Gap in the Fourteen Generations in Yeshua’s Genealogy

Posted by on Jul 20, 2021

The reckoning of Yeshua’s ancestors with its three divisions of fourteen generations was perhaps so arranged by Matthew to evoke our reasoning. We should notice that for this purpose, the disciple traced the line from Avraham through David to Yeshua. This line is interrupted in two places: Avraham to King David, from King David to the exile to Babylon, and from the exile to Yeshua: three divisions of fourteen generations each.

But if we count Yeshua’s ancestors in the third division, we will find that there are thirteen generations, not fourteen: it appears that an ancestor is missing in Yeshua’s genealogy.

And if we consider carefully the lineage given in the Greek text of Matthew, then we have to face another problem, namely, that Miryam is not a daughter of David, and Yeshua is not the son of David and thus the Messiah.

Although most commentators have already treated this verse exhaustively, there is still some room left for our comments. We read in Matthew thus,

So all the generations from Avraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David until the exile to Babylon were fourteen generations, and from the exile to Babylon until the Messiah were fourteen generations. (Mat 1:17)

1. Avraham

2. Yitschak

3. Ya’akov

4. Yehudah

5. Perets

6. Chetsron

7. Ram

8. Amminadav

9. Nachshon

10. Salmon

11. Bo’az

12. Oved

13. Yishai

14. David

(Mat 1:2-6)

1. Shelomoh

2. Rechav’am

3. Aviyah

4. Asa

5. Yehoshaphat

6. Yoram

7. Uzziyah

8. Yotham

9. Achaz

10. Hizkiyahu

11. Menashsheh

12. Amon

13. Yoshiyahu

14. Yehonyah

(Mat 1:7-11)

1. She’alti’el

2. Zerubbavel

3. Avihud

4. Elyakim

5. Azor

6. Tsadok

7. Akim

8. Elihud

9. El’azar

10. Mattan

11. Ya’akov

12. Yoseph the husband of Miryam

13.???

14. Yeshua haMashiach

(Mat 1:12-16)

Matthew allotted three divisions of fourteen generations in Yeshua’s genealogy. But as seen in the table above, there is a problem: one generation in the last division of fourteen generations is omitted.

Why? Was that a scribal error or Matthew had omitted him? And why did he divide the genealogy of Yeshua into three sets of exact fourteen generations each in the first place? Because if we compare the ancestral line of Yeshua to that of the Tanak, we will find that Yeshua had more ancestors than the listed ones in Matthew.

So, indeed Matthew had omitted some of Yeshua’s ancestors. But, we still have the gap in the fourteen generations in the genealogy of Yeshua.

Was the disciple not familiar with the Hebrew Scripture? Hardly, Matthew was a Levite. And there must be a reason as to why he listed Yeshua’s ancestors in three divisions of exact fourteen generations in his Gospel.

In the following, we will provide answers to all these questions.

The primacy of Hebrew language

There is an existing intent of the Greek-primacy theologians to establish the Greek language as the authorized version of the Apostolic Writings, which they call “The New Testament”. But it is odd that it is not the Greeks, who are the most adamant about the Greek primacy (they do not seem to care much), but the English speaking theologians. Hence, we should not be surprised that the “KJV only-ers” try to promote the King James’ version of the Bible (KJV) as the “perfect Word of God”.

But were the Apostolic Writings written in Greek in the first place?

The so-called “Church Fathers” have left some proof that the source of Matthew’s Gospel was what they called the Gospel according to the Hebrews. The serious scholars of the Scripture have the reason to believe that that work was the original source for the canonical gospels. We will provide the readers with the necessary information to draw their educated conclusions on the matter.

Eusebius says,

Papias published a story of a woman accused of many sins before the Lord, which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews. This appears to refer to John 8. CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Papias (newadvent.org)

The “Church father” Jerome wrote:

I am now speaking of the New Testament. This was undoubtedly composed in Greek, with the exception of the work of Matthew the Apostle, who was the first to commit to writing the Gospel of Christ, and who published his work in Judæa in Hebrew characters. CHURCH FATHERS: Prefaces (Jerome) (newadvent.org)

Irenaeus:

Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome and laying the foundations of the church. CHURCH FATHERS: Against Heresies, III.1 (St. Irenaeus) (newadvent.org)

Eusebius:

As having learnt by tradition concerning the four Gospels, which alone are unquestionable in the Church of God under heaven, that first was written according to Matthew, who was once a tax collector but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, who published it for those who from Judaism came to believe, composed as it was in the Hebrew language. CHURCH FATHERS: Church History, Book VI (Eusebius) (newadvent.org)

Eusebius:

Matthew published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome. CHURCH FATHERS: Church History, Book V (Eusebius) (newadvent.org)

Eusebius:

I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language. CHURCH FATHERS: Church History, Book VI (Eusebius) (newadvent.org)

Kings of Judah omitted in the genealogy of Yeshua

Below is the table of the reigns of the kings of Israel and later Yehudah (the wicked kings are marked in red). Notice the number of the kings omitted in the genealogy of Yeshua.

Kings of Israel/Yehudah

BC

Years

Notes

Shaul

1053-1014

40

Act 13:20-21

David

1013-974

40

2Sa 5:4

Shelomoh

973-934

40

1Ki 6:1

Rehavam

933-917

17

2Ch 12:13, 1Ki 14:20-21

Aviyahu

916-914

3

2Ch 13:2, 1Ki 15:1-3

Asa

913-873

41

2Ch 16:13, 1Ki 16:29,

Yehoshaphat

872-848

25

2Ch 20:31, 1Ki 22:41-42

Yehoram aka Yoram

847-840

8

2Ch 21:5, 2Ki 8:16-17

Ahazyahu aka Yehoahaz

839

1

omitted; 2Ch 22:1-2, 2Ki 8:24-26

Athalyahu*, The Queen

839-833

6

2Ch 22:12, 2Ki 11:2-4, 2Ki 11:20,

Yoho’ash

832-793

40

omitted; 2Ch 24:1-27, 2Ki 12:1-2

Amatsyahu

792-764

29

omitted; 2Ch 25:1, 2Ki 14:1-2

Uzziyahu

763-740

52

2Ch 26:3, 2Ki 15:1-2

Yotham

739-731

16

2Ch 27:1, 2Ki 15:30-33

Achaz

730-715

16

2Ch 28:1, 2Ki 16:2, Isa 7:1-8

Hizkiyahu

714-686

29

2Ch 29:1, 2Ki 18:10-11

Menashsheh

685-641

55

2Ch 33:1, 2Ch 33:10-16 2Ki 21:1

Amon

640-639

2

2Ch 33:21

Yoshiyahu

638-608

31

2Ch 34:1 , 2Ki 23:2-3

Yehoahaz aka Shallum

608

3m

omitted; 2Ch 36:2 Jer 22:11-12, 2Ch 36:2-4

Elyakim aka Yehoyakim

607-597

11

omitted; son of Yoshiyahu; 2Ch 36:5-7, 2Ki 23:36, Dan 1:1-2

Yehoyakin aka Yehonyah, Konyahu

597

3m, 10 days

son of Yehoyakim; 2Ki 24:6, 2Ch 36:9, 2Ki 24:8, Eze 1:1-2

Tsidkiyahu

597-586

11

omitted; son of Yoshiyahu; 2Ch 36:11, Jer 52:1

Temple destroyed

586

2Ki 25:1-12 Jer 52:6-16

Total span

468

513

 

*Queen Athalyahu the mother of King Ahazyahu, who usurped the Davidic dynasty. Book of Kings regarded Athaliahu’s regency as an independent reign, not counting it within King Yoash’s 40 years of reign. For further knowledge on the reign of kings of Yehudah, the reader may do well to read what we have written in chapter The Kings of Yehudah of the book Reckoning of Time.

Why are these kings omitted in the chronology?

And Asa brought forth Yehoshaphat, and Yehoshaphat brought forth Yoram, and Yoram brought forth Uzziyah. (Mat 1:8)

Three consecutive kings of Judah are omitted from the genealogy: Ahazyahu, Yo’ash, and Amatsyahu. The evil Queen Athalyahu had no blood connection with King David, and therefore excluded in the genealogy.

And Yoshiyahu brought forth Yehonyah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. (Mat 1:11)

Until the time of the exile four more kings reigned over Yehudah. In Mat 1:11, they are called “brothers” of King Yehonyah: Yehoahaz, Elyakim, and Tsidkiyahu, the last king before the exile. Their names were omitted and most certainly not counted in the second division of fourteen generations in the genealogy of Yeshua. But why were their names omitted? Because they were wicked kings?

Against King Yehoyakim, whose name was left in the genealogy, YHVH said, “He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David” (Jer 36:30-31), and against his son King Yehoyakin,

Write this man childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed will prosper, sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah. (Jer 22:24-30)

This prophecy concerning King Yehoyakim seems to permanently disqualify him from the ancestral lineage of the Messiah. Yet we see him listed in the genealogy in Matthew. Concerning his son, Yehoyakin, The Rabbinic tradition has it that he repented in exile and the curse was lifted. Perhaps, for this reason alone Matthew left Yehoyakin in the genealogy.

At any rate, it is hard to assume that Matthew would have done a scribal error omitting not one but six kings of Yehudah. Therefore, we may conclude that the omission of those kings was deliberate ensuring that the kings after David spanned exactly fourteen generations (Mat 1:17). But why the exact number of fourteen generations?

To answer this intriguing question, we suggest the following. The name David (Yeshua was often called “The son of David”) is spelled in Hebrew thus, דָּוִד David, or דָּוִיד Davyid. It is derived from the verb דּוֹד dod, which means to love and particularly a carnal love. The letters Dalet Vav Dalet in דָּוִד has a gematria of 14 (fourteen): dalet = 4, vav = 6, dalet = 4, or total of 14. For more understanding of the Hebraic concept of love, refer to the article What is love in the Hebraic mindset?

Since, the generations from Avraham to David were fourteen, Matthew had decided to reduce the generations from David until the exile to Babylon to fourteen generations to lead us to his hidden message by using the gematria.

But why were the generations from the exile to Babylon until Yeshua (as listed in the cannon) thirteen instead of fourteen generations? Did the apostle make another “mistake”, as he did when he misquoted the prophet Jeremiah? This we will explain in the remainder of our study.

The missing ancestor in the genealogy of Yeshua

The genealogy of Yeshua in Matthew is supposed to contain three divisions of fourteen generations each (Mat 1:17). Yet when counted, the last set contains only thirteen names: 1. She’alti’el, 2. Zerubbavel, 3. Avihud, 4. Elyakim, 5. Azor, 6. Tsadok, 7. Akim, 8. Elihud, 9. El’azar, 10. Mattan, 11. Ya’akov, 12. Yoseph, 13. Yeshua (HaMashiach).

As we quoted above, even the “Church fathers” bear witness that the Gospel of Matthew is derived from a larger gospel known in the first century as “The Gospel according to the Hebrews”, from which the apostles made their own versions. Then Matthew published his Gospel for the Hebrews in their own language, which was translated into Greek the best way possible; Papias (Eusebius, H.E. 3.39.16).

As we explained in other studies, perhaps that was the reason for the translational problems in the Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew: the Greek translators did not have the sufficient knowledge of Hebrew for the task.

The passage we will pay close attention is in the translation of KJV,

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

According to the English translation, which is faithful to the Greek text, Yoseph and Miryam being a husband and a wife are of one generation: the twelfth generation, and of whom Yeshua is the thirteenth generation. How can we reconcile this obvious discrepancy with what follows in verse 17 that there are no less than fourteen generations?

We will show that the only way to resolve this gap in the genealogy of Yeshua is to question the word “father” in Greek. If we prove it to be “father” or the likes, we will find the missing link in the fourteen generations in the genealogy of Yeshua; and much more. Let us start our exposition.

According to James Scott Trimm the author of The Hebraic-Roots Version Scriptures, the missing name is Av’ner, which does appear in the DuTillet Hebrew text of Mat 1:13. James Scott Trimm wrote,

The DuTillet version of Matthew is taken from a Hebrew manuscript of Matthew which was confiscated from Jews in Rome in 1553. On August 12th, 1553, at the petition of Pietro, Cardinal Caraffa, the Inquisitor General, 92 Pope Julius III signed a decree banning the Talmud in Rome. The decree was executed on September 9th (Rosh HaShanna) and anything that looked like the Talmud, that is, anything written in Hebrew characters was confiscated as the Jewish homes and synagogues were ravished. Jean DuTillet, Bishop of Brieu, France was visiting Rome at the time. DuTillet was astounded to take notice of a Hebrew manuscript of Matthew among the other Hebrew manuscripts. DuTillet acquired the manuscript and returned to France, depositing it in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. It remains there to this day as Hebrew ms. No. 132.

However, the name of Av’ner does not appear in the ancient Hebrew text of the Gospel of Matthew aka Shem-Tov’s Hebrew Matthew. This Hebrew manuscript of Matthew is believed to be the most ancient manuscript preserved by the Rabbis. Shem-Tov’s Hebrew Matthew must have been known to Isaac Newton who quoted it in his religious publications.

For the purpose of this study, we will use The Gospel of Matthew aka Shem-Tov’s Hebrew Matthew, by George Howard, Mercer University Press, 1995.

Shem-Tob Even Bochan

The first page the Hebrew manisript Shem-Tob Even Bochan

In Preface of the second his edition of Shem-Tov’s Hebrew Matthew, George Howard stated:

The main thrust of this second edition is to demonstrate that the Hebrew Matthew contained in Shem-Tov’s Evan Bochan predates the fourteenth century. In my judgment, Shem-Tov the polemist did not prepare this text by translating it from Latin Vulgate, the Byzantine Greek, or any other known edition of the Gospel of Matthew. He received it from previous generations of Jewish scribes and tradents.

The Shem-Tov Hebrew Matthew is the work of Shem Tov ben Yitschak ben Shaprut, who was born in the fourteenth century, in Tudela, Castile. Shem Tov is not to be confused with Baal Shem Tov, who founded Hasidism in the 18th Century.

This Hebrew manuscript of Matthew is not like the other Hebrew texts, such as Munster and DuTillet, which have basically underlined the Greek text and theology. Certainly, Shem Tov’s Hebrew Gospel of Matthew does not have the same theology as the Greek text.

Today, 28 manuscripts containing the Gospel of Matthew of Shem Tov have survived. These manuscripts are dated between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. Among the most important manuscripts include:

    • British Museum Library Add. No. 26964, London
    • Heb. 28, Rijksuniveriteit Library, Leiden, Netherlands
    • Mich. 119. Bodeleian Library, Oxford
    • Oppenheim Add. 4° 72, Bodeleian Library, Oxford
    • Oppenheim Add. 4° 111, Bodleian Library, Oxford
    • 2209 (Marx 19), Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York
    • 2234 (Marx 15), Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York
    • 2279 (Marx 18), Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York
    • 2426 (Marx 16), Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York
    • Ms Vat.ebr.101, Vatican Library.

Note: Although this is not in the scope of this study, the present author will take liberty to note that as far as there are theological differences between the Hebrew and Greek texts of Matthew, they are not in favor of the latter. Moreover, this Hebrew text shows that there are errors in the Greek, and that these errors have subsequently passed into Latin Vulgate and English translations, such as KJV.

It appears that Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew is a different text of Matthew than the canonical [Greek] Gospel. It is not the original Hebrew text of The Gospel according to the Hebrews but it appears to be a copy of an earlier text, which Shem Tov modified by adding glosses and transliterations of some Greek terms with which a Hebrew reader was not familiar.

He wrote Even Bochan during the Spanish Inquisition to prepare the Rabbis to refute Catholicism. His approach was to search for weaknesses in the Greek text that could be used against the Catholics in the Christian disputations.

In his research, George Howard must have come to certain [ancient] Jewish sources to conclude: “He [Shem-Tov] received it from previous generations of Jewish scribes and tradents”.

In our research on the matter, we came to the same conclusion that Rabbis indeed believed that Yeshua was the Messiah, and had the Hebrew text of the Gospel that showed his ancestral line to King David. This we showed in the article Revealing the name of Yeshua secretly guarded by the Rabbis.

Mistranslating the fourteen generations

Let us now approach our verse. We read in Hebrew,

ויעקב הוליד את יוסף. הוא יוסף איש מר”ים הנקרא משיח ובלעז קריס”טוס

A literal translation of Even Bochan reads thus,

And Ya’akov he fathered Yoseph, he Yoseph man of Miryam [the mother of Yeshua] the one being called Mashiach, when speaking foreign language, kristos.

We may glean a better understanding of the subject when reading the words “Yoseph man of Miryam” in their language and cultural context.

Shem-Tov reads the word in question אישׁ ish, which is contracted for אֱנוֹשׁ enosh, man in general; other meanings are fellow, person, husband, and steward. Ish can mean “man” or “husband” depending on the context. But the concrete word for “husband” in Hebrew is ba’al isha (lit. “lord of woman”), which does not appear in the Hebrew text.

But the only time אישׁ ish appears in the Tanak with the meaning of “father” is in the compound word בֶּנ־אִישׁ ben-ish, and we have some proof for this in JPS,

And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and the son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp. (Lev 24:10 JPS)

In this occurrence, ish can hardly be translated as “husband”, as the contextual context does not allow it; “father” is the only possible rendering of ish, as it is correctly rendered in JPS.

On the other hand, in Greek, the words for “husband”, aner, and ‘father’, pater, are completely different. In addition, the Greek in v.18 calls Miryam “engaged to Yoseph”, but in v.19 calls Yoseph “her husband”: an apparent inconsistency calling Yoseph “engaged” and “husband”.

Thus, if the Greek were the primary language of Matthew, it would have been impossible for a Hebrew translator of a Greek document to confuse the two. But it is very easy for a Greek translator with insufficient knowledge of Hebrew and the Semitic culture to mistake the contextual variances in the Hebrew word ish.

But what does the Aramaic text of Matthew say?

Note: Aramaic is closely related language to Hebrew, since both languages belong to the Semitic group of languages and culture. Thus, when a text is translated from one to the other, the lost-in-translation issue is very rare.

Peshitta Aramaic manuscript of our verse in Matthew reads gavra. In Peshitta Aramaic gavra literally means “protective male”. It is unclear what the Aramaic refers to: to Miryam’s man, husband, or father, since gavra means all these. What is sure though in Aramaic is that gavra means “kinsman”, and depending on the context, it can mean either one of them; the context shows how to translate gavra.

So, what does the Hebrew text of Matthew say? Because, it seems that there is still an ambiguous situation with no clarity on what exactly the Hebrew text says. Does Shem-Tov Even Bochan mean that ish is “the man of Miryam” or “the father of Miryam”?

To answer this question and resolve the problem of the gap in the fourteen generations of Yeshua, we will take a different approach that has been overlooked by all scholars.

What do we know about Miryam’s family?

What do we know about Miryam and her family? Very little. The Apostolic Writings and Matthew in particular provide scarce information on Miryam’s life prior to being married to Yoseph, of the lineage of David. In fact we know nothing of her father and mother, who they were, and what was her family line.

We are told that Miryam was a maiden, an unmarried girl (a virgin), engaged to a man called Yoseph, of the house of David. Yoseph and Miryam were so poor that they could afford to give an offering only a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, according to the Torah (Lev 5:11, Lev 12:8), for the birth of Yeshua. This is all we can derive from the narrative in the Apostolic Writings about Miryam. Why are we given so little about the mother of Yeshua and her lineage? Perhaps, there was a reason which the disciples have left to us to find. 

We also know that Miryam was a cousin of Elisheva, a descendant of the High Priest Aharon, the son of Levi. We are even told such a detail that there was no relative in the family of Elisheva with the name “Zecharyah” (Luk 1:29), but the apostles have omitted to tell us who the father and mother of Miryam were.

Matthew, for instance, let us know that Yehudah had sons by his wife Tamar, Bo’az was born by Rachav and had son by Ruth, and that David fathered Shlomo by Uriyah’s wife, as if we did not know who the matriarchs of the Messiah were. But he omitted to tell us who the father of Miryam was? There is something odd here, unless Matthew himself did not know.

So, should we overlook this gap in the family lineage of Yeshua’s mother? After all, Miryam was the mother of the long-awaited Messiah of Israel.

With that being said, we should not overlook the contextual information in Matthew and take the consideration that Miryam might have been an orphan whose father and mother were unknown. She had to marry at early age in order to survive.

We explained that the Hebrew word in Shem-Tov Even Bochan ish means “man”, “husband”, but also “father” at certain conditions. The same for the Aramaic word gavra, which means a protective male, by implication a kinsman.

Given the fact that we know so little about Miryam and nothing about her father, could we entertain the idea that ish in the Hebrew text, means exactly that: a protective male or guardian? If such a supposition is plausible, then “Yoseph” in the genealogy in Matthew was her guardian or adopting father? There is an allusion to this in what we explained above.

If so, then we can elegantly resolve the gap in the fourteen generations in Yeshua’s genealogy having all facts considered, and can conclude that “Yoseph” is not Miryam’ husband, but “Yoseph” her guardian or adopting father. In this case, the genealogy of Yeshua with the three divisions of fourteen generations will look like this,

1. Avraham

2. Yitschak

3. Ya’akov

4. Yehudah

5. Perets

6. Chetsron

7. Ram

8. Amminadav

9. Nachshon

10. Salmon

11. Bo’az

12. Oved

13. Yishai

14. David

(Mat 1:2-6)

1. Shelomoh

2. Rechav’am

3. Aviyah

4. Asa

5. Yehoshaphat

6. Yoram

7. Uzziyah

8. Yotham

9. Achaz

10. Hizkiyahu

11. Menashsheh

12. Amon

13. Yoshiyahu

14. Yehonyah

(Mat 1:7-11)

1. She’alti’el

2. Zerubbavel

3. Avihud

4. Elyakim

5. Azor

6. Tsadok

7. Akim

8. Elihud

9. El’azar

10. Mattan

11. Ya’akov

12. Yoseph guardian of Miryam

13. Miryam

14. Yeshua haMashiach

(Mat 1:12-16)

And indeed, we should know that the Hebrew name “Yoseph” is a common name in the Hebraic culture. With all that being said above, we should not be quick and therefore to err to assume, as many theologians have done it before, that such a common name as “Yoseph” refers to Yoseph the husband of Miryam. Otherwise, we will have the absurd situation to explain the appearance of the name “Ya’akov” in both divisions of fourteen generations in Yeshua’s genealogy.

Therefore, in this case “Yoseph” is not the Yoseph the husband of Miryam (per the Greek translation), but Yoseph her father or guardian making Miryam the thirteenth generation, and Yeshua the fourteenth. Thus the gap in the fourteen generations in the genealogy of Yeshua is resolved thanks to the Hebrew and Aramaic texts we have.

The Greek text is in error, as it is in error in the other blunder wherein it misquoted Jeremiah; Greek is in error in other instances, which we have explained in the series Hebrew Study of Time of Reckoning Ministry. And if YHVH permits we will explain the rest diligently in our endeavor to recover the truth.

In conclusion, the Karaite Nehemiah Gordon discovered more ancient Hebrew manuscripts of Matthew, which we have the reason to believe were kept secretly in the hidden archives of the Rabbis. In them he found the following text concerning our verse, which reads: “Yoseph avi Miryam”, “Yoseph father of Miryam”.

Having now completed our exposition in detail, we have nothing more to say upon this point presently, and will start preparing for the next blunder in the Greek text in the genealogy of Yeshua in Luke 3.

Knowledge known to only a few will die out. If you feel blessed by these teachings of Time of Reckoning Ministry, spread the word!

May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our day!

Navah