The Genealogy of Jesus Christ Through Mary...

But that is not Biblical, so it is said by many.
Well let us look and just see what we can find...

Jesus Christ is descended from David:
If He is from the line of
David, then certainly Joseph could not be of his immediate paternal bloodline since Joseph was not his natural father. The bloodline could only be traced through His mother, Mary. She alone provided 100% of His genetic material, and thus provided the "flesh of the offspring of David", as shown in Rom 1:3,
"...concerning His Son who was born to Him according to the flesh of the offspring of

Matt 1:1, "The book of the origin of Jesus Christ, the Son of
David, the Son of Abraham."

John 7:42, "...Does not the Scripture say that it is of the offspring of
David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David lived, that the Christ is to come."

2Tim 2:8, Remember that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and was descended from

Luke 1:32, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord GOD will give Him the throne of
David, His father, and He shall be king over the house of Jacob forever."

Gal 4:4, "But when the fullness of time came, GOD sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law."

See also all of these verses which refer to Jesus Christ as the Son of
Matt 9:27,12:23,15:22,20:30-31,21:9,21:15,22:42,22:45, Mark 10:47-48,12:35,12:37, Luke 18:38-39, Luke 20:44.

I have shown so far that Jesus Christ is descended from
David, but through the genealogy of Mary it is only implied. However, Jesus had no human father. There was no human exchange for the conception of Jesus and so the human bloodline cannot be traced through Joseph.

Jewish law required that genealogies were to be through the line of the males, and not the females...

Num 1:17-18, "So Moses and Aaron took these men who had been designated, and assembled the whole community on the first day of the second month. Every man of twenty years or more then declared his name and lineage according to clan and ancestral house."

Keeping accurate records of genealogies was very important to the Jews. The Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote that
Public Records* recorded genealogies from the oldest to the youngest, and Private Records went from the youngest back to the oldest, and these genealogies were passed down through the generations. This was done in part in order to prevent unqualified persons from gaining positions through their ancestry. See Ezra 2:61-63, and Neh 7:63-65 where some priests were rejected because they could not prove their Levitical ancestry.

* Flavius Josephus, against Apion, Book 1:7

Since the custom was of using male genealogies only, then how could an ancestral line of Jesus be shown through Mary?

It appears that GOD left a convenient loophole in this law that would allow women to be included in the ancestral line if they met two stringent conditions...

1. Num 27:8, "Therefore, tell the Israelites; If a man dies without leaving a son, you shall let his heritage pass on to his daughter."
2. Num 36:6-7, "This is what the Lord commands with regard to the daughters of Salphahad: They may marry anyone they please, provided they marry into a clan of their ancestral tribe, so that no heritage of the Israelites will pass from one tribe to another, but all the Israelites will retain their own ancestral heritage."

So now, all we have to show is that:
1. The father of Mary had no sons.
2. Mary married within her own tribe of Judah. Gen 49:8-12

Regarding the first condition, did Mary have brothers?
We have no record of it. The Bible does not mention brothers, but it does say she had a sister.
John 19:25, "Now there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene." It is thought that the sister of Mary was Salome, the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James and John (Matthew 20:20, Mark 15:40).
Please see "The Genealogy of the
Brethren", for more.

In the Jewish culture in those days, the mother who was widowed (assuming that Joseph was dead at this time) would have gone to her father, or brother, or to her other children. Apparently, her father was dead, she had no brothers, and she had no other children, so Jesus gave her to John in John 19:27.
The words of Jesus in John 19:27, and lack of evidence of male siblings, strongly suggest that the first condition was satisfied.

The second condition is a bit more involved:
Matthew 1:
1-16, "(1) The book of the origin of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham. (2) Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, Jacob begot Judah.....(5)...Jesse begot David the king. (6) And David the king begot Solomon of the former wife of Uriah." (Bathsheba)
This Genealogy continues and we see in verse 16, "And
Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, and of her was born Jesus who is called Christ."
Notice that the descendant of
David is Solomon. We shall see in Luke's genealogy, a different son of David.
Matthew clearly shows that the bloodline of Joseph does go back to the tribe of
Judah, and through king David. If Jesus Christ is the Son of David, then His mother, Mary has to be also of the house of David and therefore by implication, of the tribe of Judah. As we have already seen in Romans 1:3, it could have not been said that the Son was born according to the flesh of the offspring of David unless Mary were of Davidic descent. We shall delve into this further later on.

Luke 1:26-27, "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from GOD to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of
David, and the virgin's name was Mary."
We have already seen that Mary is implied as being of the house of
David in Luke 1:32. If she were not of the house of David, then clearly, Jesus Christ could not have been descendant of David as do so many verses attest. She married within her tribe (by implication) and so the second condition appears to be satisfied.

Luke 2:4-5, "And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child."
Thus Mary, in order to be betrothed to Joseph, had to be of the same house of David as he. Consequently, both conditions for the bloodline to continue through the female line are satisfactorily met by Mary

Now, let us look at the evidence:
First, a review of the bloodline of Joseph with some added observations.
Saint Matthew addressed his Gospel to the Jews, who followed the Law of Moses (Mosaic Law). He wrote the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matt 1:1-17, and he was careful to meet the legal requirements of the Mosaic Law. His was of the
Public Record as explained earlier. In it he begins with Abraham and shows the line going through David and then Solomon and all the way down to Jesus Christ. Remember in verse 16, "And Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, and of her was born Jesus who is called Christ." Matthew depicts Jesus Christ as "The Messiah".
Clearly Matthew said that the blood father (
begot) of Joseph was Jacob. Matthew had satisfied the Mosaic Law by showing the male ancestry of Jesus by going through Joseph instead of Mary. Keep in mind that this genealogy shows the legal, or royal, or public record, of descent and not the human descent. More evidence that Matthew shows the legal line of descent is in Matt 1:11-12 where a man named Jechonias is mentioned.
See Jer 22:28-30 regarding Jechonias, as it states, "...for there shall not be a man of his seed that shall sit on the throne of David...".

Saint Luke has quite a different account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. He wrote his Gospel to address the Gentiles who were not under the Mosaic Law, and for the most part were unfamiliar with it. He was also a physician, (Col 4:14). His interest, no doubt, was not in the legal aspect of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, but of the human or natural bloodline, by depicting Jesus as the "Son of Man". Luke's Genealogy begins with Jesus Christ and goes backward in time, just the opposite of Matthew who started back and came forward. Luke's genealogy follows the custom of
Private Records as explained above. Notice in Luke 3:23-38, that Luke's genealogy does go from Jesus Christ, through David, and back to Judah, continuing all the way to Adam, and then to GOD. By doing this he shows a tie between the "New Adam" (1Cor 15:45) and the first Adam. However, Luke shows the descendant of David to be Nathan (31), and not Solomon, as does Matthew. This alludes to the possibility that Luke's genealogy is for a different person other than Joseph. Let us have a closer look at verse 23 with three different Bibles.

"And Jesus Himself, when He began His work, was about thirty years of age, -
being as was supposed- the Son of Joseph, the Son of Heli, the Son of Matthat."

"When Jesus began His ministry he was about thirty years of age. He was the Son, as was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat..."
New American Bible

"And Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the Son of Joseph, which was the Son of Heli, which was the son of Matthat..."
King James

This verse at first reading might seem to say that we have something amiss:

1. This verse appears to say that the father of Joseph is Heli, yet in Matthew we just saw that it was Jacob. How can Joseph have two fathers?
In many places in Holy Scripture we must revert to the underlying Greek text in order to fully understand the verse. The Greek word used for "
as was supposed, or, as was thought" is "Nomizo", which means:
1. To hold by custom or usage.
2. To follow by custom or usage.
3. It is the custom.
4. It is the received usage.
5. To deem, to think, to suppose.

This matter can be made clearer by interpreting the verse as:
"When Jesus began His ministry he was about thirty years of age. He was the Son (so it was thought, of Joseph) of Heli."

The underlying Greek text supports this interpretation as, "...Joseph
son of Heli", in the English translation, simply reads, "...Joseph of Eli". The word 'son' before Heli, is not in the Greek text.

So in order to trace the bloodline of Jesus through
Heli, we would first have to go through Mary, His mother. This shows that Heli would be the blood father of Mary, and the father in law of Joseph. Even though the name of Mary is not listed, in order to comply with Jewish custom, it is certainly implied.

Matthew 1:15, shows that Matthan is the father of
Jacob, and Luke 3:23-24, show that Matthat was the father of Heli. It is not known if Matthan and Matthat are the same person. If they are the same person, that would indicate that Jacob and Heli could be brothers if they had the same mother, or half brothers if they had different mothers, or one of them could have even been adopted from the tribe of Judah. Julius Africanus (160-240) wrote in his Epistle to Aristides that Jacob and Heli were half brothers. The Bible makes no distinction between genetic birth and adoption. See 2Sam 6:23, where Michol the daughter of Saul and the wife of David (1Sam 18:27) had no children. Yet in 2Sam 21:8, it says Michol had five sons. In reality, they were adopted sons of Merob. Jacob was the genetic father of Joseph. Heli, the father of Mary, was Joseph's father in law, his legal father.

Some additional notes:

1. Saint Luke was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary as evidenced by his beautiful accounts of her in his Gospel. Knowing full well that Joseph was not the human father of Jesus Christ, and being a physician, he would naturally show the ancestral blood line to go through Mary.

2. Matthew's genealogy lists three breaks in the Mosaic Law. This indicates in the first few verses of the New Testament, that the Old Covenant, and with it the Mosaic Law, is coming to an end, being fulfilled (Matt 5:17), and soon to be superseded by the New Covenant of Jesus Christ.

a. Females are listed. (3)Tamar Gen 38:6, 1Chron 2:4, (5) Rahab Josh 2:1,17, (5)Ruth, book of Ruth, (6) Bathsheba (former wife of Uriah) 2Sam 11:12,24.

b. Sinners are listed. (3) Tamar, a deceiver, (5) Rahab, a harlot, (6) Bathsheba, an adulteress, (6) Solomon, idolatry. By naming sinners, GOD has shown that His ways are not our ways.

c. Gentiles are listed. (3) Tamar, a Canaanite, (5) Rahab, a Canaanite, (5) Ruth, a Moabite,
(6) Bathsheba, a Hittite. Foreigners like these symbolized GOD's desire to save all, with no distinction between Jew and Gentile, Col 3:11.

3. What about Joachim? I thought he was the father of Mary with Anne as her mother?
Joachim is mentioned as the father of Mary in the following apocryphal books: The Protoevangelium of James, The Gospel of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, and The Book of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Joachim is another form of Joakim and Eliakim. Take a look at these two verses:

2Kings 23:34, "And Pharao Nechao made Eliakim the son of the Josias king in the room of Josias his father, and turned his name to Joakim..."

2Chron 36:4, "And he made Eliakim his brother king in his stead over Judah and Jerusalem; and he turned his name to Joakim..."

Subsequently, over the centuries, it is probable that the name Eliakim was shortened to Eli or Heli.
Heli is merely the Greek form of the Hebrew Eli. The high priest in 1Sam 1:3 is called Heli in the Challoner-Rheims, and Eli in the New American Bible. You can see that the differences in translations will show different names at times.
There are many name changes and different spellings of persons names in Scripture. For example, Matthew himself, was also called Levi in Luke 5:27, and in Mark 2:14.
Joachim and Heli appear to be one and the same person.
Do not forget that Biblical names spanned many centuries and names evolved and changed then, just as they do now.

The Jewish Talmud, in the Gemara, also mentions that the father of Mary was Heli.
Chagigah 77:4

The meaning of some of the names we have used here...

Eliakim - resurrection of GOD.
Eli - my GOD.
Joachim/Joakim - YAHWEH prepares.
Heli - ascending, climbing up.

Names with 'El', meaning GOD, are from the Hebrew name for GOD, Elohim.
Notice that Joachim simply is meaning another name for GOD, 'Yahweh'.

Here is one last thought on this subject. The name Heli (as the father of Mary) is Biblical, as shown in Luke 3:23, while the name, Joachim, (as being the father of Mary), is found only in Apocrypha.

Written by Bob Stanley 
January 13, 2000
Updated September 27, 2005
Updated March 3, 2015 

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