Matthew’s Genealogy of Christ: how can we get the “3 groups of 14 generations each” described in Matt. 1:17?

We have been looking at Matthew’s genealogy of Christ, and have been doing so in terms of two alternative understandings of the term “generation” as used in Matt. 1:17 (primarily the first of these).  They are 1) the (controversial!) meaning of a “begetting” or a “being born to” which I have been putting forward as a serious possibility, and 2) the conventional understanding that a generation refers to individuals (or, in the case of Mary and Joseph, a pair of individuals) occupying a single place in a sequential (“linear”) family tree.

In this post, I wish to see how these two definitions “work” when we attempt to allocate the births and/or individuals that Matthew describes in Matt. 1:2-16 to the three groups of 14 generations that he describes (as a sort of summary) in v. 17. This “allocation problem” is not straightforward, and  has occasioned much discussion in the literature.

I have attempted solutions for both definitions and they are described in the Word document which can be accessed by clicking on the link below:

(Please note: I have slightly altered this article since it was first posted – but the main points made are (rightly or wrongly!) unchanged.)


I think that the two solutions presented are essentially similar, and so I currently feel that it is perhaps not necessary to choose definitively between them – they both establish  a pattern of connections between events around the time of David and the (sometimes chiastically, sometimes sequentially) corresponding (or “equivalent”)  events around the time of the Exile – or the “carrying away” of Babylon.

I will be delighted to hear what you think about the suggestions put forward in this post!

Categories: Matthew's Genealogy of Christ

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: