Who is Joseph’s Father? The contradiction: In Matthew 1:16 the Bible states, “And to Jacob was born Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” and in Luke 3:23 it states, “And when He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Eli.”
How can Joseph have two different fathers?
As we dive into the genealogy of Jesus the first thing we must take into account is the people of Jesus’ day questioned His claim to be equal with God, not His genealogy. The issue of His genealogy did not come into question until the third century when someone noticed the discrepancies in the genealogies listed in Matthew 1 and Luke 3. Notice throughout the Gospel’s He is referred to as the son of David many times with no one objecting.
That being said, the two accounts of Jesus’ genealogy are the same up until the time of King David. Matthew’s account follows the lineage from David’s son Solomon. This is Joseph’s family line, he is the son of Jacob.
Luke’s account follows David’s son Nathan, and is the private record handed down through Mary’s side of the family. Since it was not customary to place a woman’s name into the record, the name of the husband would be recorded. Joseph, husband of Mary, son of Eli, (your Bible might use Heli for the same person.)
In conclusion, we can see that just like we have the two sides of our family listed in our genealogies, so did Jesus.
The Bible writers did not make a mistake in writing two different names for Joseph’s father, but we make a mistake when we do not understand the time and culture in which the Bible was written.