|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 25. - And knew her not. The tense (ἐγίνωσκεν) brings out the continuance of Joseph's obedient self-restraint. "He was dwelling in holiness with her" (Tatian's 'Diatess.'). Till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. Thus the angel's promise is so far fulfilled. A son (Revised Version); "her firstborn," though found as early as Tatian's.' Diatess.,' having been added from Luke 2:7. Though no great stress can be laid on the word "till" (ἕως [οϋ], Basil refers to Genesis 8:7; comp. also Psalm exit. 8), nor even on "firstborn," which suggested to a Jew rather consecration (Luke 2:23) than the birth of other children (comp. Bishop Lightfoot on Galatians, p. 270, edit. 1890); yet it is a reasonable inference from the passage as a whole that the οὐκ ἐγίνωσκεν was not continued after the birth of the Son. Whether, however, other children were born to Mary or not, the true text of this passage gives no hint. And he called his name JESUS (ver. 21, note). Observe that this name had already occurred in Joseph's family (Luke 3:29). It is, however, now given in sign of Joseph's faith in him and his work.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And knew her not,.... Or "but he knew her not", answering to the Hebrew that is, had carnal knowledge of her, or copulation with her, though his wife. The words are an euphemism, or a modest way of expressing the conjugal act, and is a very ancient one, see Genesis 4:1 and what has been used in nations and languages. And this conduct of his was necessary,
till she had brought forth her firstborn; that it might be manifest not only that she conceived, being a virgin, but also that she brought forth, being a virgin: for both are signified in the prophecy before related, "a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son"; which is all one as if it had been said, a virgin shall conceive, and "a virgin" shall bring forth a son. The "firstborn" is that which first opens the womb of its mother, whether any follows after or not, Exodus 13:12. Christ is called Mary's firstborn, because she had none before him, whether she had any after him or not; for her perpetual virginity seems to be no necessary article of faith: for when it is said,
Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth, the meaning is certain that he knew her not before. But whether he afterwards did or not, is not so manifest, nor is it a matter of any great importance; the word "until" may be so understood as referring to the time preceding, that the contrary cannot be affirmed of the time following, 2 Samuel 6:23 and which may be the case here, and is indeed generally understood so; and it also may be considered as only expressive of the intermediate time, as in Matthew 5:26 as Beza observes. Christ was "her firstborn" as he was man, and the firstborn of God, or his first and only begotten, as the Son of God. It is further observed, that she "called his name Jesus", as was foretold to her, or ordered her by the Angel, Luke 1:31 and to Joseph, Matthew 1:21.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. And knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son: and he called his name JESUS—The word "till" does not necessarily imply that they lived on a different footing afterwards (as will be evident from the use of the same word in 1Sa 15:35; 2Sa 6:23; Mt 12:20); nor does the word "first-born" decide the much-disputed question, whether Mary had any children to Joseph after the birth of Christ; for, as Lightfoot says, "The law, in speaking of the first-born, regarded not whether any were born after or no, but only that none were born before." (See on Mt 13:55, 56).
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