(12) Jechonias begat Salathiel.—We come here into a cluster of genealogical difficulties. (1) The natural impression left by Jeremiah 22:30 is that Coniah (or Jechonias) died childless, or, at least, left no descendants who came to rule as Zerubbabel did; (2) In the genealogy given by St. Luke (Luke 3:27), Salathiel is named as the son of Neri; (3) In 1Chronicles 3:17-19, Salathiel is the son of Assir, the son of Jeconiah, and Zerubbabel the son of Pedaiah, the brother of Salathiel. It is not easy to see our way through these difficulties; but the most probable solution is that Assir was the only son of Jeconiah, and died without issue before his father; that the line of Solomon thus came to an end, and that the descendants of Nathan, another son of David, took their place in the succession, and were reckoned, as by adoption, as the sons of the last survivor of the other line. The practice is, it may be noted, analogous to that which prevails among Indian princes, and in other Eastern nations. (Comp. Note on Luke 3:23-38.)
Matthew 1:12. And after they were brought to Babylon — After the Babylonish captivity commenced, Jechonias begat Salathiel — It is here objected, that God said concerning this Jeconiah, called also Coniah, Jeremiah 22:30, Write ye this man childless: How then did he beget Salathiel? This objection is easily answered, for that verse, (where see the note,) expounds itself: it being added, a man that shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah. The expression, therefore, manifestly means, without a child that shall actually succeed in the kingdom: for the text itself supposes that he should have seed, but none that should prosper, sitting on the throne of David and ruling in Judah: which is according to the sacred history, (2 Chronicles 36.,) for the king of Babylon set up Zedekiah, his uncle, in his stead, who was the last king of Judah, in the 11th year of whose reign the Jews were carried away captive. Salathiel begat Zorobabel — Here is another difficulty: for, 1 Chronicles 3:19, we read, The sons of Pedaiah were Zerubbabel and Shimei: now if Zerubbabel was the son of Pedaiah, how could he be the son of Salathiel? In answer to this, let it be observed, 1st, that Salathiel might die without issue, and Pedaiah, his brother, might marry his widow, (according to the law of God, Deuteronomy 25:5,) to raise up seed to his brother. Zerubbabel, being the fruit of this marriage, would of course be called the son of Salathiel and the son of Pedaiah. Or, secondly, there might be two persons of the name of Zerubbabel; one the son of Salathiel, and the other the son of his brother Pedaiah. This seems very likely, considering that the word Zerubbabel signifies a stranger in Babylon, a name which very probably would be given to several children born in the captivity. Be this as it may, the Zerubbabel here mentioned was that illustrious person who was the chief instrument of restoring and settling the Jewish commonwealth, on their return from captivity.