At the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel, the precisely conceived genealogical scheme of 3 tables of 14 generations falls short by one generation in the third table. This shortfall was intended by Matthew as a puzzle that the conclusion of the narrative resolves with the appearance of Jesus as the resurrected Christ with the 11 disciples, newly designated as his “brothers.” If “Judah and his brothers” in the first table of the genealogy represent Israel in its original constitution and “Jeconiah and his brothers” represent Israel in its experience of national judgment and dissolution, the depiction of the Twelve as the resurrected Christ and his brothers at the end of the narrative represents Israel in its reconstitution. Part of Matthew’s literary genius is evident in the fact that he uses a genealogy to launch an argument that the identity of this people has never simply been a matter of ancestry. The missing generation at the end of the genealogy poses a question explored throughout the narrative but not fully resolved until the end of the Gospel.

You do not currently have access to this content.