The following explanation was courtesy of Aramaic scholar Andrew Gabriel Roth:
Let's dispel a few myths about this "curse on Jeconiah" in relation to the genealogy of Yeshua - who was a descendent of King David!
Even the majority of Orthodox avoid this argument and agree Jeconiah (by all three names) had his curse lifted. In fact, Jeremiah who invoked the curse lifted it in his 52nd chapter. Every single aspect was turned back. The curse said he would not prosper and Jeconiah was released from prison and given money. It said he would be childless and he had many kids in captivity. Most importantly, it said none of his descendants would ever rule in any capacity - and we challenge someone to explain that within two or three generations, his direct descendant Zerubababel is the governor of Judea!
The general problem that critics love to pounce on has to do with one of Y'shua's ancestors, the last king of Judah:
"'As surely as I live', declares the LORD, 'even if you Jeconiah, son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. I will hand you over to those who seek your life, those you fear, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to the Babylonians. I will hurl you and the mother who gave birth to you into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. You will never come back to the land you long to return to. ' Is this man Jeconiah a despised, broken pot, and object no one wants? Why will he and his children be hurled out, cast into a land they do no know? O land, land, land, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the LORD says: 'Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring shall prosper, none will sit on the throne of David, or ever rule anymore in Judah." (Jeremiah 22:24-30)
So, in theory at least, anyone who is descended from Jeconiah cannot sit on David's throne, which of course is a problem when we get to here:
"You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name of Y'shua. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The LORD YAH will give him the throne of his father David." (Luke 1:31-32 (NIV with cross-reference to the Younan Peshitta Interlinear Version)).
Many Greek textual defenders have tried to suggest that Matthew's lineage is of Messiah's father Joseph, and therefore does not carry the curse. However, while the Talmud says that Jews are counted as such ethnically if their mothers are Jewish, royal inheritances were always passed down from father to son, and this is definitely a royal genealogy that Matthew is trying to relate here. Therefore, Messiah must be descended from David on both sides of his family tree, and this curse would hold either way if it were not for one fact: It was lifted!
If the rabbis of the Talmud have any weight in the matter, they ruled unanimously that Jeconiah was forgiven for his many transgressions by the end of his life. The reason for this belief arose from Scripture itself, as each component of this curse was turned back. Let's look at these facts which prove the case.
- The curse says, "record this man as if childless", and yet in the same section admits that Jeconiah has children, and in fact continues to do so during his punishment.
- The curse says that Jeconiah would never prosper, but even Jeremiah, who wrote the words of that original admonition, reports the following: "In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jeconiah, king of Judah, in the year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon, he released Jeconiah from king of Judah and freed him from prison on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month. He spoke kindly to him and gave him a great seat of honor higher than those of other kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jeconiah put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king's table. Day by day the king gave Jeconiah a regular allowance as long as he lived, till the day of his death." (Jeremiah 52:31-34)
- The curse even goes so far as to proclaim that "for none of his offspring shall prosper, none will sit on the throne of David, or ever rule anymore in Judah." Granted, the days of the kings of Judah were gone for two generations. However, notice the verse even covers any kind of ruler in Judah? If the curse were still enforced, how does anyone explain this passage?
"The word of the LORD came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month. 'Tell Zerubabel the governor of Judah that I will shake the heavens and the earth. I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother. On that day,' declared the LORD Almighty, 'I will take you, my servant, Zerubabel son of Shealtiel', declares the LORD, 'and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,' declares the LORD Almighty." (Haggai 2:20-23)
Zerubabel, as it turns out, is the grandson of Jeconiah (1 Chronicles 3:17-19, Matthew 1:12) - so, not bad for a guy who was neither supposed to prosper nor rule! Also the imagery Haggai uses could not be stronger, for just as Jeremiah said that Jeconiah was the signet ring the LORD would remove, so now this same man's grandson is the signet ring God wishes to put on!
In the Middle East, a king's signet ring bore the royal seal. The king, when he wished to authenticate a command, would take his ring and impress the insignia into clay, which would later harden and be attached to the royal document. Therefore, in both cases, the signet ring is a very visible sign of regal power, very much akin to a scepter or crown. When the ring is removed, the power goes, and vice versa when in it is put back on.
Oh...And about that "biological father" thing:
Traditional Jewish assertion: Complicating the problem created with the Luke genealogy leading to David through Nathan and not Solomon, is the dilemma for the Luke genealogy being that of Mary. According to Torah, Tribal lineage is determined exclusively by the biological (natural) father (e.g., Num 1:18). Consequently, female genealogies are irrelevant to bloodline and, in general, are not listed in the Hebrew Bible.
The Netzarim Response:
Mary should be disqualified to transfer the rights of her lineage to her son Yeshua - except for a little known exception to the rule....
In Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38 we are presented with two genealogies of Yeshua. On the surface these different listings would appear to be a contradiction in the scriptures. The genealogy found in Matthew's gospel is the lineage of Yeshua's earthly father Joseph, while the genealogy found in Luke's gospel is the lineage of Yeshua's mother Mary. However, many of the people that teach on the genealogies fail to realize or address a major problem associated with the genealogical listing found in Luke's gospel, the lineage of Mary. Once you have established that the line is indeed Mary's you must deal with a second difficulty.
The rights of the line are not passed through the mother, only the father. Even though Mary, through her lineage, was of the Davidic bloodline, she should be excluded from being able to pass those rights of the bloodline because of being a female (Deut 21:16). So it is not enough to prove that Mary was an unblemished descendant of David, she had to be a male to transfer the rights. Therefore she would be disqualified to transfer the rights to her son Yeshua, except for a little known exception to the rule.
HOWEVER - In Numbers 26 we are introduced to Zelophehad. Zelophehad, we are told, had no sons, only daughters. In Numbers 27, following the death of Zelophehad, the daughters of Zelophehad came before Moses and argued their plight. Because their father had died with no sons, all of their rights of inheritance were to be lost and they felt this was unfair. So Moses prayed to God and God gave Moses an exception to the rule. The Lord told Moses that the inheritance CAN flow through a female, IF they fulfill two requirements. There must be no male offspring in the family (Num 27:8) and if the female offspring should marry, they must marry within their own tribe (Num 36:6).
Now we come back to Mary. On the surface she should be unable to transfer the rights to her Son. But when you research you find that Mary had NO brothers, AND Mary did indeed marry within her own tribe to Joseph. What an awesome God we serve that set in order the requirements to allow the virgin birth to take place 1,400 years in advance!
A footnote to Matthew 1 from Roth's Aramaic English New Testament:
The word gowra designates a protector-male or guardian; the context of this verse determines its specific meaning. Y'shua elsewhere says "which one of gowra, if he has a son...."; obviously "father" is intended. "Gowra" also applies to other forms of protector-male type relationships depending on the context, such as "husband", "son", and so forth. Ancient Aramaic Matthew ends at verse 17, not verse 25. The text not only establishes the subject, but shifts from "background history" into the present, from intro to body. This means that the Yosip in verse 16 (the guardian or adopted father of Miriyam (Mary)) is not the same Yosip as the husband of Miriyam in verse 19.
The word gowra designates a protector-male or guardian; the There is no reason for Matthew to use two different words for the same individual, whereas gowra sometimes means "husband" but can also mean "father". The other term baalah can only mean "husband". On the other hand, there would most definitely be a reason to differentiate two men named Yosip, one being the adopted father, the other the husband of Miriyam. With this differentiation we now have three full sets of 14 generations, which satisfies the demands of verse 17.
Furthermore....When you read thoroughly the details of Zelophedad's daughters it is clear that is exactly what it is about: Females inherit the assets of their father when there is no male heir. This is stated DIRECTLY:
Numbers 27: 7 'Zelophehad's daughters are right in what they say. You will indeed give them a property to be their heritage among their father's kinsmen; see that their father's heritage is passed on to them. 8 Then speak to the Israelites and say, "If a man dies without sons, his heritage will pass to his daughter. 9 If he has no daughter, the heritage will go to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, his heritage will go to his father's brothers. 11 If his father has no brothers, his heritage will go to the member of his clan who is most nearly related; it will become his property. This will be a legal rule for the Israelites, as Yahweh has ordered Moses."' (NJB)
Proof of this is also indirectly stated with Joseph and Mary returning to Bethlehem. Mary is attached to that inheritance through her husband but she also inherits from her family without there being a male heir.
And let's not forget, Talmud says a child is considered Jewish if his MOTHER is Jewish....And Torah says land can only pass WITHIN THE TRIBE it is allotted to. YHWH calls it an INHERITANCE. And with the Levites YHWH says, "I am their inheritance"...so obviously being from a tribe is an asset if you inherit YHWH....