Matthew 1:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 1:17, NIV: Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

Matthew 1:17, ESV: So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

Matthew 1:17, KJV: So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

Matthew 1:17, NASB: So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

Matthew 1:17, NLT: All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

Matthew 1:17, CSB: So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations; and from David until the exile to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the exile to Babylon until the Messiah, fourteen generations.

What does Matthew 1:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Matthew sums up his genealogy of Jesus in a specific way in this verse, showing that he built it precisely to fit a specific theme he had in mind. Those who compare the genealogy to the Old Testament will notice Matthew has left out several "links" in the chain known elsewhere in Scripture. It can be assumed he may have skipped over others not known to us from Scripture, but knowable from the records of his day.

The point is that Matthew did not set out to make an exhaustive genealogy of Jesus. He is interested in making a historical and legal case. His thesis is that Jesus has a legitimate right to claim His position as a direct descendant of both Abraham and David. Matthew's book will assert that Jesus is, in fact, the fulfilment of God's promises to both of those key figures in Israel's history.

Matthew also set out to build his genealogy in a way that would be easier to follow or easier to remember. To do so, he created three sections, each with 14 names included in it. This does not mean that only 14 generations passed during each period of history. Matthew's readers would have known that only 14 generations are included in each section of his list, though more of them occurred in history.

The sections are Abraham to David, David to the Babylonian exile of Israel, and that deportation to Christ. There are indeed 14 generations included between Abraham and David. Counting David again gives another 14 generations through Josiah. The final 14 begins with Jechoniah and ends with Jesus. Some commentators count them slightly differently. Some scholars have suggested varied opinions as to what Matthew may have intended to represent with the number 14, but no fully satisfying explanation is available.