The baptism of repentance.--See Notes on Matthew 3:1-11, and Mark 1:4-6. In his description of the Baptism, St. Luke agrees verbally with the latter.
(3) Going upward from Zerubbabel and Salathiel, which are common to both genealogies, we come again across a different succession--St. Luke leading us to Nathan as the son of David, and St. Matthew to Solomon. Here again we have in St. Luke twenty-two generations from Salathiel to David, inclusive, while in St. Matthew we have but sixteen.
(3) There is, in the appearance in St. Matthew's list of Jeconias (as in 1 Chronicles 3:17), and in St. Luke's of Neri, as the father of Salathiel, a problem to be solved; but an adequate, though necessarily conjectural, solution is not far to seek. To assume that the Salathiel of the one list is not identical with that in the other, is to cut the knot instead of disentangling it. But it may be noticed that in the earlier registers connected with the name of the historical Salathiel, father of the Zerubbabel who was the leader of the Jews on their return from Babylon, there is an obvious complication. In 1 Chronicles 3:19, Zerubbabel is the son of Pedaiah, the brother of Salathiel. The language in Jeremiah 22:30 at least suggests the thought that Jeconiah died without an heir. What seems probable accordingly is that the royal line descended from Solomon, expired in Jeconiah, and that Salathiel, the son of Neri, the representative of the line of Nathan, took his place in the line of inheritance. It is not without significance that in the contemporary prophecy of Zechariah, the house of Nathan appears, for the first time in the history of Judah, as invested with a special pre-eminence (Zechariah 12:12). The difference in the number of the names admits of the same explanation as before.
Preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins: this was the work and office of John, as signified by Elias, in Malachi 4:5 the Jews say (n),
"the Israelites will not repent, till Elias comes; as it is said, Malachi 4:5 in the land of Israel repentance delights.''
John came into this land, preaching this doctrine; See Gill on Mark 1:4.
(n) Pirke Eliezer, c. 44.