A Study In The Genealogy Of Jesus -- By: William H. Bates

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 074:294 (Apr 1917)
Article: A Study In The Genealogy Of Jesus
Author: William H. Bates


A Study In The Genealogy Of Jesus

William H. Bates

Outstanding and still unsettled questions in regard to the genealogy of Jesus, and differing, not to say opposite, views in regard to the same facts pertaining thereto, have led to the careful and searching study that follows; and it is modestly hoped that some determinative conclusions have been reached that, though hitherto questioned, may henceforth be considered final.

Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels have genealogies; Mark’s and John’s have none. The common notion of a divine superintendence in the production of these writings would seem to carry with it a purpose in these genealogical inclusions and exclusions; and by the same token the fact that two genealogies are given, the assumption would seem to be warranted, if not required, that the two are necessary and also that there is a reason for their differences. To account, reasonably, for these differences, to reconcile what some have been pleased to call their discrepancies — hie labor, hoc opus est. But the undertaking is not altogether discouraging.

It is now among the commonplaces of Christian thought — so fully set forth in Gregory’s “Why Four Gospels?”— that Matthew wrote for the Jew, Mark for the Roman, Luke for the Greek, John for the Christian;— Matthew’s Gospel setting forth Jesus as the King of Israel, the son of David, the Messiah; Mark’s, as the wonder-working Servant of Jehovah; Luke’s, as the Son of Man; John’s, as the Son of God.

Considerations in the two preceding paragraphs seem to have not only adumbration but definite implication in the earlier scripture doctrine of “the branch,”— a matter that

has subtle and yet forceful bearing upon the genealogy question.

In the Old Testament there are 18 Hebrew words translated “branch,” but there is one of them, tsemech, that has, each of the four times it is so rendered, a very peculiar use.

It first appears in Isaiah 4: 2, “In that day shall the Branch of Jehovah be beautiful and glorious.” This manifestly looks on to Isaiah 11:1, 2, where another word, netser, which is translated “branch,” is used: “And there shall come forth a rod [shoot] out of the stem [stock] of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots, and the spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him,” etc.

It next appears in Jeremiah 23:5,

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