Matthew 1:13
And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;
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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.

13-15. And Zorobabel begat Abiud, &c.—None of these names are found in the Old Testament; but they were doubtless taken from the public or family registers, which the Jews carefully kept, and their accuracy was never challenged. See Poole on "Matthew 1:15".

And Zorobabel begat Abiud,.... The children of Zorobabel are said in 1 Chronicles 3:19, to be Meshullam, and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister, but no mention is made of Abiud: he seems to be the same with Meshullam the eldest son, who might have two names; nor is this unlikely, since it was usual, especially about the time of the Babylonish captivity, for men to have more names than one, as may be observed in Daniel and others, Daniel 1:7 where they went by one, and in Judea by another.

And Abiud begat Eliakim, &c. From hence to the 16th verse the genealogy is carried down to Joseph, the husband of Mary; which account must be taken from the genealogical tables of the Jews, to which recourse might be had, and with which it agrees; or otherwise the Jews would have cavilled at it; but I do not find any objections made by them to it. That there were genealogical books or tables kept by the Jews is certain, from the following instances (i);

"Simeon ben Azzai says, I found in Jerusalem, , "a volume of genealogies", and there was written in it, &c.''

Again (k), says R. Levi,

"they found a "volume of genealogies" in Jerusalem, and there was written in it that Hillell came from David; Ben Jarzaph from Asaph; Ben Tzitzith Hacceseth from Abner; Ben Cobesin from Ahab; Ben Calba Shebuah from Caleb; R. Jannai from Eli; R. Chayah Rabba from the children of Shephatiah, the son of Abital; R. Jose be Rabbi Chelphetha from the children of Jonadab, the son of Rechab; and R. Nehemiah from Nehemiah the Tirshathite.''

Once more (l), says R. Chana bar Chanma, when the holy blessed God causes his

"Shechinah to dwell, he does not cause it to dwell but upon families, "which are genealogized" in Israel.''

Now if Matthew's account had not been true, it might easily have been refuted by these records. The author of the old (m) Nizzachon takes notice of the close of this genealogy, but finds no fault with it; only that it is carried down to Joseph, and not to Mary; which may be accounted for by a rule of their own (n), "the mother's family is not called a family", whereas the father's is. It is very remarkable that the Jewish Targum (o) traces the descent of the Messiah from the family of David in the line of Zorobabel, as Matthew does; and reckons the same number of generations, wanting one, from Zorobabel to the Messiah, as the Evangelist does, from Zorobabel to Jesus; according to Matthew, the genealogy stands thus, Zorobabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Sadoc, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph, Jesus; and according to the Targum the order is this,

"Zorobabel, Hananiah, Jesaiah, Rephaiah, Arnon, Obadiah, Shecaniah, Shemnigh, Neariah, Elioenai, Anani; this is the king Messiah, who is to be revealed.''

The difference of names may be accounted for by their having two names, as before observed. This is a full proof, that, according to the Jews own account, and expectation, the Messiah must be come many years and ages ago.

(i) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 49. 2.((k) T. Hieros. Taanith, fol. 68. 1. B. Rabba, sect. 98. fol. 85. 3.((l) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 70. 9. (m) P. 186. (n) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 54. 2. Bava Bathra, fol. 109. 2. & 110. 2. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 6. 1. Jucbasin, fol. 55. 2.((o) In 1 Chronicles 3.24. Vid. Beckii Not. in ib. p. 56, 57.

And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;
Matthew 1:13. None of the members of the genealogy after Zerubbabel, whose son Abiud is not named in 1 Chronicles 3:19 f. along with the others, occurs in the O. T. The family of David had already fallen into a humble position. But even after the exile, the preservation and, relatively, the restoration of the genealogies remained a subject of national, especially priestly, concern; comp. Joseph, c. Apion. This concern could not but be only all the more lively and active in reference to the house of David, with which the expectation of the Messiah was always connected.

13. Zorobabel begat Abiud] Here a step is omitted, Abiud—the Hodaiah of 1 Chronicles 3:24—being the grandson of Zerubbabel. Rhesa, who is named as Zerubbabel’s son (Luke 3:27), is a title: the text in Luke should run, “which was the son of Rhesa Zorobabel.” The Juda of Luke is the same as Abiud.

Matthew 1:13. Ἐγέννησε τὸν Ἀβιοὺδ, begat Abiud) This is the same as Hodaiah,[17] who was in like manner descended from Zorobabel, through several intervening ancestors (see 1 Chronicles 3:19; 1 Chronicles 3:24), as Hiller explains in his Syntagmata, pp. 361, sqq., where he shows, that the Jews acknowledged the genealogy in the said passage of Chronicles to be that of the Messiah: nor, indeed, was it necessary that any other genealogy should have been carried further down there than that of the Messiah. There can, therefore, be no doubt but that the passage in question was particularly well known to the Jews; and there was, consequently, the less need that St Matthew should repeat it in extenso. In this generation, then, concludes the scripture of the Old Testament. The remainder of the genealogy was supplied by St Matthew from trustworthy documents of a later date, and, no doubt, of a public character.

[17] Or Hodajah, as in Bengel.

Verse 13. - And Zorobabel ( Zerubbabel, Revised Version) begat Abiad. Here the two lines of pedigree in St. Matthew and St. Luke seem tc separate, and not to converge again till we come to Matthan (or Matthat), the grandfather of Joseph, which name is common to both. The Bishop of Bath and Wells has shown some reason for supposing that Rhesa, mentioned in St. Luke as Zerubbabel's son, is merely a title signifying "a chief," and also for identifying Hananiah, who is called a son of Zerubbabel (1 Chronicles 3:19), with Joanna, who follows Rhesa in St. Luke (Luke 3:27), and there being some relation between the Juda of St. Luke and the Abiud (i.e. father of Juda) given as Zerubbabel's son in St. Matthew. Except in these few particulars, the two lines show no connexion of names, and it seems likely that the family of David had fallen into low estate for several generations before the birth of Christ. Matthew 1:13
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