Christian reading

Issue N5

answers for a jew, valeriy sterkh

Answers for a Jew

Why do the Gospels contain two genealogies of Joseph? (part 3)

All of this is not without a basis and is not arbitrarily contrived. Our Savior's birth relatives left us the following true story, whether to glorify themselves or purely for our instruction. When a band of marauders from Idumea raided Ashkelon in Palestine, they seized not only the loot from Apollo's temple, but also Antipater, the son of a certain Herod, who was a hierodule. Because the priest could not redeem his son, Antipater was brought up according to Idumean customs. Later he was well-favored by Hircanus, the high priest of Judea. As an ambassador sent to Pompea on some errand from Hircanus, he obtained for him the kingly authority, which had been usurped by his brother Aristobulus. As to Antipater himself, he prospered; he was appointed the curator (epimelet) of Palestine. After his death – he was murdered out of envy for being so fortunate – his position went to his son Herod. This Herod was later appointed king over the Jews by Antonius and Augustus, as decreed by the Senate. His sons – Herod and others – were tetrarchs. Of these events we also know from the Greek history.

Until then, the archives had kept genealogies of both Jews and ancient Proselytes, such as, for instance, the genealogies of Achior the Ammonite and Ruth the Moabite, as well as genealogies of Egyptians who intermarried with the Jews. Having no connection whatsoever to the Jewish people, Herod, ashamed as he was of his ignoble blood, ordered that all the records of genealogies be burnt in hope that he could be reckoned as a noble-born, if no one was able to trace his line to Patriarchs, Proselytes or Gyiurs (converts to Judaism) using the public records. As a result, there were very few people who retained any memory of their ancestry. If they did, it was by keeping their own genealogical records or just by remembering the names of the ancestors, or keeping their own lists. People were proud of preserving the memory of their high blood. Among them were also the above mentioned "desposiny" – those related to the family of the Lord. Natives of Jewish settlements, Nazareth and Kohaba, they spread wide across the land and compiled the above-mentioned genealogy based on the "Book of Days", as best they could.

Whether it is so or not, it would be hard to come up with a better explanation – this is my opinion as well as that of any reasonable person. To this we will hold, even though it has not been confirmed by evidence – because there nothing better or more correct to hold on to. And as to the Gospel, it is all true, to say the least".

(to be continued)