(Mt. 1:12) Who is Shealtiel’s father? Jeconiah or Neri? (cf. Lk. 3:27)

CLAIM: Matthew and Luke both give different names for the father of Shealtiel.

Matthew: Jeconiah, Shealtiel, then Zerubbabel (Mt. 1:12).

Luke: Neri, Shealtiel, then Zerubbabel (Lk. 3:27).

Is this a contradiction?

RESPONSE: There are two ways to solve this difficulty:

OPTION #1: These are different Shealtiel’s

Advocates of this view note that this was a common name at the time, and there are multiple repetitions of names in these genealogies (e.g. Joseph, Mattathias, Judah).

OPTION #2: This is the case of a Levirate marriage

1 Chronicles 3:17-19 states that Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel and Pedaiah. But then the text says that Pedaiah’s son was also called Zerubbabel! But other passages state that Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel (Ezra 3:2; Neh. 12:1; Hag. 1:1). This shows that this could have been a case of levirate marriage (see Gen. 38:8-9; Deut. 25:5-10). A widow of a childless man could marry his brother. When the woman gave birth, he would carry on his deceased father’s name. This was the case so a man’s name could go on—even if he died prematurely. Michael Brown writes, “In the case of Zerubabbel, it would appear that his biological father was Pedaiah, the younger brother of Shealtiel who died childless. Pedaiah then married the widow of Shealtiel, in accordance with the laws of levirate marriage, and his firstborn son, Zerubabbel, was counted as the son of his deceased brother, Shealtiel, to ‘build up his brother’s family line’ (Deut. 25:9).”[1]

[1] Brown, Michael L. Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: New Testament Objections. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2006. 79.