The Genealogy Of Christ -- By: George M. Clelland

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 018:70 (Apr 1861)
Article: The Genealogy Of Christ
Author: George M. Clelland


The Genealogy Of Christ

George M. Clelland

There is a class of commentators on the New Testament, but confined almost exclusively to modern times, who maintain that of the two genealogies of our Lord which are contained in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, the former only is on the side of Joseph, his father according to the law, and that the latter is on the side of Mary his mother. These hold the establishment of the latter genealogy as that of Mary to be of great importance, in order, according to their view of the case, to show that our Lord was “of the seed of David according to the flesh,” a character which by the prophecies must belong to the Messiah. The argument is indeed stated with a good deal of obscurity, and its links are in a great measure assumed, instead of being proved, arising from the circumstance that, quite unaccountably on the basis on which the view in question depends, our Lord’s connection with David through Joseph, David’s undoubted descendant, appears to be set forth on the face of the scripture narratives as the fulfilment of those prophecies, and little is said of Mary in this respect except in connection with Joseph. In consequence of this difficulty, the assumed necessity of evidence of Mary’s descent from David, if it does not take the place of the actual evidence required, is at least held to give a decisive weight to articles of evidence, which of themselves infer various degrees of probability only, and often very slight ones, of what Mary was, and so to make up for the absence of what may be deemed satisfactory proof. We propose to examine this question, which has recently been the subject of a good deal of discussion. The point at issue is interesting, and it would be momentous, could it be made out that

the Lord must be shown to have descended from David through Mary. We shall state in the sequel our reasons to the contrary, and for the conclusion that Mary’s descent from David is not only not mentioned in the New Testament as a fact (whatever may be its probability), and consequently is not the basis of the fulfilment of the promises to David’s seed, but that, in accordance with the character of our Lord’s mission, her pedigree was purposely intended to be left unnoticed and without positive establishment.

We have hardly any light on this subject but what the scriptures themselves afford us, and this is confined to what is required for their own ends. This is a feature which is characteristic of the scriptures. They record enough in every instance to show that the events which came in the way of the sacred historians were real, that is, pertained to actual and known human interests, and this in a more intense degree, as regards expression and genuine form, ...

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