Matthew 1

Commentary:

1    The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

Saint Irenaeus said: “John knew the one and the same Word of God, and that He was the only begotten, and that He became incarnate for our salvation . . . Matthew, too, recognizing one and the same Jesus Christ, exhibiting his generation as a man from the Virgin, even as God did promise David that He would raise up from the fruit of his body an eternal King, having made the same promise to Abraham a long time previously, says: ‘The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham’” (Adv. Haer.: Bk. III, Ch. XVI).

2    Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.

Abraham begot Isaac: It is written, “These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac” (Gen. 25:19).

Isaac begot Jacob: It is written, “Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as wife . . . when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. The first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. After, his brother came out, and his hand grasped Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob” (Gen. 25:20-26).

Jacob begot Judah and his brothers: It is written, “These are the sons of Israel (Jacob): Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher” (1 Chr. 2:1).

3    Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram.

Judah begot Perez: It is written, “[Judah’s] daughter-in-law, Tamar, also bore him Perez and Zerah” (1 Chr. 2:4).

Perez begot Hezron: It is written, “The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul” (1 Chr. 2:5).

Hezron begot Ram: It is written, “Also the sons of Hezron who were born to him were Jerahmeel, Ram, and Chelubai” (1 Chr. 2:9).

4    Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon.

Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon: It is written, “Ram begot Amminadab, and Amminadab begot Nahshon, leader of the children of Judah” (1 Chr. 2:10).

Nahshon begot Salmon: It is written, “Nahshon begot Salma” (1 Chr. 2:11).

5    Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,

Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab: It is written, “Salma begot Boaz” (1 Chr. 2:11).

Boaz begot Obed by Ruth: It is written, “Boaz begot Obed” (1 Chr. 2:12).

Obed begot Jesse: It is written, “Obed begot Jesse” (1 Chr. 2:12).

6    and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her [who was the wife] of Uriah.

Jesse begot David the king: It is written, “Jesse begot Eliab his firstborn, Abinadab the second, Shimea the third, Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, Ozem the sixth, and David the seventh” (1 Chr. 2:13-15).

David the king begot Solomon: It is written, “Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon” (2 Sam. 12:24).

7    Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa.

It is written, “Solomon’s son, Rehoboam; Abijah, his son; Asa, his son” (1 Chr. 3:10).

8    Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Azariah.

Asa begot Jehoshaphat: It is written, “Asa . . . Jehoshaphat, his son” (1 Chr. 3:10).

Jehoshaphat begot Joram: It is written, “Jehoshaphat . . . Joram, his son” (1 Chr. 3:10-11).

Joram begot Azariah: It is written, “Joram . . . Ahaziah, his son; Joash, his son; Amaziah, his son; Azariah, his son” (1 Chr. 3:11-12).

9    Azariah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah.

Azariah begot Jotham: It is written, “Azariah . . . Jotham, his son” (1 Chr. 3:12).

Jotham begot Ahaz: It is written, “Jotham . . . Ahaz, his son” (1 Chr. 3:12-13).

Ahaz begot Hezekiah: It is written, “Ahaz . . . Hezekiah, his son” (1 Chr. 3:13).

10    Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah.

Hezekiah begot Manasseh: It is written, “Hezekiah . . . Manasseh, his son” (1 Chr. 3:13).

Manasseh begot Amon: It is written, “Manasseh . . . Amon his son” (1 Chr. 3:13-14).

Amon begot Josiah: It is written, “Amon . . . Josiah his son” (1 Chr. 3:14).

11    Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.

Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers: It is written, “The sons of Josiah: Johanan, the firstborn; the second, Jehoiakim; the third, Zedekiah; and the fourth, Shallum. The sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, and Zedekiah his son” (1 Chr. 3:15-16).

12    And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel.

Jeconiah begot Shealtiel: It is written, “The sons of Jeconiah the prisoner: Shealtiel his son” (1 Chr. 3:17).

Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel: Zerubbabel was the grandson of Shealtiel. It is written, “The sons of Jeconiah the prisoner: . . . Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah. The sons of Pedaiah: Zerubbabel and Shimei” (1 Chr. 3:17) and “Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel” (Ezra 3:2).

13    Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor.

14    Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud.

15    Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob.

16    And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

Joseph the husband of Mary: Saint Augustine said, “She is called his wife because of her first troth of betrothal, although he had had no carnal knowledge of her, nor was destined to have. The designation of wife was neither destroyed nor made untrue, where there never had been, nor was meant to be, any carnal connection” (On Marriage & Concupiscence, Bk. I, Ch. XII).

of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ: Saint Augustine said, “Thus then by the order and succession of fathers and forefathers, Christ is found to be the Son of David, and the Son of Abraham” (Sers. on Sel. Lessons of the N.T., Ser. I).

17    So all the generations from Abraham to David, fourteen generations; from David until the captivity in Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the captivity in Babylon until the Messiah, fourteen generations.

These three periods, each of 14 generations, are said, by St. Clement of Alexandria, to be “three mystic intervals completed in six weeks” (Strom., Bk. I, Ch. XXI).

18    Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

The birth of Jesus Christ: God took upon Himself human flesh, entering into the world, being born from a woman. As it is written, “The Word (Λόγος) became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14).

After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together: Not implying that they ever had marital relations after Jesus’ birth, but simply stating that from a certain time until another certain time, they did not know each other.

she was found with child of the Holy Spirit: God does all things, by His Spirit, in His wisdom; the Father, by His Spirit, in His Wisdom, made a soul and body for His own indwelling. As it is said of Christ in the Nicene Creed, that He “was made incarnate by the Holy Spirit, and of the Virgin Mary.”

19    Then Joseph her husband, being just, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately.

not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately: St. Joseph, at the time, falsely believed that his wife, Mary, had committed adultery and become pregnant by another man. But, because he was a righteous and merciful man, he found it proper to divorce her privately, not making it a public matter, lest she be stoned and/or condemned.

20    But, while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife: 

that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit: 

21    And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name ‘Jesus,’ for He will save His people from their sins.”

you shall call His name ‘Jesus,’ for He will save His people from their sins: Jesus’ Hebrew name is “יהושע” (which, translated literally, is “Joshua”), which means, “God is salvation.” We say, in English, “Jesus,” which is a transliteration of the Greek name, “Ἰησοῦς,” also literally translated as “Joshua.” His name is not translated, but transliterated, into English, to distinguish Him from Joshua the Prophet. In isopsephy, the numerical value for Jesus’ name is 888.

22    So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord, through the prophet, saying:

23    “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

As it is written, by the Prophet Isaiah: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Is. 7:14).

24    Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,

25    and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

did not know her till: From the time of their betrothal, until the birth of Jesus, St. Mary remained a virgin. This, though, does not imply that she had marital relations after; but simply that she was a virgin from a certain point, until another certain point. This is important to know, since it was prophesied that the Messiah would be born from a virgin woman.

her firstborn Son: Jesus was her firstborn son, though, this does not imply that Mary had other sons. He was her first and her last.

“If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book . . . God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).

Some scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

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