Matthew 1
ICC New Testament Commentary
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.



1:1-17. His Genealogy

(E) 1:1. Book of the generation of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham.] βίβλος γενέσεως is clearly borrowed from Genesis 2:4a LXX. So far as the Hebrew of that passage is concerned, “These are the generations,” etc., would seem to close the preceding section. But it is probable that the LXX. translator connected it rather with 2:4b-4:26. This section contains J’s narratives of the creation of man, of the garden, of the Fall, of the birth of Cain and Abel, and of the descendants of Cain down to Lamech; ending with the births of Seth and of his son. γένεσις here, therefor covers the genealogy of mankind from Adam to Seth, and includes a good deal of narrrative-matter relating to this period. In Genesis 5:1 βίβλος γενέσεως occur again, and here covers the genealogy of Adam as far as Japheth (5:32), with an appended history containing an account of the wickedness of men in the days of Noah (6:1-8). In 6:9 occurs the shorter superscription αὗται δὲ αἱ γενέσεις Νῶε, introducing the account of the Flood, 6:9-9:29. In 10:1 αὗται δὲ αἱ γενέσεις τῶν υἱῶν Νῶε introduces a list of the descendants of Noah, with an appended narrative of the tower of Babel (11:1-9). In 11:10 αὗται αἱ γενέσεις Σήμ introduces a list of the descendants of that Patriarch to Terah; and in 11:27 a similar formula ushers in the descendants of Terah. It is therefore clear that to a Jewish Christian writer acquainted with the LXX., ἡ βίβλος γενέσεως, or αὗται αἱ γενέσεις, was a biblical phrase which might be used to describe a narrative containing, as in the case of Noah, a list of descendants, and some account of the life of the person named. In strict analogy we should expect βίβλος γενέσεως Ἀβραάμ. But, since for the editor the main interest centred in the person of Christ rather than of Abraham, it was not unnatural for him to depart from literary usage in this respect. It seems probable that the title should be taken as covering not the whole Gospel, but only that portion of it which gives Christ’s ancestry and the circumstances of His birth and childhood.

Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.] This collocation is rare in the Synoptic Gospels. It occurs here, 1:18? 16:21? Mark 1:1 only. Also in John 1:17, John 17:3 Χριστός has become a proper name, and lost its adjectival force. For the history of Χριστός as a Messianic title, see Dalm. Words, 289 ff.—υἱοῦ Δαυείδ] For “Son of David” as a title of the Messiah, see Dalm. Words, 319 ff.—υἱοῦ Ἀβραάμ] Cf. Hebrews 2:16 σπέρματος Ἀβραὰμ ἐπιλαμβάνεται. The descent of the Messiah from Abraham is emphasised in Test. Lev_8. Cf. Volz, Jüd. Eschat. 216.

The genealogy which follows was probably compiled by the editor for the purpose of his Gospel. (a) In accordance with this purpose he carries back the genealogy to Abraham, the first founder of the Jewish race. (b) He inserts details which are out of place in a strict genealogy, but which are in harmony with the theme of his Gospel, e.g. ἐκ τῆς Θάμαρ, v. 3; ἐκ τῆς Ῥαχάβ, v. 4; ἐκ τῆς Ῥούθ, v. 5; ἐκ τῆς τοῦ Οὐρίου, v. 6. These names are probably introduced as those of women, in whose case circumstances were overruled by the divine providence which, as it might have seemed, should have excluded them from a place in the ancestral line of the Messiah. They were in a sense forerunners of the Virgin Mary. (c) The division into three groups of fourteen names also has its purpose. In David the family rose to royal power (Δαυεὶδ τὸν βασιλέα, v. 6). At the Captivity it lost it again. In the Christ it regained it.

For the names in the genealogy the compiler naturally had recourse to the Old Testament so far as that availed him. He appears to have used the LXX. text.

V. 2 comes from 1 Chronicles 1:34, 1 Chronicles 2:1, v. 3 from 1 Chronicles 2:4, 1 Chronicles 2:5, 1 Chronicles 2:9, vv. 4-6a from 1 Chronicles 2:10-13, vv. 6b-11 from 1 Chronicles 3:5, 1 Chronicles 3:10-15 vv. 12, 13 to Ζοροβάβελ from 1 Chronicles 3:17-19. The names in vv. 13-16 come from an unknown source, probably from information received from Christ’s relations.

(E) 2. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judah and his brethren.] Ἀβραὰμ ἐγέννησε τὸν Ἰσαάκ, from 1 Chronicles 1:34 καὶ ἐγέννησεν Ἀβραὰμ τὸν Ἰσαάκ. In the next clause Ἰακώβ comes from 1 Chronicles 1:34, where the Heb. has “Israel.” This is at the outset a hint that the compiler is using the LXX. rather than the Hebrew.—Ἰούδαν καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ] The compiler borrows Ἰουδά from 1 Chronicles 2:1, and then summarises the brethren whose names are there given as τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ. The fact that he mentions the brethren at all suggests that he has this verse in Chronicles before him.

(E) 3. And Judah begat Phares and Zara from Tamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram.] Clause a is from 1 Chronicles 2:4 καὶ Θαμάρ ἡ νύμφη αὐτοῦ ἔτεκεν αὐτῷ τὸν Φάρες καὶ τὸν Ζαρὰ. The fact that the compiler adds καὶ τὸν Ζαρὰ ἐκ τῆς Θάμαρ, which is quite superfluous in a genealogy proper, shows that he had 1 Chronicles 2:4 before him. Ζαρά is the Septuagintal form of זֶרַח. On the editor’s special reason for mentioning Tamar, see above.—Ἑσρώμ] In 1 Chronicles 2:9 B has Ἑσερών, A Luc. Ἑσρώμ. In 1 Chronicles 2:5 B has Ἁρσών, B a? b? Ἑσερών, A Luc. Ἑσρώμ. Elsewhere Ἑσρώμ is peculiar to A Luc., never appearing in B. Its use in Mt. shows that the compiler was using Septuagintal forms, and not trans literating the Hebrew.—Ἀράμ] In 1 Chronicles 2:9 Ἀράμ appears as a son of Ἑσρώμ.

(E) 4. And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon.]—Ἀράμ] In 1 Chronicles 2:10 B has Ἀρράν, but A Luc. Ἀράμ.—Ἀμιναδάβ] In 1 Chronicles 2:10 B has Ἀμειναδάβ, but A Luc. Ἀμιναδάβ. Ναασσών and Σαλμών come from 1 Chronicles 2:10, 1 Chronicles 2:11. They are the Septuagintal forms of נַחְשׁוֹן and שַׂלְמָא.

(E) 5. And Naasson begat Boes from Rahab; and Boes begat Iobed from Ruth; and Iobed begat Jessai.]—Βόοζ] In 1 Chronicles 2:11, 1 Chronicles 2:12 B has Βόος, but A Luc. βόοζ.—ἐκ τῆς Ῥαχάβ] For the insertion, see on v. 1. Ῥαχάβ is not a Septuagintal form. This version uniformly has Ῥαάβ However, Josephus has ἡ Ῥαχάβη or Ῥαάβη, Ant. v. 8, 11, 15. The editor adopts here a form which represents the Hebrew more nearly than Ῥαάβ. Ἰωβήδ and Ἰεσσαί are the Septuagintal forms of עוֹבד and יִשַׁי or אִישׁי. They come from 1 Chronicles 2:12, where B has Ὠβήδ and A Ἰωβήδ.

(E) 6. And Jessai begat David the king.] The insertion of “the king,” which was perhaps suggested by ἐβασίλευσεν, 1 Chronicles 3:4 or by Ruth 4:22 LXX. A, marks the close of the first division of the genealogy. At this point the family obtained royal power. Δαυείδ is the Septuagintal form. For τὸν βασιλέα, cf. also Jos. Ant. v. ix. 4:—“From Obed came Jessai, and from him David the king (ὁ βασιλεύσας), and left the sovereignty to his sons for twenty-one generations. I thought it necessary to recount the history of Ruth, because I wished to show the power of God, that He can advance even the ignoble to splendid dignity; such as that to which He brought David, though born of such parents.”

6, 7. And David begat Solomon from the wife of Uriah; and Solomon begat Roboam.] 1 Chronicles 3:5, 1 Chronicles 3:10.—Σολομῶνα] The LXX. A B has Σαλωμών, Luc. Σαλομών, Josephus Σολομών. Ῥοβοόμ is the Septuagintal form.—ἐκ τῆς τοῦ Οὐρείου] Perhaps suggested to the editor by 1 Chronicles 3:5. For the insertion of a woman’s name, see on v. 1. Οὐρείου is the Septuagintal form.

(E) 7, 8. And Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asaph; and Asaph begat Joshaphat; and Joshaphat begai Joram.] Cf. 1 Chronicles 3:10, 1 Chronicles 3:11.—Ἀβιά] LXX. A B has Ἀβειά, Luc. Ἀβιά. Josephus Ἀβίας.—Ἀσάφ] In 1 Ch. LXX. A B Luc. has Ἀσά, Josephus Ἄσανος. But Ἀσάφ is a Septuagintal form. See Burkitt, Evangelion Da-Mepharreshe, 203. Ἰωσαφάτ and Ἰωράμ are Septuagintal forms. Josephus has Ἰωσάφατος and Ἰώραμος.

(E) 8, 9. And Joram begat Ozias; and Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Ahaz; and Ahaz begat Hezekias.] Cf. 1 Chronicles 3:11, 1 Chronicles 3:12. Joram begat Ozias. Commentators usually note that Mt. has here omitted three kings, Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah. But this is not the case. 1 Chronicles 3:11 records that Ὀζειά was the son of Joram. That is to say, Mt. follows the LXX. of the Chronicles. Mt. continues: Ὀζείας δὲ ἐγέννησε τὸν Ἰωάθαμ. The Chronicler LXX. has Ἰωὰς υἱὸς αὐτοῦ, Ἀμασίας υἱὸς αὐτοῦ, Ἀζαριὰ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ, Ἰωαθὰν υἱὸς αὐτοῦ. That is to say, Mt. has omitted not Ahaziah = Ὀζείας, Joash, and Amaziah, but Joash, Amaziah, and Azariah = Uzziah. The reason must be sought in 1 Chronicles 3:11 LXX. The son of Joram is there called Ὀζειά. Now for Ahaziah the LXX. generally has Ὀχοζείας, whilst Ὀζειά is generally the equivalent of Uzziah, e.g. 2 Chronicles 26:3ff. Ὀζειά in 1 Chronicles 3:11 is possibly a mistake. Mt. as he copied it seems naturally enough to have connected it with Uzziah, and so to have passed on to this king’s son, Jotham, thus omitting unconsciously the three intervening kings. Or the copy of the LXX. which he followed may have made the omission for the same reason.—Ὀζείας] The Septuagintal forms are Ὀζειά, B; Ὀζίας, A Luc.—Ἰωαθάμ] The LXX. A B has Ἰωαθάν, but Luc. Ἰωθάς.—Ἄχαζ] The LXX. A B has Ἄχας, but Luc. Ἄχαζ. Ἐζεκίας is the LXX. form.

(E) 10. And Hezekiah begat Manasseh; and Manasseh begat Amos; and Amos begat Josiah.]—Μανασσῆς] So LXX. Josephus.—Ἰωσείας] LXX. A B has Ἰωσειά, but Luc. Ἰωσίας; so Josephus.—Ἀμώς] LXX. B has Ἀμνών, A1? Ba b Ἀμώς, Josephus, Ἄμωσος or Ἀμμών.

(E) 11. And Josiah begat Jechoniah and his brethren, at the time of the captivity into Babylon.] καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ is inserted because in 1 Chronicles 3:15, the names of the brethren of Jehoiakim are recorded just as the same words occur in v. 2, because the brethren of Judah are registered in 1 Chronicles 2:1.

The verse as it stands gives rise to great difficulties, because Jehoiakim has been omitted. But the text must be corrupt. As it stands there are only thirteen names in the third division, beginning with Salathiel. And this is impossible in view of v. 17. If we suppose that Ἰεχονίαν in v. 11 is a corruption for Ἰωακείμ, everything is plain.1 The καὶ τούς ἀδελφούς is then due to 1 Chronicles 3:15 where the names of Jehoiakim’s brethren are given.—ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας] μετοικεσία, a rare word. It occurs ten times in the LXX., besides only Anth. P. 7. 731. The mention of the Captivity closes the second division of the genealogy. In the generation of Jechoniah the family lost the royal power to which it had risen in the person of David.

(E) 12. And after the captivity into Babylon, Jechoniah begat Sala thiel.] From 1 Chronicles 3:17.

(E) 12, 13. And Salathiel begat Zorobabel; and Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim.] In 1 Chronicles 3:19 the Hebrew represents Zerubbabel as the son of Pedaiah. But the LXX. B A gives καὶ υἱοὶ Σαλαθιὴλ Ζοροβάβελ, κ.τ.λ. The editor is therefore clearly using the LXX. It seems clear that up to this point the editor has been using the LXX. of 1 Ch 1-3. For (1) the names are given in the forms of the LXX. The only apparent exceptions are Ἀσάφ and ʼΡαχάβ. The latter does not occur in 1 Ch 1-3, and the editor substitutes a traditional form for the ʼΡαάβ of the LXX. (2) Several of the details in Mt. are explained by his use of the LXX. of 1 Ch., e.g. (a) Ἰακώβ, v. 2. So LXX. 1 Chronicles 1:34, Heb. יֵשְׂרָאֵל. (b) Ἰωρὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησε τὸν Ὀζίαν (v. 9). So LXX. 1 Chronicles 3:11. (c) Σαλαθιὴλ δὲ ἐγέννησε τὸν Ζοροβάβελ (v. 13). So LXX. 1 Chronicles 3:19. Other details in the genealogy point to a use of 1 Ch. but not necessarily of the LXX. version, e.g. (a) καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ (v. 2), is explained by 1 Chronicles 2:1, 1 Chronicles 2:2; (b) καὶ τὸν Ζαρὰ ἐκ τῆς Θάμαρ (v. 3), by references to 1 Chronicles 2:4; (c) καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ (v. 11), by reference to 1 Chronicles 3:15.

For the names which follow, the editor is dependent on other information.

(E) 13, 14. And Eliakim begat Azor; and Azor begat Sadok; and Sadok begat Acheim; and Acheim begat Eliud.]

(E) 15. And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob.]

(E) 16. And Jacob begat Joseph. Joseph, to whom was espoused Mary a virgin, begat Jesus, who is called Christ.] Thus ends the third division of the genealogy. The family now regained in the Christ, the anointed King, the sovereignty which it had won in David and lost at the Captivity. There is no sufficient ground for supposing that the genealogy ever existed apart from the Gospel. The references to Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, can only be explained as due to the editor of the Gospel, who saw in the life histories of these women a divine overruling of history from which a right understanding of Mary’s virginity might be drawn. Of course these references might have been inserted by the editor of the Gospel in a genealogy which he found ready made to his hand. But the artificial arrangement into three groups of fourteen names reminds us of the not infrequent predilection for arrangements in three which runs through the entire work. Cf. the following: three incidents of Christ’s childhood, ch. 2; three incidents prior to His ministry, 3-4:11; three temptations, 4:1-11; threefold interpretation of “do not commit murder,” v. 22; three illustrations of “righteousness,” 6:1-18; three prohibitions, 6:19-7:6; three injunctions, 7:7-27; three miracles of healing, 8:1-15; three miracles of power, 8:23-9:8; three complaints of His adversaries, 9:1-17; threefold answer to question about fasting, 9:14-17; three incidents illustrating the hostility of the Pharisees, 12; three parables of sowing, 13:1-32; three sayings about “little ones,” ch. 18; three parables of prophecy, 21:28-22:14; three parables of warning, 24:32-25:30. There is, further, no ground for the widespread belief that the genealogy is in itself a proof of a belief that Christ was the natural son of Joseph and Mary. This particular genealogy contains the condemnation of such a belief. The man who could compile it and place immediately after it 1:18-25, clearly did not believe that Christ was the son of Joseph. He inserted in the genealogy the references to the women and the relative clause “to whom was betrothed Mary a virgin,” in order to anticipate vv. 18-25. In other words, ἐγέννησε throughout the genealogy denotes legal, not physical descent. He had before him two traditional facts—(a) that Christ was born of a Virgin in a supernatural manner, (b) that He was the Messiah, i.e. the Son of David. How could a Jewish Christian, indeed how could anyone, reconcile these facts otherwise than by supposing that Mary’s husband was the legal father of Christ? So non-natural a sense of fatherhood may seem strange to us, but the fact of the supernatural birth which gave rise to it is stranger. Whatever we may think of it, this was the belief of the editor of the Gospel; so that there is no ground for the widespread opinion that the existence of a genealogy of Christ is proof of an underlying belief that He was the natural son of Joseph and Mary. If the editor simply tried to give expression to the two facts which had come down to him by tradition—the fact of Christ’s supernatural birth, and the fact that He was the Davidic Messiah, and did not attempt a logical synthesis of them, who shall blame him?

(E) 17. Therefore all the generations from Abraam to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the Captivity into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the Captivity into Babylon to the Christ are fourteen generations.] The artificial character of the genealogy is obvious from this verse. The arrangement into three will be found to be characteristic of this Gospel. The grouping into three fourteens may be due to the fact that in the Hebrew name David = דוד, there are three letters, and that the numerical value of these letters Isa_4+6+4=14. “By this means the genealogy was invested with the character of a sort of numerical acrostic on the name David” (G. H. Box, Interpreter, Jan. 1906, p. 199).

The genealogy thus constructed is no mere antiquarian attempt to discover genealogical facts. The writer is interested in the question whether Jesus was legally descended from David, and believes that this was the case. But his interest in this point arises from some other than a purely antiquarian motive. The clue to this motive is furnished by the insertion of the women. Why did the compiler think it necessary to safeguard in this manner the fact of the supernatural birth and of Mary’s innocence. The reason can hardly be any other than that these things were already the ground of anti-Christian polemic on the part of the Jews. Celsus, c. a.d. 170-180, is already acquainted with the Jewish slander that Jesus was born out of wedlock; cf. Orig. Contra Celsum, i. 28, 32, 33, 39. And we may be sure that the Christian tradition of the supernatural birth which lies behind the first and third Gospels evoked Jewish slander as soon as it became known to the Jews. For the later Jewish forms of this slander cf. Laible, Jesus Christus im Talmud; Herford, Christianity in Talmud and Midrash; Krauss, Das Leben Jesu nach Jüdischen Quellen.

1:1. Δαυείδ] So א A B C D al. The LXX. has Δαυείδ or Δαυίδ; Josephus Δαυίδης or Δαβίδης.—Ἀβραάμ] So LXX. Josephus has Ἄβραμος, Αβραάμης (once), Ἀβραάμ rarely.

2. Ἰσαάκ] So LXX. Josephus Ἴσακος.—Ἰακώβ] So LXX. Josephus Ιάκωβος.—Ἰσαὰκ δέ] Om. δέ here and throughout S12.

3. Ἰούδας] LXX. has Ἰουδάς or Ἰουδά. In 1 Chronicles 2:1 Ἰουδά, B; Ἰούδας, Luc.; Ἰούδας, Josephus.—Ζαρά] B Ox Ζαρέ, LXX. Ζαρά, Josephus Ζάρασος or Ἐζελοός.—Φαρές] So LXX.; Josephus Φάρεσος.—Ἑσοώμ] LXX. has Ἑσρώμ (not B), Ἑσερών, Ἑσρών, Ἑζρών, Ἁρσών. In 1 Chronicles 2:5 Ἁρσών, B; Ἑσρών, Ba? b? mg; Ἑσρώμ, A Luc. In 1 Chronicles 2:9 Ἑσερών, B; Ἑσρών, Ba b; Ἑσρώμ, A Luc.—Ἀράμ] In 1 Chronicles 2:9 LXX. B has Ἀράμ; in v. 10 Ἀρράν, but A Luc.Ἀράμ.

4. Ἀμιναδάβ, א C al; Ἀμειναδάβ, B Δ. In 1 Chronicles 2:10 LXX. B has Ἀμειναδάβ, A Luc. Ἀμιναδάβ, Josephus Ἀμινάδαβος.—Ναασσών] So LXX.—Σαλμών] In 1 Chronicles 2:11 Heb. has שלמא, LXX. B Luc. Σαλμών, A Σαλμάν.

5. Βοές] א B Ox k; Βοός, C 33; Βοόζ, E K al; LXX. has Βοός, Βοόζ. In 1 Chronicles 2:11, 1 Chronicles 2:12 B Βοός, A Luc. Βοόζ, Josephus Βόαζος, Βοώζης.—Ῥαχάβ] LXX. Ῥαάβ. Josephus Ῥαάβη, Ῥαχάβη.—Ἰωβήδ] א B Ox Ὠβήὃ E K al; LXX. has Ὠβήδ, Ἰωβήδ (A). In 1 Chronicles 2:12, 1 Chronicles 2:13 B Luc. Ὠβήδ, A Ἰωβήδ, Josephus Ὠβήδης.—Ῥούθ] So LXX. Josephus Ῥούθη.—Ἰεσσαί] So LXX. Josephus Ἰεσσαῖος.

6. Σολομῶνα] LXX. has Σαλωμών, Σαλομών, Σαλωμώ, Σολομών (A). In 1 Chronicles 3:5 Σαλωμών, Luc. Σαλομών, Josephus Σολομών.—Οὐρείου] B Ox.

7. Ῥοβοάμ] So LXX. Josephus Ῥοβόαμος.—Ἀβιά] LXX. Ἀβειά, Ἀβιά; Josephus Ἀβίας.—Ἀσάφ] א B C D luc Ox i. 209, 543, 700, k al. LXX. has Ἀσά, Josephus Ἄσανος.

8. Ἰωσαφάτ] LXX. Ἰωσαφάτ, Ἰωσαφάθ. In 1 Chronicles 3:10 Ἰωσαφάτ, Josephus Ἰωσάφατος.—Ἰωράμ] So LXX. Josephus Ἰώραμος.—Ὀζείαν] S2 has “Ahazia; Ahazia begat Joash; Joash begat Amozia.” So Aphr.

9. Ὀζείας] א* B.;*; LXX. has Ὀζειά, Ὀζιά, Ὀζείας, Οζίας. In 1 Chronicles 3:11 Ὀζεία, B. Ὀζιάς, A Luc.; Josephus Ὀζίας.—Ἰωαθάμ] So LXX.; josephus Ἰωάθαμος, Ἰωθάμης, Ἰωνάθης.—Ἄχαζ] LXX., has Ἄχαζ,Ἄχας. In 1 Chronicles 3:13 Ἄχας, A B Ἄχαζ, Luc. Josephus Ἄχαζος.—Ἐζεκίας] So LXX., Josephus.

10. Ἀμώς, א B C D luc Ox; LXX. Ἀμνών, Ἀμμών, Ἀμώς. In 1 Chronicles 3:14 B. has Ἀμνών, Ba b. Al? val forte a Ἀμώς, Luc. Ἀμών, Josephus Ἀμμών, Ἄμωσος.

11. Ἰωσείας] א B Dluc; LXX. has Ἰωσείας, Ἰωσίας; Josephus Ἰωσίας.—τὸν Ἰεχονίαν] We must read here τὸν Ἰωακεὶμ καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὐς αὐτοῦ]. Ἰωακεὶμ δὲ ὲγέννησε τὸν Ἰεχονίαν ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβνλῶνος. So substantially: M U al S4 S5 with asterisk.

12. Σαλαθιήλ] So LXX.; Josephus Σαλαθίηλος.—Ζοροβάβελ] So LXX.; Josephus Ζοροβάβηλος.

16. On the text, see the admirable note of Mr. Burkitt, Evangelion da Mepharreshe, ii. 258 ff. The reading of א B. al is: Ἰακὼβ δὲ έγέννησε τὸν Ἰωσὴφ τὸν ἄνδρα Μαρίας ὲξ ἧς ἐγεννήθη Ἱησοῦς ὁ λεγόμενος Χριστός. Besides this there is a second reading: Ἰακὼβ δέ ἐγέννησε τὸν Ἰωσὴφ ᾧ μνηστευθεισα παρθένος Μαριὰμ ἐλέννησε Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον Χριστόν. This is the reading of the Ferrar group 346, 556, 826, 828. So S2 Jacob begat Joseph, him to whom was betrothed Mary the Virgin, she who bare Jesus the Messiah. So, too, the old latt a b c d g k q. So, too, the text which underlies the Armenian; cf. Robinson, Euthaliana, p. 82. Besides these two readings, S1 has a third. “Jacob begat Joseph. Joseph, to whom was betrothed Mary the Virgin, begat Jesus, called the Messiah.” Burkitt believes this to be a paraphrase of the reading of the Ferrar group, and thinks that S2 is derived from it. In this last point he is no doubt right. S2 is, as a whole, dependent on S1, and it is therefore probable that S1 has the earlier reading here. But it is questionable whether S1 does not represent a Greek text found nowhere else (not in the Dialogue of Timothy and Aquila; see Burkitt, p. 265), namely, Ἰακὼβ δὲ ἐγέννησε τὸν Ἰωσήφ. Ἰωσήφ δὲ ᾧ μνηστευθεῖσα ἥν Μαριάμ παρθένος ἐγέννησε Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον Χριστόν.. Burkitt objects that “the practice of the writer is to interpose no words between the name and the verb ἐγέννησε, so that the clause ᾧ μνηστευθεῖσα παρθ. M. ought to follow the first mention of Joseph, not the second.” But the relative clause is clearly required in close connection with ἐγέννησε in order to qualify it, meaning “begat,” but “from a virgin,” i.e. not “literally,” but “legally.” It seems probable, therefore, that the text underlying S1 is the nearest approach now extant to the original Greek, and it must remain possible that even here the relative clause is an insertion. This earliest Greek form was gradually altered from a desire to avoid words which, though in the intention of the writer they expressed legal parentage, not paternity, in fact, might be misunderstood by thoughtless readers. The first step was perhaps the insertion of the relative clause. The second, the insertion as in S2 of a second relative, “she who,” as a subject to ἐγέννησε. The third, the substitution of τόν ἄνδρα Μαρίας for ᾧ μνηστευθεῖσα M. by assimilation to v. 19 ὁ ἀνὴρ αὐτῆς, ἀνήρ being used as there in the sense of “betrothed husband,” and the substitution of the passive for the active in the following clause.

1:18-25. His Supernatural Birth

(P) 1:18-25. And the birth of the Christ was in this manner: His mother Mary being betrothed to Joseph, before that they came together,. she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.] γένεσις here means birth, begetting, as in Genesis 31:13, Ruth 2:11, Luke 1:14; cf. also Hdt. 1204 669. Since γένεσις has been used in 1:1 in a different sense, and since γέννηις is the common term for birth, we should expect the latter here.—μνηστευσθείσης] Betrothal according to Jewish marriage law constituted a legal relationship which could only be dissolved by legal means. See Merx, Die vier Evangelien, ii. 1, 9 ff. The narrative in this respect rests on an accurate knowledge of Jewish civil law.—πνεύματος ἁγίου] For the omission of the article, cf. Blass, p. 149.—πρὶν ἤ] cf. Blass, p. 229.

(P) 19. And, Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and (yet) not wishing to disgrace her, was minded to put her away secretly.]—ὁ ἀνὴρ αὐτῆς] According to Jewish law, a betrothed woman was already the wife of her betrothed husband; cf. Merx, op. cit. p. 10.—δίκαιος] i.e. God-fearing, and a keeper of the law. Mary’s condition seemed to make the fulfilment of their contract of marriage impossible for a religious man.—μὴ θέλων δειγματίσαι] On the other hand, he did not wish to expose her to shame. δειγματίσαι occurs besides only Colossians 2:15, Asc. Is. in Am. Pap. i. I. viii. 21.δειγματισμός occurs on the Rosetta Stone.—λάθρα ἂπολῦσαι] Appeal to the courts for a divorce would expose Mary to public ignominy, and make her liable to severe penalties. Refusal to carry out the contract of marriage would leave her and her child in disgrace in the house of her parents. The latter seemed the more merciful course, and Joseph determined, therefore, to repudiate her by private arrangement.

(P) 20. And whilst he purposed this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, fear not to lake Mary thy wife: for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit.]—ἰδού] Exclusive of quotations, ἰδού occurs 30 times in Mt., 29 in Lk., 7 in Mk.; καὶ ἰδόυ, 28 in Mt., 26 in Lk., 0 in Mk.—κατʼ ὄναρ] 6 times in Mt., not elsewhere in NT; cf. Ditt. Syll. 780. 5, 781. 4, 782. 4.—παραλαβεῖν] According to Jewish law, marriage begun in the betrothal, was completed in the “taking” of the bride to the house of her husband; cf. Merx, op. cit. p. 11.

(P) 21. And she shalt bear a son, and thou shall call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.] Ἰησοῦς is the Greek form of יְהוֹשׁוּעַ or יְשׁוּעַ, “Jehovah is salvation”; cf. Philo, De Mut. Nom. i. 597:Ἰησοῦς δὲ σωτηρία κυρίου, ἕξεως ὄνομα τῆς ἀρίστης.—αὐτὸς γὰρ σῶσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν] cf. Psalm 129:8 καὶ αὐτὸς λυτρώσεται τὸν Ἰσραὴλ ἐκ πασῶν τῶν ἀνομιῶν αὐτοῦ. For τέξεται δὲ υἱὸν καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ. cf. Genesis 17:9 τέξεταί σοι υἱὸν καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ.

(O) 22. And all this has come to pass, in order that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying.] The formula ἵνα (ὅπως) πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθέν recurs 2:15, 23, 4:14, 8:17, 13:17, 13:35, 21:4, cf. 26:56. τότε ἐπληρώθη τὸ ῥηθέν occurs 2:17, 27:9. The quotations thus introduced are for the most part free renderings of the Hebrew. They are sometimes composite in character. The formula occurs in Jewish writings. Cf. Bacher, Exeget. Terminol. der Jüd. Traditionsliteratur, i. 171. γέγονε here and 21:4, 26:56 is used from the writer’s standpoint. Contrast John 19:36.

(O) 23. Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is being interpreted, With us is God.] The quotation comes from Isaiah 7:14, and is given according to the rendering of the LXX., with the exception that καλέσεις of the LXX. (σει א,—σετε Q*), which would not suit this context, is altered into καλέσουσιν. For ἕξει (LXX. א A Q), λήμψεται is read by LXX. B. There are signs that the view that Isaiah was using current mythological terms, and intended his העלמה to carry with it the sense of supernatural birth, is rightly regaining ground. Cf. Jeremias, Babylonisches im Neuen Testament, p. 47; and Gressmann, Der Ursprung der Israelitisch-jüdischen Eschatologie, p. 270 ff. In any case, the LXX. translators already interpreted the passage in this sense, and the fact that the later Greek translators substituted νεᾶνις for παρθένος, and that there are no traces of the supernatural birth of the Messiah in the later Jewish literature, is due to anti-Christian polemic. Cf. Just. Mart. Trypho, xliii., lxvii. It is probable that the editor is here, as elsewhere, adapting words of the O.T. to a tradition which he had before him.1

(P) 24, 25. And Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife: and knew her not until she bore a son: and he called His name Jesus.]

For the redundant and Semitic use of ἐγερθείς see Dalman. Words of Jesus, 23, 36. The imperfect ἐγίνωσκεν is against the tradition of perpetual virginity.

18. Χριστοῦ] So a b c d S1 S2; Irenæus, III. xi. 8, xvi. 2; Tert. de Carne Christi, xxii. This Western reading is probably right. Nowhere in the N.T. is the article used before Ἰης. Χρ. B. has ʼΧριτοῦ Ἰησοῦ, an assimilation to the later usage of S. Paul. א C al Ox have τοῦ δὲ ἸησοῦΧρ. The variation in the position of Ἰησοῦ is against its originality.

γένεσις] So א B. C al Ox γένεσις here means begetting (see above), whilst in 1:1 it has another meaning. The early translators differ in their treatment of the word. The latins render by generatio in both verses. The Syriac S1 S2 render in v. 1 by “generation,” in this verse rightly by “birth.” But γέννησις was more common to the latter sense, and is therefore substituted here by E K L al.—μνηστευθείσης] Add γάρ E K L al Omit, א B. C* Z Ox, latt S1 S2.

19. ὀ ἀνὴρ αὐτῆς] Om. S2—δειγματίσαι] So אa B. Z Ox; Eus. Quæst. i. 3. The word is very rare. It occurs in Colossians 2:15 and in Asc. Is. in Am. Pap. 1. i. viii. 21. Here it presumably means to expose to open and notorious disgrace. δειγματισμός on the Rosetta Stone means “inspection.” Cf Herwerden, Lex. Græc. Suppl. p. 190. א* C E K L al substitute the more common παραδειγματίσαι, which occurs in the LXX. 5 times, Numbers 25:4, Esther 4:17, Jeremiah 13:22, Ezekiel 28:17, Daniel 2:5; Ps.-Song of Solomon 2:14, in Polyb. and Plut.

20. τἠν γυναῖκἀ σον] S2 has “thy betrothed.” Cf. the omission of ὁ ἁνἠρ αὐτῆς, v. 19.

21. λαὸν αὐτοῦ] S2 has “the world”.—καλέσεις] S2 “shall be called.”

22. ὃλον] Om. S1 S2.

24. τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ] S2 substitutes “Mary.”

25. οὐκ ἐγίνωσκεν αὐτήν S2 has “purely was dwelling with her.” S1 k omit οὐκ ἐγίνωσκεν αὐτὴν ἔως οὖ.—υἱόν] So א B. Z S1 S2 k. τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον is substituted by C D al by assimilation to Luke 2:7.—ἐκάλεσεν] S2 has “she called.” On the Syriac VSS in these verses, see Burkitt, op. cit. p. 261 ff.

E editorial passages.

LXX. The Septuagint Version.

Dalm. Dalman.

Luc. Lucian.

B. Babylonian Talmud.

Jos. Josephus.

1 In 1 Esd 1:32 reference is made to τὸν Ἰεχονίαν υἱὸν Ιωσείου. Here Jehoahaz is meant. We might suppose that Mt. also meant Jehoahaz by τὸν Ἰεχονίαν, and that his καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ was a summary way of describing Jehoiakim; Jehoiachin and Zedekiah, of whom the first and third were brothers of Jehoahaz, whilst the second was his nephew, if it were not for the fact that in v. 12 Ἰεχονίας is clearly Jehoiachin. For confusion between Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin cf. 1 Esd 1:41, where the latter is called Ἰωακείμ.

Anth. P. Anthologia Palatina.

al i.e. with other uncial MSS.

Ox A papyrus fragment, containing Matthew 1:1-9. Matthew 1:12. Matthew 1:14-20, published in Oxyrhynchus Papyri, i.

S Syriac version: Curetonian.

M the Second Gospel.

S Syriac version: Harclean.

S Syriac version: Jerusalem Lectionary.

S Syriac version: Sinaitic MS.

P Palestinian traditions.

Hdt. Herodotus.

Asc. Is. Ascension of Isaiah.

Am. Pap. Amherst Papyri.

Ditt. Dittenberger Sylloge.

O quotations from the Old Testament borrowed from a collection of Messianic prophecies. See pp.61 f.

Just. Mart. Justin Martyr.

1 See Briggs, “Criticism and the Dogma of the Virgin-Birth,” in North Amer. Rev., June 1906.

Tert. Tertullian.

L the Matthæan Logia.

Eus. Eusebius.

Ps.-Sol. The Psalms of Solomon.

Polyb. Polybius.

Plut. Plutarch.

Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;
And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;
And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;
And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;
And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;
And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;
And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;
And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;
And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;
And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
ICC New Testament commentary on selected books

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bible Hub
Malachi 4
Top of Page
Top of Page