are often cited as evidence for the reliability of the Bible
. Some apologists claim that the genealogies in the Bible are supported by historical and archeological evidence, yet the Bible includes a number of internal contradictions in these accounts which must call into question the reliability of these genealogies and of the Bible itself. One notable aspect is the Luke genealogy being much longer that in Matthew as well, giving the impression of the writers having very different ideas of how long ago King David lived from Jesus' alleged time. One apologetic has been to claim the Luke genealogy refers to Mary, not Joseph, with spurious claims that adoption could pass one into the bloodline of David. This is necessary because the genealogy in Luke derives Nathan, son of David, instead of Solomon (he alone was to carry on the bloodline, which had to be physical, thus necessiting it be Mary, not Joseph). However, women could not pass on the bloodline. Moreover, the genealogy clearly lists Joseph, not Mary. Apologists seek to get around this by claiming that when a genealogy ends with a woman, her husband is listed instead, despite no evidence of this existing. If Joseph was son-in-law of Heli in the Luke genealogy, it would have been clearly listed, as other parts of the Bible show in-law relationships, but there is nothing, and this does not change the lack of inheritance through mothers. They attempt to get around that
problem by claiming Joseph adopted Jesus, with no mention of this in the Bible. Adopting Jesus would have meant acknowledging Joseph had not fathered him, and he was thus a bastard, for all anyone could know, thus negating any possible claims to anything, besides putting Mary in danger of being stoned to death for adultery.
The Matthew genealogy has its own problem anyway. It lists the cursed king Jechoniah, none of whose heirs God decreed would inherit as punishment, thus negating that whole line of descent. The writer of Matthew seems to have been unfamiliar with this, although where he got this genealogy in the beginning is thus anyone's guess (is there a chance it was originally meant to disprove Jesus' claim, regardless of whether he existed?) Aside from all this, why Jesus needed to be descended from David through Solomon and the Messiah is hard to grasp, as being God's son is far greater, except the obvious conclusion that originally he was not believed to be divine in any way (a blasphemous idea to Jews, we might note). There were many claimants to being the Messiah and so proving this was important. Virgin birth and gods fathering children were distinctly pagan things likely added later to widen its appeal, since pagans were preached to. Prior to Jesus, there is no precedent in the Bible even close. The genealogies, perhaps even more strongly most anything else, prove the New Testament is composed of many competing writings, if we didn't already know that. For, if Jesus is the son of God, why bother with it?
Two different genealogies are given for Jesus, in the first chapters of Matthew and Luke:
Old Testament Genealogies