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A Literal Translation of the New Testament


Jesus' Genealogy



by Hal Dekker



Last page update: 2019.12.24



According to the translations of the Greek texts, many questions and suppositions have arisen over the genealogy in Mat. 1:1-16, over whose genealogy is it, Mariam’s, the mother of Jesus down according to the flesh, or Joseph’s genealogy, Mariam’s husband, as is erroneously translated in KJV and virtually every other translation.

The first clue we can find to answering this question is to simply count the generations one by one to see if they actually agree with the checksum total number of generations, 42, Matthew's text lists for us to see.

Mat. 1:16 (LIT/UBS4) but (de) Jacob (Iakōb) generated (egennēsen) the (ton) Joseph (Iōsēph) the (ton) male (andra) of Mariam (Marias), out (ek) of whom (hēs) was generated (egennēthē) Jesus (Iēsous), the one (ho) being said (legomenos) [to be, AE] Christ (Christos).


(Verse 16 concludes the third set of fourteen generations)


Mat. 1:17 (LIT/UBS4) Therefore (oun), all (pasai) the (hai) generations (geneai) from (apo) Abraham (abraam) until (heōs) David (dauid), fourteen (dekatessares) generations (geneai)


and (kai) from (apo) David (dauid) until (heōs) the (tēs) house with (metoikesias) Babylon (babulōnos), fourteen (dekatessares) generations (geneai)


and (kai) from (apo) the (tēs) house with (metoikesias) Babylon (babulōnos) until (heōs) the (tou) Christ (Christou), fourteen (dekatessares) generations (geneai).


In Matthew’s record, Mat. 1:2-6, Abraham to David, there are 14 generations, and in Mat. 1:7-11, Solomon to Jechonias, there are 14 generations, and in Mat. 1:12-16, Salathiel to Jesus, there are 14 generations.

3 X 14 generations = 42 generations, correct?  Here’s the names of the last 14 generations:


We can see the problems with the English translations apparently contradicting themselves, through translating Joseph, the 40th generation, as Mariam’s future husband, when it is clear that Matthew regarded this particular Joseph as Mariam’s father.  


Here's what the translation error looks like in the KJV:


Mat. 1:16 (KJV) And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.


According to Matthew, the last three generations, which he counts as generations, in his list are Joseph, Mariam and Jesus, showing this Joseph in his list not as Mariam’s husband, but was her father.  Otherwise this Joseph and Mariam couldn’t be counted as two generations, father and daughter.  This is why translating the word andra in Mat. 1:16 as husband is erroneous. 


This verse is a great example showing how Bible translations more or less copy the KJV, beginning somewhat, at least theologically, with the KJV1911, but thereafter mostly the KJV.  The following 28 popular Bible translations, the AKJV, ASV, BLB, BSB, CSB, Darby, Douay Rheims, ERV, ESV, God's Word, HCSB, ICB, ISV, Jubilee Bible, KJ2000, NASB, NASB77, NET Bible, NHEB, NIV, NJB, NKJV, NLT, WEB, Webster's, Weymouth NT, WesleyNT, YLT, all translate the 40th generation, Joseph, as Mariam's husband rather than her FatherIn the time frame referred to in the narrative of Mat. 1:18, just two verses later, Mariam was only espoused to her future husband, Joseph, but not yet married, and so these Bible translations are wrong on this point as well.


The translators ignore the social cultural custom in Middle Eastern cultures of a female having a head, one who is in charge of her, the one who has authority over her.  The one in authority over a female as her head, or as her male (andra), is first her father, until she becomes married.  At the time her husband then becomes her head or male, having authority over her.  The word andra in Mat. 1:16 should be translated as simply male, which is exactly what that word means, no more and no less; to not only leave out private interpretation, but to allow the holy scriptures to reflect this ancient social cultural practice.  Just because translators don't understand a social cultural practice when they come across it is still no excuse to fudge the text to say something else totally erroneous.  Apostle Paul explains this social custom in detail in 1 Cor. 11.

I hope this example serves as a good example of how to do Bible Study on your own, of opening the ancient texts of God’s Word and working them with your own two hands, to substantiate and verify the things you’ve heard preached and taught, as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11).  Unfortunately the popular practice is to accept what's preached and taught mostly without question, which suits the devil just fine.  It makes his job so much easier.  Many times people are trained not to ask questions, on account of the preacher or teacher causing open embarrassment to that person for whatever reason the preacher or teacher may not like the question.  The Bereans were wise, because they were taught by their preachers and teachers to look in the biblical texts for themselves, to see if the things they heard could actually be corroborated in the prophetic texts. 


Matthew unquestionably states that this Joseph in his list is Mariam’s father.  This agrees with what Matthew set out to do according to his opening verse, which was to show the genealogy, down according to the flesh, of Jesus Christ; of how he can genealogically be considered to be in line for the throne of his great, great, great, you count the number of greats, grandfather, king David.

Mat. 1:1 (LIT/UBS4) [This, AE] [is] [a] scroll (biblos) of [the] origin (geneseōs) of Jesus (Iēsou) Christ (Christou), [a] son (huiou) of David (dabid), [a] son (huiou) of Abraham (abraam).

You may not wish to know that this is not the one and only passage and subject matter suffering in quality of translation.  What about passages with subject matters about Jesus Christ's Christology, sin, confession of sin, repentance, discipleship, salvation/wholeness, the new birth above in God's gift of his paternal Spirit, his genus, sonship, the new covenant, passages about any biblical subject matters?

A translation from an Aramaic text is the only one I found which recognized that Joseph, the 40th generation in Matthew's list, must have referred to Mariam's father.  The following is Mat. 1:16 from the Aramaic Bible In Plain English translation.


Mat. 1:16 Yaqob begot Yoseph the gardian of Maryam, her from whom was begotten Yeshua, who is called the messiah.



Let’s look at it from another angle of textual evidence, which we can discover through hands-on study of the biblical text of Luke 3:23-28, in which disciple Luke recorded Joseph's, Mariam's husband's, genealogy, which genealogy is tracked all the way back to Adam..

Luke 3:23 (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) Jesus (Iēsous) himself (autos), causing himself to start (archomenos), was being (ēn) as if (hōsei) thirty (triakonta) years (etōn) [of age];


being (ōn) [a] son (huios), as (hōs) was being decided (enomizeto), of Joseph (iōsēph), [son, ER] of the (tou) Heli (ēli),

Luke’s record says, concerning the start of Jesus' earthly ministry in the flesh, that Jesus was being decided by others (Mat. 13:55; Mark 6:3) to be the son of the Joseph the carpenter, which, as we know from other scriptures, is the name of Mariam’s husband.  We can see in Luke’s record that he clearly makes a reference to this particular Joseph in his list as Mariam’s husband, because he says that Jesus was being decided to be the son of this Joseph.  Matthew’s record made no such statement or implication like this.  In Matthew’s record, his Joseph was the son of Jacob.  But here in Luke’s record this Joseph is the son of Heli.  


Given all of the clear contextual evidence it’s clear to me that Matthew and Luke are speaking of two distinctly different individuals, both with the same name of Joseph.  I believe the Joseph in Matthew’s record was Mariam’s father, and the Joseph in Luke’s record was Mariam’s husband.


According to the law, Jesus had to be registered as being the son of someone, and so he was registered as the son of this wonderful man Joseph, a carpenter; who was willing to endure the subsequent public humiliation from the rumors and talk of him gendering a child through Mariam out of wedlock. The religious and legal authorities hardly would have taken Joseph and Mariam seriously if they would have submitted the Highest God as Jesus’ paternal Father (Luke 1:32).

This study illustrates one more good reason why Bible students absolutely cannot go by only English “translations”, but the biblical texts themselves must be carefully examined.  This isn’t simply the one and only translation problem. There are thousands of them just like this one, which is the reason why I’ve produced the LIT translation, to make a translation free of mortal-made theological bias and subsequent paraphrasing!.

If these statements in Matthew’s record is true, as I absolutely believe they are, then Matthew’s record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ lists, as the last three generations of the 42 generations, Joseph the father of Mariam, then Mariam Jesus’ mother, and then Jesus Christ himself, the 42nd generation from Abraham, and the 62nd generation beginning with Adam.


In Matthew's genealogy, if this particular Joseph is the father of Mariam, then all of the other scripture references throughout God’s Word about Jesus “according to the flesh”, in Gen. 3:15, John 1:14, Acts 2:30, Rom. 1:3, Heb. 2:14, and so on (you find them all), all fit together, and all of the dots connect, symphonically, miraculously, and without any apparent contradictions.  Matthew’s list makes clear from where Jesus Christ obtained his flesh, blood and bone, and that he indeed was a mortal man!

A careful observation of the genealogy of both Mariam (Mat. 1:1-17),and her husband Joseph (Luke 3:23-28), shows that they both can trace their genealogies back as descendants of the house of David.  In the community in which Mariam and Joseph lived, since Jesus was legally recorded as the paternal son of Joseph, Mariam’s husband (but in truth, Jesus was the God’s firstborn son, and God's only begotten until the day of Pentecost), the community believed Jesus to be a child conceived out of wedlock (John 8:41).  However, since Jesus' step-father Joseph could trace his parentage back to the house of David, as could Mariam, this gave Jesus a legal standing in the community as a descendent of the House of David, in spite of his supposed ill-conceived birth.  This allowed Jesus to take part in events in the community in which a common born ill-conceived child would have been denied.  But in truth, Jesus’ claim to the throne of David, down according to the flesh, was through his mother Mariam, and not through his step father Joseph, Mariam’s husband.

Through Mariam, Jesus was genetically of the House of David, but through Joseph, Mariam’s husband, Jesus was legally of the House of David, because in that culture legality followed paternity, and Jesus was "... being (ōn) a son (huios), as (hōs) was being decided (enomizeto), of Joseph (iōsēph), [son, ER] of the (tou) Heli (ēli)." 

On account of which Mat. 1:1-17 clearly shows Mariam's genealogy, and Luke 3:23-38 clearly shows her husband Joseph's genealogy, both Mariam's father and husband each were coincidentally named Joseph!



Brother Hal Dekker