GENEALOGY (jAn't-Al'es-p), (from the Greek -JeptaXoyia, traciny a family, compounded of -yens, rate, and Xhos, iscourse), signifies a list of ances tors set down both in their direct and collateral order.
(1) Care of Records. We read of no nation which was more careful to frame and preserve tts genealogical tables than Israel. Their sacred writings contain genealogies which extend through a. period of more than 3,5oo years, from the crea tion of Adam to the captivity of Judah. Indeed, we find from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah that the same care in this matter was observed after the captivity ; for in Ezra ii :62 it is expressly stated that some who had come up from Babylon had sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but were not found; there fore were they, as polluted, removed from the priesthood. The division of thc whole Hebrew nation into tribes, and thc allotment to each tribe of a specified portion of the land of Canaan as an inalienable possession, rendered it indispensa ble that they should keep genealogical tables. God had, however, a still higher object than that of giving stability to property in Israel, in leading successive generations of His people thus to keep an accurate list of their ancestry. That they should do this was especially required from the moment that the voice of prophecy declared that the promised Messiah should be of the seed of Abraham, of the posterity of Isaac, of the sons of Jacob, of the tribe of Judah, and of the family of David.
The Rabbins affirm that after the Captivity the Jews were most careful in keeping their pedigrees (Babyl. Gemar. Gloss. fol. xiv :2). Josephus (De Vita sua, p. 998, D) states that he traced his own descent from the tribe of Levi by public registers. And he informs us that, however dis persed and depressed his nation were, they never neglected to have exact genealogical tables pre pared from the authentic documents which were kept at Jerusalem; and that in all their suffer ings they were particularly careful to preserve those tables, and to have them renewed from time to time. Since, however, the period of their de struction as a nation by the Romans, all their tables of descent seem to be lost, and now they are utterly unable to trace the pedigree of any one Israelite who might lay claim to be their promised, and still expected, Messiah. Hence
Christians assert, with a force that no reasonable and candid Jew can resist, that Shiloh must have come.
We find traces of the existence of the public tables of descent, to which Josephus refers, in the New Testament : the taxation spoken of by St. Luke 11:2 3, would clearly indicate this ; for how could each one be able to go to his own city, un less he knew the specific tribe to which he be longed? Hence it was, we think, that St. Paul was able with confidence to appeal to the He brews concerning the lineage of Christ ; 'for it is evident,' says he, 'that' our Lord sprung out of Judah' (Heb. vii :14; 2 Tim. ii :8). To evince this beyond reasonable doubt, it pleased God to give us by his inspired servants, St. Matthew and St. Luke, the following genealogies: (2) Genealogy of Christ.
We do not find that there was any objection made to these genealogies, either by Jew or Gen tile, during the first century. Had any difficulty on this head existed, we may reasonably suppose that the Jews, of all others, would have been but too ready to detect and expose it. We may there fore fairly conclude that, whatever difficulty meets us now in harmonizing our Lord's pedigree as given by the two Evangelists, it could have had no place in the first age of the Christian church.
(3) Objections. In subsequent ages, however, objections were and still are made to the geneal ogies of Matthew and Luke. The chief ground of objection is the alleged inconsistency of the Evan gelists with each other. The first solution of these apparent discrepancies is that of Africanus, which, he informs us (Euseb. Hist. Eccles. i. 7), he re ceived from the relatives of our Lord, who, be cause of their consanguinity to him, were called des-pos'yo-noi, belonging to the Afaster. It is to the effect that Matthan, the third in the list from Joseph, in Matthew's genealogy, and Melchi, the third in Luke's list, married successively the same woman, by whom the former begat Jacob, and the latter Heli. Heli dying without issue, his ma ternal brother took his widow to wife, by whom he had Joseph, who, according to law (Deut. xxv: 6), was registered by Luke as the son of Heli, though naturally the son of Jacob as Matthew records him. This is the explanation which was generally admitted by Eusebius, Nazianzen, the writer of Ad orthodoxos, and others, for ages.