Everyone has heard of Jesus and most people probably know his dad: Joseph.
I mean, Karen and Richard Carpenter were a pretty famous couple, but these guys were the original carpenters. Extremely famous guys. And when I say famous I mean extraordinarily famously famous guys.
I mean, you may think that Elvis was famous, but he was just another fried banana sandwich compared to these guys.
But curiously not many people know who Joseph’s father was, Jesus’ paternal grandfather. Ever wonder why?
Part of the reason might be because the Bible can’t seem to make up its mind about who the guy was.
The author of Matthew says his name is “Jacob” (Matthew 1:16).
The author of Luke however disagrees. He says Joseph’s father was “Heli” (Luke 3:23).
As a matter of fact, although there’s some occassional agreement, there’s mostly disagreement between the two Gospels about Jesus’ genealogy going all the way back to Abraham.
Apologetics attempt to explain away these apparent contradictions by claiming that the Gospel of Luke’s genealogy really goes through Jesus’ mother instead of Joseph. The obvious problem with this approach is that the Gospel of Luke clearly says:
(Luke 3:23 NRSV) Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work. He was the son (as was thought) of *Joseph* son of Heli, …
Nothing about Mary in there at all and no, Joseph was not the “son-in-law” of Heli, and Mary’s ancestry doesn’t coincidently intertwine with Joseph’s going all the way back to Abraham, occasionally matching some people along the way and no, back in those days they didn’t give a flying flip who the mother’s ancestry was.
The author of Luke simply came up with or recorded a genealogy that contradicted the one in the Gospel of Matthew.
And the author of Luke also contradicts another author in the Bible. The author of Matthew only traces Jesus back to Abraham, but the author of Luke traces Jesus all the way back to Adam.
Unfortunately his genealogy disagrees with an author of Genesis on the way back to Adam. Luke’s genealogy inserts an extra generation (Cainan):
(Note: Arphaxad is Arpachshad)
(Luke 3:35-36 NRSV) …
son of Shelah, son of Cainan, son of Arphaxad, …
(Gen 11:12 NRSV) When Arpachshad had lived thirty-five years, he became the father of Shelah;