Christ's Family Tree
by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D.
Though His Divine Nature was from
Eternity, His Human Nature had a Jewish Background. The
blood that flowed in His Veins was from the Royal House of David through
His mother who, though Poor, belonged to the
Lineage of the Great King. His contemporaries called
Him the "Son of David". The Jewish People would never
have consented to regard as a Messiah any Pretender who did not fulfill this
Indispensable Condition. Nor did Our Blessed Lord Himself ever deny
His Davidic Origin. He only affirmed that
His Davidic Affiliation did not explain the Relations which
He possessed with the Father in
His Divine Personality. (Nota Bene:
Christ does not have a Human Personality)
The opening words of the Gospel of Matthew suggest the Genesis of
Our Lord. The Old Testament begins with the Genesis of Heaven and
Earth through God making all things. The New Testament had another
kind of Genesis, in the sense that it describes the making of all things new. The
Genealogy that is given implies that Christ was "a Second
Man", and not merely one of the many that had sprung from Adam. Luke, who directed
his Gospel to the Gentiles, traced Our Lord's descent
back to the First Man, but Matthew, who directed his Gospel to the Jews,
set Him forth as "Son of David and the Son of
Abraham". The Difference in the Genealogy between Luke and Matthew is due to the fact
that Luke, writing for the Gentiles, was careful to give a Natural Descent, via
Mary; while Matthew, writing for the Jews, verged from the Natural after the
time of David, in order to make it clear to the Jews that Our
Lord was the Heir to the Kingdom of David, via
Luke is concerned about the
Son of Man; Matthew
about the King of Israel. Hence Matthew opens his Gospel:
Family Lineages of Joseph and Mary, from the Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible
Matthew 1:1 thru 1:17
Matthew wrote to the Jews to present Jesus as
King of the Jews. It begins by showing Jesus was a Legal Heir to the
Throne of David, by virtue of His Lineage.
This fact is immediately set forth in Verse One, which states Jesus was the
"Son of David, the Son of Abraham". His
kinship to David the King of Israel is mentioned before that of Abraham, the Father of Israel. Matthew's Genealogy
traces the ancestors of Joseph, the
Legal father of
Jesus. Matthew's structure descends from father-to-son, beginning with Abraham.
Luke was a Physician. He carefully investigated the Life of Christ,
and wrote the Books of Luke and The Acts. The original readers of Luke's Works were Greek Christians.
While Matthew wrote to the Jews, Luke wrote to the Greeks. Matthew's Genealogy emphasized
Jesus' claim to the Throne of David. Since Luke's readers were less
concerned about the Fulfillment of Jewish Prophecy, his Genealogy focused on Jesus' descent
from God. It placed no emphasis on Jesus
being the Descendant of King David.
Family Lineage of
the Legal Father
Family Lineage of
the Biological Mother
1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
1:2 Abraham begot Isaac. And Isaac begot Jacob.
And Jacob begot Judas and his brethren.
1:3 And Judas begot Phares and Zara of Thamar. And Phares begot Esron.
And Esron begot Aram.
1:4 And Aram begot Aminadab. And Aminadab begot Naasson.
And Naasson begot Salmon.
1:5 And Salmon begot Booz of Rahab. And Booz begot
Obed of Ruth. And Obed begot Jesse.
1:6 And Jesse begot David the king. And David the king begot
Solomon, of her that had been the wife of Urias.
1:7 And Solomon begot Roboam. And Roboam begot Abia.
And Abia begot Asa.
1:8 And Asa begot Josaphat. And Josaphat begot Joram.
And Joram begot Ozias.
1:9 And Ozias begot Joatham. And Joatham begot Achaz.
And Achaz begot Ezechias.
1:10 And Ezechias begot Manasses. And Manesses begot Amon.
And Amon begot Josias.
1:11 And Josias begot Jechonias and his brethren in the
Transmigration of Babylon.
1:12 And after the Transmigration of Babylon, Jechonias begot Salathiel.
And Salathiel begot Zorobabel.
1:13 And Zorobabel begot Abiud. And Abiud begot Eliacim.
And Eliacim begot Azor.
1:14 And Azor begot Sadoc. And Sadoc begot Achim.
And Achim begot Eliud.
1:15 And Eliud begot Eleazar. And Eleazar begot Mathan.
And Mathan begot Jacob.
1:16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of
Mary, of whom was born Jesus,
Who is called Christ.
1:17 So all the Generations, from Abraham to David, are Fourteen (14) Generations. And from David
to the Transmigration of Babylon, are Fourteen (14) Generations: and from the Transmigration of
Babylon to Christ are Fourteen (14) Generations.
|3:23 And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of
thirty years; being (as it was supposed) the Son of Joseph, who was of Heli, who was of
3:24 Who was of Levi, who was of Melchi, who was of Janne, who was of Joseph,
3:25 Who was of Mathathias, who was of Amos, who was of Nahum, who was of Hesli, who was of Nagge,
3:26 Who was of Mahath, who was of Mathathias, who was of Semei, who was of Joseph, who was of Juda,
3:27 Who was of Joanna, who was of Reza, who was of Zorobabel, who was of Salathiel, who was of Neri,
3:28 Who was of Melchi, who was of Addi, who was of Cosan, who was of Helmadan, who was of Her,
3:29 Who was of Jesus, who was of Eliezer, who was of Jorim, who was of Mathat, who was of Levi,
3:30 Who was of Simeon, who was of Judas, who was of Joseph, who was of Jona, who was of Eliakim,
3:31 Who was of Melea, who was of Menna, who was of Mathatha, who was of Nathan, who was of David,
3:32 Who was of Jesse, who was of Obed, who was of Booz, who was of Salmon, who was of Naasson,
3:33 Who was of Aminadab, who was of Aram, who was of Esron, who was of Phares, who was of Judas,
3:34 Who was of Jacob, who was of Isaac, who was of Abraham, who was of Thare, who was of Nachor,
3:35 Who was of Sarug, who was of Ragau, who was of Phaleg, who was of Heber, who was of Sale,
3:36 Who was of Cainan, who was of Arphaxad, who was of Sem, who was of Noe, who was of Lamech,
3:37 Who was of Mathusale, who was of Henoch, who was of Jared, who was of Malaleel, who was of Cainan,
3:38 Who was of Henos, who was of Seth, who was of Adam, who was of God.
Matthew pictures the Generations from Abraham to Our
Lord as having passed through Three (3) cycles of
Fourteen (14) each. This does not, however, represent a complete Genealogy. Fourteen
(14) are mentioned from Abraham to David, Fourteen (14) from David
to the Babylonian Captivity, and Fourteen (14) from the Babylonian
Captivity to Our Blessed Lord. The Genealogy goes beyond the Hebrew
Background to include a few non-Jews. There may have been a very good reason for this, as well as for the
inclusion of others who had not the Best Reputations in the World. One was Rahab, who was a Foreigner and a
Sinner; another was Ruth, a Foreigner though received into the Nation; a
third was the Sinner Bethsabee whose
Sin with David cast Shame upon the Royal Line. Why should there be
Blots on the Royal Escutcheon, such as Bethsabee, whose Womanly Purity was
Tainted; and Ruth who, though Morally
Good, was an Introducer of Alien Blood into the stream? Possibly it was in order to indicate
Christ's Relationship to the Stained and to the
Sinful, to Harlots and Sinners,
and even to the Gentiles who were included in His Message and
In some translations of Scripture, the word that is used to describe the Genealogy is
the word "begot"; for example, "Abraham begot Isaac,
Isaac begot Jacob"; in other translations there is the expression "was the father
of"; for example, "Jechonias was the father of Salathiel". The translation
is unimportant; what stands out is that this Monotonous Expression is used throughout Forty-one
(41) Generations. But it is omitted when the Forty-second (42) Generation
is reached. Why? Because of the Virgin Birth of Jesus.
Jacob of Joseph, the husband of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus called Messiah.
Matthew, drawing up the Genealogy, knew that Our Lord was
not the Son of Joseph. Hence on the
very first pages of the Gospel, Our Lord is presented as connected with
the Race which nevertheless did not wholly produce Him. That
He came into it, was obvious; yet He was distinct from it.
If there was a suggestion of the Virgin Birth in
the Genealogy of Matthew, so there was a suggestion of it in the Genealogy of Luke. In
Matthew, Joseph is not described as having Begotten
Our Lord, and in Luke, Our Lord is called:
The Son, as people thought, of Joseph. [Luke 2:34]
He meant that Our Lord was popularly supposed to be the
Son of Joseph. Combining the Two (2) Genealogies:
in Matthew, Our Lord is the Son of David and of
He is, in Luke, the Son of
Adam and the Seed of the Woman God
promised would Crush the Head of the Serpent.
Men who are not Moral, by God's Providence, are made the Instruments
of His Policy; David, who
Murdered Urias, nevertheless is the Channel through which the Blood of Abraham
floods into the Blood of Mary. There were Sinners
in the Family Tree, and He would seem to be the Greatest
Sinner of all when He would hang upon the Family Tree of the
Cross, making Men Adopted Sons of the Heavenly Father.