three older brothers: hence his name appears in Luke.
No. 66. The list in Chronicles (verse 23) here gives us as "the sons of Neariah: Elioenai, and Hezekiah, and Azrikam, three:" the first of which names is readily recognised in the Esli of Luke, and the third in the Azor of Matthew. From this point, accordingly, the lists of the two Evangelists diverge, until they unite again in Jesus; carrying down the descent through these different brothers' families.
No. 67. Here the genealogy in the Chronicles gives us (verse 24) the names of "the sons of Elioenai: Hodaiah, and Eliashib, and Pelaiah, and Akkub, and Johanan, and Dalaiah, and Anani, seven:" of which the names of the fifth and the seventh, Johanan and Anani, nearly correspond with the Nahum of Luke; most likely the former. By counting upward from the names of Matthat and Jacob, (No. 74,) who, as we shall see, there is reason to believe were nearly contemporary, we find the interval between that and the present No., longer by two generations in Luke than in Matthew; from which we may conjecture that the latter has omitted two unknown names, unless the ages in one family may be supposed to have averaged much more before marriage, than in the other. As the list in the Chronicles ends here, bringing down the lineage some nine generations after Zerubbabel, under whom the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, that is, to about B.C 280, we have only the surprisingly short period of about two centuries and a half preceding Christ's immediate parentage, during which his whole descent is not vouched for by the sacred archives of the Jewish nation!
Nos. 75 and 76. Luke does not mean to say that Joseph was the son of Eli, any more than that Jesus was the real son of Joseph; on the contrary, he only inserts Joseph as the nominal male link in the succession: ᾢν (ὡς ἐνοομίζετο) υἱὸς Ἰωσήφ τοῡ Ἠλί. Eli was, therefore, Mary's father; and Luke, writing to the Gentiles, adheres to the natural line. According to early Christian tradition, Mary's parents were named Joachin and Anna; but the contemporary Jewish writers also state that her father was named Eli: we may, therefore, conclude, that he was known by both these names. Her mother, Anna, again, is said to have been the daughter of one Matthan, perhaps Christ's maternal great-grandfather, (No. 73.) Various other relationships are spoken of or involved in the New Testament and other ancient authorities, which it would be interesting here to trace out, did space and pertinency allow: they may be seen presented in a tabular form at page 672 of the October number of this journal for 1851.
Matthew, on the other hand, who wrote for Jews, follows the legal mode of reckoning descent, and he gives Joseph's real father, Jacob: Ἰακὼβ δὲ ἐγέννησε τὸν Ἰωσὴφ τὸν ἄνδρα Μαρίας ἐξ ἧς ἐγεννήὓη Ἰησοῡς ὁ λεγόμενος Χριστός. Several circumstances render it likely that Joseph was much older than Mary: early traditions all assume it; his known character implies it; (Matt, 1:19;) the reasons that might be adduced to show that she was not his first wife, (compare John 19:25.) presume it; 'and the probability that his death long preceded her's, (see John 19:27,) justifies it. If so, he would be more nearly contemporary with Eli as to age-a circumstance not uncommon in Oriental marriages.
1. Our readers may find it convenient to compare, as they go along, a recent work, (A New Harmony and Exposition of the Gospels. By James Strong, A.M. New-York: Carlton and Phillips,) which gives in two pages (16, 17) a parallel view of the texts in the gospels containing these genealogies, and a tabular view of the results arrived at in the following process of examination.
2. Indeed, Dr. Robinson (Notes to his Harmony, § 13) does very nearly this thing, by repeating the name of David, and justifying his computation thus, "It is obvious that the first division begins with Abraham, und ends with David. But does the second begin with David, or with Solomon? Assuredly with the former; because, just as the first begins ἀπὸ Ἀβραάμ, so the second also is said to begin ἀπὸ Δαυίδ. The first extends ἔως Δαυίδ, and includes him; the second extends ἔως τῆς μετοικεσίας, i.e. to an epoch and not to a person; and, therefore, the persons who are mentioned as coeval with this epoch (ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας , ver. 11), are not reckoned before it. After the epoch the enumeration begins again with Jechoniah, and ends with Jesus. "On the contrary, as the second division extends quite down to the epoch, (ἔως τῆς μετοικεσίας, ver. 17,) it ought to include every name mentioned before that epoch, and which continued under it, (ἐπὶ,v.11;) and this with even better reason, than that the third division should monopolize a name which does not properly belong to it, (μετά, v.12,) except by repetition. In fact, this nice distinction involves after all a non sequitur, and leaves the difficulty still in every unsophisticated mind. If Jeconiah had been "coeval with the epoch" of the deportation, he certainly might have been "reckoned before it," with fully as much propriety as after it, and the instance of David would have suggested a more correct and uniform mode of disposing of his name, by repeating: it in like manner. But farther, Matthew, on referring to the list which he had just written, would have found that he had actually given this name before that epoch (verse 11), and he only mentions it afterward (v. 12) in order to connect the two divisions; if, therefore, he wished to make out a fair commonsense ratio of the length of the several series, rather than a fanciful correspondence in their numbers, he could not have totally excluded Jeconiah from the second series. Still farther, Matthew says that in each of these periods there were fourteen generations, not merely that the number of names might be made to tally, although he evidently throws out of the account the three generations, Nos. 43—45; and every attempt to make any epoch or event a dividing point, must savour of the absurdity of calling it a generation. In short, no good reason can ever be given why Jeconiah's name should not be repeated just as much as David's. Naturalness and consistency require three times fourteen bona fide generations in the entire list, represented consecutively by the names enumerated by Matthew, and no person, from a mere perusal of the account itself, would think of looking for anything else than forty-two actual names in direct descent from father to son; this, we claim, Matthew did mean to give, without being responsible, however, for any substitutions of equivalent names in the public authorities from which he cited.
It is true, that by the computation we have adopted, Jeconiah is, after all, placed in the third division; but then his name is not repeated, nor is that of David, so that uniformity is preserved; and. moreover, as the introduction of the captivity among the generations in that emphatic manner, is not our hypothesis, we are at liberty to count his name on either side of that event. The true reason why that epoch is referred to in the enumeration of verse 17 is, not to avoid the reduplication of a name, but because it was a better marked crisis in the history of the nation than was the comparatively obscure name of Jeconiah, and thus corresponded better with the notable names of Abraham, David, and Jesus, the other boundaries of the several series.