Matthew 1:12
And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;
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(12) Jechonias begat Salathiel.—We come here into a cluster of genealogical difficulties. (1) The natural impression left by Jeremiah 22:30 is that Coniah (or Jechonias) died childless, or, at least, left no descendants who came to rule as Zerubbabel did; (2) In the genealogy given by St. Luke (Luke 3:27), Salathiel is named as the son of Neri; (3) In 1Chronicles 3:17-19, Salathiel is the son of Assir, the son of Jeconiah, and Zerubbabel the son of Pedaiah, the brother of Salathiel. It is not easy to see our way through these difficulties; but the most probable solution is that Assir was the only son of Jeconiah, and died without issue before his father; that the line of Solomon thus came to an end, and that the descendants of Nathan, another son of David, took their place in the succession, and were reckoned, as by adoption, as the sons of the last survivor of the other line. The practice is, it may be noted, analogous to that which prevails among Indian princes, and in other Eastern nations. (Comp. Note on Luke 3:23-38.)

Matthew 1:12. And after they were brought to Babylon — After the Babylonish captivity commenced, Jechonias begat Salathiel — It is here objected, that God said concerning this Jeconiah, called also Coniah, Jeremiah 22:30, Write ye this man childless: How then did he beget Salathiel? This objection is easily answered, for that verse, (where see the note,) expounds itself: it being added, a man that shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah. The expression, therefore, manifestly means, without a child that shall actually succeed in the kingdom: for the text itself supposes that he should have seed, but none that should prosper, sitting on the throne of David and ruling in Judah: which is according to the sacred history, (2 Chronicles 36.,) for the king of Babylon set up Zedekiah, his uncle, in his stead, who was the last king of Judah, in the 11th year of whose reign the Jews were carried away captive. Salathiel begat Zorobabel — Here is another difficulty: for, 1 Chronicles 3:19, we read, The sons of Pedaiah were Zerubbabel and Shimei: now if Zerubbabel was the son of Pedaiah, how could he be the son of Salathiel? In answer to this, let it be observed, 1st, that Salathiel might die without issue, and Pedaiah, his brother, might marry his widow, (according to the law of God, Deuteronomy 25:5,) to raise up seed to his brother. Zerubbabel, being the fruit of this marriage, would of course be called the son of Salathiel and the son of Pedaiah. Or, 2dly, there might be two persons of the name of Zerubbabel; one the son of Salathiel, and the other the son of his brother Pedaiah. This seems very likely, considering that the word Zerubbabel signifies a stranger in Babylon, a name which very probably would be given to several children born in the captivity. Be this as it may, the Zerubbabel here mentioned was that illustrious person who was the chief instrument of restoring and settling the Jewish commonwealth, on their return from captivity.

1:1-17 Concerning this genealogy of our Saviour, observe the chief intention. It is not a needless genealogy. It is not a vain-glorious one, as those of great men often are. It proves that our Lord Jesus is of the nation and family out of which the Messiah was to arise. The promise of the blessing was made to Abraham and his seed; of the dominion, to David and his seed. It was promised to Abraham that Christ should descend from him, Ge 12:3; 22:18; and to David that he should descend from him, 2Sa 7:12; Ps 89:3, &c.; 132:11; and, therefore, unless Jesus is a son of David, and a son of Abraham, he is not the Messiah. Now this is here proved from well-known records. When the Son of God was pleased to take our nature, he came near to us, in our fallen, wretched condition; but he was perfectly free from sin: and while we read the names in his genealogy, we should not forget how low the Lord of glory stooped to save the human race.These verses contain the genealogy of Jesus. Luke also Luke 3 gives a genealogy of the Messiah. No two passages of Scripture have caused more difficulty than these, and various attempts have been made to explain them. There are two sources of difficulty in these catalogues.

1. Many names that are found in the Old Testament are here omitted; and,

2. The tables of Matthew and Luke appear in many points to be different.

From Adam to Abraham Matthew has mentioned no names, and Luke only has given the record. From Abraham to David the two tables are alike. Of course there is no difficulty in reconciling these two parts of the tables. The difficulty lies in that part of the genealogy from David to Christ. There they are entirely different. They are manifestly different lines. Not only are the names different, but Luke has mentioned, in this part of the genealogy, no less than 42 names, while Matthew has recorded only 27 names.

Various ways have been proposed to explain this difficulty, but it must be admitted that none of them is perfectly satisfactory. It does not comport with the design of these notes to enter minutely into an explanation of the perplexities of these passages. All that can be done is to suggest the various ways in which attempts have been made to explain them.

1. It is remarked that in nothing are mistakes more likely to occur than in such tables. From the similarity of names, and the different names by which the same person is often called, and from many other causes, errors would be more likely to creep into genealogical tables than in other writings. Some of the difficulties may have possibly occurred from this cause.

2. Most interpreters have supposed that Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph, and Luke that of Mary. They were both descended from David, but in different lines. This solution derives some plausibility from the fact that the promise was made to David, and as Jesus was not the son of Joseph, it was important to show that Mary was also descended from him. But though this solution is plausible, and may be true, yet it wants evidence. It cannot, however, be proved that this was not the design of Luke.

3. It has been said also that Joseph was the legal son and heir of Heli, though the real son of Jacob, and that thus the two lines terminated in him. This was the explanation suggested by most of the Christian fathers, and on the whole is the most satisfactory. It was a law of the Jews that if a man died without children, his brother should marry his widow. Thus the two lines might have been intermingled, According to this solution, which was first proposed by Africanus, Matthan, descended from Solomon, married Estha, of whom was born Jacob. After Matthan's death, Matthat being of the same tribe, but of another family, married his widow, and of this marriage Heli was born. Jacob and Heli were therefore children of the same mother. Heli dying without children, his brother Jacob married his widow, and begat Joseph, who was thus the legal son of Heli. This is agreeable to the account in the two evangelists. Matthew says that Jacob begat Joseph; Luke says that Joseph was the son of Heli, i. e., was his legal heir, or was reckoned in law to be his son. This can be seen by the plan on the next page, showing the nature of the connection.

Though these solutions may not seem to be entirely satisfactory, yet there are two additional considerations which should set the matter at rest, and lead to the conclusion that the narratives are not really inconsistent.

1. No difficulty was ever found, or alleged, in regard to them, by any of the early enemies of Christianity. There is no evidence that they ever adduced them as containing a contradiction. Many of those enemies were acute, learned, and able; and they show by their writings that they were not indisposed to detect all the errors that could possibly be found in the sacred narrative. Now it is to be remembered that the Jews were fully competent to show that these tables were incorrect, if they were really so; and it is clear that they were fully disposed, if possible, to do it. The fact, therefore, that it is not done, is clear evidence that they thought it to be correct. The same may be said of the acute pagans who wrote against Christianity. None of them have called in question the correctness of these tables. This is full proof that, in a time when it was easy to understand these tables, they were believed to be correct.

2. The evangelists are not responsible for the correctness of these tables. They are responsible only for what was their real and professed object to do. What was that object? It was to prove to the satisfaction of the Jews that Jesus was descended from David, and therefore that there was no argument from his ancestry that he was not the promised Messiah. Now to make this out, it was not necessary, nor would it have conduced to their argument, to have formed a new table of genealogy. All that could be done was to go to the family records - to the public tables, and copy them as they were actually kept, and show that, according to the records of the nation, Jesus was descended from David. This, among the Jews, would be full and decided testimony in the case. And this was doubtless done. In the same way, the records of a family among us, as they are kept by the family, are proof in courts of justice now of the birth, names, etc., of individuals. Nor is it necessary or proper for a court to call them in question or to attempt to correct them. So, the tables here are good evidence to the only point that the writers wished to establish: that is, to show to the Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was descended from David. The only inquiry which can now be fairly made is whether they copied those tables correctly. It is clear that no man can prove that they did not so copy them, and therefore that no one can adduce them as an argument against the correctness of the New Testament.

12. And after they were brought to Babylon—after the migration of Babylon.

Jechonias begat Salathiel—So 1Ch 3:17. Nor does this contradict Jer 22:30, "Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man (Coniah, or Jeconiah) childless"; for what follows explains in what sense this was meant—"for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David." He was to have seed, but no reigning child.

and Salathiel—or Shealtiel.

begat Zorobabel—So Ezr 3:2; Ne 12:1; Hag 1:1. But it would appear from 1Ch 3:19 that Zerubbabel was Salathiel's grandson, being the son of Pedaiah, whose name, for some reason unknown, is omitted.

This Jechonias 1 Chronicles 3:17-19 is generally thought to be Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakin; he is called Jeconiah, 1 Chronicles 3:16, as well as Jehoiachin, 2 Chronicles 36:8; so also he is called Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah 24:1. That this Jechonias begat Salathiel {Ezra 3:2 5:2 Nehemiah 12:1 Haggai 1:1} appeareth from 1 Chronicles 3:17. It is here objected that God said concerning this Jeconiah, called also Coniah, Write ye this man childless, Jeremiah 22:30 how then did he beget Salathiel? But it is easily answered, for that verse. Jeremiah 22:30, will expound itself: Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah: so as that text is plainly to be understood, without a child that shall actually succeed in the crown; for the text itself supposes that he should have seed, but none that should prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling in Judah, which the Scripture, 2 Chronicles 36:1-23 justifieth, for the king of Babylon set up Zedekiah his uncle in his stead, who was the last king in Judah, in the eleventh year of whose reign the Jews were all carried captive. This Jeconiah had eight sons, as we read, 1 Chronicles 3:17,18. Salathiel is there reckoned as his second son; possibly Assir died young, or at least childless, so as the right of the crown was in Salathiel, who is the person alone here named. But how

Salathiel is here said to have begat Zorobabel is yet a greater difficulty; for, 1 Chronicles 3:19, it is said, The sons of Pedaiah (not of Salathiel) were, Zerubabel, and Shimei. If Zorobabel were the son of Pedaiah, how could he be the son of Salathiel? Several answers are given to this. Some think that Zorobabel, because he descended lineally from Salathiel, is called his son, which were a sufficient answer if the supposition were true, that Zorobabel were lineally descended from Salathiel: but that it is not, for according to 1 Chronicles 3:18 Pedaiah was not the son, but the brother of Salathiel. Others think that Salathiel is here said to have begot Zorobabel, because Zorobabel succeeded him in the kingdom; but as that is a strange interpretation of the word begat, so neither was Salathiel a king, though possibly the title of the crown was in him as the great grandchild of Josiah, nor did ever Zorobabel assume the crown that we read of. Whereas others say, that there were two Zorobabels, and that this son was the adopted son of Salathiel: both these things are suggested without proof. The most probable opinion, which I perceive the best interpreters acquiesce in, is, that Salathiel dying without issue, Pedaiah his brother married his wife, according to the law of God, Deu 25:5, and begat Zorobabel of her that had been the wife of Salathiel; and thence it is said Salathiel begat him, Pedaiah so raising up seed to his brother according to the law aforesaid. To this it is objected by some, that the law was, that the child should succeed in the name of the brother that was dead: so that if this were the sense, it should not have been, Salathiel begat Zorobabel, but Salathiel begat Salathiel. The answer to this is not difficult; for, to succeed in the name of the brother that is dead, doth not signify, to be called by the very name with which he was called, but to be denominated his son, as if begotten by him. And this is evident from Ruth 4:10, where Boaz hath these words, Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren. Yet, Ruth 4:21, Boaz, having a son by Ruth, did not call his name Mahlon, by the name of his father, but Obed.

And after they were brought to Babylon,.... Not Jechonias, but the father of Jechonias, and the Jews.

Jechonias begat Salathiel. Not Jechonias mentioned in the former verse, but his son, called Jehoiachin, 2 Kings 24:6 and Coniah, Jeremiah 22:24 both which are rendered Jechonias by the Septuagint in 2 Chronicles 36:8 and he is so called, 1 Chronicles 3:16. Abulpharagius (c) calls him Junachir, and says he is the same who in Matthew is called Juchonia; and he asserts him to be the father of Daniel the Prophet. But here a considerable difficulty arises, how he can be said to beget Salathiel, called Shealtiel, Haggai 1:1 when he was pronounced "childless", Jeremiah 22:30. To remove which, it may be observed, that the sentence pronounced may be considered with this tacit condition or proviso, if he repented not. Now the Jews have a tradition (d) that he did repent in prison, upon which the sentence was revoked; but there is no need to suppose this, though it is not an unreasonable supposition; for the sentence does not imply that he should have no children, but rather that he should, as will appear upon reading the whole; "thus saith the Lord, write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah". Besides, the Hebrew word rendered "childless", comes from which signifies "to make naked" or "bare" and so denotes not only such as have no children, or are bereft of them, but such as are by any providence stripped of the blessings of life, and are left bare, destitute, and unhappy, as Jechonias and his posterity were: however, the Jews have no reason to find fault with our Evangelist, since Salathiel is expressly called Jechonias's son, 1 Chronicles 3:17 either he was his proper natural son, or, to use their way of speaking, "the son of the kingdom" (e), that is, his heir and successor in the kingdom, as some have thought; since it looks as if he was the son of Neri, Luke 3:27 though the chronicle of Jedidaeus of Alexandria (f), or Philo the Jew, says, that Jechonias was called Neri, because Ner, or the lamp of David, shined in him, which had been almost extinguished.

And Salathiel begat Zorobabel. This account perfectly agrees with many passages in the Old Testament, where Zorobabel is called the son of Shealtiel or Salathiel, Ezra 3:2 Haggai 1:1 which is sufficient to justify the Evangelist in this assertion. There is indeed a difficulty which as much presses the Jews as the Christians, and that is, that Zorobabel is reckoned as the son of Pedaiah, 1 Chronicles 3:19 for the solution of which a noted Jewish commentator (g) observes, that

"in Haggai, Zachariah and Ezra, Zorobabel is called the son of Shealtiel, because he was his son's son; for Pedaiah was the son of Shealtiel, and Zorobabel the son of Pedaiah; and do not you observe (adds he) that in many places children's children are mentioned as children?''

No doubt there are many instances of this; but to me it seems that Pedaiah was not the son of Shealtiel, but his brother, 1 Chronicles 3:17. And I greatly suspect that Shealtiel had no children of his own, since none are mentioned; and that he adopted his brother Pedaiah's son Zorobabel, and made him his heir and successor in the government of Judah. However, it is certain, as a genealogical writer (h) among the Jews observes, that he was of the son's sons of Jechonias, king of Judah, from whom our Evangelist makes him to descend.

(c) Hist. Dynast. p. 45. Vid. Hieron. Comment. in Dan. i. fol. 264. B. (d) Kimchi in 1 Chronicles 3.17. & in Jeremiah 22.30. (e) Ib. in 1 Chronicles 3.15. (f) Apud Vorst. Observ. in Ganz. Chronolog. p. 310. (g) Kimchi in 1 Chronicles 3.19. & in Hagg. i. 1.((h) Juchasin, fol. 13. i.

And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;
Matthew 1:12. Μετὰμετοικ.] After the migration had taken place. 1 Chronicles 3:16; 2 Kings 14:8; Joseph. Antt. x. 9. Not to be translated “during the exile” (Krebs, Kypke), which is quite opposed to the language.

μετοικεσία] change of abode, migration; consequently here, “the being carried away to Babylon,” not the sojourn in the exile itself, which would lead to an erroneous view of the μετά. The above meaning is yielded by the Hebrew נּוֹלָה, 1 Chronicles 5:22; Ezekiel 12:11; 2 Kings 24:16; Nahum 3:10. Comp. the LXX. Anthol. 7. 731 (Leon. Tar. 79). The usual word in the classics is μετοικήσις (Plato, Legg. 8, p. 850 A), also μετοικισμός (Plutarch. Popl. 22).

Σαλαθίηλ] he is called in Luke 3:27 a son of Neri and a grandson of Melchi; a variation which, like many others in both genealogies, is to be acknowledged, and not put aside by the assumption of several individuals of the same name, by the presupposing of levirate relationships (Hug, Ebrard), or arbitrary attempts of any other kind. 1 Chronicles 3:17. When, however, in Jeremiah 22:30 the father of Sealthiel is prophetically designated as עֲרִירִי, the prophet himself explains this in the sense that none of his descendants will sit upon the throne of David. Comp. Paulus in loc., Hitzig on Jerem. l.c. The Talmudists are more subtle, see Lightfoot in loc. Moreover, according to 1 Chronicles 3:19, Pedaiah is wanting here between Salathiel and Zerubbabel. Yet Zerubbabel is elsewhere also called the son of Salathiel (Ezra 3:2; Ezra 5:2; Haggai 1:1; Luke 3:27), where, however, 1 Chronicles 3:19 is to be regarded as a more exact statement. See Bertheau. Observe, moreover, that also according to 1 Chronicles 3. both men belong to the Solomonic line.

Matthew 1:12-15. In the last division the genealogical table escapes our control. After Zerubbabel no name occurs in the O. T. We might have expected to find Abiud in 1 Chronicles 3:19, where the children of Zerubbabel are given, but Abiud is not among them. The royal family sank into obscurity. It does not follow that no pains were taken to preserve their genealogy. The priests may have been diligent in the matter, and records may have been preserved in the temple (Schanz). The Messianic hope would be a motive to carefulness. In any case we must suppose the author of the genealogy before us to give here what he found. He did not construct an imaginary list. And the list, if not guaranteed as infallibly accurate by its insertion, was such as might reasonably be expected to satisfy Hebrew readers. Amid the gloom of the night of legalism which broods over all things belonging to the period, this genealogy included, it is a comfort to think that the Messiahship of Jesus does not depend on the absolute accuracy of the genealogical tree.

12. Jechonias begat Salathiel] Jehoiachin had no children of his own, “write ye this man childless” (Jeremiah 22:30). Salathiel was the son of Neri (Luke), but heir to Jehoiachin.

Matthew 1:12. μετὰ, after) sc. after he had migrated to Babylon.—Σαλαθιὴλ δὲ ἐγέννησε τὸν Ζοροβάβελ, but Salathiel begat Zorobabel) i.e., was the progenitor of; Pedaiah being the son of the former, and father of the latter. St Luke (Luke 3:27) mentions another Salathiel and Zorobabel, father and son, who must have lived about the same time with these.[16]

[16] D. Crusius explains the causes of this fact l. c. p. 369, 370, showing that the Zorobabel of Luke was a prince of Juda, and the associate (σύζυγον) of Joshua in the restoration, whereas the Zorobabel of Matthew was a private individual.—E. B.

Verse 12. - Jechonias begat Salathiel ( Sheal-tiel, Revised Version). From Jeremiah 22:30 it has sometimes been thought that Jechoniah died childless, though the preceding context, which speaks of him and his seed, seems hardly to warrant the supposition; but clearly the words of the prophet there imply that none of his descendants should attain to a position such as was held by Zerubbabel, and that his family should soon come to an end. If we look at the genealogy in 1 Chronicles 3:17 we find Assir mentioned as the son of Jechoniah (cf., however, Revised Version, "Jeconiah the captive"), and Salathiel as his son; and in the next verse Pedaiah, a brother of Salathiel, is named as father of Zerubbabel. By St. Luke (Luke 3:27) Salathiel is called the son of Neri, and in Ezra 3:2; Ezra 5:2; and Haggai 1:1 Zerubbabel is called the son of Shealtiel. These are all the details we have, and to decide on how they are related to each other is very difficult. We may, perhaps, be right in supposing that Pedaiah, the brother of Shealtiel, having died, his son Zerubbabel was adopted by Shealtiel. We must then suppose that, the royal line through Solomon having ended, and Jechoniah's only child, Assir (if he ever existed, vide supra) , having left no issue, the line of David is taken up through the family of the other son, Nathan, and that from him descended Neri, the father of Shealtiel, who takes the place of Jechoniah's issue, which has altogether failed. Matthew 1:12
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