The ancestors of Jesus (Lk 3:24-3:24)

“Heli was

The son of Matthat,

The son of Levi,

The son of Melchi,

The son of Jannai,

The son of Joseph.”

 

τοῦ Ματθὰτ τοῦ Λευεὶ τοῦ Μελχεὶ τοῦ Ἰανναὶ τοῦ Ἰωσὴφ

 

Luke said that Jesus’ grandfather was Heli.  From then on there is a major difference in the genealogies of Matthew and Luke.  A simple solution to this problem would be to say that Luke has presented the genealogy of Mary, not Joseph.  The father of Mary was Heli.  However, that does not explain where the names came from.  The end of the genealogy of Matthew, chapter 1:15, is Joseph with his father Jacob.  Most of the people mentioned in the genealogy of Matthew could be found in other biblical works.  However, where Matthew got these last 9 generations of names was unclear.  He must have had some source, since he was so meticulous following 1 Chronicles.  Zerubbabel was Abiud’s father.  Abiud was the father of Eliakim, while he was the father of Azor.  He, in turn was the father of Zadok, whose son was Achim.  His son was Eliud.  Eliud’s son was Eleazar whose son was Matthan.  Matthan was the father of Jacob, the father of Joseph.  None of those names are here as Luke said that Heli was the son of Matthat (τοῦ Ματθὰτ), the son of Levi (τοῦ Λευεὶ), the son of Melchi (τοῦ Μελχεὶ), the son of Jannai (τοῦ Ἰανναὶ), the son of Joseph (τοῦ Ἰωσὴφ).

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The unknown names of this genealogy (Mt 1:13-1:15)

“Zerubbabel was

The father of Abiud.

Abiud was

The father of Eliakim

Eliakim was

The father of Azor.

Azor was

The father of Zadok.

Zadok was

The father of Achim.

Achim was

The father of Eliud.

Eliud was

The father of Eleazar.

Eleazar was

The father of Matthan.

Matthan was

The father of Jacob.

 

Ζοροβαβὲλ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀβιούδ, Ἀβιοὺδ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἐλιακείμ, Ἐλιακεὶμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀζώρ, Ἀζὼρ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Σαδώκ, Σαδὼκ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀχείμ, Ἀχεὶμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἐλιούδ, Ἐλιοὺδ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἐλεάζαρ, Ἐλεάζαρ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Μαθθάν, Μαθθὰν δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰακώβ,

 

Up until this point, all the people mentioned in this genealogy could be found in other works of the Old Testament.  However, other than Zerubbabel, the first governor of Judah under the Persian rule, all the other names cannot be found in the Hebrew writings.  It is unclear where Matthew got these 9 generations of names, but he must have had some source, since he was so meticulous following 1 Chronicles.  Zerubbabel (Ζοροβαβὲλ) was Abiud’s father.  Abiud (Ἀβιούδ) was the father of Eliakim (Ἐλιακείμ,), while he was the father of Azor (Ἀζώρ).  He, in turn was the father of Zadok (Σαδώκ), whose son was Achim (Ἀχείμ).  His son was Eliud (Ἐλιούδ).  Eliud’s son was Eleazar (Ἐλεάζαρ), whose son was Matthan (Μαθθάν).  Matthan was the father of Jacob (Ἰακώβ).  The Greek text used the term “begat” (ἐγέννησεν) to represent the relationships between these 9 men.  However, it seems perfectly acceptable to simply call them the father instead of saying “fathered them.”

The Zadok Levitical priests (Ezek 44:15-44:16)

“‘But the Levitical priests,

The descendants of Zadok,

Who kept the charge

Of my sanctuary,

When the people of Israel

Went astray

From me,

Shall come near

To me

To minister

To me.

They shall attend me

To offer me

The fat

With the blood.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘They shall enter

My sanctuary.

They shall approach

My table.

They shall

Minister

To me.

They shall

Keep my charge.’”

It was a different story for the Zadok Levitical priests, as mentioned in the previous chapter. These Levitical priests from the family of Zadok came from a righteous priest, who was descended from Eleazar, the son of Aaron. This Zadok aided King David during the revolt of his son Absalom in 2 Samuel, chapters 13-22. Then this Zadok helped bring King Solomon to the throne in 1 Kings, chapters 1-2. After Solomon’s building of The First Temple in Jerusalem, this Zadok was the first High Priest to serve there in 1 Kings, chapter 4. Thus, the house of Zadok occupied the high priesthood throughout much of the Second Temple period. These Zadok Levitical priests had been loyal to Yahweh, when the other Levites went astray. They were the ones who could come near to Yahweh to minister to him. They would offer the fat and the blood. They would enter Yahweh’s sanctuary and approach his table. They would be in charge and directly minister to Yahweh.

The dedication of the altar (Ezek 43:18-43:20)

“‘On the day

When it is erected

For offering

Burnt offerings

Upon it,

For dashing blood

Against it,

You shall give

A bull

For a sin offering.

The Levitical priests

Of the family of Zadok,

Who draw near to me

Shall minister to me.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘You shall take

Some of its blood.

You will put it on

The four horns

Of the altar.

You will put it on

The four corners

Of the ledge.

You will put it

On the rim,

All around.

Thus,

You shall purify it.

You will make atonement

for it.’”

The first thing to be done on this new altar, after it was erected for offerings, was a burnt offering. The Levitical priests of the family of Zadok was based on a righteous priest, who was descended from Eleazar, the son of Aaron. Zadok had aided King David during the revolt of his son Absalom in 2 Samuel, chapters 13-22. Then this Zadok helped bring King Solomon to the throne in 1 Kings, chapters 1-2. After Solomon’s building of The First Temple in Jerusalem, Zadok was the first High Priest to serve there in 1 Kings, chapter 4. Thus, it was not strange that the house of Zadok occupied the high priesthood throughout much of the Second Temple period. These Levitical priests were the ones who came near to Yahweh to minister to him. The first of the sin offerings was a bull. These Zadok Levitical priests were to put its blood on the 4 horns of the altar, plus on the rim all around it for a purification and an atonement at the same time.

 

Chambers for the priests (Ezek 40:45-40:46)

“He said to me.

‘This chamber

That faces south is

For the priests

Who are in charge

Of the temple.

The chamber

That faces north

Is for the priests

Who are in charge

Of the altar.

These are the descendants

Of Zadok.

They alone,

Among the descendants

Of Levi,

May come near

To Yahweh,

To minister to him.’”

The bronze man told Ezekiel how these two chambers worked. The chamber that faced south was for the priests who were in charge of the Temple. The chamber facing north was for the priests who were in charge of the altar. Those in charge of the altar were descendants of Zadok. Who was he? Zadok was a descended from Eleazar, the son of Aaron. He helped both King David and King Solomon in 1 Kings, chapters 1-3. Because he was the first high priest for the Solomon Temple, his descendants had a higher rank than the rest of the Levi priests. Thus, these Zadok priests could come near to Yahweh to minister to him.

 

Phinehas (Sir 45:23-45:25)

“Phinehas

Son of Eleazar

Is the third in glory.

He was zealous

In the fear of the Lord.

He stood firm,

When the people turned away.

In the noble courage of his soul,

He made atonement for Israel.

Therefore a covenant of peace

Was established with him.

He should be the leader of the sanctuary.

He should be the leader of his people.

He with his descendants

Should have the dignity

Of the priesthood forever.

Just as a covenant

Was established with David,

Son of Jesse,

Of the tribe of Judah,

That the king’s heritage

Passes only from son to son,

So the heritage of Aaron

Is for his descendants alone.”

This story of Phinehas was based on Numbers, chapter 25. It is strange that Sirach has given him such an important place. In fact, Sirach says that he ranks 3rd behind Moses and Aaron. Phinehas was the grandson of Aaron via Eleazar, the son of Aaron. However, his claim to fame was that he stopped a plague among the Israelites by killing a fellow Israelite who was having sex with a Midianite woman at Peor. Thus he made atonement for the Israelites who were involved in intermarriage situations with the Midianites. Yahweh rewarded Phinehas with a perpetual covenant of friendship. He then became the leader of the future sanctuary so that his descendants would be priests forever. However, he already was in the line of Aaron. This covenant was like the later covenant with David and his descendants. Thus the descendants of the Phinehas often became the head high priest of Jerusalem.

Judas Maccabeus gives his brothers assignments (2 Macc 8:21-8:23)

“With these words Judas Maccabeus filled them with good courage. He made them ready to die for their laws and their country. Then he divided his army into four parts. He appointed his brothers also, Simon, Joseph, and Jonathan, each to command a division, putting fifteen hundred men under each. Besides, he appointed Eleazar to read aloud from the holy book. He gave the watchword.

‘God’s help!’

Then, leading the first division himself, he joined battle with Nicanor.”

Judas Maccabeus had filled his 6,000 troops with courage as they were ready to die for their laws and their country. He divided his army into 4 parts among his brothers. There was Simon, who will become the high priest from 142-134 BCE. Then there was Joseph or as he was called in 1 Maccabees, chapter 2, John. This John died in 1 Maccabees, chapter 9, at the hands of the Nabateans. Jonathan is perhaps the next most famous as he succeeded Judas and was the high priest from 160-142 BCE.   Eleazar here is asked to read the holy book of scripture. There might have been an attempt to put this Eleazar with the Eleazar of chapter 6 of this book. However, in 1 Maccabees, chapter 6, Eleazar died at the battle of Beth-zechariah, killing an elephant. Interesting enough, the cry “God’s Help!” was found in one of the 1st century Qumran War Scrolls for those returning from war. There might be a connection here.