@Knelson02 Great question While I’ve offered some articles below with possible explanations (some of which you already mentioned), I would like to make a few comments more generally about the inspiration of Scripture.
- inerrancy is not the central doctrine of Christianity—the resurrection of Christ is the central doctrine of Christianity. I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, but my faith in Jesus is not built on it. If I found a historical mistake somewhere in the Bible, it would not shake my faith in the least. The Bible gets sooooo much right—even after so much criticism from unbelieving scholars—that it more than deserves our trust. That said, I have not found any Biblical difficulty that does not have a possible solution, even if I do not know the exact solution.
- sometimes we just have to admit when we do not know the right answer and offer possible solutions to textual difficulties
- one of the greatest evidences for the inspiration of Scripture is the transforming power of the Scriptures in our lives and the lives of others
Christ grant you wisdom as you teach His truth
As you mentioned, one possible explanation for skipping 3 Kings is that they were illegitimate. I think that is a good explanation.
Regarding groupings of 14, the theory that made the most sense to me is that Matthew did not intend to give us 42 individual people (3*14), but rather to use 14 people for each era (Abraham->David, David->Babylon, exile->Messiah). David is counted twice.
“It was done in this way because Joram begot Ahaziah from a pagan woman, that is, from the household of Ahab, and it was declared by the prophet that not until the fourth generation would anyone from the household of Ahab sit on the throne of the kingdom of Israel” ( Comm. Matt ., 1.2)
He is right. Joram married a daughter of Ahab (“the daughter of Ahab was his wife,” 2 Kgs 8:18). We learn later that her name was “Athaliah” (2 Kgs 8:26). Now, Scripture tells us that Ahab’s line was cut off from reigning for four generations, and Jehu’s sons would instead rule over Israel (2 Kgs 10:30; cf. 2 Kgs 10:35; 13:1, 10; 14:23; 15:8).
It turns out that the offspring of Ahab would also not reign in Judah! If Athaliah represents the first generation of Ahab, then the next three offspring from her would be: Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah. Amaziah would be the fourth generation. These are the exact three people that Matthew omits from his genealogy.
Matthew skillfully organizes the royal genealogy of king Jesus with three sets of fourteen names (Matt 1:17). And he does so by omitting three names that should be omitted from the genealogy of Christ due to their relationship with Ahab.
The writer does not express his intent to reveal 42 generations from Abraham to Jesus, but rather three segments of Jewish history, each comprised of 14 generations. It is plausible that David’s name being mentioned twice (v 17) indicates his inclusion in both the first and second groupings. If so, then the first begins with Abraham and ends with David, 14 generations; the second begins with David and ends with Josiah, 14 generations; and the third begins with Jeconiah and ends with Jesus, 14 generations.
Matthew vs Luke
Here is an article from Zondervan Academic that provides three possible explanations for differences between Matthew and Luke and here are the three possible explanations in brief:
1 - One of the genealogies is Mary’s
2 - One genealogy is loyal/legal and the other is physical
3 - Joseph had two fathers
The article suggests 2 possible ways Joseph could have 2 fathers:
- Mary’s father had no sons to carry on the family line, so he adopted Joseph as his son
- Based on a law in Deuteronomy, when one of Joseph’s fathers died his brother/half-brother may have married Joseph’s mother - giving Joseph two fathers.
Deuteronomy 25:5: “If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her.”