Thursday 17 October 2013

An addendum to Rabbinic Dilemma 101

One objection that was brought to me by LimitBreak9001 which I have been meaning to address is the following:

"My point: //A. If both genealogies on the NT are Josephs, the two lines merged in one through Zerubabbel himself and seperated into two again.
B. If one genealogy is of Mary and one of Joseph, Zerubabbel is where the two lines meet and they seperate into two again.
Now one response was provided regarding this issue by saying this:
"condition A is the most supported by the NT narrative, and if we assume a virgin birth, Joseph's line would be irrelevant for obvious reasons. mary was most likely a Levite, if we take in to consideration the fact that her cousin elizabeth was mentioned as being a Levite. But either way, if condition A is true (which is most supported by the text of the NT) then all this demonstrates is that the NT writers contradict each other and that they have no competent understanding of how tribal heritage is passed down, that's the gist of the argument presented."//

LimitBreak's point: The reason why this demonstrates that they had no competent knowledge of how tribal heritage is passed down, is that there is no justification for adoption in the Tanach. Like I said before, where do we get this idea and how do we deal with it? We can make assumptions all we want, but from a practical standpoint, anyone could just argue that they were "adopted" by someone else and tribe swap whenever they please! The whole purpose of genealogical records for priests and kings was to demonstrate BIOLOGICAL PATRILINEAL DESCENT. Just think about it from a practical perspective. The Torah doesn't give any sort of Laws for "adoption" and how tribal heritage would work in that case, so your argument is at best, out of silence."

The verse in question was Ezra 2:62

"Ezra 2:62. These who traced their genealogy sought their records, but they were not found, and they were disqualified from the priesthood."

The main problem is that in the NT record, When Mary is visited by the angel who declared to her about the News of Jesus, she was already betrothed to Joseph, he himself a descendant of David. After their marriage ceremony, they would of consummated their marriage after Jesus' birth. If that is the case, then technically because of the marriage, Jesus does have a right to inherit by adoption. Joseph's family trees both connect to Zerubabbel as mentioned in a previous article.

Robert Gundry has an interesting perspective on this which I will share here:
""Because of Jesus' virginal conception and birth, the popular supposition that he was Joseph's biological son was false.

"As it was supposed" therefore calls attention Jesus' divine sonship via a virginal conception and birth. Nevertheless, Luke traces Jesus' genealogy through Joseph because of LEGAL RIGHTS, such as the right to David's throne, passed through the Father though he was only a foster father. (Page 237 Robert H. Gundry Commentary on the New Testament)"

"One the other hand, this passage explains how Jesus came to have the legal status of a descendant of David even though Joseph didn't father him: Joseph, himself a son [= a descendent] of David brought Jesus into David's line by taking Mary to wife prior to Jesus birth and by naming him at his birth(Page 3 Robert H. Gundry Commentary on the New Testament)"."

After thinking about it, it is not simply a case of adoption willy nilly, after all if that were the case, there is certainly is an allowance to have those who can't find their records be brought into adoption for Levitical service, which of course wasn't possible which I think Limitbreak is right on. I contend however, that the marriage of Mary and Joseph would certainly allow for adoption, considering Mary ALREADY bore Jesus in her womb before the marriage had taken place.

This I feel is a simpler argument than appealing to Zelophehad's daughter's regarding tribal lineage. The argument of Zelophehad's daughters is a stretch to be honest and it is something I would differ with many on. Not to mention with a reading of the text in context, I have struggled with the idea that Brown and others have proposed here.

Also, Most early objections to the virgin birth in patristic sources such as John Chrysostom are directed to the almah/bethulah issue, rather than to Jesus' conception disallowing Messianic privileges.
I am happy to recheck the patristic sources on request and post them in a separate article.

Feel free to check my words with the scriptures.

Answering Judaism.


  1. Let's take this a step further. Let's say hypothetically, there was a woman named Mary and she married a man named Joseph who was of the tribe of Judah. Now, let's say Joseph and Mary conceived a child together through natural means on their wedding night. Now, let's assume that her husband Joseph was tragically killed the very next morning. Now, let's say Mary found another man to marry shortly after her husbands death. Let's say this man is named Zechariah and he is a Levite. Let's say after Mary's child is born, Zechariah adopts him as his son. Would Mary's son, whose biological father was of the tribe of Judah, now assume the tribe of Levi simply because he was adopted by Zechariah the Levite?

    As you can see, this really isn't a "Rabbinic Dilemma." Tribal heritage is passed down biologically through the father. In the case of jesus, joseph marrying mary is simply wishful thinking on your part concerning jesus's tribal status. Women don't "transfer" tribal status to their sons simply because of their marriage to their husbands. Otherwise, the biological son born to Mary and Joseph in the above example would assume the tribe of Levi after Zechariah adopts him, despite the fact that he was biologically descended from the tribe of Judah through his biological father Joseph! Once again, your argument is out of silence and assumptions rather than sound scriptural foundations. Shalom and G-d bless.

  2. Here is a thorough analysis of the two genealogies in the NT vs. the genealogies in 1Chronicles -

    1. Thanks for the link, I'll try if the Lord Wills to look at it in greater depth.

    2. That's fine. A related article is -, in which the right of Jesus to the throne of David is examined in detail.