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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 1 - Verse 1
GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW.
1. The book of the generation. This is the proper title of the chapter. It is the same as to say, "The account of the ancestry or family, or the genealogical table of Jesus Christ." The phrase is common in Jewish writings. Compare Ge 5:1, "This is the book of the generations of Adam," that is, the genealogical table of the family or descendants of Adam. See also Ge 6:9. The Jews, moreover, as we do, kept such tables of their own families, and it is probable that this was copied from the record of the family of Joseph.
Jesus. See Mt 1:21.
Christ. The word Christ is a Greek word, signifying anointed. The Hebrew word signifying the same is Messiah. Hence, Jesus is called either the Messiah, or the Christ, meaning the same thing. The Jews speak of the Messiah; Christians speak of him as the Christ. Anciently, when kings and priests were set apart to their office, they were anointed with oil, Le 4:3; 6:20; Ex 28:41; 29:7; 1 Sa 9:16; 15:1; 2 Sa 23:1.
To anoint, therefore, means often the same as to consecrate, or set apart to any office. Thence those thus set apart are said to be anointed, or the anointed of God. It is for this reason that the name is given to the Lord Jesus, Da 9:24. He was set apart by God to be the King, and High Priest, and Prophet of his people. Anointing with oil was, moreover, supposed to be emblematic of the influences of the Holy Spirit; and as God gave him the Spirit without measure, (Joh 3:34) so he is called peculiarly the Anointed of God.
The Son of David, The word son, among the Jews, had a great variety of significations. It means, literally, a son; then a grandson; a descendant; an adopted son; a disciple, or one who is an object of tender affection—one who is to us as a son. In this place it means a descendant of David; or one who was of the family of David. It was important to trace the genealogy of Jesus up to David, because the promise had been made that the Messiah should be of his family, and all the Jews expected it would be so. It would be impossible, therefore, to convince a Jew that Jesus was the Messiah, unless it could be shown that he was descended from David. See Jer 23:5 Ps 132:10,11; compared with Ac 13:23; Joh 7:42.
The Son of Abraham. The descendant of Abraham. The promise was made to Abraham also. See Ge 12:3; Ge 21:12; comp. Heb 11:13; Ga 3:16. The Jews expected that the Messiah would be descended from him; and it was important, therefore, to trace the genealogy up to him also. Though Jesus was of humble birth, yet he was descended from most illustrious ancestors. Abraham, the father of the faithful—" the beauteous model of an eastern prince,"—and David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, the conqueror, the magnificent and victorious leader of the people of God, were both among his ancestors. From these two persons, the most eminent for piety, and the most renowned for their excellencies of all the men of antiquity, sacred or profane, the Lord Jesus was descended; and though his birth and life were humble, yet they who regard an illustrious descent as of value, may find here all that is to be admired in piety, purity, patriotism, splendour, dignity, and renown.
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