Luke 3:23

Genealogy of Jesus

23 1When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of 2Joseph, the son of Eli,

Luke 3:23 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 3:23

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age,
&c.] Or Jesus, when he was baptized and began his public ministry, was about thirty years of age: an age at which the priests, under the law, who were typical of Christ, entered on their work, ( Numbers 4:23 ) ( 1 Chronicles 23:3 ) The word, "began", is left out in the Syriac and Persic versions: and is often indeed redundant, as in ( Luke 3:8 ) and frequently in Mark's Gospel. The Arabic version renders it, "Jesus began to enter into the thirtieth year", which carries the sense the same with our translation:

being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph;
who had espoused Mary before she was with child of the Holy Ghost, and afterwards took her to wife, and brought up her son; so that it was not known but that he was the son of Joseph. Whether or no the Jewish notion of the Messiah, the son of Joseph F25 may not take its rise from hence, may be considered: however, Joseph might very rightly be called, as he was supposed to be, the father of Jesus, by a rule which obtains with the Jews F26 that he

``that brings up, and not he that begets, is called the father,''

or parent; of which they give various instances F1 in Joseph, in Michal, and in Pharaoh's daughter.

Which was the son of Eli;
meaning, not that Joseph was the son of Eli; for he was the son of Jacob, according to ( Matthew 1:16 ) , but Jesus was the son of Eli; and which must be understood, and carried through the whole genealogy, as thus; Jesus the son of Matthat, Jesus the son of Levi, Jesus the son of Melchi till you come to Jesus the son of Adam, and Jesus the Son of God; though it is true indeed that Joseph was the son of Eli, having married his daughter; Mary was the daughter of Eli: and so the Jews speak of one Mary, the daughter of Eli, by whom they seem to design the mother of our Lord: for they tell F2 us of one,

``that saw, (yle tb Myrm) , "Mary the daughter of Eli" in the shades, hanging by the fibres of her breasts; and there are that say, the gate, or, as elsewhere F3, the bar of the gate of hell is fixed to her ear.''

By the horrible malice, in the words, you may know who is meant: however, this we gain by it, that by their own confession, Mary is the daughter of Eli; which accords with this genealogy of the evangelist, who traces it from Mary, under her husband Joseph; though she is not mentioned, because of a rule with the Jews F4, that

``the family of the mother is not called a family.''


F25 T. Bab. Succa, fol. 52. 1. Jarchi & Aben Ezra in Zech. xii 10. & xiii. 7.
F26 Shemot Rabba, sect. 46. fol. 143. 1.
F1 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 19. 2. Vid. T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 13. 1.
F2 T. Hieros. Sanhedrin, fol. 25. 3.
F3 Ib. Chagiga, fol. 77. 4.
F4 Juchasin, fol. 55. 2.

Luke 3:23 In-Context

21 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened,
22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased."
23 When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli,
24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Hesli, the son of Naggai,

Cross References 2

  • 1. Matthew 4:17; Acts 1:1
  • 2. Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23-27

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Lit "as it was being thought"
  • [b]. Lit "of Eli", and so throughout the genealogy
  • [c]. Also spelled "Heli"
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