CLAIM: God cursed the descendants of King Jehoiachin (or Jeconiah) saying, “Write this man down childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah” (Jer. 22:30). Yet, Matthew writes that Jesus was a descendant of Jehoiachin. Critics argue that this disqualifies Jesus from the Messianic line.
RESPONSE: A number of responses can be made.
First, there is good evidence that this curse was not eternal, as the critics claim. In fact, this curse was given to Jehoiakim (Jehoiachin’s father) as well. God told Jehoiakim, “He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David” (Jer. 36:30). However, obviously, his son did sit on the throne.
Second, there is good evidence that Jehoiachin repented later in life and the curse was lifted. In Jeremiah 52:31-34, we read that Jehoiachin was blessed after he was exiled. Moreover, when God cursed Jehoiachin, he told him “Even though Coniah [Jehoichin] the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were a signet ring on My right hand, yet I would pull you off” (Jer. 22:24). However, God told his grandson, “I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you’” (Hag. 2:23). God used the same imagery of the signet ring –first as a punishment –then as a restoration.
Third, since Jesus was born of a virgin, we should not trace his genealogy through Joseph –but Mary. In Luke 3:23, we read that Jesus was “as was supposed, the son of Joseph.” In other words, Jesus was not truly the son of Joseph, because he was born of a virgin. Luke is giving a genealogy of Mary –not Joseph. Therefore, Jesus was the legal heir of Jehoiachin, but he was not his genetic heir.