Matthew 1
Meyer's NT Commentary

Matthew 1:1-17. In the writing of the names there are manifold variations in MSS., verss., and Fathers. Lachm. and Tisch. have in Matthew 1:1; Matthew 1:6; Matthew 1:17 Δαυείδ, which is attested throughout as the manner of writing the word by the oldest and best MSS.; Matthew 1:5. Ἰωβήδ, after B C Δ א, verss. Fathers; Matthew 1:8 f. Ὀζείαν, Ὀζείας, after B Δ א; Matthew 1:10. Ἀμώς, after B C M Δ א, verss. Epiph.; Matthew 1:10 f. Ἰωσείαν, Ἰωσείας, after B Δ א, Sahid.; Matthew 1:15. Μαθθάν, after B*. Lachmann has, besides, in Matthew 1:5, Βοός, after C, and Tischendorf (8th ed.) Βοές, after B א; Lachm. and Tisch. (8th ed.) in Matthew 1:7 f. Ἀσάφ, after B C א, verss.

Matthew 1:6. ὁ βασιλεύς, which B Γ א, 1, 71, Syr. Copt. Sahid. Arm. al. omit (deleted by Lachm. and Tisch.), has the preponderance of voices in its favour; its emphasis being overlooked on account of what precedes, it was regarded as superfluous, and was easily passed over.

Matthew 1:11. After ἐγέννησε, M U Curss. have τὸν Ἰωακείμ· Ἰωακείμ δὲ ἐγέννησε. A later interpolation (yet already before Irenaeus), but put in circulation after Porphyry had already reproached the church with a defective genealogy.

Matthew 1:18. B C P S Z Δ א, Curss. Eus. Ath. Max. have γένεσις. So also Lachm. and Tisch. Others: γέννησις, which has been adopted by Elz. Scholz, and Rinck. The former is to be preferred, because the latter might very easily arise from the frequently preceding ἐγέννησε and ἐγεννήθη, and might also appear more appropriate to the connection (partus modus). Comp. Matthew 2:1, Luke 1:14.

Matthew 1:19. παραδειγματίσαι] Lachm. and Tisch. have δειγματίσαι, only, indeed, after B Z א** I, Schol. on Orig., and Euseb., but correctly, as δειγματίζω is preserved only in Colossians 2:15, while παραδειγματίζω (Hebrews 6:6) is common in the LXX. and elsewhere, and suggested itself, therefore, as the better known and stronger expression (comp. Scholion in Tisch.).

Matthew 1:24. διεγερθείς] Lachm. and Tisch. (8th ed.) have ἐγερθείς, after B C * Z א, Curss. Epiph. The less current compound verb gave place to the very common (comp. Matthew 2:14) simple form.

Matthew 1:25. τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον] Lachm. and Tisch. have simply υἱόν, after B Z א, 1, 33, Copt. Sahid. Syrcu. Codd. It. Ambr. al. Certainly (comp. especially Bengel) the Received reading has the appearance of having originated from Luke 2:7 (where there is no various reading). The witnesses, however, in favour of the Recepta greatly preponderate; the virginity of Mary, also (against which, according to the testimony of Jerome, doubts were raised in consequence of the πρωτότοκον), certainly more probably suggested the removal of the πρωτότοκον than its insertion. Comp. Mill and Wetstein. Finally, had υἱόν merely been the original reading in the present passage, the πρωτότοκον in Luke 2:7 could scarcely have remained unassailed.

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Matthew 1:1. Βίβλος γενέσεως] Book of origin; מֵפֶר תּוֹלְדוֹת, Genesis 2:4; Genesis 5:1, LXX.; comp. Genesis 6:9; Genesis 11:10. The first verse contains the title of the genealogy which follows in Matthew 1:2-16, which contains the origin of Christ from the Messianic line that runs on from the time of Abraham (genitive of contents). So Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Bengel, Wetstein, Paulus, Kuinoel, Gratz, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others. The evangelist adopted the genealogical piece of writing (βίβλος), and which “velut extra corpus historiae prominet” (Grotius), without alteration, as he found it, and with its title also. Others (Bede, Maldonatus, Schleussner) take γένεσις as meaning life, and regard the words as a superscription to the entire Gospel: commentarius de vita Jesu. Contrary to the usage of the language; for in Jdt 12:18, and Wis 7:5, γένεσις denotes the origin, the commencing point of life; in Plato, Phaedr. p. 252 D, it means existence; in Hierocles, p. 298, the creation, or that which is created; and in Jam 3:6, τροχὸς τῆς γενέσεως is the τροχός which begins with birth. And if we were to suppose, with Olearius (comp. Hammond and Vitringa, also Euthym. Zigabenus), that the superscription liber de originibus Jesu Christi was selected first with reference to the commencement of the history, to which the further history was then appended with a distinctive designation (comp. Catonis Censorii Origines), as תּוֹלְדוֹת also confessedly does not always announce a mere genealogy (Genesis 5:1 ff; Genesis 11:27 ff.), nay, may even stand without any genealogical list following it (Genesis 2:4; Genesis 37:2 ff.),—so the immediate connection in which βίβλοςΧριστοῦ stands with υἱοῦ Δαυ., υἱοῦ Ἀβρ., here necessitates us to think from the very beginning, in harmony with the context, of the genealogy merely; and the commencement of Matthew 1:18, where the γένεσις in the narrower sense, the actual origination, is now related, separates the section Matthew 1:18-25 distinctly from the preceding genealogical list, so that the first words of chap. 2, τοῦ δὲ Ἰησοῦ γεννηθέντος, connect themselves, as carrying on the narrative, with Matthew 1:18-25, where the origin of Jesus, down to His actual birth, is related. This is, at the same time, in answer to Fritzsche, who translates it as volumen de J. Christi originibus, and, appealing to the words in the beginning of ch. 2, regards βίβλος γενέσεως, κ.τ.λ., as the superscription of the first chapter (so also Delitzsch), as well as to Olshausen (see also Ewald and Bleek), who takes it as the superscription of the two first chapters.

If the Israelite set a high value, in his own individual instance, upon a series of ancestors of unexceptionable pedigree (Romans 11:1; Php 3:5; Josephus,c. Ap. ii. 7; Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. p. 178), how much more must such be found to be the case on the side of the Messiah!

Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ] The name יְהוֹשׁוּעַ (Exodus 24:13; Numbers 13:16), or, after the exile, יֵשׁוּעַ (Nehemiah 7:7), ܢܶܫܘܶܓ was very common,[350] and denotes Jehovah is helper. This meaning, contained in the name Jesus (comp. Sir 46:1), came to full personal manifestation in Christ, see Matthew 1:21. Χριστός corresponds to the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, anointed, which was used partly of priests, Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 5:16; Leviticus 6:15, Psalm 105:15; partly of kings, 1 Samuel 24:7; 1 Samuel 24:11, Psalm 2:2, Isaiah 45:1, comp. Daniel 9:25-26; as a prophet also, according to 1 Kings 19:16, might be an anointed person. From the time of the Book of Daniel—for throughout the whole later period also, down to the time of Christ, the Messianic idea was a living one amongst the people[351]—this theocratic name, and that as a king’s name, was applied, according to the Messianic explanation of the second Psalm, to the king of David’s race, whose coming, according to the predictions of the prophets, was ever more ardently looked for, but with hopes that became ever purer, who was to raise the nation to its theocratic consummation, to restore the kingdom to its highest power and glory, and extend his blessings to the heathen as well, while, as a necessary condition to all this, He was, in a religious and moral respect, to work out the true spiritual government of God, and bring it to a victorious termination. See on the development of the idea and hope of the Messiah, especially Ewald, Gesch. Christ. p. 133 ff., ed. 3 [E. T. by Glover, p. 140 ff.]; Bertheau in d. Jahrb. f. D. Th. IV. p. 595 ff., V. p. 486 ff.; Riehm in d. Stud. u. Kritik. 1865, I. and III. [E. T., Clark, Edinburgh, 1876]. According to B. Bauer (comp. Volkmar, Rel. Jesu, p. 113), Jesus is said to have first developed the Messianic idea out of His own consciousness, the community to have clothed it in figures, and then to have found these figures also in the Old Testament, while the Jews first received the idea from the Christians! In answer to this view, which frivolously inverts the historical relation, see Ebrard, Kritik. d. evang. Gesch., ed. 3, § 120 ff. [E. T. 2d ed., Clark, Edinburgh, p. 485 f.]; and on the Messianic ideas of the Jews at the time of Christ, especially Hilgenfeld, Messias Judaeorum libris eorum paulo ante et paulo post Christum natum conscriptis illustratus, 1869; also Holtzmann in d. Jahrb. f. D. Theol. 1867, p. 389 ff., according to whom, however, the original self-consciousness of the Lord had been matured at an earlier date, before He found[352] for it, in His confession of Himself as the Messiah, a name that might be uttered before His contemporaries, and an objective representation that was conceivable for Himself.

The official name Χριστός, for Jesus, soon passed over in the language of the Christians into a nomen proprium, in which shape it appears almost universally in the Epistles and in the Acts of the Apostles, with or without the article, after the nature of proper names in general. In the Gospels, Χριστός stands as a proper name only in Matthew 1:1; Matthew 1:16-18; Mark 1:1; John 1:17; and appropriately, because not congruous to the development of the history and its connection, but spoken from the standpoint of the much later period of its composition, in which ἸΗΣΟῦς ΧΡΙΣΤΌς had been already long established as a customary name in the language of Christians; as here also (comp. Mark 1:1) in the superscription, the whole of the great name Ἰησοῦς Χριστός is highly appropriate, nay, necessary.

Further, Jesus could be the bearer of the idea of Messiah, for the realization of which He knew from the beginning that He was sent, in no other way than in its national definiteness, therefore also without the exclusion of its political element, the thought of which, however,—and this appears most fully in John,—was transfigured by Him into the idea of the highest and universal spiritual government of God, so that the religious and moral task of the Messiah was His clear aim from the very outset, in striving after and attaining which He had to prepare the way for the Messiah’s kingdom, and finally had to lay its indestructible, necessary foundation (founding of the new covenant) by His atoning death, while He pointed to the future, which, according to all the evangelists, was viewed by Himself as near at hand, for the final establishment, glory, and power of the kingdom, when He will solemnly appear (Parousia) as the Messiah who is Judge and Ruler.

υἱοῦ Δαυείδ] for, according to prophetic promise, He must be a descendant of David, otherwise He would not have been the Messiah, John 7:42; Romans 1:3; Acts 13:22 f.; the Messiah is called pre-eminently בֶּן דָּוִד, Matthew 12:23; Matthew 21:9; Matthew 22:42; Luke 18:38. Comp. Wetstein, and Babylon. Sanhedr. fol. 97. David is designated as Abraham’s descendant, because the genealogical table must begin nationally with Abraham, who, according to the promise, is the original ancestor of the series of generations (Galatians 3:16), so that consequently the venerable chiefs of this genealogy immediately appear in the superscription. Luke’s point of view (Matthew 8:23) goes beyond the sphere of the nation, while Mark (l.c.) sets out from the theocratico-dogmatic conception of the Messiah.

[350] See the different persons who bear this name in Keim, Gescht. J. I. p. 384 ff.

[351] Comp. Langen, d. Judenthum in Palaestina zur Zeit Christi, 1866. Weissenbach, Jesu in regno coel. dignitas, 1868, p. 47 ff.

[352] In connection with this view, we would be obliged to acquiesce in the belief of a very radical misunderstanding, which would permeate the gospel history from the baptism and the witness of John, namely, that the evangelists “apprehended as a beginning what was rather a result.” On exegetical grounds this cannot be justified.

Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
Matthew 1:2-3. Κ. τ. ἀδελφοὺς αὐτ.] “Promissiones fuere in familia Israelis,” Bengel.

Matthew 1:3. These twin sons of Judah were illegitimate, Genesis 38:16-30. The Jews were inclined to find a good side to the transgressions of their ancestors, and alleged here, e.g., that Thamar entertained the idea of becoming an ancestress of kings and prophets. See Wetstein and Fritzsche. The reason why Thamar is here brought forward, as well as Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba in Matthew 1:5-6 (for οὐκ ἦν ἔθος γενεαλογεῖσθαι γυναῖκας, Euth. Zigabenus), is not “ut tacitae Judaeorum objectioni occurreretur,” Wetstein; for the reproach of illegitimate birth was not raised against Jesus in the apostolic age, nor probably before the second century (see Thilo, ad Cod. Apocr. I. p. 526 f.), and would be very indelicately referred to by the naming of these women; nor the point of view of exactness (Fritzsche), which would not explain why these women and no others were mentioned; least of all the tendency to cast into the shade the Jewish genealogical tree (Hilgenfeld). In keeping with the whole design of the genealogical register, which must terminate in the wonderful one who is born of woman, that reason cannot, without arbitrariness, be found save in this, that the women named entered in an extraordinary manner into the mission of continuing the genealogy onwards to the future Messiah, and might thereby appear to the genealogist and the evangelist as typi Mariae (Paulus, de Wette, Ebrard; comp. Grotius on Matthew 1:3), and in so doing the historical stains which cleaved to them (to Ruth also, in so far as she was a Moabitess) were not merely fully compensated by the glorious approval which they found precisely in the light in which their history was regarded by the nation (Hebrews 11:31; Jam 2:25), but far outweighed and even exalted to extraordinary honours. See the numerous Rabbinical passages, relating especially to Thamar, Rahab, and Ruth, in Wetstein in loc., and on Hebrews 11:31. Olshausen is too indefinite: “in order to point to the marvellous gracious leading of God in the ordering of the line of the Messiah.” Luther and some of the Fathers drag in here what lies very remote: because Christ interested Himself in sinners; Lange, more remote still, “in order to point to the righteousness which comes, not from external holiness, but from faith;” and Delitzsch (in Rudelbach and Guericke’s Zeitschrift, 1850, p. 575 f.), “because the sinless birth of Mary was prepared throughout by sin.”

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;
Matthew 1:5. Boaz is also called, in Ruth 4:21 and 1 Chronicles 2:11, son of Salma; but his mother Rahab is not mentioned. The author without doubt drew from a tradition which was then current, and presupposed as known (according to Ewald it was apocryphal), which gave Salma as a wife to her who had risen to honour by her conduct in. Jericho (Hebrews 11:31; Jam 2:25). The difficulties which, according to Rosenmüller, Kuinoel, and Gratz, arise from the chronology,—namely, that Rahab must have become a mother at seventy or eighty years of age,—are, considering the uncertainty of the genealogical tradition, which already appeals in Ruth 4:20, as well as the freedom of Orientals in general with regard to genealogies, not sufficient to justify here the assumption of some other Rahab. According to Megill. f. 14, 2, and Koheleth R. 8, 10, Joshua married Rahab,—a tradition which is not followed by our genealogy.

And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
Matthew 1:6. Τὸν Δαυεὶδ τὸν βασιλέα] Although an apposition with the article follows the proper name, yet Δαυείδ also takes the article, not for the sake of uniformity with the preceding name (de Wette), but in order to designate David demonstratively, as already marked out in Matthew 1:1. In Matthew 1:16, also, the article before Ἰωσήφ, which is accompanied by an apposition, has, in keeping with the deep significance of his paternal relation to Jesus, demonstrative power (Kühner, II. p. 520).

The τὸν βασιλέα also, and the subsequent emphatic repetition of ὁ βασιλεύς, are a distinction for David, with whom the Messiah’s genealogy entered upon the kingly dignity.

τῆς τοῦ Οὐρίου] Such methods of expression by the simple genitive suppose the nature of the relationship in question to be known, as here it is that of wife. Comp. Hectoris Andromache, Luther’s Katharina, and the like. See Kühner, II. p. 285 f. Winer, p. 178 [E. T. p. 237].

And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;
And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;
Matthew 1:8. ἸορὰμὈζίαν] Three kings, Ahaziah, Joaz, and Amazia, are wanting between these (2 Kings 8:24; 1 Chronicles 3:11; 2 Chronicles 22:1; 2 Chronicles 22:11; 2 Chronicles 24:27). The common opinion is that of Jerome, that the omission was made for the sake of obtaining an equal division of the names, in order not to go beyond the three Tesseradecades. Such omissions were nothing unusual: 1 Chronicles 8:1; Genesis 46:21. See Surenhusius, βιβλ. καταλλ. p. 97. Lightfoot, Hor. p. 181. On the same phenomenon in the Book of Enoch, see Ewald in the Kieler Monatschrift, 1852, p. 520 f. The evangelist accepted the genealogical list without alteration, just as he found it; and the cause of that omission cannot be pointed out, but probably was only, and that without special design, the similarity of those names, in which way the omission also which occurs in Matthew 1:11 is to be explained. Ebrard and Riggenbach, erroneously introducing the point of view of theocratic illegality (comp. Lange), are of opinion that Matthew omitted the three kings for this reason, that Joram, on account of his marriage with the daughter of Jezebel, and of his conduct, had deserved that his posterity should be exterminated down to the fourth generation (so already some of the Fathers, Maldonatus, Spanheim, Lightfoot); that Matthew accordingly declared the descendants of the heathen Jezebel, down to the fourth generation, unworthy of succeeding to the theocratic throne. This breaks down at once before the simple ἐγέννησε. The omissions are generally not to be regarded as consciously made, otherwise they would conflict with Matthew 1:17 (πᾶσαι), and would amount to a falsification.

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:
Matthew 1:11. The son of Josiah was Joakim, and his son was Jechoniah. Here, consequently, a link is wanting, and accordingly several uncials, curss., and a few versions[353] contain the supplement: ἸΩΣΊΑς ΔῈ ἘΓΈΝΝΗΣΕ ΤῸΝ ἸΩΑΚΕΊΜ· ἸΩΑΚΕῚΜ ΔῈ ἘΓΈΝΝΗΣΕ ΤῸΝ ἸΕΧΟΝΊΑΝ (1 Chronicles 3:15-16). The omission is not, with Ebrard, to be explained from the circumstance that under Joakim the land passed under the sway of a foreign power (2 Kings 24:4), and that consequently the theocratic regal right became extinct (against this arbitrary view, see on Matthew 1:8); but merely from a confusion between the two similar names, which, at the same time, contributed to the omission of one of them. This clearly appears from the circumstance that, indeed, several brothers of Joakim are mentioned (three, see 1 Chronicles 3:15), but not of Jechoniah. Zedekiah is, indeed, designated in 2 Chronicles 36:10 as the brother of the latter (and in 1 Chronicles 3:16 as his son), but was his uncle (2 Kings 24:17; Jeremiah 37:1). That our genealogy, however, followed the (erroneous, see Bertheau, p. 430) statement in 2 Chronicles 36:10, is not to be assumed on account of the plural τοὺς ἀδελφούς, which rather points to 1 Chronicles 3:15 and the interchange with Joiakim. It is quite in an arbitrary manner, finally, that Kuinoel has assigned to the words ΚΑῚΑὐΤΟῦ their place only after ΣΑΛΑΘΊΗΛ, and Fritzsche has even entirely deleted them as spurious.

ἘΠῚ Τῆς ΜΕΤΟΙΚ. ΒΑΒΥΛῶΝΟς] during (not about the time, Luther and others) the migration. See Bernhardy, p. 246; Kühner, II. p. 430. The statement, however, is inexact, as Jechoniah was carried away along with others (2 Kings 24:15). The genitive Βαβυλ. is used in the sense of ΕἸς ΒΑΒΥΛῶΝΑ. Comp. Eurip. Iph. T. 1073: γῆς πατρῷας νόστος. Matthew 10:5 : ὉΔῸς ἘΘΝῶΝ; Matthew 4:15, al. Winer, p. 176 [E. T. p. 234].

[353] Amongst the editions this interpolation has been received into the text by Colinaeus, H. Stephens, and Er. Schmidt, also by Beza (1James , 2 d); by Castalio in his translation. It has been defended by Rinck, Lucub. crit. p. 245 f.; Ewald assumes that ver. 11 originally ran: Ἰωσίας δὲ ἐγένν. τ. Ἰωακὶμ καὶ τοῦς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ· Ἰωακὶμ δὲ ἐγένν. τὸν Ἰεχονίαν ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικ. Βαβ. The present form of the text may be an old error of the copyists, occasioned by the similarity of the two names.

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.

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.

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.
Matthew 1:16. ἸακὼβἸωσήφ] In Luke 3:24, Joseph is called a son of Eli. This variation, also, cannot be set aside. As in the case of most great men who have sprung from an obscure origin, so also in the case of Jesus, the ancestors of no reputation were forgotten, and were given by tradition in varying form. The view, however (Epiphanius, Luther, Calovius in answer to Grotius, Bengel, Rosenmüller, Paulus, Gratz, Hofmann, Olshausen, Ebrard, Lange, Arnoldi, Bisping, Auberlen), that Luke gives the genealogy of Mary, and consequently that in Luke 3:24 Joseph is entered as son-in-law of Eli, or Eli as maternal grandfather of Jesus (Spanheim, Wieseler, Riggenbach in the Stud. u. Kritik. 1855, p. 585 ff., Krafft), is just as baseless and harmonistically forced an invention as that of Augustine, de consen. ev. ii. 3; or of Wetstein, Delitzsch, that Joseph was the adopted son of Eli; or that of Julius Africanus in Eusebius i. 7, that Matthew gives the proper father of Joseph, while Luke gives his legal father according to the law of Levirate marriage (Hug), or conversely (Schleiermacher after Ambrose and others). The contradictions which our genealogy presents to that of Luke are to be impartially recognised. See a more minute consideration of this in Luke after ch. 3.

It is well known that the Jews (the Talmud, and in Origen, c. Celsum, i. 32) call Jesus the son of Pandira[354] or Panthera. See Paulus, exeget. Handb. I. p. 290; Nitzsch in the Stud. u. Kritik. 1840, 1; Keim, Leben Jesu, I. p. 368; Ewald, Gesch. Christi, p. 187, ed. 3.

ἄνδρα] is to be rendered husband, and not (Olshausen, after Theophylact, Grotius) betrothed. For when the genealogist wrote, Joseph had been long ago the husband of Mary; and the signification of ἈΝΉΡ is never that of sponsus.

ἐξ ἧς] see on Galatians 4:4.

ὁ λεγόμενος Χριστός] if the assumption of Storr (Zweck d. evangel. Gesch. u. d. Briefe Joh. p. 273), that this addition expresses the doubt of the genealogist, an unbelieving relative of Jesus, is a pure imagination, and completely opposed to the standpoint of the evangelist, who adopted the genealogy, still we are not to say, with Olshausen (comp. Gersdorf, and already Er. Schmidt), that λέγεσθαι here means to be called, and also actually to be. This would be to confuse it improperly with ΚΑΛΕῖΣΘΑΙ. See Winer, p. 571 [E. T. 769]. The genealogical source, which found a reception in our Matthew, narrates in a purely historical manner: who bears the name of Christ (Matthew 4:18, Matthew 10:2, Matthew 27:17); for this name, which became His from the official designation, was the distinctive name of this Jesus. Comp., besides, Remark 3, after Matthew 1:17.

[354] פַּנְדִירָא. Epiphanius, Haeres. 78. 7, thus (Πάνθηρ) terms the father of Joseph. John of Damascus, de fide Orthodox. iv. 15, removes this name still further back in the roll of ancestors. The Jewish book, Toledoth Jeschu, calls the father of Jesus, Joseph Pandira. See Eisenmenger, p. 105; Paulus, exeget. Handb. I. p. 156 f.; Thilo, Cod. apocr. I. p. 526 f.

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.
Matthew 1:17. This contains the remark of the evangelist in accordance with (οὖν) this genealogical tree, contained in Matthew 1:2-16. The key to the calculation, according to which the thrice-recurring fourteen links are to be enumerated, lies in Matthew 1:11-12. According to Matthew 1:11, Josiah begat Jechoniah at the time of the migration to Babylon; consequently Jechoniah must be included in the terminus ad quem, which is designated by ἕως τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος in Matthew 1:17. The same Jechoniah, however, must just as necessarily again begin the third division, as the same begins with ἀπὸ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος. Jechoniah, however, who was himself begotten at the time of the migration, did not become a father until after the migration (Matthew 1:12), so that he therefore belonged as begotten to the period ἕως τῆς μετοικ. Βαβυλ., but as a father to the period ἀπὸ τῆς μετοικ. Βαβυλ., standing in his relation to the epoch of the μετοικεσία as a twofold person. It is not so with David, as the latter, like every other except Jechoniah, is only named, but not brought into connection with an epoch-making event in the history, in relation to which he might appear as son and father in a twofold personality. He has therefore no right to be counted twice. According to this view, the three tesseradecades are to be thus divided,[355]—

[355] Comp. Strauss, 2d ed.; Hug, Gutachten; Wieseler in the Stud. u. Kritik. 1845, p. 377; Köstlin, Urspr. d. synopt. Evang. p. 30; Hilgenfeld, Evang. p. 46; also Riggenbach in the Stud. u. Kritik. 1856, p. 580 f., Leb. Jes. p. 261. So early as Augustine, and at a later date, Jansen and several others, count Jechoniah twice; so also Schegg; substantially also Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, who only express themselves awkwardly in saying that the time of the Exile is placed ἐν τάξει γενεᾶς.

I. 1. Abraham; 2. Isaac; 3. Jacob; 4. Judah; 5. Perez; 6. Hezron; 7. Ram; 8. Aminadab; 9. Naasson; 10. Salma; 11. Boaz; 12. Obed; 13. Jesse; 14. David.

II. 1. Solomon; 2. Rehoboam; 3. Abijah; 4. Asa; 5. Jehoshaphat; 6. Joram; 7. Uzziah; 8. Jotham; 9. Ahaz; 10. Hezekiah; 11. Manasseh; 12. Ammon; 13. Josiah; 14. Jechoniah (ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας, Matthew 1:11).

III. 1. Jechoniah (μετὰ τὴν μετοικεσίαν, Matthew 1:12); 2. Salathiel; 3. Zerubbabel; 4. Abiud; 5. Eliakim; 6. Azor; 7. Zadok; 8. Achim; 9. Eliud; 10. Eleazar; 11. Matthan; 12. Jacob; 13. Joseph; 14. Jesus.

In the third division we have to notice that in any case Jesus also must be counted, because Matthew 1:17 says ἕως τοῦ Χριστοῦ, in keeping with Matthew 1:1, where Ἰησοῦς Χριστός is announced as the subject of the genealogy, and consequently as the last of the entire list. If Jesus were not included in the enumeration, we should then have a genealogy of Joseph, and the final terminus must have been said to be ἕως Ἰωσήφ. Certainly, according to our Gospel, no proper γενεά existed between Joseph and Jesus, a circumstance which in reality takes away from the entire genealogical tree its character as a genealogy of Jesus in the proper sense. The genealogist himself, however, guards so definitely against every misinterpretation by the words τὸν ἄνδρα Μαρίας, ἐξ ἧς ἐγεννήθη Ἰησοῦς, that we distinctly see that he means to carry the descent of Jesus beyond Joseph back to David and Abraham, only in so far as Joseph, being husband of the mother of Jesus, was His father, merely putatively so indeed, but by the marriage his father in the eye of the law, although not his real parent. After all this, we are neither, with Olearius, Bengel, Fritzsche, de Wette (who is followed by Strauss, 4th ed., I. p. 139), Delitzsch, Bleek, and others, to divide thus: (1) Abraham to David, (2) David to Josiah, (3) Jechoniah to Christ; nor, with Storr (Diss. in libror. hist. N. T. loca, p. 1 ff.), Rosenmüller, Kuinoel, Olshausen: (1) Abraham to David, (2) David to Josiah, (3) Josiah to Joseph; nor are we to say, with Paulus, that among the unknown links, Matthew 1:13-16, one has fallen out owing to the copyists; nor, with Jerome, Gusset, Wolf, Gratz, to make Jechoniah in Matthew 1:11 into Joiakim, by the insertion of which Ewald completes (see on Matthew 1:11) the second tesseradecade, without counting David twice; nor, with Ebrard, Lange, Krafft, to insert Mary as an intermediate link between Joseph and Jesus, by whose marriage with Joseph, Jesus became heir to the theocratic throne. The latter is erroneous on this account, that it contradicts the text, which does not speak of succession to the theocratic throne, but of γενεαί, the condition of which is ἐγέννησε and ἐγεννήθη.

We must assume that the reason for the division into three tesseradecades was not merely to aid the memory (Michaelis, Eichhorn, Kuinoel, Fritzsche), which is not sufficient to explain the emphatic and solemn prominence given to the equal number of links in the three periods, Matthew 1:17; nor even the Cabbalistic number of the name David (דוד, i.e. 14; so Surenhusius, Ammon, Leben Jesu, I. p. 173), as it is not David, but Jesus, that is in question; nor a reminiscence of the forty-two encampments in the wilderness (Origen, Luther, Gfrörer, Philo, II. p. 429, after Numbers 33), which would be quite arbitrary and foreign to the subject; nor a requirement to the reader to seek out the theocratic references concealed in the genealogy (Ebrard), in doing which Matthew would, without any reason, have proposed the proper design of his genealogical tree as a mere riddle, and by his use of ἐγέννησε would have made the solution itself impossible: but that precisely from Abraham to David fourteen links appeared, which led the author to find fourteen links for the two other periods also, in which, according to Jewish idiosyncrasy, he saw something special, which contained a mystic allusion to the sytematic course of divine leading in the Messiah’s genealogy, where perhaps also the attraction of holiness in the number seven (the double of which was yielded by the first period) came into play. Comp. Synops. Soh. p. 132. 18 : “Ab Abrahamo usque ad Salom. quindecim sunt generationes, atque tunc luna fuit in plenilunio, a Salomone usque ad Zedekiam iterum sunt quindecim generationes, et tunc luna defecit, et Zedekiae effossi sunt oculi.” See also Genesis 5:3 ff; Genesis 11:10 ff., where, from Adam to Noah, and from Noah to Abraham, ten links in each case are counted. It is altogether arbitrary, however, because there is no allusion to it in Matthew, when Delitzsch (in Rudelbach and Guericke’s Zeitschrift, 1850, p. 587 ff.) explains the symmetry of the three tesseradecades from this, that Matthew always makes a generation from Abraham to David amount to eighty years, but each of the following to forty, and consequently has calculated 1120 + 560 + 560 years. To do so is incorrect, because γενεαί receives its designation from ἐγέννησε, it being presupposed that γενεά denotes a generation.


It is clear from πᾶσαι that the evangelist supposed that he had the genealogical tree complete, and consequently was not aware of the important omissions.


Whether Mary also was descended from David, as Justin, Dial. c. Tryph. xxiii. 45. 100, Irenaeus, iii. 21. 5, Julius Africanus, ap. Eusebium, i. 7, Tertullian, and other Fathers, as well as the Apocrypha of the N. T., e.g. Protev. Jacobi 10, de nativ. Mariae, already teach,[356] is a point upon which any evidence from the N. T. is entirely wanting, as the genealogical tree in Luke is not that of Mary. Nor can a conclusion be drawn to that effect, as is done by the Greek Fathers, from the Davidic descent of Joseph; for even if Mary had been an heiress, which, however, cannot at all be established (comp. on Luke 2:5), this would be quite a matter of indifference so far as her descent is concerned, since the law in Numbers 36:6 only forbade such daughters to marry into another tribe, Ewald, Alterth. p. 239 f. [E. T. p. 208], Saalschütz, M. R. p. 829 f., and in later times was no longer observed; see Delitzsch, l.c. p. 582. The Davidic descent of Mary would follow from passages such as those in Acts 2:30, Romans 1:3-4, 2 Timothy 2:8, comp. Hebrews 7:14, if we were certain that the view of the supernatural generation of Jesus lay at the basis of these; Luke 1:27; Luke 1:32; Luke 1:69 prove nothing, and Luke 2:4 just as little (in answer to Wieseler, Beitr. z. Würdig. der Evang. p. 144); we might rather infer from Luke 1:36 that Mary belonged to the tribe of Levi. The Davidic descent of Jesus, however, is established as certain by the predictions of the prophets, which, in reference to so essential a mark of the Messiah, could not remain without fulfilment, as well as by the unanimous testimony of the N. T. (Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8; Hebrews 7:14; John 7:41; Revelation 5:5; Revelation 22:16), and is also confirmed by Hegesippus (in Eusebius iii. 20), according to whom, grandsons of Jude, the Lord’s brother, were brought, as descendants of David (ὡς ἐκ γένους ὄντας Δαυίδ), before Domitian. To doubt this descent of Jesus, and to regard it rather as a hypothesis which, as an abstraction deduced from the conception of Messiah, had attached itself to the Messianic predicate Song of Solomon of David (comp. Schleiermacher, Strauss, B. Bauer, Weiss, Schenkel, Holtzmann, Eichthal), is the more unhistorical, that Jesus Himself lays down that descent as a necessary condition of Messiahship; see on Matthew 22:42 ff.; besides Keim, Gesch. Jesu, I. p. 326 ff., also Weiss, bibl. Theolog. § 18, and Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 242 ff. ed. 3.

[356] In the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, on the other hand, the tribe of Levi is definitely alluded to as that to which Mary belonged. See pp. 542, 546, 654, 689. In another passage, p. 724, she is represented as a descendant of Judah. Comp. on Luke 1:36, and see Thilo, ad Cod. apocr. p. 375. Ewald’s remark, that the Protevang. Jacobi leaves the tribe of Mary undetermined, is incorrect, ch. 10. b. In Thilo, p. 212, it is said: ὅτι Μαριὰμ ἐκ φυλῆς Δαβίδ ἐστι.


As the evangelist relates the divine generation of Jesus, he was therefore far removed from the need of constructing a genealogy of Joseph, and accordingly we must suppose that the genealogy was found and adopted by him (Harduin, Paulus, Olshausen, and most moderns), but was not his own composition (older view, de Wette, Delitzsch). Add to this that, as clearly appears from Luke, various genealogical trees must have been in existence, at the foundation of which, however, had originally[357] lain the view of a natural γένεσις of Jesus, although the expression of such a view had already disappeared from them, so that Matthew 1:16 no longer ran Ἰωσὴφ δὲ ἐγέννησεν Ἰησοῦν, and in Luke 3:23, ὡς ἐνομίζετο was already interpolated. Such anti-Ebionitic alterations in the last link of the current genealogical registers of Jesus are not to be ascribed, first, to the evangelists themselves (Strauss, Schenkel); nor is the alteration in question which occurs in Matthew to be derived from a supposed redactor who dealt freely with a fundamental gospel document of a Judaistic kind (Hilgenfeld). The expression ὁ λεγόμενος Χριστύς in Matthew 1:16 rather betrays that the genealogical written source passed over into the Gospel in the shape in which it already existed; neither the author nor an editor would have written ὁ λεγόμενος (comp. Matthew 1:1; Matthew 1:18), or, had they made an alteration in Matthew 1:16, they would not have allowed it to remain.

[357] It must be admitted that the genealogies owe their origin to the view that Joseph’s paternal relation was real, and that their original purpose bore that Joseph was the actual, and not merely the putative, father of Jesus, because otherwise the composition of a genealogical tree of Joseph would have been without any motive of faith. But we must also grant that the evangelists, so early as the time when they composed their works, found the genealogies with the definite statements announcing the putative paternal relationship, and by that very circumstance saw it adapted for reception without any contradiction to their belief in the divine generation of Jesus. They saw in it a demonstration of the Davidic descent of Jesus according to the male line of succession, so far as it was possible and allowable to give such in the deficiency of a human father, that is, back beyond the reputed father. The circumstance, however, that Joseph recognised Jesus as a lawful son, presented to him in a miraculous manner, although he was not his flesh and blood (Delitzsch and others), assuredly leads, in like manner, only to a γενεά which is not real.

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.
Matthew 1:18. Τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ] provided with the article, and placed first with reference to Matthew 1:16. “The origin of Jesus Christ, however, was as follows.”

μνηστευθείσης] On the construction, see Buttmann, neut. Gram. p. 270 f. [E. T. 315]. On the betrothal, after which the bride still remained in the house of her parents without any closer intercourse with the bridegroom until she was brought home, see Maimonides, Tract. אִישׁוֹת; Saalschütz, M. R. p. 728 ff.; Keil, Archaeol. § 109.

γάρ] explicative, namely, see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 234 ff.; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 86 ff.

πρὶν ἤ] belongs as much as the simple πρίν to the Ionic, and to the middle age of the Attic dialect; see Elmsley, ad Eur. Med. 179; Reisig, ad Soph. Oed. Colm. 36; it is, however, already found alone in Xenophon (Kühner, ad Anab. iv. 5. 1), as also in Thucydides, v. 61. 1, according to our texts (see, however, Krüger in loc.), but is foreign to the Attic poets. With the aorist infinitive, it denotes that the act is fully accomplished. Klotz, ad Devar. p. 726. Comp. Acts 2:20; Acts 7:2; Mark 14:30; John 4:49; Tob 14:15.

συνελθεῖν] Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Erasmus, Maldonatus, Jansen, Bengel, Elsner, Loesner, and others understand it of cohabitation in marriage. The usage of the language is not opposed to this. See the passages of Philo in Loesner, Obss. p. 2; Joseph. Antt. vii. 9. 5; Diodorus Siculus, iii. 57, Test. XII. Patr. pp. 600, 701. Just as correct, however, in a linguistic point of view (Kypke, Obss. p. 1 f.), and at the same time more appropriate to the reference to Matthew 1:20; Matthew 1:24, is the explanation of others (Luther, Beza, Er. Schmid, Lightfoot, Grotius, Kypke, Kuinoel, Fritzsche, de Wette, Arnoldi, Bleek) of the bringing home and of domestic intercourse. Others (Calvin, Wetstein, Rosenmüller, Olshausen) combine both explanations. But the author in the present case did not conceive the cohabitation in marriage to be connected with the bringing home, see Matthew 1:25.

εὑρέθη] Euth. Zigabenus (comp. Chrysostom and Theophylact) appropriately renders it: ἐφάνη. Εὑρέθη δὲ εἶπε διὰ τὸ ἀπροσδόκῃτον. Εὑρεθῆναι is nowhere equivalent to εἶναι. See Winer, p. 572 [E. T. 769].

ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχειν or φέρειν, to be pregnant, very often in the LXX., also in Greek writers, Herodotus, iii. 32, Vit. Hom. ii.; Plato, Legg. vii. p. 792 E.

ἐκ πν. ἁγ.] without the article, see Winer, p. 116 [E. T. 151]. רוּהַ יְהֹוָה or רוּחַ קֹרֶשׁ יְהֹוָה, πνεῦμα, πν. ἅγιον, πν. τοῦ Θεοῦ, is the personal divine principle of the higher, religious-moral, and eternal life, which works effectually for the true reign of God, and especially for Christianity, which rules in believers, and sanctifies them for the Messiah’s kingdom, and which, in reference to the intellect, is the knowledge of divine truth, revelation, prophecy, etc., in reference to morals is the consecration of holiness and power in the moral life of the new birth with its virtues and world-subduing dispositions, bringing about, in particular, the truth and fervour of prayer, the pledge of everlasting life. Here the πνεῦμα ἅγιον is that which produces the human existence of Christ, through whose action—which so appeared only in this, the single case of its kind—the origin of the embryo in the womb of Mary was causally produced (ἐκ) in opposition to human generation, so that the latter is thereby excluded. It is not, however, that divine power of the Spirit (Luke 1:35), which only concurs in the action of human generation and makes it effectual, as in the generation of Isaac and of the Baptist, and, as the idea is expressed in the Sohar Gen. (comp. Schmidt in the Bibl. f. Krit. v. Exeg. d. N. T. I. p. 101): “Omnes illi, qui, sciunt se sanctificare in hoc mundo, ut par est (ubi generant), attrahunt super id Spiritum sanctitatis et exeuntes ab eo illi vocantur filii Jehovae.” Theodore of Mopsuestia (apud Fred. Fritzsche, Theodori Mops, in N. T. Commentar. p. 2): ὥσπερ γὰρ (τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον) κοινωνόν ἐστι πατρί τε καὶ υἱῷ εἰς τὴν τοῦ παντὸς δημιουργίαν, οὕτω καὶ τὸ ἐκ τῆς παρθένου τοῦ σωτῆρος σῶμα κατεσκεύασε.

ἐκ πνεύμ. ἅγ., moreover, is added, not as an object to εὑρέθη, but from the historical standpoint, to secure at once a correct judgment upon the ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα (ἐθεράπευσε τὸν λόγον, Euth. Zigabenus).


As regards the conception of Jesus by a virgin, we have to notice the following points in their exegetical bearing:—(1) Mary was either a daughter of David (the common view), or she was not. See on Matthew 1:17, Remark 2. In the first case, Jesus, whose divine generation is assumed, was, as Matthew and Luke relate, a descendant of David, although not through an unbroken line of male succession, but in such a way that His mother alone conveyed to Him the Davidic descent. But if Mary were not a daughter of David, then, by the divine conception, the possibility of Jesus being a descendant of David is simply excluded; because, on that view, the Davidite Joseph remains out of consideration, and this would be in contradiction not only with the statements of prophecy, but also with the unanimous testimony of the N. T. (2) As it is nowhere said or hinted in the N. T. that Mary was a descendant of David, we must assume that this is tacitly presupposed in the narratives of Matthew and Luke. But as a consequence of this supposition, the genealogical trees would lose all their importance, in so far as they are said to prove that Jesus was υἱὸς Δαυείδ (Matthew 1:1). Joseph’s descent from David, upon which in reality nothing would turn, would be particularly pointed out; while Mary’s similar descent, upon which everything would depend, would remain unmentioned as being a matter of course, and would not be, even once, incidentally alluded to in what follows, say by θυγάτηρ Δαυείδ, as Joseph is at once addressed in Matthew 1:20 as υἱὸς Δαυείδ. (3) Paul and Peter (Romans 1:3-4; Acts 2:30 : ἐκ σπέρματος, ἐκ καρποῦ τῆς ὀσφύος; comp. 2 Timothy 2:8) designate the descent of Jesus from David in such a way, that without calling in the histories of the birth in the first and third Gospels, there is no occasion for deriving the Davidic descent from the mother, to the interruption of the male line of succession, for which Galatians 4:4[358] also affords neither cause nor justification. Nowhere, moreover, where Paul speaks of the sending of the Son of God, and of His human yet sinless nature (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:3; Php 2:6 f.), does he betray any indication that he presupposes that divine conception.[359] (4) Just as little does John, whose expression ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο, although he was so intimate with Jesus and His mother, leaves the question as to the how of this ἐγένετο without a direct answer, indeed; but also, where Jesus is definitely designated by others as Joseph’s son, contributes no word of correction (John 1:46, John 6:42; comp. John 7:27),—nay, relates the self-designation “Song of Solomon of a man” from Jesus’ own mouth (see on John 5:27), where the context does not allow us to refer ἀνθρώπου to His mother. (5) It is certain, further, that neither in Nazareth (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Luke 4:22), nor in Capernaum (John 6:42), nor elsewhere in the neighbourhood (John 1:46), do we meet with such expressions, in which a knowledge of anything extraordinary in the descent of Jesus might be recognised; and in keeping with this also is the unbelief of His own brethren (John 7:3),—nay, even the behaviour and bearing of Mary (Mark 3:21; Mark 3:31; comp. on Matthew 12:46-50; see also Luke 2:50 f.). (6) We have still to observe, that what is related in Matthew 1:18 would obviously have greatly helped to support the suspicion and reproach of illegitimate birth, and yet nowhere throughout the N. T. is there found the slightest whisper of so hostile a report.[360] If, moreover, in the narratives of the first and third evangelists, angelic appearances occur, which, according to the connection of the history, mutually exclude each other (Strauss, I. p. 165 ff.; Keim, Gesch. Jesu, I. p. 362 ff.),—namely, in Matthew, after the conception, in order to give an explanation to Joseph; in Luke, before the conception, to make a disclosure to Mary,—nevertheless that divine conception itself might remain, and in and of itself be consistent therewith, if it were elsewhere certainly attested in the N. T., or if it could be demonstrated as being an undoubted presupposition, belonging to the conception of Christ as the Son of God.

[358] Certainly, in Romans 1:4, Paul expressly refers Christ’s relation to God as His Son to His πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης, not to His σάρξ. See on Romans 1:3. The supernatural generation is not a logical consequence of his system, as Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 315, thinks. If Paul had conceived the propagation of sin as taking place by means of generation (which is probable, although he has not declared himself upon the point), he cannot, in so thinking,—after the history of the fall (2 Corinthians 11:3), and after Psalm 51:7,—have regarded the woman’s share as a matter of indifference.

[359] We should all the more have expected this origin to have been stated by Paul, that he, on the one side, everywhere ascribes to Christ true and perfect humanity (Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 15:21, al.), and, on the other, so often gives prominence to His elevation above sinful humanity; for which reason he also designates the σάρξ of Christ—which was human, and yet was not, as in other men, the seat of sin—as ὁμοίωμα σαρκὸς ἁμαρτίας (Romans 8:3), with which Hebrews 2:14; Hebrews 2:17 also agrees.

[360] The generation (nay, according to Luke 2:5, the birth also) before the marriage was concluded is necessarily connected with faith in the divine generation. The reproach of illegitimate birth was not raised by the Jews until a later time (Origen, c. Celsum, 1:28), as a hostile and base inference from the narratives of Matthew and Luke. Thilo, ad Cod. Apocr. I. p. 526 f. They called Jesus a Mamser [i.e. one born in incest]. See Eisenmenger, Entdeckt. Judenth. I p. 105 ff.

Taking into account all that precedes, it is clear, in the first place, that the doctrine which became dominant in the church, in opposition to all Ebionitism, of the birth of Jesus Christ from a virgin, is indeed fully justified on exegetical grounds by the preliminary history in Matthew and Luke; but that, secondly, apart from the preliminary history, no glimpse of this doctrine appears anywhere in the N. T.,—nay, that elsewhere in the N. T. it has to encounter considerable difficulties of an exegetical kind, without, however, breaking down before physiological or theological impossibilities (in answer to Strauss). Exegetically, therefore, the proposition of faith, that in Jesus the only-begotten Son of God entered as man into humanity, cannot be made to depend upon the conception, which is recorded only in Matthew and Luke,[361] but must also, irrespective of the latter, remain fast and immutable in its full and real meaning of the incarnation of the divine Logos, which took place, and takes place, in no other; so that that belief cannot be made to depend on the manner in which Jesus was conceived, and in which the Spirit of God acted at the very commencement of His human existence. And this not merely for exegetical, but also for dogmatical reasons, since the incarnation of the Son of God is by no means to be subjected to the rule of universal sinful origin (John 3:6) in fallen humanity (by which His whole redemptive work would be reduced to nothing); and which indeed must also—considering the supernatural conception—be conceived as exempted on the mother’s side from this rule of traducianism.[362]

[361] The comparison with heathen παρθενογενεῖς, called παρθένιοι in Homer, such as Buddha, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Plato, Romulus (see the literature in Hase, Leb. Jesu, § 27 a), should have been here left entirely out of consideration,—partly because they belong, for the most part, to an entirely foreign sphere of life, have no analogies in the N. T., and amount to apotheoses ex eventu (Origen, c. Celsum, 1:37); partly because so many of the παρθένιοι are only the fruits of the lust of the gods (see Homer, Ilias, 16:180 ff.). Far too much weight has been attached to them, and far too much has been transferred to them from the Christian idea of the Son of God, when the thought is found expressed in them that nothing can come forth by the way of natural generation which would correspond to the ideal of the human mind, Olshausen, Neander, Krabbe, Schmid, bibl. Theol. I. p. 43; Döllinger, Heidenth. u. Judenth. p. 256.

[362] Comp. Schleiermacher, Christl. Glaube, § 97, p. 64 ff., and Leben Jesu, p. 60 ff. Too much is asserted, when (see also Gess, Pers. Christ. p. 218 f.) the limitation is imposed upon the divine counsel and will, that the freedom of Jesus from original sin must necessarily presuppose the divine conception in the womb of the Virgin. The incarnation of the Logos is, once for all, a mystery of a peculiar kind; the fact is as certain and clear of itself as the manner in which it took place by way of human birth is veiled in mystery, and is in no way determinable à priori. This is also in answer to Philippi’s assertion (Dogmatik, IV. 1, p. 153, ed. 2), that the idea of the God-man stands or falls with that of the birth from a virgin,—a dangerous but erroneous dilemma. Dangerous, because Mary was not free from original sin; erroneous, because God could also have brought about the incarnation of the Logos without original sin in some other way than by a birth from a virgin.

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
Matthew 1:19. Ἀνήρ] Although only her betrothed, yet, from the standpoint of the writers, designated as her husband. The common assumption of a proleptic designation (Genesis 29:21) is therefore unfounded. It is different with τὴν γυναῖκά σου in Matthew 1:20.

δίκαιος] not: aequus et benignus. So (after Chrysostom and Jerome) Euth. Zigabenus (διὰ τὴν πρᾳότητα καὶ ἀγαθωσύνην), Luther, Grotius, Kuinoel, Fritzsche, B.-Crusius, Bleek. For δίκαιος, like צַדַּיק, means generally, he who is as he ought to be (Hermann, ad Soph. Ajac. 543; Kühner, ad Xen. Memor. iv. 4. 5; Gesen. Thes. III. p. 1151); therefore rightly constituted, and, in a narrower sense, just, but never kind, although kindness, compassion, and the like may be in given cases the concrete form in which the δικαιοσύνη expresses itself. Here, according to the context, it denotes the man who acts in a strictly legal manner. Δίκαιος down to δειγματίσαι contains two concurring motives. Joseph was an upright man according to the law, and could not therefore make up his mind to retain Mary, as she was pregnant without him; at the same time he could not bring himself to abandon her publicly; he therefore resolved to adopt the middle way, and dismiss her secretly. Observe the emphasis of λάθρα.

δειγματίσαι] to expose; see on Colossians 2:15. Here the meaning is: to expose to public shame. This, however, does not refer to the punishment of stoning (Deuteronomy 22:23), which was to be inflicted; nor to a judicial accusation generally (the common view), because δειγματίσαι must mean a kind of dismissal opposed to that denoted by λάθρα; comp. de Wette. Therefore: he did not wish to compromise her, which would have been the result had he given her a letter of divorce, and thus dismissed her φανερῶς.

λάθρα] secretly, in private, i.e. by means of a secret, private interview, without a letter of divorce. This would, indeed, have been in opposition to the law in Deuteronomy 24:1, which applied also to betrothed persons (Maimonides, Tract. אישוֹת, c. 1; Wetstein in loc.; Philo, de leg. spec. p. 788); but he saw himself liable to a collision between the two cases,—of either, in these circumstances, retaining the bride, or of exposing her to public censure by a formal dismissal; and from this no more legal way of escape presented itself than that on which he might with the more propriety lay hold, that the law itself in Deut. l.c. speaks only of married persons, not of betrothed. De Wette thinks, indeed, of dismissal by a letter of divorcement, but under arrangements providing for secrecy. But the letter of divorce of itself, as it was a public document (see Saalschütz, M. R. p. 800 ff.; Ewald, Alterth. p. 272 [E. T. p. 203 ff.]), is in contradiction with the λάθρα.

On the distinction between θέλω and βούλομαι,—the former of which expresses willing in general, the action of the will, of the inclination, of desire, etc., in general; while βούλομαι denotes a carefully weighed self-determination,—see Buttmann, Lexil. I. p. 26 ff. [E. T., Fishlake, p. 194 ff.], partly corrected by Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 316. Observe the aorist ἐβουλήθη: he adopted the resolution.

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.
Matthew 1:20. Ἰδού] as in Hebrew and in Greek writers, directs attention quickly to an object brought into view. Very frequent in Matthew.

κατʼ ὄναρ] in somnis, Vulg., Virg. Aen. ii. 270; ἐν ὀνείροις, Niceph. Schol. in Synes. p. 442. Frequent in later Greek, but not in the LXX. and Apocrypha; rejected by Photius, p. 149. 25, as βάρβαρον; amongst the old writers, commonly only ὄναρ. See Phrynichus, ed. Lobeck, p. 423 f.; κατά serves to designate the manner and way, and yields the adverbial meaning, in a dream, ὄψις ὀνείρου ἐν τῷ ὕπνῳ, Herod. i. 38. The appearance of the angel was an appearance in a dream; see Kühner, II. 1, p. 413. It might denote the time, if, as in Joseph. Antiq. xi. 9. 3, κατὰ τοὺς ὕπνους, or καθʼ ὕπνον (Genesis 20:6), had been employed. Express visions in dreams in the N. T. are related only by Matthew. Comp. besides, Acts 2:17.

υἱὸς Δ.] The reason of this address (nominative, see Kühner, II. 1, p. 43) is not difficult to see (de Wette); it is highly natural in the case of the angel, because he has to bring news of the Messiah. B.-Crusius says too little: Joseph is so addressed as one favoured by God, or, as he for whom something miraculous was quite appropriate. Fritzsche says too much: “ut ad Mariam ducendam promtiorem redderet.” The former neglects the special connection, the latter imports a meaning.

τὴν γυναῖκά σου] apposition to Μαριάμ: the Mary, who is thy wife: in which proleptic designation there lies an element stating the cause. This view (in answer to Fritzsche, who explains: Mary, as thy wife) is required by Matthew 1:24.

ἐν αὐτῇ) not for ἐξ αὐτῆς, but also not to be translated, with Fritzsche: per eam, as ἐν with persons is never merely instrumental, and as the context (Matthew 1:18 : ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα ἐκ. πν. ἁγ.) demands a different rendering; but, quite literally, in utero Mariae, that which has been begotten in her.

The neuter places the embryo still under the impersonal, material point of view. Comp., first, Matthew 1:21 : τέξεται δὲ υἱόν. See Wetstein, and on Luke 1:35.

ἐκ πν. ἐστιν ἁγίου] proceeds from the Holy Ghost as author, by whom, accordingly, your suspicions are removed. Observe the emphatic position, which lays the determining emphasis upon πνεύματος, in opposition to sexual intercourse. Upon the distinction between ἐνθυμεῖσθαι with the genitive (rationem habere alic. rei) and the accusative (“when he had considered this”), see Kühner, ad Xen. Memorabilia, i. 1. 17; Krüger on Thucyd. i. 42. 1.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21. Τέξεται δέ] and she will bear. “Non additur tibi, ut additur de Zacharia, Luke 1:13,” Bengel.

ΚαλέσειςἸησοῦν] literally: thou wilt call His nameJesus.” Comp. LXX. Genesis 17:19; 1 Samuel 1:20; Matthew 1:23; Matthew 1:25; Luke 1:13; Luke 1:31; Luke 2:21. Exactly so in Hebrew: קרא אֶת־שְׁמוֹ. The Greeks, however, would say: καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτὸν (or also αὐτῷ) Ἰησοῦν; Matthiae, p. 935 [E. T., Kenrick, p. 675 ff.]; Heindorf, ad Plat. Phaedr. p. 238 A.

καλέσεις] the future serves in classical writers to denote the softened idea of the imperative. Bernhardy, p. 378; Kühner, II. 1, p. 149. In the LXX. and in the N. T. it is especially used of divine injunctions, and denotes thereby the imperative sense apodeictically, because it supposes the undoubted certainty of the result; comp. Winer, p. 296 [E. T. 396 f.]. So also here, where a divine command is issued. When Fritzsche would here retain the proper conception of the future, it becomes a mere prediction, less appropriate in the connection; for it is less in keeping with the design of the angelic annunciation, according to which the bestowal and interpretation of the name Jesus is referred to a divine causality, and consequently the genus of the name itself must, most naturally, appear as commanded.

αὐτός] He and no other.

τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ] The people of Israel: because for these first, and then also for the heathen, was the Messiah and His work intended, John 4:22; Romans 1:16; Galatians 3:14. As certainly, moreover, as the manner and fashion in which the promised one was to accomplish the salvation, and by means of His redemptive work has accomplished it, is to be conceived as being present to the eye of God at the sending of this news, as certainly must Joseph be conceived as regarding it only in its national definiteness, consequently as referring to the theocratic liberation and prosperity of the people (comp. Luke 1:68 ff.), along with which, however, the religious and moral renewal also was regarded as necessary; which renewal must have presupposed the antecedent forgiveness of sin (Luke 1:77). ἁμαρτιῶν, therefore, is to be taken, not as punishment of sin, but, as always, simply as sins.

αὐτοῦ, not to be written αὑτοῦ (for the angel speaks of Him as a third person, and without any antithesis): His people, for they belong to the Messiah, comp. John 1:11; on the plural αὐτῶν, see Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 114 [E. T. 130].

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.

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:
Matthew 1:24. Ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕπνου] from the sleep in which he had had the vision.

καὶ παρέλ.] The course of the thought proceeds simply, without any participial construction, by means of the epexegetic and.

And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
Matthew 1:25. Ἐγίνωσκεν] He had no sexual intercourse with her (imperfect). In this sense ידע is used by the Hebrews, and γινώσκειν by the Greeks of a later age (often in Plutarch); also the Latin novi and cognosco (Justin, v. 2, xxvii. 3; Ovid. Meta. iv. 594; comp. Caesar, de bello Gallico, vi. 21 : feminae notitiam habuisse). See Wetstein and Kypke. Since Epiphanius, Jerome, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Luther, Calvin, very many expositors have maintained, with a view to support the perpetual virginity of Mary, but in opposition to the straightforward and impartial character of the narrative, that Joseph, even after the birth of Jesus, had no sexual intercourse with Mary.[365]

But (1) from ἕως οὗ of itself no inference can be drawn either in favour of or against such a view, as in all statements with “until” the context alone must decide whether, with regard to that which had not formerly occurred, it is or is not intended to convey that it afterwards took place. But (2) that it is here conceived as subsequently taking place, is so clear of itself to every unprejudiced reader from the idea of the marriage arrangement, that Matthew must have expressed the thought, “not only untilbut afterwards also he had not,” if such had been his meaning. That he did not, however, mean this is clearly shown (3) by his use of πρωτότοκον, which is neither equivalent to ΠΡῶΤΟς ΚΑῚ ΜΌΝΟς (Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus), nor does it designate the first-born, without assuming others born afterwards (so formerly most expositors). The latter meaning is untenable, because the evangelist employed πρωτότοκον as an historian, from the standpoint of the time when his Gospel was composed, and consequently could not have used it had Jesus been present to his historical consciousness as the only son of Mary. But Jesus, according to Matthew (Matthew 12:46 ff., Matthew 13:55 f.), had also brothers and sisters, amongst whom He was the firstborn. Lucian’s remark (Demonax, 29), speaking of Agathocles, is correct: εἰ μὲν πρῶτος, οὐ μόνος· εἰ δὲ μόνος, οὐ πρῶτος. (4) All a priori suppositions are untenable, from which the perpetual virginity of Mary is said to appear,—such as that of Euth. Zigabenus: πῶς ἂν ἐπεχείρησεν, ἢ καὶ ὅλως ἐνεθυμήθη γνῶναι τὴν συλλαβοῦσαν ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ τοιοῦτον δοχεῖον γεγενημένην; of Olshausen: “it is manifest that Joseph, after such experiences, might with good reason believe that his marriage with Mary was intended for another purpose than that of begetting children.” Hofmann has the correct meaning (Schriftbeweis, II. 2, p. 405), so also Thiersch, Wieseler, Bleek, Ewald, Laurent, neut. Stud. p. 153 ff., Schenkel, Keim, Kahnis, I. p. 426 f. Comp. on the passage before us, Diogenes Laertius, 3:22, where it is said of Plato’s father: ὅθεν καθαρὰν γάμου φυλάξαι ἕως τῆς ἀποκυήσεως; see also Wetstein; Paulus, exeget. Handb. I. p. 168 f.; Strauss, I. p. 209 ff.

ἐκάλεσε] is not to be referred to Mary, so that ἝΩς ΟὟ ἜΤΕΚΕΚΑῚ ἘΚΆΛΕΣΕ would be taken together, as Paulus, after some older interpreters, maintains, but to Joseph, as is certain after Matthew 1:21; comp. Grotius.

[365] As a logical consequence of this supposition, Joseph was made to be a worn-out old man (Thilo, ad cod. Apocr. I. p. 361; Keim, Gesch. Jes. I. p. 365), and his children were regarded either as children of a former marriage (Origen, Epiphanius, and many other Fathers), or the brothers of Jesus were transformed into cousins (Jerome). Of any advanced age in the case of Joseph there is no trace in the N. T. In John 6:42, the Jews express themselves in such a way that Joseph might be conceived as still alive at the time.

Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer's NT Commentary

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