Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Difficult Bible Verses Explained By the Peshitta: Matthew and Luke's Genealogies for Jesus

The Gospel of Matthew is well known for opening up with Jesus's genealogy in 1:1-17. It is most commonly taught to be Joseph's genealogy, while Mary's genealogy is said to be found in Luke 3:23-38. These genealogies are vastly different and both are stated to be a legal genealogy of Jesus through Joseph (who was not Jesus's biological father) in the Greek versions (Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23). If Luke's genealogy is Mary's, then how do we the issue of the kingship not being passed through Nathan's bloodline but Solomon's? Also, why does the genealogy in Matthew have thirteen generations in it's final set when there are supposed to be three sets of fourteen (Matthew 1:17). The answer is in the Aramaic word gowra.

Gowra is a generic term for a male in the Aramaic language. It is not only used of husband's, but also fathers and guardians. The more specific term for "father" in Aramaic is abba, while "husband" is balah, which is interestingly used in Matthew 1:19. If Joseph was already stated to be her husband in the genealogy, why do we have to hear that clarification again? It is likely that Mary's biological father is the Joseph (a very common name in 1st century Israel) in the genealogy, who raised up seed to her mother's first husband who died childless (see Deuteronomy 25:5). Since the seed was reckoned as the brother's, that could explain why the genealogy used gowra instead of abba. This not only establishes that the genealogy in Matthew is Mary's through Solomon, but also that there is 14 generations in all three sets. The final set according to the Greek is:

1. Jeconiah
2. Shealtiel 
3. Zerubbabel
4. Abihud
5. Eliakim
6. Azor
7. Zadok
8. Achim
9. Eliud
10. Eleazar
11. Matthan
12. Jacob
13. Joseph

In Aramaic it would/could be:

1. Jeconiah
2. Shealtiel 
3. Zerubbabel
4. Abihud
5. Eliakim
6. Azor
7. Zadok
8. Achim
9. Eliud
10. Eleazar
11. Matthan
12. Jacob
13. Joseph
14. Mary

If this is the correct interpretation of gowra, then this fixes three alleged Bible contradictions all in one. This shows that Matthew's genealogy is a biological one through Mary, while Luke's genealogy is a legal one given through Joseph, Jesus's stepfather. I have read on another site before that the Greek aner used in Matthew's genealogy of Joseph in the Greek New Testament could also be translated as father, but I have not seen anyone translate it that way. Paul Younan ("kinsman"), Andrew Gabriel Roth ("guardian"), Glenn David Bauscher ("guardian"), and The Way International ("mighty man") all translate it as such, adding credibility to the theory that the Joseph in Matthew's genealogy is Mary's father and not her husband.

Article written by Paul Younan on the subject:

http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/Articles/key_articles/gowra.htm