The Two Genealogies of Jesus -- By: Herbert William Magoun

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 072:285 (Jan 1915)
Article: The Two Genealogies of Jesus
Author: Herbert William Magoun

The Two Genealogies of Jesus

H. W. Magoun, Ph.D.

There are persons who take delight in discovering discrepancies in the Bible. It never seems to occur to them that the absence of what they regard as discrepancies would be proof positive that the book was a fraud. Perfect agreement in details on the witness stand is recognized by all lawyers as one of the most reliable tests when collusion is suspected, and a similar agreement in the Bible stories that appear at different places would be enough to condemn it offhand. Honest witnesses never see things exactly alike, and no such witnesses ever agree in all their statements. At times they may even appear to contradict one another; but a seeming contradiction is not necessarily a real one.

Three of the Gospel writers tell of a certain anointing of Jesus, with such close agreement in some of the details as to leave no doubt concerning the identity of the occasion. Matthew (26:7) and Mark (14:3) fail to identify the woman who did the anointing, but John (12:3) says that it was Mary. They all agree that she used genuine nard (Gr. nardou pistikēs) and that it was very precious. John says that there was a pound of it, — the others a cruse. John also says that she anointed his feet, while the others agree that it was his head. John adds that she wiped his feet with her hair. As the anointing of the head was a normal act and a pound of ointment was a quantity in excess of what she could

use for the purpose, it is not hard to imagine that she took some of what was left and put it on Jesus’s feet to John’s great surprise, and that this particular part of the performance was the thing that he remembered best and spoke of.

Again, Judas hanged himself according to Matthew (27:5), but Luke’s account (Acts 1:18) has him obtain a field with the money, fall headlong, burst asunder in the midst, and have his bowels gush out. Luke does not say that he bought the field but that he “acquired” (ektēsato) it, and Matthew (27:9 f.) relates that the thirty pieces of silver were used to purchase the potter’s field. As the money belonged to Judas, it would be in keeping with the facts, as they looked at things, to say that he acquired the field. He did, in a sense. If, in addition, he attempted to hang himself in that same field, by some chance, but used a rotten rope, it at once becomes clear that a violent f...

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