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Luke 3:23-38

The Genealogy of Jesus

3:23 So 1  Jesus, when he began his ministry, 2  was about thirty years old. He was 3  the son (as was supposed) 4  of Joseph, the son 5  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, 6  the son of Shealtiel, 7  the son of Neri, 8  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, 9  the son of David, 10  3:32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, 11  the son of Nahshon, 3:33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, 12  the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 3:34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, 13  the son of Nahor, 3:35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 3:36 the son of Cainan, 14  the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 3:37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, 15  the son of Kenan, 16  3:38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. 17 

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

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

5 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.

6 sn On Zerubbabel see Ezra 2:2.

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

8 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.

9 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.

11 tc The reading Σαλά (Sala, “Sala”) is found in the best and earliest witnesses (Ì4 א* B sys sa). Almost all the rest of the mss (א2 A D L Θ Ψ 0102 [Ë1,13] 33 Ï latt syp,h bo) have Σαλμών (Salmwn, “Salmon”), an assimilation to Matt 1:4-5 and 1 Chr 2:11 (LXX). “In view of the early tradition that Luke was a Syrian of Antioch it is perhaps significant that the form Σαλά appears to embody a Syriac tradition” (TCGNT 113).

12 tc The number and order of the first few names in this verse varies greatly in the mss. The variants which are most likely to be original based upon external evidence are Amminadab, Aram (A D 33 565 [1424] pm lat); Amminadab, Aram, Joram (K Δ Ψ 700 2542 pm); Adam, Admin, Arni (Ì4vid א* 1241 pc sa); and Amminadab, Admin, Arni (א2 L X [Γ] Ë13 pc). Deciding between these variants is quite difficult. The reading “Amminadab, Aram” is the strongest externally since it is represented by Alexandrian, Western, and Byzantine witnesses, although it is significantly weaker internally because it disrupts the artistic balance of the number of generations and their groups that three names would preserve (see TCGNT 113, fn. 1 for discussion). In this case, the subtle intrinsic arguments that would most likely be overlooked by scribes argues for the reading “Amminadab, Admin, Arni,” although a decision is quite difficult because of the lack of strong external support.

13 sn The list now picks up names from Gen 11:10-26; 5:1-32; 1 Chr 1:1-26, especially 1:24-26.

14 tc It is possible that the name Καϊνάμ (Kainam) should be omitted, since two key mss, Ì75vid and D, lack it. But the omission may be a motivated reading: This name is not found in the editions of the Hebrew OT, though it is in the LXX, at Gen 11:12 and 10:24. But the witnesses with this reading (or a variation of it) are substantial: א B L Ë1 33 (Καϊνάμ), A Θ Ψ 0102 Ë13 Ï (Καϊνάν, Kainan). The translation above has adopted the more common spelling “Cainan,” although it is based on the reading Καϊνάμ.

15 sn Here the Greek text reads Mahalaleel. Some modern English translations follow the Greek spelling (NASB, NRSV) while others (NIV) use the OT form of the name (Gen 5:12, 15).

16 sn The Greek text has Kainam here. Some modern English translations follow the Greek spelling more closely (NASB, NRSV Cainan) while others (NIV) use the OT form of the name (Kenan in Gen 5:9, 12).

17 sn The reference to the son of God here is not to a divine being, but to one directly formed by the hand of God. He is made in God’s image, so this phrase could be read as appositional (“Adam, that is, the son of God”). See Acts 17:28-29.

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