Modern Commentary

Torah & Spirit
Family Life






Will the real descendant of David 
please stand up

According to the TaNaKh, the messiah must be a descendant of King David. The messianic promise as outlined in II Samuel 7.11-16 states:

...The Lord declares to you that He, the Lord, will establish a house for you. When your days are done and you lie with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own issue, and I will establish his kingship. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to Me. When he does wrong, I will chastise him with the rod of men and the affliction of mortals; but I will never withdraw my favor from him as I withdrew it from Saul, whom I removed to make room for you. Your house and your kingship shall ever be secure before you; your throne shall be established forever.

This promise is reiterated to Solomon by David when he assumes the rule of Israel. I Kings 2.4:

Then the Lord will fulfill the promise that He made concerning me: "If your descendants are scrupulous in their conduct, and walk before me faithfully, with all their heart and soul, your line on the throne of Israel shall never end."

Other sources that relate this contention are Jeremiah 23.5, 33.17 and Ezekiel 34.23-24.

Christians, themselves, will agree that Davidic lineage is an essential aspect of determining the messiah. This is an important part of the claims made in their literature: Both the book of Matthew and the book of Luke trace the genealogy of Jesus from David, in an attempt to prove that he qualified for this requirement of being the messiah. It is commonly claimed that each book traces Jesus genealogy through a different parent! This, however, is not the case. Both Matthew and Luke trace the genealogy of Jesus through Joseph. Importantly, Matthew contends he descended from Jacob (Mt 1.16), but Luke contends he descended from Heli son of Matthat (Lk 3.23)! This despite the fact that there is no record of any Heli, Jacob or Matthat in David's line mentioned in the TaNaKh! Another obvious problem here, is that, according to the writers of the Christian scriptures, Joseph was not the father of Jesus!

If they contend that Joseph was the father of Jesus, then they can't contend that he was "born of God," or "born of a virgin."

Even if we contend that Jesus is a legitimate descendant of David, Christians must then reconcile the statement: "When he does wrong, I will chastise him with the rod of men..." Certainly, they will not admit that Jesus could have done anything wrong - yet, this is clearly part of the promise.

Some Christians may try to get around this issue by saying that this verse is speaking metaphorically about Jesus taking on the sins of the world; however, how does this account for the promise that the messiah will not be removed from office? Certainly, if the implication here is that the messiah is taking on the sins of the world, it doesn't make sense that, in fulfilling what he was supposed to do, he would be in danger of losing his position and would need a promise that he won't be forcibly removed!