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Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joram, (Azariah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Ammon, Josiah, Jehoiakim.
But here are seventeen persons, beginning with Solomon and ending with Jehoiakim, or the King of the Captivity. This line I collect from 2 Chron. ix. 10-15.
William. It has two defects-first, there are seventeen generations; and, in the second place,
one mentioned by Matthew-viz. Uzziah.
Thomas. As to Uzziah I find no difficulty. In the fourteenth chapter of 2 Kings, and other Scriptures, I find that Azarias and Uzziah are two names for the same king. But I cannot so easily dispose of the three supernumeraries. I confess myself unequal to the task of a satisfactory solution.
Olympas. Many eommentators fail here. Some admit the fact of seventeen generations as to persons, but contend that the generations mean ages -i. e. in counting so many years for a generation. But that is forced and unnatural. The most satisfactory exposition is, that three of these kings, marked in the parenthesis, were by the mother's side of the house of Ahab, which house in all its branches was denounced by a curse, 1 Kings xxi. 21, 22, and again repeated 2 Kings ix. 9-11, While, then, there were seventeen generations iu fact, three being erased from the roll of Messiah's ancestry, as Dan is from the twelve tribes in the Apocalypse, and five descents from Meraioth (Ezra vii., 1 Chron. vi.) there are fourteen in the register accredited by all the Jews.
Now as none of the opponents of the pretensions of Jesus ever raised an objection against the lineage given either
in Matthew or Luke, evident it is that this arrangement had been accredited by the nation.
Charles Thompson, in his way, solves this difficulty by asserting that the elder branch of Joram's family having become extinct at the death of Amaziah, the line of succession passed from Joram to Azarias, alias Ozias — making the regular generations fourteen. The reason of this is not, however, quite so apparent. There is no difficulty in the third fourteen as given by Matthew.
Reuben. But why divide these generations from David into fourteen each?
Olympas. There is reason for this besides aiding the memory. The ancestors of our Lord in the first fourteen were not kings, but judges, prophets, and subordinate rulers; under the second fourteen they were all princes of a royal line; under the last fourteen they were degraded and served under the Asmonean priests and inferior officers of the Roman Empire.
Thomas. I find a difficulty in the last fourteen. Josiah was not the father of Jechonias, as stated Matt. i. 11., but the grandfather. Again Jechopias had no brethren mentioned in the Bible. Josias, moreover, died twenty years before the Captivity, and consequently his brethren could not have been begotten about that time, as reported. Olympas. Well, I am glad you have called this
Son is frequently equivalent to descendant; and, therefore, includes grandsons. But this fact is not necessary here. There is a reading of this verse in Griesbach of much authority, which removes all these difficulties at once Josias begat Jehoiakim, or Joakim, anil Joakim begat Jechonias." Jehoiakim is sometimes called Elia
kim and Joakim. His brethren were Johanan, Zedekiah, and Shallum, 1 Chron. iii. 15. These were the sons of Josiah. The fourteen of the last series were, Jechonias, Salathiel, Zerubbabel, Ahiud, Eliakim, Azor, Sadoc, Achim, Eliud, Eliezer, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph, and Jesus.
On the whole narrative of Matthew it may be observed that—the rolls of lineage being carefully kept in all the tribes, as is evident from the case of Zacharias and Elizabeth, Paul, Anna the saint, and various others whose families or tribes are mentioned ; and also being public property, and much depending on the strict conformity of the genealogy of Jesus with the family register, and no one appearing against the details of the Evangelists as far back as all history reaches, we have every reason to be satisfied with its accuracy and strict agreement with the registers of that day.Which branch of the family of Jesus is traced in Luke's genealogy, Reuben ?
Reuben. His mother Mary. She, his natural and blood ancestor, is traced to David through a more numerous ancestry, though not a longer line in point of time. Nay, Luke gives us seventy three names from Adam to Jesus, making the Messiah the seventy-fifth of human kind.
Olympas. How does he make out this list?
Reuben. In the first place he goes up to the son of Jesse by another family register. He traces Mary up to David, in the line of Nathan the full brother of Solomon by Bathsheba. His whole line is from Adam to Abraham, twenty ; from Abraham to David, thirteen; from David to Zerubbabel, twenty-two; and from Zerubbabel, where the regal line of Solomon ends, to Mary the
daughter of Eli, he gives nineteen generations in all seventy-four to Mary the mother of Jesus. Jesus is, then, the seventy-fifth in a direct line from God through Adam the first terrestrial son of God; provided only, that in transferring the issue of second marriages by those who took the wives of deceased brothers, according to the law of Moses, transcribers have not sometimes confounded the legal with the natural progenitors, and have made the chain some three or four links longer than the actual number of true and proper ancestors. To say that this has never bappened, would be rather a marvellous affair ; and yet there is no clear and authentic evidence that it has.
How curious and interesting the contemplation of the ancestry of our Lord! Of earth's ancestorial lines bis is the only one faithfully preserved through the long series of four thousand years, and whose particular character in all its prominent elements may still be ascertained. Amongst his progenitors are found some of almost every east, condition, and character of human kind. Before the flood there are Seth, Enoch, and Noah, the most renowned of all the antediluvians; Methuselah, the oldest of mankind; and Lamech, the Prophet. After the flood Shem takes the precedence of all mankind, the high priest of the New World, the oracle of twelve postdiluvian generations, with whom he conversed face to face, as well as with Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah, before the flood. Then we have Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the most illustrious three princes of our race; their renowned descendants Boaz, Jesse, David, Solomon, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Joisah, Zerubbabel,
are amongst earth's noblest princes. But amongst his ancestors were all the mixtures of our ráce, in all senses of the word. Phares, of incestuous birth ; Ruth, of Moabitish blood ; Solomon, from the adulterous Bathsheba ; Rehoboam, from Naamah, of Aminonitish extraction; and by the wives of Israelitish kings, some of whose offspring intermarried with the kings of Judah, he partook of almost all the varieties of race and nation in the Asiatic world. We also find some of the worst of mankind as well as of the best in his family. There is Rehoboam, Abijah, Amaziah, Manasseh, and the monstrous Athaliah, who, but for a singular providence, would by one fell effort have annihilated the whole seed royal of David, but for the apparently accidental interference of a king's daughter and a priest's wife. Tell me who was this, William ?
William. I suppose you allude to Joash, then an infant seized by the daughter of Jehoram, called Jehoshabeth, and the solitary remnant of David's progeny in that line and by her hid for six years, in the house of the Lord.
Ołympas. The moral of the whole matter of the. genealogical tables and roll of Christ's lineage is, that he partook with the sons of men in every sense of the word. He was of noble and ignoble blood, as respected family, nation, and character; but he ennobled humanity by assuming it into such intimate uion with the Divinity, and that too under all the conditions of poverty, imbecility, and degradation, to which it had been most justly subjected because of its apostacy from God.
A few questions on the chronology of the world relative to the age of the Messiah: How do you make it out, Reuben, down to Abraham's time?