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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 1

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


The family record. Literally “the book of birth,” or genealogy. Very accurate family records were kept by the Hebrews. Jesus Christ. Jesus—which means “Savior”—is the personal name; Christ—which means “Anointed”—is the title. (Christ and Messiah mean the same thing.) Jesus is the “Anointed” Prophet, Priest, and King. A descendant of David. The Messiah would be of David’s line. A descendant of Abraham. Also prophesied (Genesis 12:3; Genesis 22:18). David and Abraham were the two most important (because of prophecy) ancestors of Jesus.

Verse 2


Abraham was the father of Isaac. Matthew traces the line from Abraham. Jewish history begins with him. Luke begins with Adam, since he writes for Gentiles (Luke 3:23-38). Both accounts are compared in the notes on Matthew 1:16.

Verse 3


Their mother was Tamar. Three women are specifically named: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth. All were Gentiles, and each had a unique history. There were stains on the character of Tamar (Genesis 38:11-30), and Rahab (Joshua 2:1). Ruth’s story is especially beautiful. Each had strong faith.

Verse 6


King David. The most famous of the family record. One title for the Messiah was “Son of David.” Uriah’s wife. Bathsheba is not named directly. Uriah was a Hittite, a Gentile. She was a partner with David in the greatest guilt of his life (2 Samuel 11:12).

Verse 8


Joram. Three names are deliberately omitted between Joram and Uzziah. These appear in 1 Chronicles 3:11-12. Omissions of unimportant links are common in the Old Testament (compare 1 Chronicles 8:1 with Genesis 46:21).

Verse 11


Carried away to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and held the Jews captive in Babylon for seventy years.

Verse 12


Zerubbabel. A descendant of the Jewish Kings, he led the return from Babylon (Ezra 3:2).

Verse 16


Jacob was the father of Joseph. Joseph, a poor carpenter of Nazareth, was a descendant of a long line of kings. As Mary’s husband, he was the LEGAL father of Jesus. Matthew gives his family record. Luke (Luke 3:23-38) probably gives the line of Mary. Both were descendants of David. The Jews, who were very accurate about such things, did not dispute either set of family records.

Verse 17


Fourteen sets. The Jews enjoyed grouping things this way. There are fourteen sets from Abraham to David. David’s name is counted again to make the second set. The third set of fourteen begins with Jechoniah (Matthew 1:11).

Verse 18


Jesus Christ was born. His appearance on the human scene (John 1:14). Mary was engaged. Custom, from the time of the Patriarchs, considered “engagement” a legally binding form of marriage (Deuteronomy 20:7). (This was not the same as “engagement” today.) Usually a year went by before the marriage was “finalized.” Before they were married. They had not yet begun to live together. She found out. Read the angel’s prophecy (Luke 1:26-38). By the Holy Spirit. Jesus is God’s ONLY Son—unique—the only example of such a birth in all time and eternity! (But Christ is pre-existent-see Colossians 1:15-20.)

Verse 19


Joseph. By custom, engagement was equal to marriage (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). What was right. An act of kindness. To disgrace her publicly would make her subject to the death penalty (Deuteronomy 22:24). Secretly. Jewish custom required a divorce to break an engagement (Deuteronomy 24:1).

Verse 20


An angel. Joseph was puzzled. God sent his angel with a message. (Compare Luke 1:26). In a dream. A common thing. Three times he was spoken to in this way. Descendant of David. Reminded of the word of prophecy. Do not be afraid. The baby was holy.

Verse 21


Yon will name him Jesus. Jesus means “Savior.” The Hebrew form is “Joshua”—“Jehovah’s Salvation.” Will save his people. Not the Jewish Nation alone, but all who follow him. From their sins. Christ’s special work to remove sin and make us God’s friends.

Verse 22


To make come true. The prophets spoke about the Messiah, so he could be clearly identified as what they said “came true.”

Verse 23


The virgin. Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14) had in mind a certain virgin. This was a double prophecy, fulfilled in type during the reign of Ahaz (Isaiah 8:1-4), yet pointing forward to the time of true fulfillment (Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2-3). Emmanuel. God has come to set us free!

Verse 24


So when Joseph . . . did. He immediately obeyed the Lord’s instructions. A good example.

Verse 25


No sexual relations. The language here does not imply any perpetual virginity. Jesus grew up in a normal home (Matthew 13:54-55).

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/matthew-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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