At a certain point, we are supposed to expect Mashiach to come and to fulfill various prophecies.

One of those prophecies is that he will reestablish the Davidic dynasty when he claims his title as Mashiach.

This point has always been one that I struggled with because I never understood how we were supposed to truly determine a person's line to David. After the exile, the Jewish people ended up at various corners of the earth and we traversed around for quite some time.

Families lost their records, people changed their names, Jews forgot who they were and where they came from.

While DNA has changed the nature of discovering someone's family line, we lack the physical remains of David to make a determination. Even if we had such remains, I don't see how one could collect DNA without violating the sanctity of his remains.

My question is simple, besides just comparing this individual's qualities with those described for Mashiach, how would we truly determine if someone's family line goes back to the line of King David?

Is there a process planned out or is it one of those issues we won't really be able to address until a revelation at a later time in the future?

  • There are people with active traditions of patrilineal davidic descent. Not that many that you would know a bunch of them like you know a bunch of Kohanim, but they're out there. Not everyone is as mixed up as most.
    – Double AA
    Sep 17, 2018 at 2:09
  • 1
    If he comes and fulfills all the other stuff like world peace, gathering the exiles, building the mikdash etc. I will take his word on the lineage thing. And if he says he isn't sure, I will take him just the same. :) Sep 17, 2018 at 4:49
  • I also heard that some of the righteous will be resurrected then when Moshiach comes, in the early times, before the masses are resurrected. Presumably, many of his ancestors will rise from the dead and then they can witness their family tree for him. Sep 17, 2018 at 4:52
  • @DoubleAA Are you talking about, for example, rabbinical families (and others) descended from the Baal Shem Tov? ...Or others still?
    – SAH
    Sep 17, 2018 at 10:03
  • @sah I wasn't aware the Baal Shem Tov claimed to be a direct patrilineal descendant of david
    – Double AA
    Sep 17, 2018 at 12:15

1 Answer 1


The common approach is that it will become self-evident (see Rambam Melachim 11).

"If a king will arise from the House of David who diligently contemplates the Torah and observes its mitzvot as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law as David, his ancestor, will compel all of Israel to walk in (the way of the Torah) and rectify the breaches in its observance, and fight the wars of God, we may, with assurance, consider him Mashiach.

If he succeeds in the above, builds the Temple in its place, and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he is definitely the Mashiach."

The keyword you used here is "truly" and it's tricky. As Rambam notes, only after Mashiach performs what's on his list incl building the Temple, we know self-evidently that he's the Mashiach.

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