According to the gospel of Matthew, there are twenty-six generations from David to Jesus while according to Luke there are fourty.As the period of time between David and
Jesus is one thousand years, the gap from one generation to another according to Matthew is fourty years and according to Luke, twenty-five years. This contradiction is so clear that it requires no comment. It has been a cause of great embarrassment to the Christian theologians and scholars from the very inception of these two gospels. [Shaykh Kairanvi Rahmathullah]
This contradiction is so serious that it has caused great embarrassment to both ancient and modern scholars. Their claim that the genealogical tables were kept safe by the Jews is false as it has been historically proved that there were destroyed in times of calamities and unfortunate incidents that have dogged the history of the Jews. For this obvious reason, errors are found in the text of Ezra as well as in these gospels. Now, if this was the condition of the scriptures in Ezra’s time, one can imagine the condition of these texts in the time of the disciples. If the genealogies of the notable personalities and the priests could not be preserved, how much reliance can be put on the genealogy of poor Joseph who was only a carpenter? It is a possible assumption that the evangelists might have adopted two different genealogical tables concerning Joseph, the carpenter without proper regard to their accuracy.
The only explanation for this contradiction presented by some scholars is to say perhaps Matthew has described the genealogy of Joseph whereas Luke might have written the genealogy of Mary. In this case, Joseph would become the son-in-law of Heli who was himself without a son. This explanation is unacceptable and is rejected for several reasons. firstly because in this case, Jesus would not be a descendant of Solomon but of Nathan, as he would be included in the genealogy on his mother’s side not that of Joseph, the carpenter. If this were so, Jesus could not have possibly been the Messiah, since the Messiah who had been predicted by the prophets had to be a descendant of Solomon.
Secondly, this explanation is not acceptable until it is proved through authentic historical reports that Mary was indeed the daughter of Heli and Nathan’s line was through her. It is expressly in the gospel of John that the parents of Mary were Jehoachim and Joanna. And though this gospel is not recognised by the modern Christians as a revealed book written by John. St.Augustine said that he found a statement in a certain book that Mary was a Levite. This goes against her being a descendant of Nathan. Besides, we find the following statements in the book of numbers;
“And every daughter that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may enjoy every man the inheritance of his fathers”
“Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe: but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep his own inheritance” [numbers36:8-9]
And in the gospel of Luke, we read
“There was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughter of Aaron”.
It is known in the gospels that Mary was closely related to Zacharias [Elizabeth] which implies that Mary was also a descendant of Aaron. We have just read the commandment of Torah [Pentateuch] that any daughter of the tribe of Israel should be married to her own tribe, therefore, Joseph also should be a descendant of Aaron, and Jesus in this case would be a descendant of David.
To avoid this confusion, two different genealogies were written. Since these Gospels were not known until the end of the second century, the writer of one genealogy remained unknown to the other genealogist. This is the apparent reason for the present contradictions in the two gospels.
Thirdly, had Mary being the daughter of Heli, it must have been in the knowledge of ancient writers, who would not have knowingly presented such unbelievable explanations which later on, were rejected and laughed at by modern writers.
Fourthly, the gospel of Matthew says:
“Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ”
while Luke says
“The son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli”
Both the statements clearly show that the authors were writing the genealogy of Joseph.
Fifthly, if we presume that Mary was the daughter of Heli, Luke’s statement will not be true unless it is proved that it was customary among the Jews that they, in the absence of a real son, used to include the name of a son-in-law in their genealogy. This has not so far been proved by any authentic argument. As far as the unauthentic claims of the scholars of
the protestant faith are concerned, they remain unacceptable to us on account of their lack of proof and valid arguments.
We do not deny the possibility of a certain person being associated with another person who his related to him through his father or wife or even being his teacher or his priest and he may be associated with the name of another person. That is to say, we may, for example, refer to him as the king’s nephew or the king’s son-in-law in order to in other to recognize him through a known personality. This kind of association is totally a different thing from someone being included in the genealogical line of another person. It is possible that it might have been a custom among the Jews to say that someone was the son of his father-in-law but it remains to be historically proved that such a custom existed.
Another point to note here is that the gospel of Matthew cannot have been known or acknowledged in the time of Luke. Otherwise, it would not have been possible for Luke to have contradicted Matthew so blatantly that it has resulted in a serious embarrassment to the ancient and modern advocates of Christianity.