People's New Testament
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
1:1 The Genealogy and Birth of Christ
SUMMARY OF MATTHEW 1. The Genealogy of Jesus Christ. Three Series of Fourteen Generations. The Betrothal of Mary and Joseph. The Immaculate Conception. The Purpose of Joseph. The Lord's Message in a Dream. The Name Jesus. The Prophecy of the Virgin. Immanuel. The Birth of Jesus.
The book of the generation. Literally, the book of birth, or genealogy. This title applies, not to the whole Gospel, but to the table of descent in the first seventeen verses. The title was possibly copied from some Hebrew document compiled from the genealogical tables.
Jesus Christ. Jesus, the personal name, which means Savior; Christ, the official title, which means Anointed. He is our Anointed Prophet, Priest, and King.
The son of David. The descendant. The prophets had declared that the Messiah should be of David's seed.
The son of Abraham. The Lord had promised Abraham (Ge 12:3 Ge 22:18) that in his seed all the world should be blessed. David and Abraham were the two greatest ancestors of Jesus, and are named because it had been predicted that he would be their descendant.
Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
1:2 Abraham begat Isaac. Matthew begins with Abraham to trace the line down. He was writing for Jews, and Jewish history begins with Abraham. Luke (Lu 3:23-38), writing for Gentiles, goes back to Adam. For the differences between Matthew and Luke, see PNT Mt 1:16.
And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
1:3 Tamar. Three women are named in this list: Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. These were all Gentile women, and are named for this reason, and for their remarkable history. There were stains upon the character of Tamar (Ge 38:11-30) and of Rahab (Jos 2:1), but Ruth is one of the sweetest women of the Bible.
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;
And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
1:6 David the king. The greatest of line from Abraham to Christ, so exalted that one of the titles of the Messiah was the Son of David.
The wife of Uriah. The mother of Solomon is referred to, not by name, but as the wife of Uriah. Uriah was a Hittite, a Gentile, and his wife may have been also. She was certainly a partner of David in the greatest guilt of his life.
And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;
And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;
1:8 Joram. Between Joram and Uzziah three names are intentionally omitted. They are found in 1Ch 3:11-12. They were probably omitted to equalize the threefold division of generations from Abraham to Joseph. Such omissions of unimportant links are common in the Old Testament.
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:
1:11 About the time they were carried away to Babylon. The great seventy years' captivity in Babylon, following the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.
And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;
1:12 Zerubbabel. The descendant of the ancient kings who led the Jews back from the Captivity (Ezr 3:2).
And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;
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.
1:16 Jacob begat Joseph. The descendant of a long line of kings was a poor carpenter of Nazareth. As the husband of Mary he was the legal father of Jesus, and Matthew gives his line of descent. A comparison of the table given by Luke will show that it differs in part from that of Matthew. Between David and Joseph the lists are widely different. Several views, all possible, have been presented, but the most probable explanation is that Matthew gives the line of Joseph, the legal line, and that Luke gives the line of Mary, the mother of our Lord. As the Jews regarded only male descent, unless Joseph, the supposed father, was a descendant of David they would not have recognized the genealogy as a fulfillment of the prophecies that Christ should be the Son of David; while Luke, himself a Gentile and writing for Gentiles, was more particular to give the line that shows that Jesus is really the Son of David. If Mary was the daughter of Heli, especially if an heiress, Joseph, by marriage, would become the son of Heli. That there is no contradiction between the two tables is shown by the fact that the Jews who best understood their genealogies never charged it. These tables were preserved with great care, for various reasons, until Christ was born, but it is asserted that Herod destroyed them. If this is incorrect, they did not survive the destruction of Jerusalem.
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.
1:17 Fourteen generations. There are exactly fourteen generations from Abraham to David, and two other series made to correspond.
From David to, etc. David's name is counted again to make the number fourteen. The third series begins with Jeconiah and ends with Christ.
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.
1:18 The birth of Jesus Christ. The word rendered here birth is the same in Greek that is translated genealogy in Mt 1:1.
Mary was espoused. Not married, but engaged. Betrothal was, from the times of the patriarchs, a formal ceremony, and was regarded a binding obligation. It generally lasted a whole year before marriage. After betrothal unfaithfulness was regarded adultery.
Before they came together. Before marriage.
She was found. The angel (Lu 1:26,27) predicted her conception, and when the prediction was verified she probably did not hesitate to reveal it. Her heart would be filled with joyous pride instead of shame.
Holy Ghost. Correctly, Holy Spirit. The Divine power. Christ is the only example of such a birth in all history. His birth, like his life and his resurrection, is a miracle.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
1:19 Joseph her husband. Betrothal, according to the law (De 22:23,24), made him her husband before marriage.
A just man. Righteous and humane. To put her away publicly was to expose her to the penalty of death. Probably she had made her defense to him, but her story was so wonderful that he was in doubt.
Privily. Give her a bill of divorce. See De 24:1.
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.
1:20 While he thought. Reflected, still in doubt, perplexed.
The angel. Gabriel appeared to Mary (Lu 1:26); the name of the angel is not here given. Angels are messengers; an angel of the Lord is the Lord's messenger. These messengers are usually superhuman, but not always.
In a dream. Often messages were conveyed by impressions made in sleep. Three times revelations were thus made to Joseph.
Thou son of David. It was fitting that he should now be reminded that he belonged to the family from whence the Messiah was to come.
Fear not. His betrothed was pure.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
1:21 Thou shalt call his name JESUS. That is, Savior. The Hebrew form is Joshua; the full meaning is Jehovah's salvation.
He shall save his people. Not the Jewish nation, as Joseph probably supposed, but all who accept and follow him.
From their sins. Not a temporal salvation, but from the curse of sin, condemnation and banishment from God's favor and heaven.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
1:22 That it might be fulfilled. Matthew neglects no opportunity to show the Jews that their prophets described Christ. The prophecy will be found in Isa 7:14.
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.
1:23 Behold, a virgin. Rather the virgin, as in the Revised Version. Isaiah had in view a particular virgin, the mother of the true Immanuel (Isa 7:14). Like many other prophecies, it had a double, a typical and a true, fulfillment. The first was in the reign of Ahaz, concerning a temporal deliverance, but the higher reference is to the spiritual Deliverer of the world. The first is the type, the second is the great event that inspired the message.
Emmanuel. This means God with us, an appropriate title for Jesus among men.
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
1:24 And Joseph... did. He obeyed at once, a fitting example for all men. When the Lord's will is spoken there should be no delay in obedience.
And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
1:25 Knew her not. A Hebrew form for conjugal intercourse. The language of the verse does not imply the perpetual virginity of Mary.