St. Matt. gives 42 generations; St. Luke gives 72. Why?

The Catholic Answers

Neither intended to give all the generations. The present Prince of Wales could say, “I was born of George V., who was descended from Queen Victoria.” Another writer could say, “The Prince of Wales was born of George V., who was born of Edward VII., who was born of Queen Victoria.” Both accounts would be right, although one would be inadequate. Why did St. Matt, choose to give 42 generations only? Because he wrote for the Jews, and wished to show that Christ was the Messiah, the Son of David. In Hebrew David’s name consists of three letters, and those letters numerically signify 14. Thus D-V-D have the numerical signifiance of 4-6-4. Following a Jewish custom, St. Matt. gives three times 14, i. e., 42 generations, or the Davidic generation. St. Luke, on the other hand, chose 72, because, having been the companion of St. Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, he wrote for the Gentiles. Jewish tradition held that there were 72 races of men throughout the world, and St. Luke wished to show that Christ would call all nations to His religion. This may seem complicated to us, but it was not to the Jews of those times.

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