The New Testament gives us the genealogy of but one person, that of our Saviour. This is given because it was important to prove that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies spoken of him. Only as the son and heir of David should he be the Messiah. The following propositions will explain the true construction of these genealogies:--
They are both the genealogies of Joseph, i.e. of Jesus Christ as the reputed and legal son of Joseph and Mary.
The genealogy of St. Matthew is Joseph's genealogy as legal successor to the throne of David. St. Luke's is Joseph's private Genealogy, exhibiting his real birth as David's son, and thus showing why he was heir to Solomon's crown. The simple principle that one evangelist exhibits that genealogy which contained the successive heir to David's and Solomon's throne, while the other exhibits the paternal stem of him who was the heir, explains all the anomalies of the two pedigrees, their agreements as well as their discrepancies, and the circumstance of there being two at all.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was in all probability the daughter of Jacob, and first cousin to Joseph her husband, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. Thus: Matthan or Matthat Father of Jacob, Heli Jacob Father of Mary = Jacob'e heir was (Joseph) Heli Father of Joseph JESUS, called Christ. (Godet, Lange and many others take the ground that Luke gives the genealogy of Mary, rendering (Luke 3:23) thus: Jesus "being (as was suppposed) the son of Joseph, (but in reality) the son of Heli." In this case Mary, as declared in the Targums, was the daughter of Heli, and Heli was the grandfather of Jesus. Mary's name was omitted because "ancient sentiment did not comport with the mention of the mother as the genealogical link." So we often find in the Old Testament the grandson called the son. This view has this greatly in its favor, that it shows that Jesus was not merely the legal but the actual descendant of David; and it would be very strange that in the gospel accounts, where so much is made of Jesus being the son and heir of David and of his kingdom his real descent from David should not be given: ED.)
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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