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(βιβλος). There is no article in the Greek, but the following genitives make it definite. It is our word Bible that is here
used, the Book as Sir Walter Scott called it as he lay dying. The usual word for book is a diminutive form (βιβλιον), a little book
or roll such as we have in Lu 4:17
, "The roll of the prophet Isaiah." The pieces of papyrus (παπυρος), our paper, were pasted together to make a roll of varying
lengths according to one's needs. Matthew, of course, is not applying the word book to the Old Testament, probably not to
his own book, but to "the genealogical table of Jesus Christ" (βιβλος γενεσεως Ιησου Χριστου), "the birth roll of Jesus Christ"
Moffatt translates it. We have no means of knowing where the writer obtained the data for this genealogy. It differs radically
from that in Lu 3:23-38
. One can only give his own theory of the difference. Apparently in Matthew we have the actual genealogy of Joseph which would
be the legal pedigree of Jesus according to Jewish custom. In Luke we apparently have the actual genealogy of Mary which would
be the real line of Jesus which Luke naturally gives as he is writing for the Gentiles.
22 Begat (εγεννησεν). This word comes, like some of the early chapters of Genesis, with regularity through verse 16, until the birth of Jesus is reached when there is a sudden change. The word itself does not always mean immediate parentage, but merely direct descent. In verse 16 we have "Joseph the husband of Mary, from whom was begotten Jesus who is called Christ" (τον Ιωσηφ τον ανδρα Μαριας εξ ης εγεννηθη Ιησους ο λεγομενος Χριστος). The article occurs here each time with the object of "begat," but not with the subject of the verb to distinguish sharply the proper names. In the case of David the King (1:6) and Joseph the husband of Mary (1:16) the article is repeated. The mention of the brethren of Judah (1:2) and of both Phares and Zara (1:3) may show that Matthew was not copying a family pedigree but making his own table. All the Greek manuscripts give verse 16 as above save the Ferrar Group of minuscules which are supported by the Sinaitic Syriac Version. Because of this fact Von Soden, whose text Moffatt translates, deliberately prints his text "Jacob begat Jesus" (Ιωσηφ δε εγεννησεν Ιησουν). But the Sinaitic Syriac gives the Virgin Birth of Jesus in Mt 1:18-25. Hence it is clear that "begat" here in 1:16 must merely mean line of descent or the text has been tampered with in order to get rid of the Virgin Birth idea, but it was left untouched in 1:18-25. I have a full discussion of the problem in chapter XIV of Studies in the Text of the New Testament. The evidence as it now stands does not justify changing the text of the Greek uncials to suit the Sinaitic Syriac. The Virgin Birth of Jesus remains in 1:16. The spelling of these Hebrew names in English is usually according to the Hebrew form, not the Greek. In the Greek itself the Hebrew spelling is often observed in violation of the Greek rules for the ending of words with no consonants save n,r,s. But the list is not spelled consistently in the Greek, now like the Hebrew as in Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, now like the Greek as in Judah, Solomon, Hezekiah, though the Hebrew style prevails.
The birth of Jesus Christ
(του [Ιησου] Χριστου η γενεσις). In the Greek Jesus Christ comes before birth as the important matter after
1:16. It is not certain whether "Jesus" is here a part of the text as it is absent in the old Syriac and the Old Latin while
the Washington Codex has only "Christ." The Vatican Codex has "Christ Jesus." But it is plain that the story of the birth
of Jesus Christ is to be told briefly as follows, "on this wise" (ουτως), the usual Greek idiom. The oldest and best manuscripts
have the same word genealogy (γενεσις) used in
1:1, not the word for birth (begotten) as in
1:16 (γεννησις). "It is in fact the word Genesis. The evangelist is about to describe, not the genesis of the heaven and the
earth, but the genesis of Him who made the heaven and the earth, and who will yet make a new heaven and a new earth" (Morison).
A Righteous Man
(δικαιος). Or just, not benignant or merciful. The same adjective is used of Zacharias and Elizabeth (Lu 1:6
) and Simeon (Lu 2:25
). "An upright man," the Braid Scots has it. He had the Jewish conscientiousness for the observance of the law which would have been death by stoning (De 22:23
). Though Joseph was upright, he would not do that. "As a good Jew he would have shown his zeal if he had branded her with
public disgrace" (McNeile).
55 An angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream (αγγελος κυριου κατ' οναρ εφανη αυτω). This expression (αγγελος κυριου) is without the article in the New Testament except when, as in 1:24, there is reference to the angel previously mentioned. Sometimes in the Old Testament Jehovah Himself is represented by this phrase. Surely Joseph needed God's help if ever man did. If Jesus was really God's Son, Joseph was entitled to know this supreme fact that he might be just to both Mary and her Child. It was in a dream, but the message was distinct and decisive for Joseph. He is called "Son of David" as had been shown by Matthew in Mt 1:16 . Mary is called his "wife" (την γυναικα σου). He is told "not to become afraid" (ingressive first aorist passive subjunctive in prohibition, (μη φοβηθηις), "to take to his side" (παραλαβειν, ingressive aorist active infinitive) her whom he had planned (ενθυμηθεντος, genitive absolute again, from εν and θυμος) to send away with a writ of divorce. He had pondered and had planned as best he knew, but now God had called a halt and he had to decide whether he was willing to shelter Mary by marrying her and, if necessary, take upon himself whatever stigma might attach to her. Joseph was told that the child was begotten of the Holy Spirit and thus that Mary was innocent of any sin. But who would believe it now if he told it of her? Mary knew the truth and had not told him because she could not expect him to believe it.
Thou shalt call his name Jesus
(Καλεσιες το ονομα αυτου Ιησουν). The rabbis named six whose names were given before birth: "Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, Solomon,
Josiah, and the name of the Messiah, whom may the Holy One, blessed be His name, bring in our day." The angel puts it up to
Joseph as the putative father to name the child. "Jesus is the same as Joshua, a contraction of Jehoshuah (Nu 13:16; 1Ch 7:27
), signifying in Hebrew, 'Jehovah is helper,' or 'Help of Jehovah'" (Broadus). So Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua (Heb 4:8
). He is another Joshua to lead the true people of God into the Promised Land. The name itself was common enough as Josephus
shows. Jehovah is Salvation as seen in Joshua for the Hebrews and in Jesus for all believers. "The meaning of the name, therefore,
finds expression in the title Saviour applied to our Lord (Lu 1:47; 2:11; Joh 4:42
)" (Vincent). He will save (σωσε) his people from their sins and so be their Saviour (Σωτηρ). He will be prophet, priest,
and king, but "Saviour" sums it all up in one word. The explanation is carried out in the promise, "for he is the one who
(αυτος) will save (σωσε with a play on the name Jesus) his people from their sins." Paul will later explain that by the covenant
people, the children of promise, God means the spiritual Israel, all who believe whether Jews or Gentiles. This wonderful
word touches the very heart of the mission and message of the Messiah. Jesus himself will show that the kingdom of heaven
includes all those and only those who have the reign of God in their hearts and lives.
That it may be fulfilled
(ινα πληρωθη). Alford says that "it is impossible to interpret ινα in any other sense than in order that." That was the old
notion, but modern grammarians recognize the non-final use of this particle in the Koine and even the consecutive like the Latin ut. Some even argue for a causal use. If the context called for result, one need not hesitate to say so as in Mr 11:28; Joh 9:36; 1Jo 1:9; Re 9:20; 13:13
. See discussion in my Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, pp. 997-9. All the same it is purpose here, God's purpose, Matthew reports the angel as saying, spoken "by (υπο, immediate
agent) the Lord through (δια, intermediate agent) the prophet."
88 They shall call (καλεσουσιν). Men, people, will call his name Immanuel, God with us. "The interest of the evangelist, as of all New Testament writers, in prophecy, was purely religious" (Bruce). But surely the language of Isaiah has had marvellous illustration in the Incarnation of Christ. This is Matthew's explanation of the meaning of Immanuel, a descriptive appellation of Jesus Christ and more than a mere motto designation. God's help, Jesus=the Help of God, is thus seen. One day Jesus will say to Philip: "He that has seen me has seen the Father" (Joh 14:9 ).
99 Took unto him his wife (παρελαβεν την γυναικα αυτου). The angel had told him not to be afraid to "take to his side" Mary his wife (1:20). So when he awoke from his sleep he promptly obeyed the angel and "took his wife home" (Moffatt). One can only imagine the relief and joy of Mary when Joseph nobly rose to his high duty toward her. I have tried to sketch Mary's problems in Mary the Mother of Jesus: Her Problems and Her Glory.
1010 And knew her not (κα ουκ εγινωσκεν αυτην). Note the imperfect tense, continuous or linear action. Joseph lived in continence with Mary till the birth of Jesus. Matthew does not say that Mary bore no other children than Jesus. "Her firstborn" is not genuine here, but is a part of the text in Lu 2:7 . The perpetual virginity of Mary is not taught here. Jesus had brothers and sisters and the natural meaning is that they were younger children of Joseph and Mary and not children of Joseph by a previous marriage. So Joseph "called his name Jesus" as the angel had directed and the child was born in wedlock. Joseph showed that he was an upright man in a most difficult situation.
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