Luke 3:23-31

The Genealogy of Jesus

3:23 So Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years old. He was the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 3:24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 3:25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 3:26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 3:27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 3:28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 3:29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 3:30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 3:31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 10 

tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the summary nature of the statement.

tn The words “his ministry” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the contemporary English reader.

tn Grk “of age, being.” Due to the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the participle ὤν (wn) has been translated as a finite verb with the pronoun “he” supplied as subject, and a new sentence begun in the translation at this point.

sn The parenthetical remark as was supposed makes it clear that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. But a question still remains whose genealogy this is. Mary is nowhere mentioned, so this may simply refer to the line of Joseph, who would have functioned as Jesus’ legal father, much like stepchildren can have when they are adopted by a second parent.

tc Several of the names in the list have alternate spellings in the ms tradition, but most of these are limited to a few mss. Only significant differences are considered in the notes through v. 38.

tn The construction of the genealogy is consistent throughout as a genitive article (τοῦ, tou) marks sonship. Unlike Matthew’s genealogy, this one runs from Jesus down. It also goes all the way to Adam, not stopping at Abraham as Matthew’s does. Jesus has come for all races of humanity. Both genealogies go through David.

sn On Zerubbabel see Ezra 2:2.

sn Grk and KJV Salathiel. Most modern English translations use the OT form of the name (Shealtiel, Ezra 3:2).

sn Shealtiel, the son of Neri. 1 Chr 3:17 identifies Jeconiah as the father of Shealtiel. The judgment on Jeconiah’s line (Jer 22:30) may be reflected here.

sn The use of Nathan here as the son of David is different than Matthew, where Solomon is named. Nathan was David’s third son. It is not entirely clear what causes the difference. Some argue Nathan stresses a prophetic connection, but it is not clear how (through confusion with the prophet Nathan?). Others note the absence of a reference to Jeconiah later, so that here there is a difference to show the canceling out of this line. The differences appear to mean that Matthew’s line is a “royal and physical” line, while Luke has a “royal and legal” line.

10 sn The mention of David begins a series of agreements with Matthew’s line. The OT background is 1 Chr 2:1-15 and Ruth 4:18-22.