Both Matthew and Luke record Jesus’ genealogy. Matthew’s starts with Abraham, the patriarch of all Israel, and lists descendants forward to Jesus’ father Joseph. Luke, on the other hand, begins with Jesus and records backward all the way to Adam, the first man. The two are identical from Abraham to David, but differ from there. One explanation for the discrepancy is that ancient genealogies weren’t necessarily exhaustive lists – ancestors were sometimes included or omitted to serve the purpose of the writer. This doesn’t make the family lines inaccurate, just abbreviated. Thus, two seemingly different genealogies may actually be one and the same, just highlighting different people. Another possibility for Jesus’ two different genealogies is that Matthew records Joseph’s line (Jesus’ legal father), while Luke records Mary’s (Jesus’ biological mother). Reading closely in Luke’s account, the text states Jesus was “considered” (Greek nomizo) to be Joseph’s son, thereby making Joseph the son-in-law of Eli through marriage.  If this was the case, Jesus was a descendant of David by both parents, fulfilling the prophet Jeremiah’s words long before. Finally, there may also have been adoption and/or sons born via surrogate father that altered the legal or genetic ancestry.

The Lord says, “David will never lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel’s house.”

– Jeremiah 7:14

[Jesus Christ] was born a descendant of David via the flesh.

– Romans 1:3