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The Curse of Coniah

David’s throne, but not his seed, would pass through Solomon. Something happened that disqualified Solomon’s bloodline from reigning in Israel. None of his family could reign, but his royal right as firstborn son would continue. Two places in scripture, and only two, give us the genealogical record of the king who is to reign over Israel. One is found in Matthew (the royal line), the other in Luke (the legal line). Only one man in God’s universe meets the requirements established in these two places: the Lord Jesus Christ.  

God quietly slipped into this world through the womb of a young virgin named Mary. The instant that deity touched humanity, a miracle was produced that was equaled only by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Mary gave birth to her firstborn son, the God-man. He was perfectly human and yet perfectly God. Since the sin nature is passed through the father, the new babe did not inherit the Adamic sin because his mother was a virgin.

Why Mary? Amazingly, as God would have it, flowing in her veins was the genetic imprint of her great-grandfather, King David. Every king must have the proper bloodline, and King Jesus was no exception. It was not mere chance that this young virgin and a carpenter named Joseph came together as husband and wife. To reign as King, Jesus Christ had to come from the Jewish tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10). Joseph and Mary both were from Judah.

Jesus had to have both the legal right, the proper bloodline and the royal right, as the firstborn son of said bloodline, to David’s throne. The bloodline for the right to the throne began with Abraham, proceeded through Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and eventually to David. The royal right involved being the firstborn son of the proper bloodline coming through David and Solomon, David’s firstborn.

One of the most amazing glimpses into God’s grace happened within the genealogical line of King Jesus. God pronounced a curse on a certain king and all his descendants. God had sent his prophet Jeremiah to King Jehoiakim with a written indictment against the nation of Israel. This document spelled out the nation’s sin against God, asking for a repentance and a return to God. King Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah did neither. He tore up the document and threw it into the fire.  Because of this act, God said that no seed of Jehoiakim would ever rule in Israel again (Jeremiah 36:23–31).

One just does not tamper with the Word of the living God. God declared that neither Jehoiakim’s son, Coniah (also called Jeconiah and Jehoachin), nor any of his descendants would ever rule on the throne of Israel (Jer. 22:28–30). Just before Jeconiah’s descendants were to come to the throne, the Babylonians took Judah into a captivity that lasted seventy years.None of Coniah’s descendants ever ruled.

The curse appears seemingly benign until we read Christ’s kingly genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew. Jeconiah’s name is there! Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon (Matthew 1:2, 11). The cursed king was in the line of King Jesus. During Israel’s stay in Babylon, sons were born to Jeconiah, but none ever ruled in Israel. The royal line ended with a firstborn son named Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth (Matthew 1:16). Joseph had the royal right to the throne of Israel as the firstborn son in the line of Judah, but he had become ineligible from ruling because of the curse of Coniah. None of Joseph’s biological sons could rule. Was God caught by His own judgmental decision? No, He had an incredible plan.

David had other sons; one was Nathan. Reading Nathan’s family tree backward from Luke 3:23, we notice that his family line is basically the same as Matthew’s, until we get to David in verse 31 (Luke 3:29–31). After David, the line takes a strange twist. David’s firstborn, Solomon, is clearly bypassed, and so is Jeconiah. Instead, this bloodline went through another of David’s sons, Nathan. Where did Nathan’s line end? It ended abruptly with a man named Heli. “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli”(Luke 3:23).

The text indicates that Joseph was the son of Heli. He was, in fact, Heli’s son-in-law. It was customary for Jews to call their sons-in-law “sons.” Jewish historians tell us that Heli had no sons, but that he had three daughters. One of his daughters was named Mary. In God’s sovereign plan, Mary had the legal, uncorrupted right to the throne of Israel, but not the royal firstborn son right. Mary fell in love with a carpenter from Nazareth named Joseph who had that firstborn son royal right.

Jesus Christ became both the legal and royal heir to the throne of Israel. The only official record we have to document the genealogical right to the throne of Israel is the Bible. The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ alone has both the legal and royal right to the throne of Israel – to this very day. Remarkable!


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