The Tribe of David

Q. Was the Virgin Mary of the tribe of David as was Joseph?

A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:  

In Matthew’s Gospel account, Joseph is said to be the son of Jacob (see Mt 1:16), who is a descendant of King David’s son Solomon. In Luke’s account, Joseph is identified as the son of “Heli,” a descendant of David’s son Nathan (see Lk 3:23-31). Dr. Henry Morris, author of “The Defender’s Study Bible,” states the word “son” does not occur in the original text, so “son of Heli” could actually mean “son-in-law of Heli.”

To strengthen his claim, Morris argues that the similarities in Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts are so numerous in other details that we cannot imagine a disagreement on the name of Joseph’s father. As the Gospel nowhere relates the name of Mary’s father, we might accept Morris’ argument, together with his conclusion that because both Mary and Joseph were descendants of King David, Jesus had a claim to David’s throne through both Mary and Joseph.

Whether Morris’ case is conclusive must remain a question. What it suggests, though, is a nice parallel in the Gospels’ genealogy accounts — Matthew providing Joseph’s lineage, and Luke Mary’s. The only other reference we have to Mary’s immediate family is the Protoevangelium of James, a second-century work that is charming, and altogether legendary.