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JOSEPH’S & MARY’S LINEAGE by Beth Piepenburg

Because the Gospel of Matthew was written to the Jewish people, Matthew traces the lineage of Jesus through his mother Mary by her kinsman Joseph. In fact, Matthew’s Gospel story of the nativity of Christ was the one in circulation for at least a decade before Luke wrote his Gospel. In 1 Sam. 7:12-13 the Lord had promised David that after his death the Lord would set up David’s seed after him and establish his kingdom, which was fulfilled as Peter explained in Acts 2:30. The seed had also been promised through Abraham. Because the seed would come through a woman, Gen. 3:15, Matthew traces the lineage through Mary as prophesied and recorded in history.

The ancestry given by Matthew is divided into three periods of Jewish history from Abraham unto David, from David unto the exile, and from the exile to Christ. The importance of the ancestry given is not to prove that the kingly line is through David’s son, Solomon, but that Mary’s ancestry can be traced back to King David. Whereas Solomon’s kingdom lasted a few centuries, Christ’s kingdom is eternal. While Solomon and Jeconiah had their moral failures with consequences, we see God’s forgiveness and restoration of this lineage by his promise to Zorobabel[1].

Since the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Aramaic, I consulted an interlinear Peshitta version[2].  Words and concepts can be lost in translating from one language to another, which proved to be true when Matthew 1:16 was translated from Aramaic to Greek. In the Aramaic translation: “Jacob fathers Joseph, the kinsman of Mary, from whom was born Yeshua who is called the Messiah.”  Although the Greek uses the word husband, aner (ανηρ), in both Mt. 1:16 and Mt. 1:19, the Aramaic distinguishes the difference of kinsman, gawra (kinsman) in Mt. 1:16, from husband, ba’la (her husband) in Mt. 1:19. Matthew is making the point that Jesus’ genealogy is through Mary, by whom Joseph is her kinsman.

To shed further light on the subject, I began researching what the writings of the earlier centuries had to say concerning the genealogy of Mary and Joseph. How I wish I could just walk down to the Temple in Jerusalem, and check out the records. However, they either were destroyed or lost to history since the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Recognizing that I may be dealing with lost facts, “historical fiction”, or opinions in some of the early writings, could I find a mutual bit of truth concerning the family of Jesus? Yet, I did find much agreement with the lineage and purpose given of the promised seed of King David.  Since our lack of information concerns the third period, let’s begin with Jeconiah.

Solomon to Eliud

1)      Jeconiah, after being released from prison fathered Salathiel, who fathered Zerubbabel.

2)      Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, who fathered Eliakim.

3)      Eliakim fathered Azor, who fathered Sadok.

4)      Sadok fathered Achim, who fathered Eliud.

Mattan to Jesus

5)      Eliud fathered Eleazar, who fathered Matthan.

6)      Matthan married Estha and fathered twins, Jacob and Joachim[3], and then died. Estha then married Melchi, a descendant of David’s son Nathan, who then fathers Heli. Possibly, Jacob and Joachim are half-brothers to Heli, though there could be two generations between Melchi and Heli.[4]

7)      Heli married, but died childless. Both Jacob and Joachim are near kin. Jacob, married Heli’s wife to produce seed for him. In Luke’s gospel, Joseph is the legal son of Heli; in Matthew’s gospel, Jacob fathered Joseph.

8)      Joachim, Jacob’s twin, had married Anna, a descendant of Aaron. They had a daughter in their old age, whom they name Mariam or Mary. So, Mary is both descended from kings and priests.

9)      Mary is a much younger cousin to Joseph.

Concerning tribal inheritance, Mary will inherit any land owned by her father Joachim, as long as she marries within the tribe of Judah. More than likely, her marriage has been pre-arranged to Joseph, a much older man, by her father Joachim. Because she is able to inherit directly as a female, Matthew lists her along with Joseph, her kinsman rather than husband. This inheritance right also will necessitate her being enrolled personally in the census, which is why she had to make the arduous journey to Bethlehem during her pregnancy.

While Joseph’s genealogy is also traced by Luke, Matthew is giving both the biological lineage of Joseph and Mary, and their kinsman relationship. Can you see why the lineage of Jesus is traced directly from Mary through her kinsman Joseph and her grandfather Jacob to King David? She is the one who is the seed carrier.  Remember, Matthew is presenting the lineage from a Jewish perspective.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2013. All rights reserved.


[1] Haggai 2:23

[3] Also known as Yonachir or Zadok. Actually, Zadok might be a religious title.  Cave of Treasures (





As the events have progressed from the triumphal entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem to dinner with friends in Bethany, so has the drama or signs in the heavenly skies. No longer is the moon in the constellation of Arieh (Leo), the Lion of Judah, but it has shifted to Bethulah (Virgo), the Virgin. The moon is now waxing gibbous before it phases to its fullness. Likewise, at the dinner in Bethany, the memorial story of Mary of Bethany will point to the final phase of Jesus’ life – his death and burial.

Jesus was staying in Bethany, a small village below the Mount of Olives at the house of Simon the Leper. Could it be that Simon the Leper was the father or relative of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary, or that he was Lazarus himself?  Earlier, Lazarus’ death had given Jesus the opportunity not only to demonstrate that death is conquered by Him, but that Lazarus being brought back from the dead would be symbolic of Christ’s future death and resurrection. However, Lazarus’ sister would symbolically anoint Jesus for his soon approaching death and burial.  

Because Matthew’s Gospel tells us that after two days is the feast of the Passover, then we know that this story of the dinner meal takes place on Wednesday evening (April 1, 33 AD). As Lazarus dines with the others, Martha is serving. Dinner would have typically included bread and wine, a metaphoric foretaste of Jesus’ death. Where is Mary? In the Gospels written by Matthew and Mark, the woman who anoints the Savior is unnamed, but in the Gospel of John, she is identified as Mary. Jesus formerly had told Martha, when she was anxious and disturbed about her sister, that Mary had chosen the good portion. Now we see Mary choosing the spiritual portion, but in a prophetic sense.

Mary has an alabastron of very precious ointment, a pound of unadulterated spikenard to be precise. Spikenard, grown in the Himalayas, has an earthy aroma, and is used for special occasions. Breaking the seal, she pours the spikenard on her Savior’s head while he is reclining. John adds in his Gospel story that she wipes Jesus’ feet with her hair. Since the head represents nurturing and the feet represent authority, Mary is anointing the Lord in spiritually strategic places. The odor of the spikenard, signifying the presence of the Holy Spirit, permeates the house.

While Matthew discloses that ALL the disciples were indignant at the wastefulness, Mark shares that SOME were rather indignant. However, John states that JUDAS Iscariot is the one that asks why this ointment wasn’t sold for three hundred denarii and the proceeds given to the poor. If a man’s daily wage were one silver danarii, then three hundred denarii was about a year’s wages. Not that Judas cares for the poor, because he was a thief pilfering from the moneybag. His attack against Mary provokes the others to murmur against her.

Jesus comes to her defense acknowledging that she had done a good work while his disciples surely have the poor always with them, but they would not always have Him. He reminds them the purpose of the anointing is for his burial. Jesus desires this particular story to be told where ever the Gospel is to be preached as a memorial to Mary. Then Judas, true to his nature, went and covenanted with the chief priests for thirty pieces of silver, about a month’s wages.

We know that Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. Martha had a servant’s heart, Lazarus had experienced being brought back from the dead, and Mary was fond of sitting at the feet of Jesus hearing the Logos, the living Word of God. Her action of anointing Jesus was inspired because of a heart brimming with love for her Lord. While the breaking of the alabaster seal was symbolic of the body of Jesus being broken for all and the ointment symbolic of Christ’s burial, the ointment also represents the Holy Spirit being poured out upon our lives. Halleluiah!