As you read the opening of Matthew, it is absolutely impossible to overlook the giant list of names. I believe this giant list of people is called a genealogy. Why a genealogical opening? Well that is an entirely different question all together. I decided to be a math nerd (yes some of us literary geeks can crunch numbers too) and look at the numerical significance. In Matthew 1:17 we are told that “that all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, and from David to deportation are fourteen generations, and from deportation to Christ to the Christ are fourteen generations. Why fourteen? Why not the obvious biblical important number seven? Since I have never heard of fourteen being significant I did what we do with all questions in our tech savvy world; I “googled” it. According to Bible.org, fourteen represents the sovereignty of God. “For Matthew this three times fourteen said order, harmony, and meaning. When Matthew looks back over the history of the old people of God and sees fourteen generations between key periods in the people’s history – between Abraham, David, Exile, and the Christ – he is impressed, in a word, with the sovereignty of God. Behind, under, above, and through all the chaos, sin, and rebellion of Israel’s up-and-down history, God was working his purpose out as year succeeds to year. To the human participants in this history, things did not look too orderly. But when one looks back on Old Testament history through the lens that the history of Jesus Christ offers, one sees that God’s hand was steady and sure, … Three times fourteen means the sovereignty of God.” I really enjoyed this interpretation. It shows that Matthew made a point for the organization. This was not an accident. Matthew had to skip generations to make this genealogy as uniform as it is. According tohttp://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt13.html ,” there are only thirteen generations in the first set, but Matthew may have intended the unmentioned generation of Abraham as the fourteenth. In the second set four known historical generations have been left out, and in the third set there are only thirteen generations. Brown thinks that four generations in the second set had been accidentally omitted earlier by a copyist of Matthew’s source, and Matthew did not realize this in making his count (p. 75). The third set, according to Brown, is plainly one of thirteen generations, but Matthew may have implicitly intended the omitted generation of Jechoniah (and Joakim begot Joachin [Jechoniah]) at the end of the second set.” Why leave out generations? Why this uniformity? As mentioned on the Bible.org website, a possible explanation is that Matthew was trying to show that through the chaos of the old testament, there was always a uniform plan set up by God that would lead to a savior. This theory still does not explain the idea of fourteen being an important number.
According to http://www.biblestudy.org/bibleref/meaning-of-numbers-in-bible/14.html “The number 14 represents deliverance or salvation”. The first deliverance with special significance to the Jews was that the fourteenth day of the first month was the Passover. The Passover is a celebration to commemorate the Jews’ freedom from slavery. Secondly, the most important freedom of the christian faith is the freedom from sin. According to Romans 8:1-2, Christians are set free from their sin through Christ. And according to Biblestudy.org, Christ was crucified on the fourteenth day of the first month in 30 AD. Now that we have established the importance of the number fourteen to the christian faith, my next question is why use this number in the genealogy? First of the all, the genealogy is of Christ, who is the prophesied savior and the ending of the need for the Jewish faith and the need for the beginning of the christian faith. He literally bridges these two faiths and so does the number fourteen. As stated earlier it was the date of the Passover and the day of the crucifixion, the number fourteen was already a representation of freedom for the Jews and would become one for the Christians after Christ’s death. Therefore it is my belief that Matthew used this number fourteen to bring together the beliefs of two religious groups and to further prove that Christ was the answer to all the prophesies of the old testament.