Matthew 1:17—How many generations were listed between the captivity and Christ, 14 or 13?

Problem: Matthew says the generations “from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations” (1:17). However, he lists only 13 names after the captivity is counted. So, which is correct, 13 or 14 ?

Solution: Both are correct. Jeconiah is counted in both lists, since he lived both before and after the captivity. So, there are literally 14 names listed “from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ,” just as Matthew says. There are also literally 14 names listed between David and the captivity, just as Matthew claims (Matt. 1:6–12). There is no error in the text at all.

See All Problems

This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.