Jacob or Heli?


#1

Who was the biological Father of Joseph and what role did the other one play in being named as the father of Joseph?

I believe Catholic tradition says that Joachim was Mary's father's name, so what is the official Catholic reconciliation?


#2

To answer this I’m going to turn to, "Eusabius book “ecclesiastical history” 1 chapter 7 Read for yourself, and I’ll try my best to explain.

  1. Matthew and Luke in their gospels have given us the genealogy of Christ differently, and many suppose that they are at variance with one another. Since as a consequence every believer, in ignorance of the truth, has been zealous to invent some explanation which shall harmonize the two passages, permit us to subjoin the account of the matter which has come down to us, and which is given by Africanus, who was mentioned by us just above, in his epistle to Aristides, where he discusses the harmony of the gospel genealogies. After refuting the opinions of others as forced and deceptive, he give the account which he had received from tradition in these words:

  2. For whereas the names of the generations were reckoned in Israel either according to nature or according to law—according to nature by the succession of legitimate offspring, and according to law whenever another raised up a child to the name of a brother dying childless; for because a clear hope of resurrection was not yet given they had a representation of the future promise by a kind of mortal resurrection, in order that the name of the one deceased might be perpetuated—

  3. whereas then some of those who are inserted in this genealogical table succeeded by natural descent, the son to the father, while others, though born of one father, were ascribed by name to another, mention was made of both of those who were progenitors in fact and of those who were so only in name.

  4. Thus neither of the gospels is in error, for one reckons by nature, the other by law. For the line of descent from Solomon and that from Nathan were so involved, the one with the other, by the raising up of children to the childless and by second marriages, that the same persons are justly considered to belong at one time to one, at another time to another; that is, at one time to the reputed fathers, at another to the actual fathers. So that both these accounts are strictly true and come down to Joseph with considerable intricacy indeed, yet quite accurately.

  5. But in order that what I have said may be made clear I shall explain the interchange of the generations. If we reckon the generations from David through Solomon, the third from the end is found to be Matthan, who begot Jacob the father of Joseph. But if, with Luke, we reckon them from Nathan the son of David, in like manner the third from the end is Melchi, whose son Eli was the father of Joseph. For Joseph was the son of Eli, the son of Melchi.

  6. Joseph therefore being the object proposed to us, it must be shown how it is that each is recorded to be his father, both Jacob, who derived his descent from Solomon, and Eli, who derived his from Nathan; first how it is that these two, Jacob and Eli, were brothers, and then how it is that their fathers, Matthan and Melchi, although of different families, are declared to be grandfathers of Joseph.

  7. Matthan and Melchi having married in succession the same woman, begot children who were uterine brothers, for the law did not prohibit a widow, whether such by divorce or by the death of her husband, from marrying another.

  8. By Estha then (for this was the woman’s name according to tradition) Matthan, a descendant of Solomon, first begot Jacob. And when Matthan was dead, Melchi, who traced his descent back to Nathan, being of the same tribe but of another family, married her as before said, and begot a son Eli.

  9. Thus we shall find the two, Jacob and Eli, although belonging to different families, yet brethren by the same mother. Of these the one, Jacob, when his brother Eli had died childless, took the latter’s wife and begot by her a son Joseph, his own son by nature and in accordance with reason. Wherefore also it is written: ‘Jacob begot Joseph.’ Matthew*1:6 But according to law he was the son of Eli, for Jacob, being the brother of the latter, raised up seed to him.

  10. Hence the genealogy traced through him will not be rendered void, which the evangelist Matthew in his enumeration gives thus: ‘Jacob begot Joseph.’ But Luke, on the other hand, says: ‘Who was the son, as was supposed’ (for this he also adds), ‘of Joseph, the son of Eli, the son of Melchi’; for he could not more clearly express the generation according to law. And the expression ‘he begot’ he has omitted in his genealogical table up to the end, tracing the genealogy back to Adam the son of God. This interpretation is neither incapable of proof nor is it an idle conjecture.


#3
  1. Eusebius gives an explanation that many have tried to explain this, and have done poorly. Eusabius gives his sorce, "Africanus" or "Sextus Julius Africanus"

2-4. Eusebius then goes on to explain that Joseph was a descendant of Jacob by nature, hence the wording: And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. (Matthew 1:16) And that Joseph was a descendant of Heli by law, hence the wording in Luke 3:23 Joseph, which was the son of Heli. Joseph could not have been begotten by both Jacob and Heli, he was however begotten by Jacob and yet the son of Heli. How? They were brothers. Now how could they have been brothers with different fathers? Well, let's look at Deuteronomy 25:5 If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her.

5-9. Eusebius explains that Heli and Jacob were brothers and Heli had a wife. However, Heli died prior to having a son, so Jacob took the wife of Heli and bore a son who would be named Joseph. Thus Jacob has begotten Joseph, and yet was the son of Heli by law.

Now, Jacob's (who begat Joseph) father was Matthan, and yet Heli's father was Matthat so how is it possible for the two to be brothers? Here, what we see is that Eusebius explains Heli and Jacob had different fathers but the same mother (Estha). And how is this possible? Well Matthan (begat Jacob who begat Joseph) took a wife for himself (Estha), however after the birth of Jacob, Matthan had died. Matthan's wife (Estha) then married Matthat who would have literally begat Heli and the two would have grown up as brothers (Heli and Jacob).

After that, see above.

  1. Eusebius concludes that the genealogies are without flaw.

I was looking for other explanations and they all seemed too confusing, so I hope this helps when people are addressed with this. Try your best to remember the names!


#4

I’ve nothing to add (good job BTW :thumbsup:) to what you wrote, but I’ll point out something interesting regarding the genealogies.

You would notice that Matthew’s genealogy traces Jesus’ lineage back to Solomon (thereby establishing Him as a legitimate heir of the royal Davidic line - a King in a long line of kings), while Luke’s links Him to David via another son, Nathan. As you can notice, by linking Him with the other, non-royal Davidic line, Luke avoids connecting Jesus with the kings of Judah - that very same line which (save for a few bright spots) generally fell from grace by indulging in false worship. It would seem that Luke has taken the prophecy of Isaiah (“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit”; 11:1) and understood the reference to “the stump of Jesse” as meaning that the tree of the Judahite monarchy, the Solomonic line, had failed - was cut down - because of their unfaithfulness to God. For Luke, there will be a new beginning: a new shoot - a more faithful line - will instead replace that unfaithful lineage of corrupt and idolatrous kings. So he connect Jesus to Jesse and David not through Solomon, but through Nathan.


#5

It is a good thing Luke was considered a doctor considering this needed a good doctoring up to make it work.


#6

[quote="StrawberryJam, post:5, topic:337895"]
It is a good thing Luke was considered a doctor considering this needed a good doctoring up to make it work.

[/quote]

Well, what about Matthew? He has also done some 'doctoring' - whatever that means - in that he constructs his genealogy in such a way that there are three sets of fourteen generations each. ('David' has three letters in Hebrew - d-w-d - with the value of fourteen, remembering that letters also double as numbers in Hebrew - 4+6+4.) Or at least there are supposed to be: a careful reading shows the final set only spanning thirteen generations. Whether that was the author's mistake or an error in transmission of the text we don't know. In order to make the numbers work, however, Matthew had to trim down some names: at least four kings were omitted from the monarchical period (Ahaziah, Jehoash, Amaziah, Jehoiachim). Also, guess what? David is the fourteenth name on the list!


#7

You have made a great case for belief in numerology.


#8

[quote="StrawberryJam, post:7, topic:337895"]
You have made a great case for belief in numerology.

[/quote]

Gematria is what you should be talking about.


#9

[quote="patrick457, post:4, topic:337895"]
I've nothing to add (good job BTW :thumbsup:) to what you wrote, but I'll point out something interesting regarding the genealogies.

You would notice that Matthew's genealogy traces Jesus' lineage back to Solomon (thereby establishing Him as a legitimate heir of the royal Davidic line - a King in a long line of kings), while Luke's links Him to David via another son, Nathan. As you can notice, by linking Him with the other, non-royal Davidic line, Luke avoids connecting Jesus with the kings of Judah - that very same line which (save for a few bright spots) generally fell from grace by indulging in false worship. It would seem that Luke has taken the prophecy of Isaiah ("There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit"; 11:1) and understood the reference to "the stump of Jesse" as meaning that the tree of the Judahite monarchy, the Solomonic line, had failed - was cut down - because of their unfaithfulness to God. For Luke, there will be a new beginning: a new shoot - a more faithful line - will instead replace that unfaithful lineage of corrupt and idolatrous kings. So he connect Jesus to Jesse and David not through Solomon, but through Nathan.

[/quote]

Thanks!

When I was writing this I was a little nervous thinking, "what will Patrick thing of this." Lol.


#10

Re: Mary's parents
The official Catholic position would be indicated by the feast day we celebrate for her parents, Ss Joachim and Anna, July 26.

Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and even Islam recognize Joachim and Anna (although in Islam the Arabic versions of the names are used).

It's from tradition, not explicitly in the canonical Scriptures, but it is in the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James.


#11

The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich (AD 1774-1824) relates that Jacob indeed was the father of St. Joseph, who in turn was the third out of six brothers, and in his youth they lived near the city of Bethlehem.

Among many things which I saw today of the youth of St. Joseph, I remember what follows.

Joseph, whose father was called Jacob, was the third of six brothers. His parents lived in a large house outside Bethlehem, once the ancestral home of David, whose father Isai or Jesse had owned it. By Joseph’s time there was, however, little remaining of the old building except the main walls. The situation was very airy, and water was abundant there. I know my way about there better than in our own little village of Flamske.


#12

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.