Matthew 1:22
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
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(22) All this was done.—The Evangelist pauses in his narrative to introduce his own comment. He saw in what he relates that which answered to the apparent meaning of prophetic words. He could not possibly regard the agreement as a chance coincidence; and, as chance was excluded, there was no alternative but purpose. The prophecy and the event entered both of them into a divine plan.

Matthew 1:22. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled — That is, by the doing of all this was fulfilled the following prophecy. For we are not to suppose that the bare accomplishment of an ancient prediction was the end God had in view in sending his Son into the world; which would imply that, if no such prediction had been given, God would not have sent his Son. No: God’s design was the salvation of mankind, and the prophecy was fulfilled, as it were, by the way, without being primarily intended. For the events foretold by the prophets came to pass, not because of the prophecies which predicted them, but the prophecies predicted them because they would come to pass. Thus, in other places, what was merely a consequence of things being done, is represented as the chief end of doing them, as Romans 5:20, The law came in (viz., between Adam and Christ,) that the offence might abound. Certainly God did not give the law with a design to make men’s sins abound; but this was the consequence of its being given. For, like a dam placed in the way of a stream, it made the corruption of mankind rise the higher and spread the wider. To this may be added, however, that he who had foretold these things because he had determined to do them, in due time actually did them, that he might show himself true to his word and promise.1:18-25 Let us look to the circumstances under which the Son of God entered into this lower world, till we learn to despise the vain honours of this world, when compared with piety and holiness. The mystery of Christ's becoming man is to be adored, not curiously inquired into. It was so ordered that Christ should partake of our nature, yet that he should be pure from the defilement of original sin, which has been communicated to all the race of Adam. Observe, it is the thoughtful, not the unthinking, whom God will guide. God's time to come with instruction to his people, is when they are at a loss. Divine comforts most delight the soul when under the pressure of perplexed thoughts. Joseph is told that Mary should bring forth the Saviour of the world. He was to call his name Jesus, a Saviour. Jesus is the same name with Joshua. And the reason of that name is clear, for those whom Christ saves, he saves from their sins; from the guilt of sin by the merit of his death, and from the power of sin by the Spirit of his grace. In saving them from sin, he saves them from wrath and the curse, and all misery, here and hereafter. Christ came to save his people, not in their sins, but from their sins; and so to redeem them from among men, to himself, who is separate from sinners. Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, speedily, without delay, and cheerfully, without dispute. By applying the general rules of the written word, we should in all the steps of our lives, particularly the great turns of them, take direction from God, and we shall find this safe and comfortable.Now all this was done - The prophecy here quoted is recorded in Isaiah 7:14. See the notes at that passage. The prophecy was delivered about 740 years before Christ, in the reign of Ahaz, king of Judah. The land of Judea was threatened with an invasion by the united armies of Syria and Israel, under the command of Rezin and Pekah. Ahaz was alarmed, and seems to have contemplated calling in aid from Assyria to defend him. Isaiah was directed, in his consternation, to go to Ahaz, and tell him to ask a sign from God Isaiah 7:10-11; that is, to look to God rather than to Assyria for aid. This he refused to do. He had not confidence in God, but feared that the land would be overrun by the armies of Syria Matthew 1:12, and relied only on the aid which he hoped to receive from Assyria. Isaiah answered that, in these circumstances, the Lord would himself give a sign, or a pledge, that the land should be delivered. The sign was, that a virgin should have a son, and that before that son would arrive to years of discretion, the land would be forsaken by these hostile kings. The prophecy was therefore designed originally to signify to Ahaz that the land would certainly be delivered from its calamities and dangers, and that the deliverance would not be long delayed. The land of Syria and Israel, united now in confederation, would be deprived of both their kings, and thus the land of Judah would be freed from the threatening danger. This appears to be the literal fulfillment of the passage in Isaiah.

Might be fulfilled - It is more difficult to know in what sense this could be said to be fulfilled in the birth of Christ. To understand this, it may be remarked that the word "fulfilled" is used in the Scriptures and in other writings in many senses, of which the following are some:

1. When a thing is clearly predicted, and comes to pass, as the destruction of Babylon, foretold in Isaiah 13:19-22; and of Jerusalem, in Matthew 24.

2. When one thing is typified or shadowed forth by another, and when the event occurs, the type is said to be fulfilled. This was the case in regard to the types and sacrifices in the Old Testament, which were fulfilled by the coming of Christ. See Hebrews 9.

3. When prophecies of future events are expressed in language more elevated and full than the particular thing, at first denoted, demands. Or, in other words, when the language, though it may express one event, is also so full and rich as appropriately to express other events in similar circumstances and of similar import, they may be said to be fulfilled. Thus, for example, the last chapters of Isaiah, from Isaiah 40 onward, foretell the return of the Jews into Babylon, and every circumstance mentioned occurred in their return. But the language is more expanded and sublime than was necessary to express their return. It will also express appropriately a much more important and magnificent deliverance that of the redeemed under the Messiah; and the return of the people of God to him, and the universal spread of the gospel: and therefore it may be said to be fulfilled in the coming of Jesus and the spread of the gospel. So, if there were any other magnificent and glorious events, still, in similar circumstances, and of like character, it might be said also that these prophecies were fulfilled in all of them. The language is so full and rich, and the promises are so grand, that they may appropriately express all these deliverances. This may be the sense in which the prophecy now under consideration may be said to have been fulfilled.

4. Language is said to be fulfilled when, though it was used to express one event, it may be used also to express another. Thus, a fable may be said to be fulfilled when an event occurs similar to the one concerning which it was first spoken. A parable has its fulfillment in all the cases to which it is applicable; and the same remark applies to a proverb, or to a declaration respecting human nature. The statement that "there is none that doeth good" Psalm 14:3 was at first spoken of a particular race of wicked men." Yet it is applicable to others, and in this sense may be said to have been fulfilled. See Romans 3:10. In this use of the word fulfilled, it means, not that the passage was at first intended to apply to this particular thing, but that the words aptly or appropriately express the thing spoken of, and way be applied to it. We may say the same of this which was said of another thing, and thus the words express both, or are fulfilled. The writers of the New Testament seem occasionally to have used the word in this sense.

22. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet—(Isa 7:14).

saying—as follows.

See Poole on "Matthew 1:23". Now all this was done,.... These are not the words of the Angel, but of the Evangelist; observing that Mary's being with child of the Holy Ghost, and her conception in such an extraordinary manner, whilst a pure virgin, before she and Joseph came together, who though espoused to him, was untouched by him, were all brought about in this way, and with such circumstances,

that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet; that is, the Prophet Isaiah, and so some copies read. The passage referred to is in Isaiah 7:14 what is there spoken was by divine inspiration; it was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet; the Spirit of the Lord spake by him. Prophets and holy men formerly, spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; so that what they said is to be looked upon as the word of God. Now between the prophecy of Isaiah referred to, and the fact here recorded by the Evangelist, is an entire agreement: the prophecy shows the will, counsel, and determination of God about this matter; the accomplishment of it, the faithfulness and veracity of God in his word; the prediction declares that the thing would be, and the thing itself was done, that what was spoken might be fulfilled; not merely by way of accommodation, or in a typical and mystical, but in a strict, proper and literal sense.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Matthew 1:22-23. No longer the words of the angel (in answer to Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Paulus, Arnoldi), but of the evangelist, who continues his historical narrative, and that with a pragmatic observation, which serves to advance his object. Comp. Matthew 21:4, Matthew 26:56ἵνα is never ἐκβατικόν: so that (Kuinoel and older interpreters), but always τελικόν: in order that; it presupposes here that what was done stood in the connection of purpose with the O. T. declaration, and consequently in the connection of the divine necessity, as an actual fact, by which the prophecy was destined to be fulfilled. The divine decree, expressed in the latter, must be accomplished, and to that end, this, namely, which is related from Matthew 1:18 onwards, came to pass, and that according to the whole of its contents (ὅλον). The prophecy itself is Isaiah 7:14 according to the LXX., without any essential variation.

ἡ παρθένος corresponds here to הָעַלְמָה, which denotes an unmarried young woman of nubile years, not also a young woman (for which Proverbs 30:19 is erroneously appealed to by Gesenius and Knobel). See Hengstenberg, Christol. II. p. 53 ff. On the other hand, בְּתוּלָה means virgin in the strict sense of the word. The evangelist, nevertheless, interpreting the passage according to its Messianic destination, understands the pregnant Mary as a real virgin. Here we have to observe that such interpretations of O. T. passages are not to be referred to any principle of accommodation to the views of the time, nor even to a mere occasional application, but express the typical reference, and therewith the prophetic meaning, which the N. T. writers actually recognised in the relative passages of the O. T. And in so doing, the nearest, i.e. the historical meaning of these passages in and of itself, did not rule the interpretation, but the concrete Messianic contents according to their historical definiteness a posteriori—from their actual fulfilment—yielded themselves to them as that which the Spirit of God in the prophecies had had in view as the ideal theocratic subject-matter of the forms which they assumed in the history of the time. Comp. Riehm in the Stud. u. Kritik. 1869, p. 272 f. [E. T., Clark, Edin. 1876, p. 160 ff.]. The act by which they saw them Messianically fulfilled, i.e. their Messianic contents become an accomplished fact, was recognised by them as lying in the purpose of God, when the declaration in question was spoken or written, and therefore as “eventum non modo talem, qui propter veritatem divinam non potuerit non subsequi ineunte N. T.,” Bengel. This Messianic method of understanding the O. T. in the New, which they adopted, had its justification not merely in the historically necessary connection in which the N. T. writers stood to the popular method of viewing the O. T. in their day, and to its typological freedom of exposition, but as it had its justification also generally in the truth that the idea of the Messiah pervades the whole of the prophecies of the O. T., and is historically realized in Christ; so also, in particular, in the holy guidance of the Spirit, under which they, especially the apostles, were able to recognise, both as a whole as well as in details, the relation of prophecy to its N. T. fulfilment, and consequently the preformations of Christian facts and doctrines, as God, in conformity with His plan of salvation, had caused them to take a beginning in the O. T., although this result was marked by varying degrees of certainty and of clearness of typological tact among the individual writers. Although, according to this view, the N. T. declarations regarding the fulfilment of prophecies are to be presupposed as generally having accuracy and truth on their side, nevertheless the possibility of erroneous and untenable applications in individual instances, in accordance with the hermeneutical licence of that age, is thereby so little excluded, that an unprejudiced examination upon the basis of the original historical sense is always requisite. This way of estimating those declarations, as it does justice on the one side to their importance and ethical nature, so on the other it erects the necessary barrier against all arbitrary typological hankering, which seeks to find a connection between prophecy and fulfilment, between type and antitype, where the N. T. has not attested the existence of such. Comp. also Düsterdieck, de rei prophet. natura ethica, Gottingen 1852, p. 79 ff. In reference to types and prophecies generally, we must certainly say with the N. T.: τούτῳ πάντες οἱ προφῆται μαρτυροῦσιν κ.τ.λ., Acts 10:43, but not with the Rabbins: “Omnes prophetae in universum non prophetarunt nisi de diebus Messiae,” Sanhedrin, f. 99, 1. As regards Isaiah 7:14,[363] the historical sense is to the effect that the prophet, by his promise of a sign, desires to prevent Ahab from begging the aid of the Assyrians against the confederated Syrians and Ephraimites. The promise itself does not indeed refer directly, by means of an “ideal anticipation,” to Mary and Jesus (Hengstenberg), but neither also to the wife of the prophet (Gesenius, Knobel, Olshausen, Keim, Schenkel, and others; comp. also Tholuck, das A. T. in N. T. p. 43, ed. 6), nor to any other mother elsewhere of an ordinary child (Stähelin, H. Schultz), but to the mother—who at the time when the prophecy was uttered was still a virgin—of the expected theocratic Saviour, i.e. the Messiah,[364] the idea of whom lives in the prophetic consciousness, but has attained its complete historic realization in Jesus Christ. See especially Ewald on Isaiah, p. 339 f., ed. 2; Umbreit in the Stud. u. Kritik. 1855, p. 573 ff.; Bertheau in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theologie, 1859, 4; Drechsler on Isaiah, l.c.; Delitzsch; Oehler in Herzog’s Encykl. IX. p. 415; Engelhardt, l.c. That we might, however, from the consideration of the fulfilment of the prophetic oracle, accomplished in the birth of Jesus from a virgin, find in the word עלמה the mother of the Messiah designated as a virgin, follows, as a matter of course, from the meaning of עלמה, which by no means excludes the idea of virginity, and was not first rendered possible by the ΠΑΡΘΈΝΟς of the LXX., by means of the “subtleties of Jewish Christians” (Keim), and this all the less that even ΠΑΡΘΈΝΟς also in Greek does not always denote virgin in the strict sense, but also “nuptas et devirginatas.” See Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 210. Matthew might also just as well have made use of νεᾶνις, which Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus employ.

On the article, Bengel appropriately remarks: “ex specula divinae praescientiae singularem demonstrandi vim habet;” she who is present to the prophet’s eye is intended.

καλέσουσι] they will call. The LXX. incorrectly gives ΚΑΛΈΣΕΙς. The evangelist generalizes the third person singular of the original Hebrew into the plural.

ἘΜΜΑΝΟΥΉΛ] עִמָּנוּ אֵל, God is with us, which symbolical name, according to the historical sense in the prophet, derives its significance from the saving by divine help from the destruction threatened by the war in question, but, according to its Messianic fulfilment, which the evangelist now sees beginning, has the same essential meaning as the name Jesus. The ΚΑΛΈΣΟΥΣΙ ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜΑ ΑὐΤΟῦ ἘΜΜΑΝΟΥΉΛ corresponds to the ΚΑΛΈΣΕΙς ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜ. ΑὐΤΟῦ ἸΗΣΟῦΝ (Matthew 1:21), and therefore the translator of the Gospel has added the interpretation of the significant name. The Fathers of the church (Hilary, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Lactantius), and expositors like Calvin, Flacius, Maldonatus, Jansen, Schegg, interpreted it of the divine nature in Christ. In the divine nature of the Lord as the Son of God is found the divine help and safety, which make up the meaning of the name (Jerome), its dogmatic foundation in the developed Christian consciousness, as the latter is certainly to be assumed in the evangelists Matthew (Matthew 1:20) and Luke (Luke 1:35), according to whom, as a consequence of the superhuman generation, the superhuman character, not merely the Messianic vocation, is to come forth.

[363] Comp. H. Schultz, alttest. Theolog. II. p. 244 ff.; Engelhardt in the Luther. Zeitschrift, 1872, p. 601 ff.

[364] Hofmann has corrected his earlier explanation (Weissagung und Erfüllung, I. p. 221) in point of grammar (Schriftbeweis, II. I, p. 85), but not in accordance with the meaning. He sees in the son of the virgin mother the Israel which does not arise in the way of a natural continuation of the present, but in a miraculous manner, to which God again turns in mercy. In the person of Jesus this Israel of the future of salvation takes its beginning; while that which in Isaiah was figurative language, is now realized in the proper sense. With greater weight and clearness Kahnis (Dogmatik, I. p. 345 f.) remarks: The Virgin and Immanuel are definite but ideal persons. The latter is the Israel of the future according to its ideal side; the Virgin, the Israel of the present and of the past according to its ideal side, in accordance with which its vocation is, by virtue of the Spirit of God, to give birth to the holy seed; this Israel will one day come to its true realization in a virgin, who will be the mother of the Messiah. Substantially similar also is the view of W. Schultz in the Stud. u. Kritik. 1861, p. 713 ff., who understands by the Virgin the quiet ones in the land, the better portion of the community who are truly susceptible of the working of the Lord. But the whole style of expression, and the connection in the context farther on, are throughout not of such a character that in the Virgin and her son, ideal, and indeed collective persons, should have been present, first of all, to the prophet’s view. I must continue, even after the objections of Hengstenberg, Tholuck, W. Schultz, H. Schultz, and others, to regard Ewald’s view as the right one.Matthew 1:22-23. The prophetic reference. As it is the evangelist’s habit to cite O. T. prophecies in connection with leading incidents in the life of Jesus, it is natural, with most recent interpreters, to regard these words, not as uttered by the angel, but as a comment of the narrator. The ancients, Chry., Theophy., Euthy., etc., adopt the former view, and Weiss-Meyer concurs, while admitting that in expression they reveal the evangelist’s style. In support of this, it might be urged that the suggestion of the prophetic oracle to the mind of Joseph would be an aid to faith. It speaks of a son to be born of a virgin. Why should not Mary be that virgin, and her child that son? In favour of it also is the consideration that on the opposite view the prophetic reference comes in too soon. Why should not the evangelist go on to the end of his story, and then quote the prophetic oracle? Finally, if we assume that in the case of all objective preternatural manifestations, there is an answering subjective psychological state, we must conclude that among the thoughts that were passing through Joseph’s mind at this crisis, one was that in his family experience as a “son of David,” something of great importance for the royal race and for Israel was about to happen. The oracle in question might readily suggest itself as explaining the nature of the coming event. On all these grounds, it seems reasonable to conclude that the evangelist, in this case, means the prophecy to form part of the angelic utterance.22. was done] Rather, has come to pass. The Evangelist speaks as a contemporary.

that it might be fulfilled] By this formula the Evangelist recognises in the event described a fulfilment of a type or prophecy. It matters little whether we regard “that” (ἵνα) as (1) final, “in order that,” or (2) by a late use consecutive, “so that,” in other words (1) as marking the conscious intention of the prophet or of God speaking through the prophet, or (2) a reflection of the Evangelist viewing the historical fact in connection with the prophecy—and finding in the prophecy an analogy, if not a definite prediction. For in regard to divine action the intention and result are identical, that is, we cannot conceive of any result being unintentional with God.Matthew 1:22. Τοῦτο δὲ ὅλον, γέγονεν ἵνα, But the whole of this came to pass, that) The same phrase occurs in ch. Matthew 26:56. There are many particulars, in which St Matthew observes that the event announced by the angel corresponded exactly with the prediction of Isaiah. (1.) A virgin pregnant and becoming a mother; (2.) A male child (Cf. Revelation 12:5); (3.) The Nomenclature of the child; (4.) The Interpretation of the Name.—ἵνα πληρωθῇ, that it might be fulfilled) The same phrase occurs in ch. Matthew 2:15; Matthew 2:17; Matthew 2:23, Matthew 4:14, Matthew 8:17, Matthew 12:17, Matthew 13:35, Matthew 21:4, Matthew 27:9; Matthew 27:35. Those things have been fulfilled in Jesus, not only which He performed Himself (and which might therefore appear to the unbelieving to be open to suspicion), but those also which were done to Him by others. Wherever this phrase occurs, we are bound to regard and recognise the character and dignity of the Evangelists, and (however dull our own perception may be in the matter) to believe that they mention an event, not merely corresponding [accidentally] with some ancient prophecy, but one which in consequence thereof, and agreement therewith, could not have failed to occur at the commencement of the New Dispensation, on account of the Divine Truth which was pledged to its fulfilment. The evangelists, however, frequently quote prophecies, the context of which must, at the time that they were first delivered, have been interpreted of things then present, and that, too, according to the Divine intention. But the same Divine intention, looking forward to remote futurity, so framed the language of prophecy, that it should apply with still greater specialty to the times of the Messiah. And this hidden intention (some portion of which the learned observe to have oozed out even to the Jews) the apostles and evangelists, themselves divinely taught, teach us: and we are bound to receive their statements concerning the fulfilment of prophecy in a teachable spirit, on account of the correspondence between the predictions which they adduce, and the events to which they apply them. This is enough for the defence of the Evangelists, until any one is led to acknowledge their authority on other grounds. Their sincerity is clearly evidenced by the fact, that they have amplified, as far as possible, the number of prophecies relating to the Messiah, and therefore the labour (delightful indeed!) of proving[61] that Jesus is the Christ. The Jews, on the other hand, endeavour as eagerly to turn aside in any other direction whatever, everything which the prophets have predicted concerning Christ, so that it is wonderful that they still believe that there either is, or ever will be, a Messiah.—ΔΙᾺ ΤΟῦ ΠΡΟΦΉΤΟΥ, by the prophet) St Matthew quotes the prophets with especial frequency, to show the agreement between the prophecies and the events which fulfilled them: the other Evangelists rather presuppose that agreement.[62]—λἐγοντος, saying) This should be construed with προφήτου (prophet); see ch. Matthew 2:17. Isaiah is not mentioned by name. The ancients were studious readers; there was less need, therefore, in those times, to cite books and chapters.

[61] The onus probandi.—ED.

[62] SS. Mark and Luke have at times noted down these prophecies, which our Lord himself quoted; but they have been more sparing of their own spontaneous appeals to the Old Testament, since they were looking forward to readers becoming now continually more and more established in the Christian faith. John, the last of the Four, added one or two prophecies, and their subsequent fulfilment.—Harm., p. 49.Verses 22, 23. - The evidence of prophecy. ("Now all this was done .... God with us.") The Revised Version omits the marks of parenthesis. From a comparison of Matthew 26:56 (and perhaps also Matthew 21:4), this is not the utterance of the evangelist, but of the previous speaker, yet formulated by the evangelist (cf. Weiss). The thought, that is to say, is still part of the angel's encouragement to Joseph; the exact mode of expressing the record of that thought is the evangelist's; so also Tatian's 'Diattess.' (or perhaps only Ephraem's comment upon it; cf. Zahn), Quod si dubitas, Isaiam audi. Verse 22. - All this; τοῦτο ὅλον (not ταῦτα πάντα). The birth of a Saviour, with the means by which it came about, by a virgin, and "of the Holy Ghost." Was done; is come to pass (Revised Version); i.e. in abiding effect (γέγονεν). It is considered as having already taken place (cf. "the prophetic perfect" of the Old Testament). That it might be fulfilled. God's past utterance is looked at as necessitating a present action. Which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying; by the Lord through (Revised Version); i.e. the Lord is the Agent (ὑπό), the prophet the means or instrument (διά). The Lord; i.e. Jehovah, not "God," because the thought is of covenant promise. Through the prophet (διά)

So the Rev. rightly, instead of by. In quotations from the Old Testament, the writers habitually use the preposition διὰ (through) to denote the instrumentality through which God works or speaks, while they reserve ὑπὸ (by) to express the primary agency of God himself. So here the prophecy in Matthew 1:23was spoken by the Lord, but was communicated to men through his prophet.

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