genealogy in Matthew 1

Genealogies play an important role among many of Indonesian language groups and it’s important to follow the right format to make them recognizable as such. Daniel Arichea explains (in The Bible Translator 1986. p. 232ff. ):

“In translating the genealogies, we need to pay attention to the standard form of genealogical lists in the language of translation. Among the Bataks, it was discovered after some research that the genealogies are recorded in the form of a list of ancestors. Furthermore, this list almost always starts from the ancestor and goes down to the descendants. This seems to be true also for many other Indonesian groups, although there are some variations. For the genealogies to have meaning among the Bataks and other groups of similar cultures, these genealogies must be in a form which is appropriate.

“In Matthew 1:2-16, the biblical form is strange to many Indonesians. (…) The second edition of the Common Language Indonesian New Testament (Alkitab dalam Bahasa Indonesia Masa Kini) discarded the biblical form and came out with a series of ancestral lists. (…) When this was tested, however, many Indonesians did not recognize these lists as genealogical lists, but saw them simply as a list of names. In the light of such reactions, the new edition which is included in the recently published common language Bible has printed these lists as genealogical lists moving downward from the ancestors to the descendants. Thus, verse 2 reads: “From Abraham until David, the names of the ancestors of Jesus are as follows” [which is then followed by a list].”

You can see this in the following screen capture (available right here ):

In the Kölsch translation (publ. 2017), the genealogy is summarized: “From Abraham to David there were fourteen generations. There were another fourteen generations from David until the Jews were deported to Babylon and from Babylon to Jesus there were yet another fourteen generations. This shows that Joseph (Jupp), Mary’s husband, was a descendant of Abraham and David.” (Translation: Jost Zetzsche)