God made many promises that are now fulfilled and others yet to be fulfilled. But He always gets around to fulfilling them, no matter how long it takes. One in particular involves a curse and explains why Jesus is a direct blood-descendant of King David but not of Solomon.
After Solomon dedicated the Temple, God reminded him, “If you walk before Me . . . in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father” (1 Ki. 9:4–5).
In what we now call the Davidic Covenant, God promised David, “Your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Sam. 7:16). If Solomon expected to enjoy the same blessing, he had to obey God.
Yet, despite all his wisdom and prosperity, Solomon allowed his heart to be swayed by his love for “many foreign women” (1 Ki. 11:1). So, God “became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice” (v. 9).
As punishment, God promised to rip the kingdom from his hand, which occurred under Solomon’s son Rehoboam and resulted in the divided kingdom. Yet David’s throne remains established forever, just as God promised—David’s throne, not Solomon’s. This is an important distinction because it affects the future rule of Jesus Christ on Earth and demonstrates how precisely God fulfills His promises.
Approximately 334 years after Solomon died (ca. 931 BC), 18-year-old Jehoiachin ascended the throne (ca. 597 BC). He is also called Coniah and Jeconiah. Jehoiachin was an evil man and a wicked king. He reigned merely three months before he was exiled to Babylon, never to return.
But in those three months, he so angered God that the Lord cursed Jehoiachin and all his descendants: “Write this man down as childless, . . . for none of his descendants shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling anymore in Judah” (Jer. 22:30).
Not only was Jehoiachin’s throne not established, but none of his heirs would ever rule over Judah or Israel. His bloodline bore the legal rights to David’s throne, but it also bore the curse.
So how could Jesus—David’s greater Son and long-expected Messiah—prosper on David’s throne if the bloodline through the kings of Judah was cursed?
Here is the answer. Two lineages of Jesus are recorded in the New Testament. The first is Matthew 1:1–17. The second is Luke 3:23–38. The first shows Jesus is the legal heir to David’s throne, as it traces the line of kings from David through Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. This line involves both Solomon and Jehoiachin. But Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit. So He had no earthly, paternal bloodline.
Luke’s account has similarities but also several key omissions: Solomon and Jehoiachin are absent. Instead, Nathan is mentioned (v. 31). Nathan was Solomon’s younger brother, whom David also had with Bathsheba. Luke traces Jesus’ bloodline through Mary, Jesus’ mother. She, too, was of the house and lineage of King David. But she did not descend from Solomon or Jehoiachin. Wrote Bible scholar Charles Ryrie,
Luke traces Jesus’ physical descent back through Mary and Nathan to David, bypassing Jeconiah’s line and showing accurately the fulfillment of this prophecy of Jeremiah. If Jesus had been born only in the line of Joseph (and thus of Jeconiah), He would not have been qualified to reign on the throne of David in the Millennium.1
So, God was able to keep His promise to David while also keeping His promise never to establish Solomon’s throne. Jesus, David’s direct heir, will sit on David’s throne and prosper; and His Kingdom will be established forever.
- Charles Caldwell Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible (ESV) (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2011), n Jer. 22:30, 903.