The grandfather of Jesus (Lk 3:23-3:23)

“Jesus was the son,

As was thought,

Of Joseph,

The son of Heli.”

 

ὢν υἱός, ὡς ἐνομίζετο, Ἰωσὴφ, τοῦ Ἡλεὶ

 

Luke said that Jesus was the son (ὢν υἱός), as was thought or supposed (ὡς ἐνομίζετο), of Joseph (Ἰωσὴφ,), the son of Heli (τοῦ Ἡλεὶ).  Right off the bat, there is a problem with the differences between the genealogies of Matthew and Luke.  The end of the genealogy of Matthew, chapter 1:16, is Joseph (Ἰωσὴφ) with his father Jacob (Ἰακὼβ).  Perhaps the names of Jacob and Joseph were an attempt to connect Jesus with the great Joseph, the son of Jacob, who brought the sons of Jacob to Egypt.  However, compared to the text here in Luke, there is a difference with the father of Joseph, the grandfather of Jesus.  Luke called him “the son of Heli,” not “the son of Jacob.”  Luke said that Joseph was the so-called father of Jesus.  Thus, it might seem simple enough to compare this genealogy of Jesus with the one in Matthew, chapter 1:1-1:17.  Both the gospels of Matthew and Luke listed the family tree of Jesus.  These genealogies were theological statements with different parent genealogies and different audiences.  Matthew, went from Abraham to Jesus, so that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Jewish messianic expectations.  The theme of David was important, since Joseph was called the son of David.  Matthew explained that there were 3 sections of 14 generations.  One section went from the call of Abraham to the accession of David as king.  The second grouping went from David to the Babylonian exile.  The final section went from the Exile to the coming of the Messiah.  The Gospel of Luke genealogy, on the hand, goes from Jesus to Adam to God.  Luke’s view was more universal.  Jesus could trace his roots back to God.  Luke, who had the best Greek, was apparently writing for the gentiles of the Pauline Churches.  The Son of God was a more meaningful term.  Luke spoke of the Son of Adam, the second Adam, a theme that Paul also used.  Jesus had both divine and human origins.  This was not difficult for Greeks, since their gods were always having relations with humans in their mythical stories.  Thus, there are two different genealogies for Joseph, with only one common person, David.  This left Jesus with 2 paternal grandfathers, Jacob and Heli.  Matthew listed 52 people, but Luke has 77 ancestors because he went further back in time.  It is what it is.

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Different genealogies

Both the gospels of Matthew and Luke listed the family tree of Jesus. However, only David and Joseph were on both lists. These genealogies were theological statements with different parent genealogies and different audiences. Matthew, as just shown, went from Abraham to Jesus, so that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Jewish messianic expectations. The theme of David was important, since Joseph was called the son of David. Matthew explained that there were 3 sections of 14 generations. One section went from the call of Abraham to the accession of David as king. The second grouping went from David to the Babylonian exile. The final section went from the Exile to the coming of the Messiah. Matthew also has the Magi story, where Herod’s appearance has echoes of the Old Testament with various references to Old Testament prophecies. The Gospel of Luke genealogy, on the hand, went from Jesus to Adam to God. Luke’s view was more universal. Jesus could trace his roots back to God. Luke, who had the best Greek, was writing for the gentiles of the Pauline Churches. The Son of God was a more meaningful term. Luke spoke of the Son of Adam, the second Adam, a theme that Paul also used. Jesus had both divine and human origins. This was not difficult for Greeks, since their gods were always having relations with humans in their mythical stories. Thus, there are two different genealogies for Joseph, with only one common person, David.

God is with them (Zech 8:23-8:23)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘In those days,

Ten men,

From nations

Of every language,

Shall take hold

Of a Jew,

Grasping his garment,

Saying,

‘Let us go with you!

We have heard

That God is with you!’”

Yahweh once again revealed to Zechariah about what was going to happen.  There would be 10 men from the various language groups who would grasp the garment of a Jew, telling them what they had heard.  They wanted to go with this Jewish person, because they had heard that God was with them.  Thus, Yahweh was becoming more universal than just a Jewish God.

Yahweh against all nations (Isa 34:1-34:4)

“Draw near!

O nations!

Hear!

O people!

Give heed!

Let the earth hear

With all that fills it!

Let the world hear

With all that comes from it!

Yahweh is enraged

Against all the nations.

He is furious

Against all their hoards.

He has doomed them.

He has given them over for slaughter.

Their slain shall be cast out.

The stench of their corpses shall rise.

The mountains shall flow with their blood.

All the host of heaven shall rot away.

The skies shall roll up like a scroll.

All their host shall wither

Like a leaf withering on a vine,

Like fruit withering on a fig tree.”

Once again Isaiah has this important call to listen. This time it is not merely to the people of Israel who should listen, but this is a more universal call to all the nations, all the people, the whole world, and the earth itself. Yahweh is mad at the whole world, everybody, all the countries. He has destined and doomed them for slaughter. There will be so many killed that the stench of their dead bodies will rise up, while the mountains will flow with blood. This is quite a gruesome scene. On top of that, all the hosts of heaven or the false gods will dry up and wither away like a leaf on a vine or a fruit on a tree.

A message for everyone (Isa 18:3-18:6)

“All you inhabitants of the world!

You who live on the earth!

When a signal is raised

On the mountains!

Look!

When a trumpet is blown!

Hear!

Thus Yahweh said to me.

‘I will quietly look

From my dwelling

Like clear heat in sunshine,

Like a cloud of dew

In the heat of harvest.

Before the harvest,

When the blossom is over,

The flower becomes

A ripening grape.

He will then cut off the shoots

With pruning hooks.

He will hew away

The spreading branches.

They shall all be left

To the birds of prey

Of the mountains.

They shall all be left

To the animals

Of the earth.

The birds of prey

Will summer on them.

All the animals of the earth

Will winter on them.”

Now Isaiah delivers a more universal message since this is for everyone living on earth, not just the Israelites. Yahweh had spoken to him. The example that he used was the harvest of vineyards, a fairly common biblical theme. Yahweh looked out from his dwelling, as on a clear sunny day or an overcast day at harvest time. He explained that the vine first had a blossom, a flower. Finally the ripened grape was ready for harvest. Along the way, he used pruning shears to cut back shoots and wandering branches. He left these for the birds and animals to use as food, sometimes storing them up for winter or summer. It is not clear whether this is an allusion to battles between the Assyrians and the Egyptians and Ethiopians. However, it is the story of the growth of a grape, if nothing else.

Fear Yahweh to be happy (Ps 128:1-128:4)

A song of ascents

“Happy is everyone who fears Yahweh!

Happy are those who walk in his ways!

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands.

You shall be happy.

It shall go well with you.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine

Within your house.

Your children will be like olive shoots

Around your table.

Thus shall the man be blessed

Who fears Yahweh.”

Psalm 128 is another in this series of pilgrimage songs or psalms on the ascent to Jerusalem. If you fear Yahweh, you will be happy. This is a universal saying about the importance of fearing God. Everyone who fears Yahweh and walks in his ways will be happy. They shall eat the fruits of their labors. It will go well with them. Their wives will be like fruitful vines in their house. Their children will be like olive shoots around their tables. Truly, the man who fears Yahweh will be blessed.

Yahweh rules (Ps 96:10-96:13)

“Say among the nations.

‘Yahweh is king!’

The world is firmly established.

It shall never be moved.

He will judge the peoples with equity.’

Let the heavens be glad.

Let the earth rejoice.

Let the sea roar,

With all that fills it.

Let the field exult,

With everything in it.

Then shall all the trees of the forest

Sing for joy

Before Yahweh.

He is coming

To judge the earth.

He will judge the world

With righteousness.

He will judge the peoples

With his truth.”

This psalm ends by proclaiming the universal judging kingship of Yahweh. Yahweh, the universal king of the established world, will judge the people fairly. Heaven and earth will rejoice. The seas and the fields with everything in them, including the trees in the forest, will sing for joy. Yahweh is coming to judge the world with righteousness and truth.