The Gospel of Mathew was the first of the gospels written. The apostle Mathew is generally believed to be its author. It was written in the mid 50’s and in Aramaic the common language of the people. Its purpose was primarily to witness to all Jews about how in Jesus Christ the prophecies concerning the coming Messiah had been fulfilled. Mathew’s aim was to present Jesus not only as the promised Messiah but also as the descendant from the lineage of David and also to show how Jesus had fulfilled 41 prophecies from the Old Testament.
In the first two Chapters Mathew shows that Jesus is the Messiah by linking Him with the promises made to Abraham and David and in so doing establishing his royalty and his lineage through the royal blood of Mary His mother.
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Mathew 1.1 KJV
The word generations, is translated genealogy in most of the modern versions of the Bible and is also translated “offspring” as a part of the family tree descendant of Abraham and of David.
In verses 2 through sixteen he proceeds to name the complete lineage from Abraham to Mary and Jesus.
Many theologians have wrongfully assumed that this genealogy showed the family tree through Joseph the “husband” of Mary as translated by many. The fact of the matter is that there was NO BLOOD lineage through Joseph the husband of Mary and therefore no direct lineage through the DNA which would have disqualified Jesus as a direct descendant of David.
The legality of the claims of Mathew had to be established through Mary’s bloodline otherwise it would fail in legal grounds. Mary is the center of the scripture because she was the only human parent of Jesus.
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, (Isaiah 7.14) saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Mathew 1.22-23 NKJV
Mathew by inspiration of the Holy Spirit very carefully gives the exact number of generations by dividing them into 3 sets of 14 generations.
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. Mathew 1.17 NKJV
These generations were as follows:
From Abraham to David 14 generations:
14. David (The King)
From David Until the carrying away to Babylon 14 Generations:
14. Jeconiah (carried away to Babylon)
From The carrying away to Babylon until Christ:
12. Joseph (The Father of Mary)
The Joseph referred to here was NOT Mary’s husband but rather Mary’s father. The name Joseph was a very common name then as it is now. The word translated Husband is the word ANER. This word generally denotes a male adult and is commonly used in various forms so the context determines the meaning. It is NEVER used in a female gender and is frequently used as the head of a household, a father.
The whole content of Mathew Chapter One was to establish the genealogy and the Birth of Christ; born of a virgin as prophesied by the prophet Isaiah.
The apostle Luke gives us the genealogy of Jesus trough Joseph the adoptive father of Jesus.
23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat,[a] the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah, 27 the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. Luke 3.23-38 NKJV
We can see from these scriptures that Joseph was also a descendant of King David through Nathan (Mary through Salomon) and also of Abraham and down to Adam who is called the son of God.
As used in Matthew 1:16, the word is hrbg which is the Possessive Pronominal form of 0rbg , meaning “Her ‘Gab-ra.'”
Contextual Usage of 0rbg in the Aramaic New Testament
Although mainly used to mean ‘man’ in a generic sense, the term can also mean ‘husband’ depending on the context
Why is it that sometimes the general meaning of ‘man’ is increased in specificity, depending on context, to mean ‘husband?’ For no more reason than saying – ‘I now pronounce you man and wife” can also be said “I now pronounce you husband and wife.” Since a husband is merely a more ‘specific’ type of ‘man’, this equation of terminology is quite acceptable, even in English.
The question then arises – can the term, when used in proper context, also mean ‘Father?’
I believe it can be demonstrated from the Gospels that all three shades of meaning are attested to – depending on context.
Verses in the Gospels where 0rbg is used to mean the generic ‘man’, although by no means an exhaustive list, include:
• Matthew 7:24
• Matthew 7:26
• Matthew 8:9
• Matthew 9:9
Please reference the Concordance at www.peshitta.org for a more complete listing for this word.
Some examples of the contextual variant ‘husband’ include:
• Matthew 19:5
• Matthew 19:10
• Mark 10:2
• 1 Corinthians 7:14
• 1 Corinthians 7:16
• 2 Corinthians 11:2
• Ephesians 5:23.
Finally, the contextual variant ‘father’ can be read in:
• Matthew 7:9
• Matthew 21:28
• Matthew 22:2
• and, arguably, Matthew 1:16.
Since the subject matter of this thesis attempts to reconcile the two accounts of Jesus’ lineage, let’s have a closer look at Matthew 1:16, and a related verse – Matthew 1:19, in the Aramaic of the Peshitta.
MATTHEW 1:16 & 1:19
The Aramaic reading in the Peshitta version is:
Myrmd hrbg Pswyl dwl0 Bwq9y
The verse reads: “Jacob fathered Yoseph, the hrbg of Maryam.” The word used here, in verse 16, is 0rbg with a 3rd-person feminine pronominal possessive suffix of h (i.e., ‘her Gaw-ra.’)
This word has traditionally been translated ‘husband’, however, the main Semitic term for ‘Husband’, is f9b (“Ba’la”, or, hl9b for ‘Her husband.) Examples of this word can be found in:
• Matthew 1:19
• Mark 10:12
• Luke 2:36
• John 4:16-18
• Romans 7:2-3
• 1 Corinthians 7:4, 7:10, 7:13, 7:16, 7:39
• Ephesians 5:33
• 1 Timothy 3:2
• Titus 1:6.
Why would Matthew use two different terms, in such a short span of writing (3 verses – 1:16 to 1:19), to refer to Maryam’s ‘husband’, Yoseph?
The fact is, he had to distinguish between two different people named Joseph – Matthew is not referring to Mary’s husband in verse 16 at all, but rather her father!
Depending on context, it has been shown that 0rbg can mean ‘man, husband or father.’ The usage in verse 16 would demand that we translate 0rbg as ‘father’, rather than ‘husband’, since the context is a genealogy. Verses 18 & 19, however, would demand that we associate that Joseph with her ‘husband’, since the context is that of marriage.
Matthew, then, is recording the genealogy of Mary, whereas Luke is recording that of Joseph. Which would be exactly opposite of the currently accepted academic line – that Luke recorded Mary’s lineage while Matthew recorded that of Joseph.
That would give us 14 generation in the third series of Matthew. It would also explain why Luke has 20 generations in the 2nd series and 22 generations in the 3rd series – i.e., Joseph’s lineage did not break out cleanly in 14-generation groupings, except for the first series. Since Matthew is giving the line of Mary, only her lineage would be required to break out evenly in 14-generation groupings. That would also explain why the names are completely different in both the 2nd and 3rd series between the accounts in Matthew and in Luke. It also demonstrates that both Mary and Joseph were descendents of King David – each through a separate line!
A valid question is – ‘Isn’t it a fact that lineages generally exclude females?’
The answer to that, generally, is yes. However, the problem is that Mary is the only real human parent that Jesus had. Jesus was the only person in history who had no human father – whose previous generation included only one person. So in order to count 14 generations – Mary must be included, even though it would introduce a female in the lineage. In order to demonstrate that Jesus is the Son of David, Mary must be demonstrated to descend from David’s house!
Here is a revised view of the Genealogical Record, according to a more proper understanding of Aramaic Matthew:
First Series Second Series Third Series
1. Abraham 1. Solomon 1. Salathiel
2. Isaac 2. Roboam 2. Zerubabel
3. Jacob 3. Abia 3. Abiud
4. Judas 4. Asa 4. Eliachim
5. Phares 5. Josaphat 5. Azor
6. Esron 6. Joram 6. Sadoe
7. Aram 7. Ozias 7. Achim
8. Aminadab 8. Joatham 8. Eliud
9. Naasson 9. Achaz 9. Eleazar
10. Salmon 10. Ezechias 10. Mathan
11. Booz 11. Manasses 11. Jacob
12. Obed 12. Amon 12. Joseph (father of Mary)
13. Jesse 13. Josias 13. Mary
14. David 14. Jechonias 14. Jesus
THE GREEK MISTRANSLATION
Since we know from Patristic writing that Matthew wrote his Gospel in the ‘Hebrew Dialect’ of Aramaic (Judean Aramaic), and that “everyone” translated it into Greek “as best they could” – it then follows that the Greeks mistranslated this term as ‘husband’, instead of the more proper contextual variant, ‘father.’
In Greek, the words for ‘husband’, ajnhvr (Aner), and ‘father’ pathvr (Pater) are completely different. It is impossible for an Aramaic translator of a Greek document to confuse the two – but it is very easy for a Greek translator of an Aramaic original to mistake the contextual variances in the single term 0rbg
God’s Word is either all true or none of it is true. And because it is ALL true it MUST be rightly divided.