The Messiah’s Father

It’s striking, then, that the Gospels explain that Jesus was not from David’s house, nor a male descendent of any but God, as he was born of a virgin. I’ve already explained it is anathema to Judaism for the divine to be in any way mortal or otherwise individuated as a human man. But if we set this stricture aside and take the Gospels at face value, already it seems they have contradicted the prophecies.

Some Christians have explained that Mary was from the bloodline of King David, but the Gospels of Matthew and Luke both specifically trace Jesus’ genealogy to David through Joseph. Not only that, even if Mary was descended from David, Jewish law traces genealogy paternally. Jesus still would not qualify as the messiah, at leat by the standard set by the prophecies he was supposed to fulfill.

-Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
“Chapter 30: A Davidic Messiah?” (pg 173)
Kosher Jesus

I’ve already written my review of Rabbi Boteach’s book, but questions remain. This one is a doozy, at least for me. I’m sure some New Testament scholar can easily brush away the Rabbi’s objections to the lineage of Jesus, but I have no way of evaluating his words except at face value. My understanding of the genealogies of Jesus provided in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, is that they establish that Jesus is a male heir of the throne of David, but Rabbi Boteach says the opposite. He states in his book that both of these genealogies actually prove that Jesus could not be a proper descendant of David and thus, he could not possibly fulfill the Messianic prophesies. It means that Jesus could not possibly be the Messiah; the Christ, as we have been taught in the Christian church.

That’s pretty disturbing, but as I said, I’m sure New Testament scholars can resolve this apparently iron-clad supposition that Rabbi Boteach offers…can’t they?

Before answering, let’s have a look at the offending passages, including Rabbi Boteach’s remarks about each one.

Boteach states (pg 174): Matters are further complicated by the fact that the genealogies in Matthew and Luke contradict one another. They even disagree regarding which branch of David’s descendants Jesus came from. Matthew says he was from Solomon’s line…

Throughout his book, Boteach quoted from the NIV Bible when referencing any New Testament text, but I’ll be using the ESV translation:

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah… –Matthew 1:1-6

Rabbi Boteach emphasized (as I did above) the fact that Jesus is, according to Matthew, descended from David through Solomon. Here’s more of the Rabbis’ comments:

Matthew concludes his genealogy by linking David and Solomon with Jesus: “And Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.” (pg 174)

Now Boteach turns to Luke’s genealogy of Jesus:

Luke differs, claiming that Jesus was of Nathan’s line (pg 174):

Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David… –Luke 3:23-31

I’ve added Boteach’s emphasis again, which he uses as proof that neither genealogy could be used to establish Jesus as the Messiah. He cites 1 Chronicles 22:9-10 to immediately dismiss Luke’s genealogy of Jesus, since it clearly states that the Messiah will be descended from David through Solomon (though for some odd reason, Boteach continues to use the NIV translation rather than the JPS or Stone Edition of the Tanakh). Luke clearly has Jesus being descended from David through Nathan, rather than Solomon, as is required according to Boteach, so that, as they say, is that.

Yet Boteach says that Matthew’s genealogy also disproves the “Messiahship” of Jesus because of verse 17:

So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

To make this neat numerological passage fit so that there are “fourteen generations” between these three epic events, Boteach says that Matthew had to remove any mention of four kings that should be in the line between Solomon and Jesus, given how Matthew has structured his list: Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, and Jehoiakim. Once these four kings are added back into the genealogy, there’s a big problem.

Boteach continues (pg 176):

Elsewhere in the Bible it is made clear that Jeconiah is the son of Jehoiakim, as in Jeremiah here it is written, “…when he carried Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” (Jeremiah 27:20 NIV) Sickened by the idolatrous and blasphemous misbehavior of Jeconiah, God curses him and all of his descendents. God specifically vows that “none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.” (Jeremiah 22:30 NIV)

If Jesus was indeed descended from Jeconiah, he is included in the curse and forbidden from being the King Messiah as described in the Hebrew Bible. Both New Testament genealogies therefore disqualify Jesus from being the messiah: Luke because the messiah must come from Solomon, and Matthew because he must not come from Jeconiah.

This may be a common argument used by Jewish anti-missionaries and for all I know, these genealogical problems may have long since been laid to rest by Christian respondents, but I don’t know that for a fact. There’s a lot that I don’t know, which I suppose is what Rabbi Boteach is counting on in his Christian audience. On the other hand, for all I know, he may have just delivered a devastating blow to Christian claims of Jesus being the Messiah based on Matthew’s and Luke’s lists. If Boteach has, in fact, effectively proven that Jesus cannot be the Messiah as the church states, then he has unraveled the very fabric of Christian faith in Jesus as the Moshiach. Being the Messiah is inexorably tied to Jesus being the Son of the Most High God, Savior of the world, and the one upon whom all our hopes are laid. If Jesus is not the Messiah; the Christ, then he isn’t anything else the church counts on for the salvation of our souls.

Since I can’t answer Boteach’s challenge, perhaps you can. How can we look at the genealogies listed by both Matthew and Luke and say that they really do prove Jesus is the Messiah? The comments box is now open and ready.

32 thoughts on “The Messiah’s Father”

  1. I’ve asked a number of times, but was never given a definitive answer to the following question: how can Yeshua inherit Joseph’s lineage when in Judaism adopted children to do NOT receive the status of their father (e.g. if father is cohen, the adopted son who was not born a cohen DOES NOT become one when adopted by a cohen).

    If Yeshua doesn’t get his kingly lineage from Joseph (or Mary), but directly from G-d himself, why do the Gospels even try to make the case with the lineages. And if he gets it from Mary (as in some explanations I’ve read that state that it’s possible for women to transmit lineage), why even mention Joseph’s at all (except to build up Yeshua’s impressive resume that Joseph’s own Davidic lineage brings to the table).

    That’s even BEFORE we get into which kings should or shouldn’t have been listed. Hopefully someone has the answer that doesn’t take two or three pages to prove what should be a simple point.

  2. Hi Gene,

    It’s really good to hear from you again.

    I agree that we must be missing something simple, but I really don’t have the educational “chops” to address this issue. I’m trying to cast as wide a net with my blog post in the hopes of getting a reliable answer, one way or the other. I’m glad I’m not the only one with this question.

  3. The best response I’ve seen to these oft-repeated claims can be found in one of Michael Brown’s Answering Jewish Objections books (I don’t remember which one). It deals with the nuances of the various arguments very extensively. The basic thrust is that Yeshua was a son of David through Miriam (and possibly adoption) and Brown gives precedents for it. I forget exactly how he deals with the Jeconiah issue, but I remember that his response was plausible.

    (BTW, I don’t want to be nit-picky, but it’s not at all clear that the gospels themselves use the genealogies (or prophecies from the Tanakh) to prove anything, although we sometimes do. Barring some evidence I haven’t seen yet, all the Apostolic Writings were written to explain the faith to Yeshua-believers.)

  4. Hi Carl,

    I’ll have to see if I can find something from Brown’s work that successfully addresses these concerns. I had a feeling something must be out there that answers the genealogy question.

    Sorry to trigger a “nit-picky alert.” I guess this is another case of me thinking like a Christian rather than a Jew. This is why I ask all these questions.

    Thanks. 🙂

  5. Not to muddy the waters any further, but it is also interesting that the genealogy in Matthew is generated from the Tanach while Luke’s is generated from the Septuagint. Hence there is an additional person in Luke’s record that does not appear in Matthew’s. While this does not upset the 42 generations counted out in Matthew’s line, it does cause me to wonder what the intended purpose of the genealogical records was for the writers to go to the trouble to include them. The Greeks certainly didn’t care. And who among the Jews would need that type of validation in a matter that consisted of a faith which withheld evidence until the faith had been established in the person?

    I tend to agree with Mr. Kinbar. I don’t think that the genealogies in and of themselves were an attempt to prove that Yeshua was the promised Messiah. He Himself asked the question during His time here, “if David by the Spirit called Him Master, then how is He his son?”.

    But perhaps for those were keyed into looking to the Davidic line for the Messiah, the effort might prove useful.

    It is my personal belief that if we try to connect with Yeshua through the flesh we will come up empty handed. He taught us that right from the beginning.

    Russ

  6. James, I appreciate your candor and struggles. Forgive me for the long post, I just think it is a compelling thought. This material comes from our Torah Club v.4 (D.T. Lancaster). I have removed our footnotes to keep this as concise as possible and replaced them with a (X). If you or others would like the notes please let me know.

    A Virgin Conception

    And this was the manner of the birth of Yeshua the Mashiach: Miryam his mother was betrothed to Yosef, but before he came to her she was found pregnant from the Ruach HaKodesh. (Mattai 1:18)

    Matthew says that “before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy
    Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). What does it mean that she was “with child by the Holy Spirit”? Does this imply that the Holy Spirit took the masculine role in the conception? Is the Holy Spirit the father of Yeshua? Christianity ordinarily understands the Master’s conception this way. That is to say, Yeshua’s divine nature stems from the union of man and God when the Holy Spirit impregnates Mary.(X) Critics and cynics point to several mythological parallels in which pagan gods descend to impregnate human women who then give birth to demigods.

    Matthew is careful to avoid the implication of God’s paternity in the matter. The Greek can be translated literally as “she was found to be pregnant out of Holy Spirit.” Matthew did not mean to suggest that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary in a sexual or reproductive manner. One scholar writes, “the Spirit can readily be understood here with reference to power from God producing the extraordinary. In the present case the exercise of this power may be seen as a particularly heightened instance of the regular role of the Spirit in the formation of a child in the womb.”(X) Every conception is from the Holy Spirit, as it says in Psalm 104:30, “You send forth your Spirit, they are created,” and in Job 33:4, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” The conception of the Master is also brought about by the Holy Spirit, but His conception is of an even more heightened, miraculous nature than ordinary conceptions because Mary was yet a virgin and knew no man.

    It hardly seems kosher to imagine that our Master received half of His genetic code directly from God, as if God planted His own seed within Mary, regardless of how asexually He accomplished it. Matthew’s description may have a form of parthenogenesis in view, but another, seldom-considered possibility remains. Joseph’s fatherhood seems important to Matthew, so much so that he supplies Joseph’s genealogy back to David. Matthew never claims that the child is not born of Joseph’s seed. He only implies that God somehow translated that seed to her womb through the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing is too difficult for God. As the Talmud says, “He who commanded the oil to burn can also command the vinegar to burn.” (X)

    The conception of Yeshua is not the first time God made a new creation. He took a single rib from Adam and created Eve. It is possible that he took seed from Joseph and miraculously planted it within Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit.(X) The Messiah is not called the “Seed of God,” but He is called the “Seed of Abraham” and the “Seed of David,” titles that are meaningless if He was conceived without seed. Except for the cryptic dodge in Luke 3:23—“[Yeshua] was supposed the son of Joseph,” Luke does not hesitate to refer to Joseph as “His father” (2:33, 48).(X) The opinion that Yeshua is the physical son of Joseph does not preclude the possibility of virgin birth. After all, it is a miracle!(X)

    Whatever the case may be, the child conceived within Mary is called the Son of God on the merit of the divine Logos within Him, on the merit of the covenant with His father David, on the merit of His baptism in the Holy Spirit, and on the merit of His resurrection—not because God impregnated a virgin. On the merit of the divine Logos tabernacling within Him from the moment of His conception, as it says in Luke 1:35, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” On the merit of the covenant with His father David, as it says in 2 Samuel 7:14, “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me.” On the merit of His baptism in the Holy Spirit, as it says in Psalm 2:7, “He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You,’” and in Matthew 3:17, “This is My beloved Son.” On the merit of His resurrection as it says in Romans 1:3, “Who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness.”(X) No doubt, the circumstance of his conception lent extra credence to the title Son of God, but the deeper meaning of the title far transcends the miraculous mechanism of His conception.

  7. Hi Russ,

    Interesting about the different sources (Matthew using the Tanakh and Luke using the Septuagint). I think I understand what you’re saying about “through the flesh” (Christians tend to equate Judaism as “through the flesh” relative to Christianity’s “through the spirit”, as far as I can tell), but if the genealogies weren’t relevant, why put them there?

    I can see Matthew doing so if his audience was primarily Jewish because the genealogy of the Messiah is one of the ways you can tell he’s the “real meal deal,” so to speak. There had been a lot of would-be Messiahs that had come and gone before Jesus and certainly a lot have come and gone since then, and I can see it would be important to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    I’m only belaboring the point because there doesn’t appear to be an immediate, definitive answer to this “challenge” and frankly, because Boteach is using this as one of his justifications for why most Jews cannot and will not see Jesus as the Messiah. The genealogies may not have been intended to provide proof of Christ’s identity as Messiah, but that’s certainly how Boteach (and probably the anti-missionaries) are using it.

    As a side note, someone on Facebook sent me a link from Chabad called Is the Messiah a Descendant of King Solomon? which addresses some parts of the genealogy question.

  8. It hardly seems kosher to imagine that our Master received half of His genetic code directly from God, as if God planted His own seed within Mary, regardless of how asexually He accomplished it. Matthew’s description may have a form of parthenogenesis in view, but another, seldom-considered possibility remains. Joseph’s fatherhood seems important to Matthew, so much so that he supplies Joseph’s genealogy back to David. Matthew never claims that the child is not born of Joseph’s seed. He only implies that God somehow translated that seed to her womb through the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing is too difficult for God. As the Talmud says, “He who commanded the oil to burn can also command the vinegar to burn.”

    Hi Boaz,

    Actually, someone on Facebook mentioned Torah Club 4 as a resource, but obviously you anticipated my request and posted the relevant information here. Thanks.

    I suppose it’s irreverent, but I have occasionally wondered what you’d find if you could have sampled the Master’s DNA. The answer may well be that you’d discover Jesus was the genetic son of Miriam and Joseph. All this still requires a supernatural intervention on God’s part, but it does put the Master’s conception in a light I think most of the church does not consider.

  9. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the reference. Just so folks don’t have to look up the relevant passage:

    “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down, every one by the sword of his brother. On that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the Lord, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of hosts.”Haggai 2:21-23 (ESV)

  10. Well I guess that was my point. Why would Luke (who was reported to be a Greek physician) include the genealogy of Yeshua to a mostly Greek audience? Especially since we later have Sha’ul instructing Timothy to avoid endless genealogies as they do not lead to a set-apart life? I also cannot recall Yeshua being referred to as the “son of David” anywhere in the NC writings.

    But there is this intriguing exchange between the disciples and Yeshua in the very early days of His ministry:

    Yochanan 1:45 – 51, “Pilipos found Natan’el, and said to him, “We have found him, of whom Moshe in the Torah, and the prophets, wrote: Yeshua of Natzeret, the son of Yosef.” Natan’el said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Natzeret?” Pilipos said to him, “Come and see.” Yeshua saw Natan’el coming to him, and said about him, “Behold, an Yisra’elite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Natan’el said to him, “How do you know me?” Yeshua answered him, “Before Pilipos called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Natan’el answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of Elohim! You are King of Yisra’el!” Yeshua answered him, “Because I told you, ‘I saw you underneath the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these!” He said to him, “Most assuredly, I tell you, hereafter you will see heaven opened, and the angels of Elohim ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

    There is quite a bit going on here in this brief conversation.
    Phillip says that they have found the one who fits the descriptions in the Torah and prophets, Yeshua, son of Yosef.
    Nathaniel says that Yeshua is the son of Elohim.
    Yeshua calls Himself the son of man. Taken at face value a person could have a field day with the text. But I don’t think that is your purpose here.

    Later Yeshua says that those of His immediate earthly family, mother and brothers (Yosef is not mentioned), are not His true family, but rather those who do the will of His Father in heaven are His mother and brothers. Yes it is a spiritual reference, but one that takes precedence.

    And if the genealogical record is insufficient for someone, I suspect that His atoning death and third day resurrection would not provide adequate testimony either. If the person were looking for an observable Messianic kingdom with certain peace and an elevation of the Jewish people above all others, they would be quite disappointed with the earthly mission and invisible results of the man we call Yeshua. For His kingdom is not to be observed with our physical eyes.

    The anti-missionaries use many NC writings to try and prove their points. I have found them to be quick to criticize and slow to enter a reasonable debate. So once again we are faced with a matter of trust. And the scriptures are provided as a way to start that fire, not be the fuel.

    Rambling on…

    Russ

  11. That’s certainly a lot going on Russ, but I think it exceeds my original question. However, when you say “those of His immediate earthly family, mother and brothers (Yosef is not mentioned), are not His true family, but rather those who do the will of His Father in heaven are His mother and brothers. Yes it is a spiritual reference, but one that takes precedence,” I’m don’t believe we have to remove a physical description in order to replace it with a spiritual one. It’s clear that Jesus did have a physical family (just ask his mother if she remembers giving birth to him…bet she does), but the point he was making at the time emphasized the “spiritual family,” which includes a much larger group and ultimately, both Jews and non-Jews.

    Sorry if I seem sensitive on this issue, but there are just too many times when the traditional church involves supersessionist theology by saying the physical promises have been replaced by spiritual ones. One of the reasons why I tend to prefer looking through a Jewish, rather than a Christian lens, is that Judaism doesn’t think that the physical world has to be minimized or even cease to exist in any relevant sense, for the spiritual world to have power. The physical and the spiritual not only co-exist, they interact. Just look at how Judaism considers the Torah to be both a physical object and to contain some aspect of God inseparable from His Divine Being. How much more so is the Master a unique expression of both the human and the spiritual, without having to replace one for the other?

    But as you’ve mentioned, this is all “off topic”. Back to the subject of genealogies, then. For the most part, I think the teeth have been removed from the key parts of Rabbi Boteach’s issues with the lineage of Jesus.

  12. Believe it or not I am trying to avoid tail chasing. Yes, there is an interaction between the physical and the spiritual. No, one does not “replace” the other, but it should be clear that the eternal spiritual realities do take precedence over the temporal physical ones and will ultimately outlast them. I’m just choosing to focus on the one over the other. My predisposition I suppose. I’m certainly not in the “church supersessionist” camp.

    Rev. 22:16, “I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star.”

    Since both references, root and offspring, are metaphorical it is not what it may seem on the surface. But I will take your point that the text is there.

    The second example would be that person’s own way of expressing his belief that Yeshua was the Messiah. The phrase “son of David” was an idiom used at that time to represent the one who would redeem Israel.

    I see the terms “Yeshua ben David”, “Yeshua ben Yosef”, “Yeshua ben Elohim” as a triangulation intended to help us locate who Messiah is. To help recognize Him. Just as much as the prophecy of Him riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.

    Putting it all together, the prophecies, the genealogies, the teachings, etc. we receive a picture of who Messiah will be on His first visit and who is to all who believe.

    There is no small comfort in the idea that He fully intended for all His children to find Him, one way or the other.

    Russ

  13. “how can Yeshua inherit Joseph’s lineage when in Judaism adopted children to do NOT receive the status of their father (e.g. if father is cohen, the adopted son who was not born a cohen DOES NOT become one when adopted by a cohen). ”

    The fact that Joseph rather than Miriam named Yeshua (Matt. 1:25) showes his legal position as father to Yeshua.

    Also, R. Shimon ben Pazi (3rd century Amorai), in his midrash on 1 Chronicles 1:14 states ” …anyone who raises an orphan boy or girl in his house, Scripture considers it as if he bore him.” ( b. Megilah 13b)

    And, ” he that brings up a child is called a father, and not he that gives birth.” (Midrash Rab. Exodus 46.5).

    Even in the Torah, the adoption of Ephraim and Menashe by Jacob. they were granted the status of sons and given their share in Jacob’s inheritance.

  14. “The fact that Joseph rather than Miriam named Yeshua (Matt. 1:25) showes his legal position as father to Yeshua.”

    No one argues that Joseph was not the legal father – it’s not the point. The point is whether or not one can adopt a child (any child) and then claim a Davidic lineage for that child. Also, it’s not correct that it was Joseph who named Yeshua. The name was given by angel himself before Yeshua was born, with both Mary AND Joseph being told what they should call him.

    The angel said to Mary “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Yeshua.” (Luke 1:26-38)

    and also

    “You [Mary] will be with child and give birth to a son, and you [Mary] are to give him the name Yeshua.” (Luke 1:31)

  15. ” No one argues that Joseph was not the legal father – it’s not the point. The point is whether or not one can adopt a child (any child) and then claim a Davidic lineage for that child.”

    This was a unique situation. In normal adoptions, the child is actially the offspring of a human father and so the “birth father” is distinguished from the “adoptive father.” Not so in the case of Yeshua. The only human father that could lay legal claim to him as a father was Joseph. and it would therefore be equally true that from an historical viewpoint, it could have only been through Joseph that yeshua could be counted as in the line of David.

    Remember that King David himself, was granted the promise of an eternal dynasty not through lineage but by God’s sovereign choosing and appointment.

    Another point to consider, in the gospel Yeshua was often called the “son of David.” Yet we cannot find one single instance in which His detractors contest His Davidic lineage. Even in His final trial. It is safe to suggest that Yeshua’s Davidic connection was accepted within the Jewish community of His day, even by those who were opposed to Him.

  16. Taliah, I’m going to leave your link present (my first impulse was to remove it) because, having visited that site, I can see that you are attempting to define the lineage of Jesus as the Messiah. Please note, and I’m saying this to everyone else too, that I take a dim view of people popping in and just posting a link with no discussion or explanation. If you do so again, even with the best intentions, I shall have to remove it. If you had presented some dialog or offered a statement as to why you wanted to include the link, it would have been a great deal more polite.

  17. Dan and Gene, what about the suggestion that Miriam (Mary) was a virgin but that God used Joseph’s genetic material to impregnate her with the Master? I can see where this would solve certain problems, including the Master receiving his Davidic lineage through Joseph, but can we reasonably infer that from the text?

  18. Dan, my understanding is that, before they had sexual intercourse. That doesn’t mean that the Spirit couldn’t have caused Mary to become pregnant through supernatural means (and as far as most people believe, the Holy Spirit was required for Mary to become pregnant and still be a virgin). As far as where the male DNA came from, either God manufactured it out of nothing (in which case, the male DNA of the Master’s genetic makeup is a mystery) or he took some from Joseph and used that genetic material to impregnate Mary.

    I don’t think this can be proved either way, but if, for a moment, we allow ourselves to assume this is the way God chose to create the miracle, then it still establishes that the Master’s Davidic heritage comes from Joseph. At that place and time, once it became known that Mary was pregnant, the majority of people would have assumed it was Joseph’s child. In a sense (if we continue to allow ourselves to pursue this assumption), it was (and is), but brought about through supernatural rather than natural means.

    I expect people to disagree, which is fine. There’s no way to prove things worked out this way via the text, but on the other hand, there’s no way to disprove it, either.

    1. ”There’s no way to prove things worked out this way via the text, but on the other hand, there’s no way to disprove it, either.”

      Oy, James. While the statement about proof is true, that kind of thinking is often used to cover totally kooky ideas. For example, perhaps God transported Miriam forward in time so that she came together with Joseph and then transported her back in time so that she would return to her virginity with Joseph’s sperm still inside! (I could come up with a few more scenarios, but you get the idea.)

  19. I of course agree with you that it brought about supernatural thing. But I initially responded to Gene’s notion that Yeshua could not have assumed Davidic lineage through adoption.

  20. Oy, James. While the statement about proof is true, that kind of thinking is often used to cover totally kooky ideas. For example, perhaps God transported Miriam forward in time so that she came together with Joseph and then transported her back in time so that she would return to her virginity with Joseph’s sperm still inside! (I could come up with a few more scenarios, but you get the idea.)

    Oh, that would be so cool! Maybe he used a DeLorean, too.

    OK, I’m just kidding.

    I have no idea how the conception happened, obviously. Just batting about a few ideas. Normally, I don’t consider myself a “kook”, but I suppose occasionally I can be accused of being such.

  21. I have an advance copy of Tsvi Sadan’s book “The Concealed Light: Names of Messiah in Jewish Sources.” (available from Vine of David starting March 15th) When reading it over lunch, I came across this:

    Son of God (ben elohim) as one of the names of Messiah comes from the familiar verse: “The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son” (Psalm 2:7). In dealing with names pregnant with meaning, it will help to be reminded that in general, names should be viewed as adjectives; they describe character and not essence. So, for example, calling Messiah “Palm Tree,” “Stone,” and so on cannot mean that Messiah is literally a palm tree or a stone. The name holds true for the name Son. A literal approach will imply that the noun “son” means just that – Messiah is a son. If this is the case, then it must be that God is like man who has sex and can procreate. It also implies that God has a goddess as a wife, and so forth. This view is rightly taken to be pagan, and in fact, it was common in ancient Canaan.

    So if the name Son of God is not to be taken literally, what does it mean? The most simple and straightforward answer is that since God is described as a Father, all those who believe in him and so his will are his sons. In his famous treaty, The Kuzari, Rabbi Yehuda Halevi qualifies the term: “We call call Adam Son of God and all who are like him were called sons of God … and they all had perfect bodies and virtues and longevity, wisdom and ability to act well” (Kuzari, Article I, 95). In other words, a son of God is also the one whom God chose, and so Israel is called “My son, My firstborn” (Exodus 4:22).

    This particular name for the Messiah, taken from Jewish sources, may help us apply, at least a little bit, the relationship between God and the Messiah. What I’m finding, as I’m reading Sadan, is that we may be able to put together an amazingly complex picture of the Messiah as chronicled exclusively in the Tanakh and other Jewish sources, and then apply that picture to Jesus as the Messiah. I have a feeling we’ll blow most of Boteach’s objections about the legitimacy of Jesus as the Messiah away.

  22. “The Concealed Light: Names of Messiah in Jewish Sources.” The cat is out of the bag!

    “I’m finding, as I’m reading Sadan, is that we may be able to put together an amazingly complex picture of the Messiah as chronicled exclusively in the Tanakh and other Jewish sources, and then apply that picture to Jesus as the Messiah. I have a feeling we’ll blow most of Boteach’s objections about the legitimacy of Jesus as the Messiah away.”

    I think you are right on! I cannot wait to get this book out.

  23. >> Thus says the LORD, “Write this man childless, a man [that] shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.” <<

    I think the whole Jeconiah issue is blown out of proportion. The point of the curse was to indicate the end of the ruling dynasty, and the coming diaspora of the Judean kingdom. Indeed, for the forseeable future NOBODY would see a son sit on the throne of Judah. After the restoration, though, things started over.

    The Haggai 2 text that Brown cites simply serves as concrete verification that this is the case, as I understand things.

    So, the curse on David's line is rendered irrelevant. The problem is with our tendency to see this as a perpetual state, when there is no such explicit statement in the text. If anything, the text seems to indicate that the curse has an expiration built in–:"in his days"! That is, nothing prevents a grandson from picking up the legacy, once the 70-year captivity came to an end, and Jeconiah had passed on.

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