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Yes, Mathew and Luke give two different names for the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. And not just that, the names of their ancestors too differ after that, till they meet at David. So obviously, we can’t presume that Joseph’s father had two names (like some people in the Bible had), one that Matthew used and the other that Luke used.

Matthew uses the word “begat” in his genealogy list. And talking about Joseph, the husband of Mary, Matthew records,

“And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” Matthew 1:16

So the real father of Joseph was Jacob, for Jacob “begat” Joseph.

In the gospel of Luke the word begat is not used, but rather the supplied word “the son” is used throughout the genealogy list. Regarding Joseph’s father it is written here,

“And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli” (Luke 3:23)

In Jewish custom, and in many cultures today, the “son-in-law” is also called “son”. For example, we know that David was the son of Jesse.

“And Jesse said unto David his son”. (1 Samuel 17:17)

And David was the son-in-law of King Saul. But Saul calls David his son.

“And Saul knew David’s voice, and said, Is this thy voice, my son David?” (1 Samuel 26:17)

Because David is called the son of Jesse and also the son of Saul do we doubt the inspiration of the Bible? Absolutely not! When one understands the Jewish tradition the apparent contradictions vanishes away.

So also, Joseph, the husband of Mary, was indeed the son of Jacob, and was the son-in-law of Heli. But as we have seen, there is nothing wrong to call the son-in-law as son in the Jewish custom!

Matthew presents Jesus’ genealogy through Joseph’s line and shows that the legal/adopted father of Jesus was in the lineage of David and Abraham, and Luke gives Jesus’ genealogy through Mary’s line and shows that Jesus’ biological mother was from the promised line.

You might say but Luke could have made it easy for us if he said Mary was the daughter of Heli, and then continued the genealogy. Yes, that would be easy. But we need to understand the Jewish culture was male dominated one. They have to show the connection through the father.

Also, it could be that Heli had only one child, Mary, and Joseph, therefore, becomes his legal son to inherit all that he had, according to the Jewish law prevalent in Bible times. So that way it is fully correct to call Joseph the son of Heli.

So, there is no contradiction in the two lists given to us by Matthew and Luke!