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David, Mary as Descendant of

David, Mary as Descendant of

Q: Is Mary a descendant of David?

A: In both genealogies of Jesus, one in Matthew 1.6, the other in Luke 3.31, the ancestry of David is mentioned ... for Jesus. Further, it was common knowledge and expectation for New Testament times and writings that the Messiah would be of the House of David. Joseph is clearly pointed out as descendant of David in both genealogies. On the other hand, New Testament sources are silent about Mary's descendance from David. However, through her marriage with Joseph she enters his family and legally becomes, she and her son Jesus, a part of the House of David. This is not exactly what we mean by Davidic descendance. Again, important passages of the Old Testament such as Jer. 11,1.10; Jer. 23.5, and Ps 132.11 indicate Jesus' Davidic lineage and thus suggest that Mary, too, was of the same. What seems to corroborate this is that according to custom the bridegroom (Joseph) would choose his bride (Mary) from among the women of his own tribe. This explanation would then be in accordance with the fact that Jesus' origin is not human but divine, i.e., without the cooperation of Joseph. Post-biblical tradition sees in Mary a descendant of David from early times on: Tertullian (+after 220) (De carne Christi 21, PL 2, 833) is first, but there is also Ambrose, Jerome, Hesichius of Jerusalem, Pope Leo the Great, and, most explicitly, Paschasius Radbertus (+ 859) (Exp. in Matthaeum, lib. 1, cap. 1, PL 120, 77-80, 89) ... among others. In the Litanies of Loreto we find the advocation "Tower of David," meaning Mary is compared to a not further known building of old Jerusalem used in the Song of Songs to describe the beauty of the bride(4,4).

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