Stumped On a Question About St. Joseph

I was asked the other day if Jesus had grandparents. I said yes since St. Anne is the Blessed Virgin’s mother. Trouble is I did not know the names of Joseph’s parents. I didn’t bother to research the bible on this one and was wondering if anyone knew their names. Thanks.

Matthew 1:16* “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” *

The geneology in Luke is actually of Mary as Heli was actually Joseph’s father in law.

I have no idea who is mother was.

Gospel According to Saint Matthew

Chapter 1

1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham begot Isaac. And Isaac begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Judas and his brethren. 3 And Judas begot Phares and Zara of Thamar. And Phares begot Esron. And Esron begot Aram. 4 And Aram begot Aminadab. And Aminadab begot Naasson. And Naasson begot Salmon. 5 And Salmon begot Booz of Rahab. And Booz begot Obed of Ruth. And Obed begot Jesse.

6 And Jesse begot David the king. And David the king begot Solomon, of her that had been the wife of Urias. 7 And Solomon begot Roboam. And Roboam begot Abia. And Abia begot Asa. 8 And Asa begot Josaphat. And Josaphat begot Joram. And Joram begot Ozias. 9 And Ozias begot Joatham. And Joatham begot Achaz. And Achaz begot Ezechias. 10 And Ezechias begot Manasses. And Manasses begot Amon. And Amon begot Josias.

11 And Josias begot Jechonias and his brethren in the transmigration of Babylon. 12 And after the transmigration of Babylon, Jechonias begot Salathiel. And Salathiel begot Zorobabel. 13 And Zorobabel begot Abiud. And Abiud begot Eliacim. And Eliacim begot Azor. 14 And Azor begot Sadoc. And Sadoc begot Achim. And Achim begot Eliud. 15 And Eliud begot Eleazar. And Eleazar begot Mathan. **And Mathan begot Jacob.

16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. **

thank you. Who was Jacob’s wife?

As far as can think, I have never seen Joseph’s mother mentioned. Even Wikipedia has nothing :eek:

No, they are both Joseph’s geneologies. Joseph has two fathers, one by nature and one by law.

An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (John of Damascus) Book IV (see chapter 14)
But that Joseph is descended from the tribe of David is expressly demonstrated by Matthew and Luke, the most holy evangelists. But Matthew derives Joseph from David through Solomon, while Luke does so through Nathan; while over the holy Virgin’s origin both pass in silence.

One ought to remember that it was not the custom of the Hebrews nor of the divine Scripture to give genealogies of women; and the law was to prevent one tribe seeking wives from another . And so since Joseph was descended from the tribe of David and was a just man (for this the divine Gospel testifies), he would not have espoused the holy Virgin contrary to the law; he would not have taken her unless she had been of the same tribe . It was sufficient, therefore, to demonstrate the descent of Joseph.

One ought also to observe this, that the law was that when a man died without seed, this man’s brother should take to wife the wife of the dead man and raise up seed to his brother Deuteronomy 25:5 . The offspring, therefore, belonged by nature to the second, that is, to him that begat it, but by law to the dead.

Born then of the line of Nathan, the son of David, Levi begat Melchi and Panther: Panther begat Barpanther, so called. This Barpanther begat Joachim: Joachim begat the holy Mother of God . And of the line of Solomon, the son of David, Mathan had a wife of whom he begat Jacob. Now on the death of Mathan, Melchi, of the tribe of Nathan, the son of Levi and brother of Panther, married the wife of Mathan, Jacob’s mother, of whom he begat Heli. Therefore Jacob and Heli became brothers on the mother’s side, Jacob being of the tribe of Solomon and Heli of the tribe of Nathan. Then Heli of the tribe of Nathan died childless, and Jacob his brother, of the tribe of Solomon, took his wife and raised up seed to his brother and begat Joseph. Joseph, therefore, is by nature the son of Jacob, of the line of Solomon, but by law he is the son of Heli of the line of Nathan.

In the Catholic faith, we are free to hold either view - it is not a dogma defined by the Church. It is noted that Joachim is a variant of the name Eliachim, whose abbreviation is Eli, which is itself a variant of Heli. Sort of like calling someone name William - Bill or Richard - Dick or John - Jack. It is also my understanding that when a man betrothed and married a woman in ancient Israel, the man would be adopted under law as a son of the woman’s father.

Another point that has always confused me is this: If both genealogies are of Saint Joseph, and that one was Joseph’s biological father, while the other is the legal father after the law that states that if a man dies childless, his brother must take his sister-in-law and raise children for his dead brother. If that be the case and Jacob and Heli are brothers – why aren’t their genealogies then the same?

You haven’t actually read what I quoted from St John of Damascus, have you?

Jacob is the son of Mathan, descended from Solomon. After Mathan died, his widow married Melchi, descended from Nathan, and they had a son Heli. Thus Jacob and Heli are both sons of the same mother, but to different fathers.

Note also that while Joseph is the genetic descendant of Jacob, he is legally the descendant of Heli. This is important when we remember that one of Solomon’s descendants, Jehoiakim, through whom Jacob is descended, was cursed by God to have no descendant of his sit on the throne of Israel.Jeremiah 22
30 Thus says the LORD:
‘ Write this man down as childless,
A man who shall not prosper in his days;
For none of his descendants shall prosper,
Sitting on the throne of David,
And ruling anymore in Judah.’
By being legally descended from Nathan’s line, Joseph avoids being subject to the Jehoiakim curse.


Yes, I read it. So Saint Joseph’s “two” fathers were half-brothers from two separate tribes. Not that I’m discounting Saint Damascene, I’m just relishing in an Orthodox taking a scriptural interpretation that, if presented by a Catholic to an Orthodox, would be be scoffed at as “twisting all around to make your weird ideas work” (paraphrase). :stuck_out_tongue:

And as I noted, Catholics are not bound by faith to hold this interpretation (though they can). And I also showed that Joachim and Heli can be the same name. And Catholics are also free to believe (but again not bound) that Luke’s genealogy is that of the Blessed Virgin’s.

You haven’t shown this. You said *“It is noted that Joachim is a variant of the name Eliachim, whose abbreviation is Eli, which is itself a variant of Heli”*And Catholics are also free to believe (but again not bound) that Luke’s genealogy is that of the Blessed Virgin’s.Then you have a serious problem with Jeremiah 22:30 since Christ is the legal descendant of Joseph who is himself a descendant, according to the flesh, of Jehoiakim. It is impossible then for Christ to sit on the throne of David without breaking scripture.


You might be surprised. When someone makes statements without any supporting evidence I don’t usually give it much credence. However after doing a bit of digging I have found that the names Joachim and Eliachim have essentially the same meaning, “God will establish” where one uses “El” for God and the other uses “Yah”. It still doesn’t demonstrate that a person would use both names interchangeably. It may be something peculiar to Hebrew culture but I haven’t seen it demonstrated in other cultures I am familiar with where people actually know the meaning of their names. In English names the meaning is all but lost because most of the names are of foreign origin and have obvious meaning only in he original tongue.

All that aside, you haven’t addressed the Jehoiakim curse.


As quoted in Mai’s Patrum Nova Bibliotheca, Saint Hilary of Poitiers acknowledged that many others held this interpretation, though he himself did not.

Let me just clarify, I am not so much arguing so much against the interpretation that both genealogies are of Saint Joseph (which does appear to be the majority opinion of both the Church Fathers and modern biblical scholars – for whatever the latter’s opinion is worth), but more for presenting this other viewpoint. Both points of view have valid points to be made and have adherents. As I stated earlier, Catholics are not obliged to believe one way or the other in this interpretation (not infallibly defined).

This website seems to address this issue:

Sorry, finals week = lazy extra-cirricular research. :o

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