Then stood up Phinehas and executed judgment ... and that was counted to him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore. [Psalm 106:30,31 KJV.]

Phinehas hath turned my wrath away ... wherefore .. I give unto him a covenant of peace and he shall have it and his seed after him, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood. [Numbers 25:11-13, KJV ]

The covenant here expressed regards righteousness and is promised to the seed of Phinehas (not as of many seeds - see Galatians 3:16 - but of one) everlastingly.

Now, Elizabeth was of the daughters of Aaron. And Mary, the mother of Jesus, was Elizabeth's close relative (Luke 1:5 and 36) not by marriage but by blood (Luke 1:35-40).

Therefore Mary was of the tribe of Levi by birth. Only by marriage was she of the tribe of Judah, not by birth or blood. Nor could any man descended (naturally, by any means) from Jeconiah onwards ascend the throne for :

Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah. [Jeremiah 22:30, KJV.]

The curse on Jeconiah was impossible to overcome, by any natural means or by any devious manipulation of the royal rights. It was finished. Humanity was prevented from ascending the throne, for ever.

But then a 'woman compassed a man' and a man married that woman. And that changed everything. Yet that humanity formed within Mary did have a connection ... to Phinehas and to a promise of an everlasting Priesthood.

The significance of this seems to have escaped Protestants, as far as I can tell, despite the fact that it is immensely important regarding the matter of justification by faith, the accounting of the righteousness of God to the faith of them that believe in Jesus Christ.

My supposition is that Protestants, rejecting the worship of Mary, have nevertheless neglected to consider her contribution and have overlooked the importance of her genealogy 1 in regard to the promises made to Phinehas and inherited by Jesus, through Mary. (Just as promises were made to David, the king, and were inherited by Jesus, through - adoption by - Joseph.)

Is this so, that this has been neglected ?

Or is it the case that some Protestants have noticed the significance of these two highly important passages in Psalm 106 and Numbers 25 and have recognized the significance of what is inherited through Phinehas and Mary, as we see so much inherited through David and Joseph ?

And, if so, where is this recognition documented ?

1 Just for background interest I add the following :

With considerable similarity to the tripled repeat of fourteen generations - the royal line - from Abraham to Christ through Judah (see Matthew 1:1-15) it can be shown that there is a tripled repeat of twelve generations (the significant number of covenant) from Aaron to Christ through Phinehas and Mary.

[The genealogy in Luke is sometimes claimed to be Mary's genealogy but it is clearly not so by its content. Luke's list is not the royal line (the throne often not passing by direct heritage) but is the natural line of begetting.]

Data in Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles gives the following :

Twelve generations from Aaron to the days of David: Aaron, Eleazar, Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, Ahimaaz

Twelve generations from David to the Babylonian captivity: Ahimaaz, Azariah, Johanna, Azariah, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, Shallum, Hilkiah, Azariah, Seraiah, Ezra

Twelve generations from Captivity until Christ: Ezra, Jeshua, Joiakim, Eliashib, Joiada, Jonathan, Jaddua, [G8 G9 G10] Mary, Jesus called Christ.

G8 is either Levi or Eleazar

G9 is either Melchi or Matthan

G10 is Joachim

G8, G9 and G10 are not recorded in scripture but recorded in Doctrina Jacobi and by Tiberias and by John of Damascus.

Any further information on this genealogy would be welcome either publicly or privately.

  • 1
    @SolaGratia The word is γενομενου (from ginomai) which means 'came'. He came of the seed of David. The manner in which he came was by a woman espoused to Joseph. Whereby, by adoption, he is 'of' the seed of David. Jesus is of the seed of David, but not by natural generation, but by adoption.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 27, 2019 at 16:24
  • 2
    @SolaGratia That Jesus inherits the throne of David is via Joseph, the son of (in the line of sons) Joseph. Mary was not a son of David, nor could the throne come through her at all. It comes via Joseph. But not by natural generation. It comes by adoption.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 27, 2019 at 16:29
  • 1
    @SolaGratia Did Boaz marry within his own tribe when he married Rahab ? Did Aaron (of Levi) marry within his own tribe when he married Elishaba (of Judah) ? The system is discouraging me from further comment.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 27, 2019 at 16:40
  • 1
    In Matthew's 3 sets of 14 generations the last in one group is not repeated as the beginning of the next as you have done in your '12 generations'. If Matthew's list were reckoned this way it would be 14, 15, 15. Reckoning your list as Matthew does you will have 12, 11, 11. Obviously this has nothing to do with the main question, so it is not an answer. Sep 30, 2023 at 14:53
  • 2
    @MikeBorden I've always been tentative about it. Perhaps I am incorrect.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 30, 2023 at 15:39

4 Answers 4


This Protestant article is one that demonstrates how important understanding Jesus’ line of descent through Mary is considered to be. Although it says some things that are questionable, this is interesting with regard to Mary:

“…Significantly, Luke traces Mary’s lineage all the way back to Adam (verse 38). This fits with Luke’s purpose as he wrote to Gentiles and emphasized that Jesus is the Son of God who came to save all people (cf. Luke 2:10–11).

Another issue relating to Mary’s lineage is her relation to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Luke says that Mary was related to Elizabeth, who was in the tribe of Levi (Luke 1:5, 36). An argument sometimes put forward by those who deny the credentials of Christ is that, if Mary was Elizabeth’s “cousin,” then Mary must also have been a Levite. Some translations, such as the KJV, do state that Mary was the “cousin” of Elizabeth (Luke 1:36). However, the English word cousin does not have to imply a close relation, and other versions of the Bible translate the word as “relative” (NKJV, ESV, CSB, BSB). Even if Elizabeth and Mary were close relatives, it was still possible for them to be of different tribes, as women were identified with their father’s tribe, not their mother’s. Elizabeth’s father was a Levite, making her a Levite by birth, but her mother may have been of Judah. Conversely, Mary’s mother may have been a Levite and kin to Elizabeth’s family, while Mary’s father was of Judah.” What was Mary’s lineage?

There is another Protestant source I found on the Christianity site here, going back several years, but the author of the post (a Baptist of some standing, I understand) deleted his answer, so I am not at liberty to identify either him or his post, let alone quote relevant points from it. All I can say is that it demonstrates deep digging into such genealogical matters about Mary. Another post on that same question concluded that:

“Mary was a descendant of Nathan (Luke 3:23 and verse 31—remember, as explained above, although the English text says “the son of Joseph, the son of Heli…” since the original Greek says Heli is the father-in-law of Joseph, logically, Heli is the biological father of Mary). Now, Jesus is completely safe from the problem of the Jeconiah curse, all while being from the line of David, and of the Tribe of Judah.”

I just have no way of knowing whether the answerer was a Protestant, or not. No references to literature were given, either. However, this question focuses on Mary with regard to Phinehas, and that is the first time I have had such a point brought to my attention. I have searched according to my limitations, but it does seem to be the case that emphasis is placed on the lineage with respect to kingship, not the priesthood. I did find in Matthew Henry’s ‘Commentary’ the link to Phinehas being a descendant of Aaron (Num. 25:7) with the priesthood due to him (when he was older, perhaps?) but also that:

“The priesthood is entailed upon his family by covenant. It was designed him before, but now it was confirmed to him, and, now which added much to the comfort and honour of it, it was made the compense of his pious zeal, vs.12, 13. It is here called an everlasting priesthood, because it should continue to the period of the Old Testament dispensation, and should then have its perfection and perpetuity in the unchangeable priesthood of Christ, who is consecrated for evermore… It seems to be meant particularly of the covenant of priesthood, for that is called the covenant of life and peace (Mal. 2:5).” Commentary, Matthew Henry, p.178 col. 3 & p.179 col. 1, Hendrickson, 2008

Henry makes no link to Mary and her genealogy at that point – we have to note his comments on Luke 3:23-38 to see the significance of Mary. After dealing briefly with Matthew’s genealogy he notes:

“But Luke, designing to show that Christ was the seed of the woman, that should break the serpent’s head, traces his pedigree upward as high as Adam, and begins it with Heli, who was the father, not of Joseph, but of the virgin Mary. And some suggest that the supply which our translators all along insert here is not right, and that it should not be read which, that is, which Joseph was the son of Heli, but which Jesus; he was the son of Joseph, of Heli, of Matthat, which was the son of Levi etc.; and that he, that is, Jesus, was the son of Seth, of Adam, of God, v.38. The difference between the two evangelists in the genealogy of Christ has been a stumbling-block to infidels that cavil at the word, but such a one has been removed by the labours of learned men, both in the early ages of the church, and in latter times, to which we refer ourselves.” (Ibid. p.1462 col. 1)

Henry then launches into more massively long sentences before repeating Luke’s pedigree of Heli, the father of Mary, adding this is

“the meaning of hos enomizeto (v.23), not, as it was supposed, referring only to Joseph, but uti sancitum est lege-as it is entered into the books, as we find it upon record; by which it appeared that Jesus was by both father and mother’s side the Son of David, witness this extract of their own records.”

Henry adds that those ancient records had been faithfully transmitted into the Christian Scriptures before the ancient, original records were destroyed at the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The purpose of those ancient records had been served. Their point was to legitimise the son of Mary as both supreme King and Priest, as the prophets had foretold.

It is a pity that such immensely significant details, about Phinehas and the priesthood, have not been clearly stated in Protestant circles, linking this to Mary’s genealogy. At least there is a record of this in the early 1700 writings of Matthew Henry, and no doubt a few other Protestant sources.


In my church we interpret the Jeremiah reference to mean that the royal line of David will cease to rule any physical kingdom of this world. This has been fulfilled; no descendant of David now rules as a king in the geographical region known then as Judah.

Jesus' kingdom is not of this world (He said so to Pilate), and so the passage does not prohibit Him from being the King of that kingdom.

For this reason, Mary's ancestry is moot with regard to this issue.

  • "The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:32) Nov 29, 2019 at 14:25
  • Jesus cannot be "the son of David" and "made of the seed of David according to the flesh" unless He is the son of David, and his flesh comes from David. No one is claiming "the throne" means "the physical chair David sits in," but the royal authority that comes with being the Davidic King (cf. Mt. 23:2). Dec 1, 2019 at 14:16
  • I mean, if the throne of David is not a specific kind of monarchical dynastic role, as opposed to a generic one, one wonders how the angel would intimate that except by "he will succeed David." Dec 2, 2019 at 12:39
  • 1
    The OP asked whether Protestants appreciate the significance of Mary's ancestry. My answer addresses this point with regard to my church. Whether we are correct in our teaching is another issue.
    – EvilSnack
    Dec 3, 2019 at 3:10

In my church, I can imagine an answer to this being that Mary's genealogy can't be terribly significant for the simple reason that there's no place in the Bible that points it out or emphasises it.

In his letters, Paul goes into considerable detail to lay out the doctrine of justification by faith. Not once does he make reference to Mary's lineage. Hebrews makes its case in covenant terms and figuratively removes Jesus from the line of Aaron and places him into the line of Melchizedek, suggesting that levitical heritage wasn't important.

If the Bible doesn't make a big deal out of something, then it's hard to argue that it is a big deal after all.

  • 1
    Melchizedek is important regarding priesthood as Hebrews makes clear. Phinehas, also, has considerable importance regarding righteousness and justification by faith, indicated by the texts I have referred to in the Psalm and in Numbers.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 2, 2019 at 0:26
  • One of the central theses of Hebrews is that Jesus is the high priest of a better priesthood with a better sacrifice and founded on a better covenant. So clearly Jesus'priesthood is important, but a lineal connection to Levi isn't--Hebrews argues that Melchizedek's order is better than Aaron's. However, nowhere in any passage about righteousness by faith is there any reference to Phineas, so how can he be of greater importance than what is laid out explicitly? Dec 2, 2019 at 0:32
  • 1
    So what do you make of the promises made to Phinehas ?
    – Nigel J
    Dec 2, 2019 at 0:34
  • The passage in Numbers confirms the Aaronic priesthood, and the passage in Psalms recounts the incident within a broader context of Israel's history. Aaron's line was to be a perpetual priesthood. But that doesn't make it the only priesthood. Again, Hebrews removes Jesus from the Aaronic priesthood. Furthermore, while the statement of Psalms about Phineas touches on righteousness by faith, Paul in his letters chooses to focus on Abraham's righteousness by faith, ignoring Phineas. Since the NT ignores Phineas, it's difficult to argue that his story is critically important theologically. Dec 2, 2019 at 0:44
  • I disagree entirely.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 2, 2019 at 3:33


Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; Romans 1:3

As others have understood this verse over the centuries, Ignatius said this.

and are established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded with respect to our Lord, that He was truly of the seed of David according to the flesh, Letter to Smyrnians

Seed of David according to the flesh (Mary). Not according to adoption.

Likewise, Irenaeus also understands this the same way.

and one Jesus Christ our Lord, who was of the seed of David according to His birth from Mary; AH Book III XVI

We also have David himself prophesying the same.

a prophet [David], therefore, being, and knowing that with an oath God did swear to him, out of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, to raise up the Christ, to sit upon his throne, Acts 2:30 YLT

Thus, born of the seed of David, out of his loins, per the flesh, by an oath of God.

Hebrews then makes sense when talking about Christ's priesthood, not the Aaronic priesthood. Christ born of Judah.

For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. Heb 7:14

"Sprang" is anatello

of the Incarnation of Christ: "Our Lord hath sprung out of Judah," more lit., "Our Lord hath arisen out of Judah," as of the rising of the light of the sun. Vines

"Out of" is ek

"out of, from, by," suggesting "the source from which something is done," [Vines3

IOW, Christ is of the seed of Judah.

Christ has an everlasting priesthood, not like Aaron.

As he saith also in another place, Thou [CHrist Jesus] art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Heb 5:6

(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) Heb 7:21

The everlasting priesthood about which God cannot repent (change His mind) is of Melchizedek's, not Aaron.

So, while Mary's genealogy is important to understand, it is more important to get the understanding right.

So, what of Phineas?

The lineage of Phineas is found in 1 Chronicles 6:3-15 from Aaron to Phineas to Jehozadak, which is where the lineage ends.

  1. Azariah begat Seraiah--He filled the supreme pontifical office at the destruction of Jerusalem, and, along with his deputy and others, he was executed by Nebuchadnezzar's orders at Riblah ( 2Ki 25:18, 21 ). The line of high priests, under the first temple, which from Zadok amounted to twelve, terminated with him. Jamieson, Fausset, Brown

As to the word "everlasting", Strong's says this.

עוֺלָם 439 noun masculine long duration, antiquity, futurity; Source

The seed of Phineas did last for a long duration.

So, do Protestants appreciete Mary's genealogy? Absolutely. She was of the seed of David, making Christ of the seed of David per scripture and the earliest tradition.

Here's Matthew Henry.

  1. Therefore certainly he spoke it as a prophet, with an eye to the Messiah, whose sufferings the prophets testified beforehand, and with them the glory that should follow; so did David in that psalm, as Peter here plainly shows. (1.) David knew that the Messiah should descend from his loins (v. 30), that God had sworn to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne. He promised him a Son, the throne of whose kingdom should be established for ever, 2 Sa. 7:12. And it is said (Ps. 132:11), God swore it in truth unto David. When our Lord Jesus was born, it was promised that the Lord God would give him the throne of his father David, Lu. 1:32. And all Israel knew that the Messiah was to be the Son of David, that is, that, according to the flesh, he should be so by his human nature; for otherwise, according to the spirit, and by his divine nature, he was to be David's Lord, not his son. God having sworn to David that the Messiah, promised to his fathers, should be his son and successor, the fruit of his loins, and heir to his throne, he kept this in view, in penning his psalms. Matthew Henry
  • 1
    anatello Strong 393 conveys 'arose' - the word is always otherwise used in scripture in the context of the rising of the sun, a physical arising, not a begetting. The reference to Melchizedek in scripture is clearly a reference to Christ's eternal Deity. So, a physical 'arising', an eternal priesthood, and .. . . . . a humanity to also consider.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 30, 2023 at 20:37
  • see additions in my answer
    – SLM
    Oct 1, 2023 at 18:43

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