It is written:
“and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.” (Matthew 1:6)
“the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David,”. (Luke 3:31)
Both Solomon and Nathan were sons of king David, and yet both are said to be the ancestors of Jesus of Nazareth.
Critics maintain that this is a contradiction in the Bible. Yet as experience continually who’s us, alleged Bible contradictions are cleared up when we study deeper into the text.
Matthew and Luke both provide a genealogy of Jesus Christ. Genealogies were very important to the Jewish people. They helped with property contracts, land disputes, family identification, and (most importantly) documented the lineage of the promised bloodline which would bring forth the Messiah.
Both Matthew and Luke provide careful documentation of Jesus’ bloodline. Yet how can it be said that Jesus was the son of both Solomon and of Nathan? The answer lies in looking at the specific focus of the genealogies of Matthew and Luke. Simply stated, the genealogy that Matthew provides comes through Jesus’ adopted father, Joseph; and Luke provides the genealogy through Jesus’ mother, Mary.
“Matthew 1: 1–16 gives the genealogy of Jesus through Joseph, who was himself a descendant of King David. As Joseph’s adopted Son, Jesus became his legal heir, so far as his inheritance was concerned. Notice carefully the wording of v. 16: “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” (NASB). This stands in contrast to the format followed in the preceding verses of the succession of Joseph’s ancestors: “Abraham begat [egennēsen] Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob, etc.” Joseph is not said to have begotten Jesus; rather he is referred to as “the husband of Mary, of whom [feminine genitive] Jesus was born.” Luke 3: 23–38, on the other hand, seems to record the genealogical line of Mary herself, carried all the way back beyond the time of Abraham to Adam and the commencement of the human race. This seems to be implied by the wording of v. 23: “Jesus… being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.” This “as was supposed” indicates that Jesus was not really the biological son of Joseph, even though this was commonly assumed by the public. It further calls attention to the mother, Mary, who must of necessity have been the sole human parent through whom Jesus could have descended from a line of ancestors. Her genealogy is thereupon listed, starting with Heli, who was actually Joseph’s father-in-law, in contradistinction to Joseph’s own father, Jacob (Matt. 1: 16). Mary’s line of descent came through Nathan, a son of Bathsheba (or “Bathshua,” according to 1 Chron. 3: 5), the wife of David. Therefore, Jesus was descended from David naturally through Nathan and legally through Solomon.” (Gleason L. Archer, Jr., New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, 648 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan).
Jesus is the descendant (biologically) of Nathan, and is the descendant (legally) of Solomon.
Far from contradicting each other, the different genealogies of Jesus harmonize beautifully when studied in their original context.
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