Salathiel and Zorobabel.
The inclusion of the names of these two men in the lists of both Matthew and Luke has caused considerable controversy. My own explanation is that Salathiel, Neri's son (Luke 3:27), came into the royal line when Jechoniah's seed was disqualified. (Jer. 22:30) See my remarks on page 7 of the body of this work.
From a cursory reading of Matthew 1:12 and I Chron. 3:17, 8, it may at first appear that Salathiel was Jechoniah's son. However, as this study has already established, Matthew does not always use 'beget' with its main biological meaning of a man producing a child. In keeping with the use of the word in other parts of Scripture, I believe it is used here of the obtaining, or 'begetting', of an heir or successor. Nevertheless we must not overlook the statement in I Chron. 3:17,18. In the Hebrew, the structure of this passage is somewhat unusual and peculiar. Read literally it states:
'And the sons of Jechoniah, the prisoner - Shealtiel (i.e. Salathiel) was his successor - were even Malchiram and Pedaiah and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama and Medabiah.'
This differs from the A.V. and I think some explanatory notes are necessary.
(a) I agree with a number of Hebrew scholars, who state that the Hebrew word 'assir', which means a 'captive' or 'prisoner', should be translated as such. This is reasonable and agrees with the fact, that after reigning for some three months in Judah, Jechoniah was taken captive and imprisoned in Babylon. The A.V. transliterates-the word as 'Assir', thereby implying that it is a person's name - that of a son of Jechoniah. The R.V. corrects the A.V. by replacing 'Assir' with 'captive'.
(b) I have used 'successor' here rather than 'son', to represent the Hebrew ben. This is quite in accordance with Hebrew usage - See Appendix 2. I am convinced that Salathiel was Neri's son, and that he was brought into the line of succession due to the banning of Jechoniah's seed. Thus he became Jechoniah's successor.
(c) The word for'successor' (or'son') is singular, but if he were being named with another son, or other sons of Jechoniah (as here), the plural would be necessary.
(d) The Hebrew text shows a stop sign after 'Shealtiel his son'. This may possibly be the reason why the A.V. has split the statement into two verses.
(c) The two parts of the statement (Verses 17 & 18 in the A.V) are connected by the conjunction vav, which may have its common explanatory value of 'even'. (A.V = 'also'.)
(f) I have added the verb 'to be' as being understood. This is commonly omitted in the Hebrew, but is required in English.
Taking these things into consideration, I have no doubt that Salathiel was Neri's son, and that his name was introduced into the line of succession due to the failure of the line in Jechoniah.
It is also certain, that if Salathiel were the son of Jechoniah, his name could not have been inserted into Luke's list of Joseph's ancestors. To do so would upset the whole genealogical table, and would result in Joseph's ancestral line going from Salathiel to Jechoniah, and then through Solomon to David, rather than to Neri and on through Nathan to David. This would wipe out all the names in Luke's list from Salathiel to Nathan, making Luke's list a fabrication. And of course, all the persons named in the later section of each table would be Jechoniah's seed, and ineligible to occupy David's throne. Conversely, it was quite in order for a person named in a table of genealogy such as that of Luke, to have his name also listed in a table of succession.
The suggestion has been put forward, that at this time there were two persons named Salathiel, and that each had a son named Zorobabel. This would be unlikely in the extreme, but let us look briefly at this idea.
First of all, any such ideas must account for the fact, that all persons named in Matthew's list following Jechoniah, were his seed (or descendants), and therefore would come under the edict announced by Jeremiah. There can be no doubt that those responsible for keeping the public registers would know this, and would not have entered their names in the royal line of succession.
The ancestral line recorded by Luke does not seem to be in dispute. That is, that Rhesa was Zorobabel's son, Salathiel's grandson, Neri's great grandson, etc.
But to account for Zorobabel's name being in Matthew's list, the idea has been put forward that this was a different person - that he was the son of Jechoniah's son, who was Salathiel. However, this is in contradiction to I Chron. 3:19, which states that Zorobabel was the son of Pedaiah, not of Jechoniah.
In the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Haggai, Zorobabel is frequently referred to by the expression, 'Zorobabel the son of Shealtiel', a description that seems to have been deliberately employed to differentiate between him and Pedaiah's son of the same name.
This would indicate that it was the Zorobabel of the New Testament, who was selected by God to play such an important role in the return of the Jews to Jerusalem. Then too, Scripture makes it very clear that Jehoiakim, Jechoniah, and all their close relatives at this time, were evil in the sight of God. It is unlikely that Pedaiah and his sons would have been any different, and that his son Zorobabel, would have been chosen for this task. Apart from all these things, there is another matter, that shows beyond doubt that the Zorobabel of Matthew and Luke could not be Pedaiah's son. This is, that in I Chron. 3:19, 20, Zorobabel's sons are listed as:
'Meshullum and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister, and Hashubah, and Ohel, and Berechiah, and Hasadiah, Jushab-hesed.'
Yet in Matthew and Luke we are informed that Zorobabel's sons were Abiud and Rhesa.