Study of Christianity: Aram, Asaph, and Amos (1)

Over on his YouTube channel, @StudyofChrist continues in his series interrogating the text of the Matthean genealogy. If you haven’t subscribed to his channel, you should do so.

In this video, @StudyofChrist discusses the issue of three names: Aram (1:3), Asaph (1:7), and Amos (1:10). The reason these are problematic is that Aram is not the son of Hezron as the Matthean genealogy suggests. Rather, Hezron has three sons among whom are Jerahmeel, Ram, and Chelubai (1 Chronicles 2:9). So what is going on? As @StudyofChrist points out, Matthew is clearly using the LXX of the Chronicler’s genealogy and there we read, καὶ υἱοὶ Εσερων, οἳ ἐτέχθησαν αὐτῷ· ὁ Ιραμεηλ καὶ ὁ Ραμ καὶ ὁ Χαλεβ καὶ Αραμ – “And the sons of Ezeron, those who were born to him: Jerameel and Ram and Caleb and Aram” (my translation). We can see that in the LXX we have an additional son: Aram. And it is Aram, not Ram, that fathers Amminadam (cf. Matthew 1:4). It is therefore clear that Matthew isn’t relying on the genealogy we know of in the Masoretic Text but rather that which is found in the LXX.

But what about Asaph and Amos? Well, that is a bit more involved. The Matthean genealogy refers to Asaph as the son of Abijah and father of Jehoshaphat (1:7-8). But we know from the Chronicler’s genealogy that Abijah’s son was Asa who was the father of Jehoshaphat (1 Chronicles 3:10). We also know that Amos was not the son of Manasseh or the father of Josiah (Matthew 1:10) but rather that Amon was the son of Manasseh and the father of Josiah (1 Chronicles 3:13-14). So what do we do with this?

Without stealing too much of @StudyofChrist’s thunder, it isn’t all manuscripts of Matthew that make this mistake. As he does point out in the video, the Byzantine/Majority Text that we see reflected in the King James Bible gets the names right. But the problem with this is that those readings reflect a later family of manuscripts while many of the earliest manuscripts retain the mistakes. So if we accept the general principle that the oldest manuscripts reflect the readings closest to the original, we are stuck with Asaph and Amos (NRSV, ESV, etc) rather than Asa and Amon (KJV). So from whence came the change? That is an issue @StudyofChrist takes up in part 2 of the series.

For now, check out part 1 and make sure you subscribe to his channel!



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