Descendent of David


Since Jesus had no earthly father, how can He be descended from David and be the Messiah?


I’ve read,about this on here before but didn’t really get it.


This might not be satisfactory in response, but

When Jesus was confronted with self-satisfied people who were proud of themselves for being descendants of Abraham, he responded that His Father could raise descendants of Abraham “…from these very stones…”

Now, how could God do that? What would the process be? We don’t know.

And so, how can Jesus be a descendant of David? By being conceived by God who could “…raise descendants of David from these very stones…”


For the lack of a better explanation, I’ve always understood it to be because Jesus was the adopted son of Joseph. He inherited the birthright lineage to David by this adoption. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Peace, Mat


Was Mary descended from the lineage of David also?
I guess we are all adopted children?


Remember when the angel Gabriel visited Mary, his words included:

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

And Mary responds:

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

But she doesn’t say, “How will this be, since I’m not of the house of David?”

It’s important that Mary be of the house of David, but it’s also important that his adoptive father, Joseph, also be of the house of David as well: his ancestors have a more solid connection to the royal line. You’ll notice there are two different genealogies: one in Matthew 1, one in Luke 3.

Matthew was written with a Jewish audience in mind. It traces the genealogy from Abraham to David through Solomon, who was David’s legal successor, and ends with:

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

Luke, though, was writing with a Greek audience in mind, and traces Jesus’ physical lineage to David through Nathan, who obviously didn’t succeed his father as king. This starts with:

23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, who was of Heli…

where scholars tend to think that it means Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli, rather than physically related to him, due to the original Greek phrasing. So that brings up the question of was-Mary’s-father-Heli-or-Joachim?, but I don’t know enough about Anglicized–ancient-Hebrew-names to go off on that tangent.

Anyhow, if you go back to your Jeremiah, you’ve got a big long angry passage:

24 “As surely as I live,” declares the LORD, “even if you, Jehoiachin[c] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. 25 I will deliver you into the hands of those who want to kill you, those you fear—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Babylonians.[d] 26 I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. 27 You will never come back to the land you long to return to.”

28 Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot,
an object no one wants?
Why will he and his children be hurled out,
cast into a land they do not know?
29 O land, land, land,
hear the word of the LORD!
30 This is what the LORD says:
“Record this man as if childless,
a man who will not prosper in his lifetime,
for none of his offspring will prosper,
none will sit on the throne of David
or rule anymore in Judah.”

So, God was able to keep his curse intact: Joseph was related to Jeconiah, but Jesus was never physically related to him. And yet, through Joseph, Jesus was able to connect himself to the major royal line of David. And at the same time, he was still technically of the House of David, since Mary fulfilled that qualification on her own by being David’s direct descendant, albeit through a less significant branch of the family.


It was irony or sarcasm, of a kind. The saying about stones or rocks (in the TEV translation, “God can take these rocks and make descendants for Abraham”) is a pun in Hebrew: banim, sons (descendants), abanim, stones or rocks.


"Matthew (1:2-16) and Luke (3:23-38) each thought it important to record Joseph’s genealogy. The Navarre Bible commentary on Matthew’s Gospel explains why this is important:

Jewish genealogies followed the male line. Joseph, being Mary’s husband, was the legal father of Jesus. The legal father is on par with the real father as regards rights and duties . . . Since it was quite usual for people to marry within their clan, it can be concluded that Mary belonged to the house of David. Several early Fathers of the Church testify to this—for example, St. Ignatius, St. Irenaeus, St. Justin and Tertullian, who base their testimony on an unbroken tradition. (28-29)

There is also other evidence that Jesus was David’s descendant. For example, Paul tells us that Jesus “was descended from David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3).


Like **Faith 1960 **and some other posters on this thread, I have found no satisfactory answer to this difficulty. The synoptics have the passage in one form (the fullest is Matt 22.41-46) and John has it in a different form (John 7.40-42), apparently referring to a different occasion though in this passage, too, the question is whether Jesus is descended from David.

In his book *Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus, *Joachim Jeremias says about these passages:

“[On the one hand,] the united witness of the New Testament that Jesus was of David’s line [and, on the other,] the fact that nowhere, during the lifetime of Jesus and the apostles, can we find the Jews ever questioning the Davidic origin of Jesus. Jewish polemic would scarcely have ignored such a powerful argument against Jesus’ messianic claims” (p. 291).

I usually find Jeremias’ arguments both clearly expressed and convincing, but this is one of the few cases where I am simply perplexed.


Curiously now, if one’s mother is Jewish, that makes someone Jewish.


try the search function. I believe this has been discussed AT LENGTH on these forums.
Also, Michelle Arnold covers it here:


Yes, I found this curious because as you say in modern Judaism, one is strictly only considered Jewish if your mother is Jewish. Although there may be exceptions or it may have changed. I’m speaking from ignorance, it’s only what I have heard.


Really? The Priest ( and Canon Lawyer) that taught me Koine Greek had a Jewish mother. He was Catholic through and through. Still is. :smiley: After his mother passed, he presided at his father’s 2nd marriage. Dad was/is Catholic.


From Judaism 101

Who is a Jew?

A Jew is any person whose mother was a Jew or any person who has gone through the formal process of conversion to Judaism.


Maybe they agreed to raise him Catholic and he was baptized Catholic.


Obviously. :rolleyes:
I just meant it’s not always observed.


You can be ‘culturally’ Jewish and be Catholic.

You can be ‘culturally’ Jewish and not practice Judaism.

Some atheists consider themselves ‘culturally’ Jewish.

“Jewish” can mean cultural or religious or both.


So, is this saying that since Joseph was the legal father of Jesus, that also made Jesus of the house of David as well as Mary being descended from the house of David?


Thanks, that was very helpful.


:thumbsup: the article goes on to suggest that Joseph and Mary were from the same tribe. It was cultural norm to marry within your tribe. Paul also tells us that Jesus “was descended from David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3).

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