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In Matthew 1:6-11 Matthew lists 14 generations from David to the Babylon deportation. Yet I Chronicles 3:10-15 lists 17 generations between the two. So my question is why did Matthew claim there were only 14 generations between those two events (Matthew 1:17) when there were more? I notice in verse seventeen Matthew lists 14 generations in all three sets of names. David is listed twice (at the end of the first set and the beginning of the second set).and there are only 13 generations listed from Jechonias to Jesus Christ (Matthew 1 12-16). Jechonias is listed last in the second set of 14 generations and first in the third set. It appears Matthew strained to get three sets of 14 generations each for whatever ulterior motives he may have had. Instead of 42 generations from Abraham to Jesus, it appears there are less than 40 altogether. So why did Matthew omit those three generations between David and the Babylon deportation?

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Michael L. Brown, in his Answering Jewish objections to Jesus, vol. 4 New Testament Objections (2007) on Objection 5.10 on the contradiction of genealogies, writes:

Matthew: David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jeconiah, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Akim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph, Jesus.

Luke: David, Nathan, Mattatha, Menna, Melea, Eliakim, Jonam, Joseph, Judah, Simeon, Levi, Matthat, Jorim, Eliezer, Joshua, Er, Elmadam, Cossam, Addi, Melki, Neri, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Rhesa, Joanan, Joda, Josech, Semein, Mattathias, Maath, Naggai, Esli, Nahum, Amos, Mattathias, Joseph, Jannai, Melki, Levi, Matthat, Heli, Joseph (?), Jesus.

The most obvious difference between the genealogies is that Matthew lists twenty-six names between David and Jesus while Luke lists forty-one names, but this is not uncommon in genealogies (even in the Bible), where one list might contain more prominent names, skipping over generations (as if to say, “Tom is the ancestor of Bill,” rather than, “Tom is the father of Bill”) and the other list might contain every name. (Matthew’s complete genealogy cites forty-one names; Luke’s, seventy-one names.) As noted by professor Walter Kaiser Jr. in the Hard Sayings of the Bible,

No one has studied this phenomenon more closely than the late William Henry Green in his April 1890 article in Bibliotheca Sacra entitled “Primeval Chronology.” For example, Green demonstrates that the same high priestly line of Aaron appears in 1 Chronicles 6:3–14 and Ezra 7:1–[5], but it has twenty-two generations and names in Chronicles, while Ezra only has sixteen names. When the two lists are placed side by side, it is clear that Ezra deliberately skipped from the eighth name to the fifteenth name, thereby abridging his list, but in a way that was legitimate within the traditions of Scripture. This is exactly what is illustrated in the lists in Matthew. In fact, Ezra 8:1–2 abridges the list even further, seemingly implying that a great-grandson and a grandson of Aaron, along with a son of David, came up with Ezra from Babylon after the captivity! Now that is abridgment! Of course, Ezra was only indicating the most important persons for the sake of this shorter list.172 Kaiser, Hard Sayings of the Bible, 50.

  In keeping with this, Matthew begins his book with reference to Yeshua being “the son of David” and the “son of Abraham,” where “son of” can only mean “descendant of.” It is also clear that Matthew, either for mnemonic purposes or out of symbolism with the numeric value of the name David, which is fourteen in Hebrew, chose to group his list in fourteens (see Matt. 1:17). So, the difference in the number of names is not an issue of concern at all, especially when we realize that, in all likelihood, there would be a variation in the total number of generations over a period of centuries since not everyone would have the same life span.

What of the fact that Matthew traces Yeshua’s line through Solomon, son of David, while Luke traces him through Nathan, son of David? If these are two different genealogies, Matthew giving us the ancestry of Joseph, Yeshua’s earthly father, through Solomon, and Luke giving us the ancestry of Miriam, Yeshua’s mother, through Nathan, then there is no problem. (For the argument that the Messiah had to be a descendant of Solomon, see below, 5.11.) So this, too, presents no concern.

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Matthew 1:

2Abraham [1] was the father of Isaac,
Isaac [2] the father of Jacob,
Jacob [3] the father of Judah and his brothers,
3Judah [4] the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez [5] the father of Hezron,
Hezron [6] the father of Ram,
4Ram [7] the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab [8] the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon [9] the father of Salmon,
5Salmon [10] the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz [11] the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed [12] the father of Jesse,
6and [13] Jesse the father of King David [14].

There were 14 generations from Abraham to David. But then Matthew counted David again in the next segment:

David [1] was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7Solomon [2] the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam [3] the father of Abijah,
Abijah [4] the father of Asa,
8Asa [5] the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat [6] the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram [7] the father of Uzziah,
9Uzziah [8] the father of Jotham,
Jotham [9] the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz [10] the father of Hezekiah,
10Hezekiah [11] the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh [12] the father of Amon,
Amon [13] the father of Josiah,
11and Josiah [14] the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

OP: In Matthew 1:6-11 Matthew lists 14 generations from David to the Babylon deportation. Yet I Chronicles 3:10-15 lists 17 generations between the two. So my question is why did Matthew claim there were only 14 generations between those two events (Matthew 1:17) when there were more?

It was a common practice to compress the genealogies. Matthew did it for the special number of 14 in this case. Matthew counted David twice because of David's important place in this line of genealogy.

12After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah [1] was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel [2] the father of Zerubbabel,
13Zerubbabel [3] the father of Abihud,
Abihud [4] the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim [5] the father of Azor,
14Azor [6] the father of Zadok,
Zadok [7] the father of Akim,
Akim [8] the father of Elihud,
15Elihud [9] the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar [10] the father of Matthan,
Matthan [11] the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob [12] the father of Joseph [13], the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah [14].

OP: there are only 13 generations listed from Jechonias to Jesus Christ (Matthew 1 12-16).

Actually, there are 14.

OP: Instead of 42 generations from Abraham to Jesus, it appears there are less than 40 altogether.

Matthew listed exactly 41 generations.

Interestingly, https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/passages/related-articles/gematria :

David’s name in Hebrew (D + W + D = 4 + 6 + 4 = 14).

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