Attention! has pledged to build one church a year in Uganda. Help us double that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries

Broadus' Commentary on Matthew

Matthew 1

Verses 1-17

Matthew 1:1-17 . The Genealogy Of Jesus Christ

TRADITIONAL TITLE. Before the middle of the second century, we find the name Gospel already applied to the narratives of our Saviour's life. Justin Martyr says: "The apostles, in the memoirs made by them, which are called Gospels." The Greek word so rendered, which signifies "a good message," "good news," "glad tidings," is found a few times in Matthew and Mark ( e. g. , Matthew 4:23 , Matthew 26:13 Mark 8:35 , Mark 16:15 ) as denoting, in general, the good news of Christ's reign, and of salvation through him; and its subsequent application to our four narratives of Christ's life and teachings was natural and appropriate. The best early authorities for the text give the title in the simple form, Gospel according to Matthew , some of them having only "According to Matthew," where the word "Gospel" is implied, though not expressed. To say "Saint Matthew," a practice which many persons retain from Romanist usage, is useless, if not improper. No one thinks it irreverent to speak of Moses or Isaiah without any such prefix. The peculiar expression of the traditional title, "according to Matthew," implies that the gospel has been reported by different persons under different aspects, and this is the way in which Matthew has presented it. The English word "gospel" has long been supposed (it is so interpreted even in the eleventh century) to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon godspell , signifying good story, good tidings, and to be thus a literal translation of the Greek. But recent etymologists go far to prove, by the comparison of kindred languages, that it is from God and spell, meaning a narrative of God, and so the history of Christ. (See Skeat, "Etym. Dict. and Supplement.")

Matthew begins his Gospel with the genealogy of our Lord. Designing to prove, especially to the Jews, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, he shows at the outset that Jesus is a descendant of David, as it had been predicted that the Messiah would be. In order to establish this fact according to Jewish law, it must be shown that the legal father of Jesus was a descendant of David, as this genealogy does; and to give the argument greater impressiveness, he goes back to trace the descent from Abraham, the father of the Jewish race, to whose "seed" the promise was spoken. (Genesis 17:7 ; Galatians 3:16 ) Luke, who had no special reference to the Jews, but wrote for all, gives the genealogy some distance after the beginning of his book, (Luke 3:23 ) and carries it up to Adam, the father of all men. (As to apparent discrepancies between Matthew and Luke, see below on "Matthew 1:17 "). Mark, in his short narrative, gives no genealogy, but simply begins by describing Jesus Christ as "the Son of God" (Mark 1:1 ). John, wishing to correct errors already rife, when he wrote, as to both the human and the divine nature of our Lord, goes back to his eternal pre-existence as the Word, his divinity and creatorship, and then states his incarnation, showing him to be not merely in appearance but in reality a man. (John 1:1-5 , John 1:14 ) This comparison makes it plain that Matthew's first paragraph, indeed, his opening sentence, strikes the key-note to his treatise, which is throughout a Gospel for the Jews.

Some have supposed that the Evangelist adopted this genealogy as a whole from some public or private record existing among the Jews. There would be nothing derogatory in this idea, and the document thus adopted would have for us the sanction of inspiration as to its correctness; but it seems more natural to think that Matthew framed the list himself from the Old Testament and the Jewish records. Some of its peculiarities, e. g. , the incidental mention of certain females (see below), are best explained as having been introduced by him, with a special design. That the Jews did, in the first century, still possess genealogical records, at least of important families, is shown by various facts. Thus Paul asserted without reserve that he was of the tribe of Benjamin. (Romans 11:1 Philippians 3:5 ) Josephus ("Life ") gives his own priestly and royal descent for several generations, and adds: "I present the descent of our family as I found it recorded in the public tablets, and to those who try to slander us I wish much joy."This unquestionable evidence made him feel perfectly secure. And in the book against Apion (i. 7) he describes the pains taken by priests residing in Egypt, Babylon, and other foreign countries, to send to Jerusalem properly certified statements as to marriages and births in their families; and declares that after any great war, such as that which had recently occurred, the surviving priests prepared new copies from the old records. The story told by Julius Africanus (Eusebius "Hist." I. 7,13) that Herod burnt the genealogies of the Jews, in order to prevent his own inferiority as an Idumaean from being manifest, conflicts with these and all the other statements on the subject, and certainly cannot be true in its full extent. We are told that Rabbi Hillel, a contemporary of Jesus, proved from a genealogical table at Jerusalem that he was a descendant of David. ("Bereshith Rahba," f. 98, quoted by Godet, "Com. on Luke," Luke 3:23 .) There is also a story that Domitian (A. D. 81-96) ordered all descendants of David to be slain, and certain heretics accused as such the descendants of Jude, a brother of the Saviour, who being summoned before the emperor acknowledged that they were descended from David, but stated that they lived by tilling their little farms, and showed their hands hard with toil, (from which we see, with Weiss, that the family of Jesus were still poor), so that the emperor dismissed them as persons not likely to excite revolution. (Hegesippus in Euseb." Hist." iii. 19, 20.) On the other hand, all this is changed at the present day. The Jewish records have long since completely perished, and no Jew could now prove himself a descendant of David. If one claiming to be the Messiah should now arise, as some Jews still expect, no such evidence could be furnished as that with which Matthew here begins.

Matthew 1:1 . The opening words signify either , Book of the generation , i. e. , descent-book, pedigree, genealogy, thus referring only to Matthew 1:2-17 , (compare Genesis 5:1 , Genesis 11:27 ) or, Book upon the birth , referring to the whole account of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:0 and Matthew 2:0 . (Compare the use of the same term in Matthew 1:18 , there rendered 'birth'). The choice between these two meanings of the phrase must remain a matter of doubt, and is of no real importance. The view of some that "book of the generation" here denotes a history in general (as perhaps in Genesis 25:19 ; Genesis 37:2 ), must pretty certainly be rejected. Jesus , the same as Joshua (see on "Matthew 1:21 "), is our Lord's private or personal name; Christ is his official name, being a translation into Greek of the Hebrew word 'Messiah,' which signifies 'anointed' and with the article, 'the anointed one.' (Compare 1 Samuel 24:6 , 1 Samuel 24:10 Psalms 2:2 , Psalms 105:15 Isaiah 45:1 Daniel 9:25-26 John 1:20 , John 1:25 , John 1:41 , John 4:25 , John 4:29 Acts 4:26 ) It appears in the Gospels as a proper name only here, together with Matthew 1:16 , Matthew 1:18 , and probably Matthew 16:21 (compare also Matthew 1:16 , and Matthew 27:17 ); Mark 1:1 ; John 1:17 , John 17:3 . Everywhere else in the Gospels it denotes the promised Messiah or anointed one, sometimes without reference to Jesus at all, but usually applied to him either by direct assertion or by implication. When not a proper name it commonly has the article, 'the Christ,' which is often omitted in Common English Version (see on "Matthew 2:4 "). In John 1:41 , John 4:25 , we find Messias, a Greek form of Messiah. Whether Jesus was the Messiah, was during his ministry an open question, and the Evangelists do not, in their history of him, assume it as then settled. But after his ascension the apostles would naturally take this for granted in their expressions, and accordingly 'Christ' or 'Jesus Christ,' is very often used in the Acts and Epistles as a proper name. In like manner Matthew, Mark, and John, in writing their Gospels, use the same now familiar expression in the introduction , though in the body of their narrative they speak according to the state of the question when the events occurred. In John 16:21 we may see a special reason, as there pointed out. And so Jesus himself, in John 17:3 , when praying in the presence of his disciples at the close of his ministry, speaks as taking his Messiahship for granted; as in Mark 9:41 , 'because ye are Christ's,' he is anticipating the future conviction of his followers. Son of Abraham may be in apposition either with 'David' or with 'Jesus Christ,' the Greek being ambiguous, like the English. But either sense involves what the other would express, and so both amount to the same thing: in Jesus were fulfilled the prophecies that the Messiah should descend from David and from Abraham.

Matthew 1:2 . Among the sons of Jacob, Judas , or Judah , is singled out, because he is the one from whom David and Jesus were descended; but his brethren are also mentioned by the Evangelist, perhaps simply because it was common to speak of the twelve patriarchs and the twelve tribes all together (Acts 7:8-9 ); or, it may be, with the design of reminding his readers that all the other tribes were of the same descent as Judah, and thus all were interested in the Messiah.

Many of the names in this list are, in the Common English Version, more or less different in form from the corresponding names in our version of the Old Testament, and throughout the New Testament the same thing frequently occurs. The New Testament writers have usually employed that form of a name which was already familiar to their readers, who were generally accustomed, Jews as well as Gentiles, to read, not the original Hebrew of the Old Testament for the Hebrew proper was then little used in conversation (the Aramaic having largely supplanted it) but the Greek translation known as the Septuagint. The authors of that translation often failed to express the Hebrew names in Greek as exactly as they might have done. Besides, the Greek language is in some respects less able to express Hebrew words than the English is, particularly in respect to the letter h , which abounds in Hebrew names, and which the Greek cannot represent at all except at the beginning of a word, or in the combinations ch, th, ph . Accordingly, Noah was written Noe (Matthew 24:37 ), Korah written Core, (Judges 1:11 ) and Elisha became Eliseus. (Luke 4:27 ) It thus appears that not only have the names in our version of the New Testament undergone a two-fold change, presenting us the English form of the common Greek form of the Hebrew words but the difference is increased by the fact that in our version of the Old Testament, rendered directly from the Hebrew, we have the name often more exactly expressed than could be done in Greek. The writers of the New Testament gave their readers the form of the names that they were all familiar with in reading the Septuagint; so that they had the same form in both Testaments. And this result will be secured for English readers, if in the New Testament we should put into English letters not the Greek form of the name as there given, but the Hebrew form as it occurs in the Old Testament. Then the reader of our version, like the reader in the apostle's days, will find the name in the same form throughout his Bible, and will thus feel that it is the same name. There must be a few exceptions; as, for example, it would hardly be proper to write our Saviour's name Joshua, though we should thus be much more vividly reminded of the origin and associations of the name; and it is probably best to retain the Greek form, Judas, for the traitor disciple, and employ Judah for the patriarch and others, and Jude for the writer of the Epistle. But in general, the Hebrew forms can be used in the New Testament without difficulty or impropriety.

Matthew 1:3-5 , Commentators have always noticed that while this genealogy, according to custom, gives only the names of the men, it turns aside to make incidental mention of four women Thamar, Rahab, Ruth , and the wife of Uriah of whom three were polluted by shameful wickedness, and the fourth was by birth a heathen. This appears to have been done simply because each of the four became a mother of the Messianic line in an irregular and extraordinary way, as in recounting a long list of names one is very apt to mention anything unusual that attaches to this or that individual. The mystical meanings which some find in the introduction of these names, cannot be accepted by a sober judgment; and the notion (Lange) that Tamar, for example, really acted under the impulse of a fanatical faith , "being resolved at all hazards to become one of the mothers of God's chosen race, "is a particularly wild fancy. The introduction of both Phares and Zara , while throughout the list only one person is usually given, is probably due to the fact that Tamar their mother has been mentioned, (compare 1 Chronicles 2:4 ) and that she bore them both at one birth. There is no sufficient reason to question that the Rahab here mentioned is the famous woman of Jericho; nor that she had pursued the disgraceful calling commonly supposed. The length of time between Sahnon and David makes it likely that some names have been here omitted (as also in Ruth 4:21 f., and 1 Chronicles 2:11 ), most probably between Obed and Jesse; but this is not certain, as the general chronology of that period is doubtful, and the parents in some cases may have been advanced in years when the children were born.

Matthew 1:6 . David the king is thus signalized, probably as being the first of this line who attained that dignity, and he to whom the promise was made of a seed that should reign forever. In the second sentence of this verse, ' the king ' in the common text is a mere addition from the first sentence, wanting in several of the best early documents.

Matthew 1:8 . Between Joram and Uzziah, three names are omitted, Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah (2 Kings 8:24 ; 1 Chronicles 3:11 ; 2 Chronicles 22:1 , 2 Chronicles 22:11 , 2 Chronicles 24:27 ). This was probably done to secure symmetry, by bringing the number of names in each discourse to fourteen (see on "Matthew 1:17 "); and these particular persons might naturally be selected for omission, because they were immediate descendants of Ahab and Jezebel.

Matthew 1:11-12 . Here also a name has been omitted, that of Jehoiakim, who was the son of Josiah, and father of Jehoiachin, or Jeconiah. (2 Kings 23:34 , 2 Kings 24:6 ) As in Matthew 1:8 , we may suppose one name to have been purposely omitted by the Evangelist, and this particular person to have been chosen because in his reign occurred the events which led to the captivity. As to the further difficulty on which some have insisted, that while we read here of Jechonias and his brethren , in 1 Chronicles 3:16 , but one brother of his is mentioned, it is enough to recall the familiar fact that genealogical lists such as that very often omit some of a man's children, mentioning only those which belonged to the line of succession, or which there was some special reason for including; and so there might very well have been other brothers known from genealogies existing in Matthew's time, but whom the compiler of Chronicles had no occasion to include in his list. The expression, the time they were carried away to Babylon or, the removal , mar. of Rev. Ver., is of course not to be pressed as involving an exact coincidence of the two events, but to be understood in the more general way, which is natural in such cases Josiah died some years before the removal to Babylon. (2 Chronicles 36:0 ) This great event was really a forcible transportation, but the Evangelist uses the milder term 'removal' or 'migration,' which was frequently employed in the familiar Greek translation of the Old Testament, and would be less painful to the Jewish readers he had especially in view. [1] In making Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, the Evangelist agrees with Ezra 3:2 , Ezra 5:2 Nehemiah 12:1 ; Haggai 1:1 , Haggai 2:2 , while 1 Chronicles 3:19 , makes him the son of Pedaiah, a brother of Shealtiel. The explanations of this discrepancy which have been proposed are hardly satisfactory. It is not surprising that there should be some slight differences in these lists of names which, with our imperfect information, we are now unable to explain. A nervous solicitude to explain at all hazards, is uncalled for and unbecoming.

[1] The genitive Babulonos specifies this as the Babylon-removal, thus distinguishing it from other removals. This is the proper force of the genitive, as the generic specifying case. The Babylon-removal, so far as the mere form of the expression goes, might mean the removal of Babylon, the removal to Babylon, or the removal from Babylon; but the well-known historical facts left no doubt as to the real meaning. See similar uses of the genitive in Matthew 4:15 ; Matthew 10:5 John 7:35 ; John 10:7 .

Matthew 1:13 . The nine names from Abiud to Jacob (Matthew 1:15 ) are not elsewhere mentioned, as they belong to the period subsequent to the close of the Old Testament records, the "interbiblical" period. They were doubtless taken from some public or private genealogy, such as would cause the Evangelist's Jewish readers to receive them without gainsaying. The number of names being scarcely proportioned to the time over which they extend, some have thought that here also a few names may have been omitted, as in Matthew 1:8 , Matthew 1:11 .

Matthew 1:16 . The Evangelist does not connect Joseph and Jesus as father and son; but altogether departs from the usual phraseology of the genealogy, so as to indicate the peculiarity of the Saviour's birth. The name Jesus ( i.e., Joshua, see on "Matthew 1:21 "), being common among the Jews, (compare Colossians 4:11 Acts 13:6 ) the person here meant is distinguished as Jesus who is or, the one called Christ , (so in Matthew 27:17 , Matthew 27:22 , and compare"Simon, the one called Peter," in Matthew 4:18 ; Matthew 10:2 .)

Matthew 1:17 . THREE SETS OF FOURTEEN. The gathering of this long list of names into three groups of fourteen each appears to have been partly for the sake of aiding the memory, and partly in order to indicate the three great periods of the history, viz: from Abraham, the father of the nation, to "David the king" (see on "Matthew 1:6 "), from David to the destruction of the monarchy at the removal to Babylon, and from that event to the coming of Messiah. These three periods are distinguished in many ways; among others by the form of government, which was in the successive periods a Theocracy, a Monarchy, and a Hierarchy, or government by the priests, this being for the most part the form after the return from the captivity. Finding that the names from Abraham to David amount to fourteen, the Evangelist omits some in the second period (see on "Matthew 1:8 ; Matthew 1:11 "), and perhaps in the third also (see on "Matthew 1:13 "), so as to leave each of these periods the same number as the first. This happened to be twice the sacred number seven, so that the whole list of names is divided into three sets of two sevens each. Similarly a Rabbinical writer says: "From Abraham to Solomon are fifteen generations, and then the moon was at the full; from Solomon to Zedekiah are again fifteen generations, and then the moon was eclipsed, and Zedekiah's eyes were put out." The omission of some names presents no difficulty, being occasionally found in Old Testament lists likewise." It was a common practice with the Jews to distribute genealogies into divisions, each containing some favourite or mystical number, and in order to this, generations were either repeated or left out. Thus in Philo the generations from Adam to Moses are divided into two decades (sets of ten), one hebdomad (set of seven), by the repetition of Abraham. But in a Samaritan poem the very same series is divided into two decades only, by the omission of six of the least important names.( Smith's Dictionary Art. Genealogy of Jesus .;) We are told that the Arabians now abbreviate their genealogies in the same manner, and give the descent by a few prominent names. So, in fact, often do the English, or any other people; the object being, in such cases, not to furnish a complete list of one's ancestors, but simply to establish the descent from a certain line. Where such omissions are made in the Scripture genealogies, the usual term "begot" (or, as in Luke "son of") is retained, and must of course be then understood not literally, but as denoting progenitorship or descent in general, a sense very common in the language of Scripture, and common throughout the East, both in ancient and modern times. (Compare Matthew 1:1 ) Matthew's three fourteens have been variously made out by expositors. It seems best either to count from Abraham to David, from David again to Josiah, and from Jechoniah to Jesus, or , from Abraham to David, from Solomon to Jechoniah, as representing the time of the removal, and from Jechoniah again to Jesus. The fact that either of these modes of reckoning (and, indeed, one or two others) may be plausibly supported, concurs with the omission of some names to show that the Evangelist did not design this division to be pressed with literal exactness, but only to be taken In a certain general way, for purposes such as those above suggested.

The Genealogies Of Matthew And Luke

There is an obvious discrepancy between the two genealogies, (compare Luke 3:28 ff.) which has always attracted attention, and to explain which, we find various theories suggested. Most scholars at the present day are divided between two of these, and either of them is sufficiently probable to set aside objection to the credibility of the Evangelists on the ground of the discrepancy. The two genealogies diverge after David, Matthew's passing down through Solomon, and Luke's (which is stated in the opposite order), through Nathan, and they do not afterwards agree, unless it may possibly be in the case of Shealtiel and Zerubbabel, as these two names and I occur together in both lists.

Matthew 1:1 . One explanation supposes that, while Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph, the reputed and legal father of Jesus, Luke really gives that of Mary, but simply puts her husband's name instead of hers, because it was not customary for a woman's name to appear in a genealogy, but that of her husband instead. This is a mere supposition, of course, but it is a perfectly possible and reasonable one, and it has the great advantage of showing that Jesus was not only a descendant of David legally, through his reputed father, but also actually, through his mother. There is good reason besides to believe, (Luke 1:32 ; Acts 2:30 ; Romans 1:3 ; 2 Timothy 2:8 ) that Mary was herself a descendant of David, as held by Justin Martyr, [1] Irenaeus, Tertullian, and other Fathers. The fact that Elisabeth, the wife of a priest , was Mary's "kinswoman," (Luke 1:36 , the term denotes relationship, but without indicating its degree) is no proof that Mary was not of the tribe of Judah, since persons of the different tribes sometimes intermarried; indeed the earliest known Elisabeth, Aaron's wife, appears to have been of the tribe of Judah. (Exodus 6:23 Numbers 2:3 ) This theory would accord with the special characteristics and manifest design of the two Gospels. Matthew, who wrote especially for Jews, gives the legal descent of Jesus from David, through Joseph, it being a rule of the Rabbins that "the descent on the father's side only shall be called a descent; the descent by the mother is not called any descent." Luke, who wrote without any special reference to the Jews, for general circulation, gives the real descent from David. In like manner Matthew mentions the angelic appearance to Joseph; Luke thus to Mary. This explanation is adopted substantially, by Luther, Lightfoot, Bengel, Olahausen, Ebrard, Wieseler, Bleek (in part), Lange, Robinson, Alexander, Godet, Weiss. Andrews hesitates. (See a valuable discussion by Warfield in the "Presb. Review," Vol. II, p. 388-397).

[1] If we simply suppose that Justin adopted this theory of the genealogies, viz: that Luke gives that of Mary there will be none of that conflict, between his statements on this subject and our Gospels, upon which the author of "Supernatural Religion" so much insists.

Matthew 1:2 . Most of the Fathers, and many recent writers (as Winer, Meyer), hold that both Gospels give the genealogy of Joseph, and then attempt in various ways to remove the discrepancy, or pass it by as irreconcilable. The best explanation upon this view is that recently offered by Lord Hervey, viz.: the hypothesis that Matthew gives the line of succession to the throne, and that upon a failure of the direct line, Joseph became the next heir; while Luke gives Joseph's private genealogy, as a descendant of David by a younger line, which at this point supplied the failure in the older branch, and furnished the heir to the throne. This theory is ably advocated in Lord Hervey's volume on the Genealogies, and his article in Smith's "Dict.," "Genealogy of Jesus Christ," and is now quite popular with English writers, as Mill, Alford, Wordsworth, Ellicott, Westcott, Fairbairn, Farrar. It is altogether possible, and when presented in detail has several striking points; yet the former explanation is believed to be in some respects preferable. We are little concerned to show which of them is best, and under no obligation to prove that either of them is certainly correct; for we are not attempting to establish from the Genealogies the credibility of Matthew's Gospel. When the object is simply to refute an objection to that credibility, founded on an apparent discrepancy between two statements, it is sufficient to present any hypothetical explanation of the difficulty which is possible. If the explanation be altogether reasonable and probable, so much the better. And if there be two, or several, possible explanations, these reinforce each other in removing the ground for objection, and it is not necessary to choose between them.

The names Shealtiel and Zerubbabel in the genealogies need not be supposed to represent the same persons. There are various instances in the Old Testament lists, of a striking similarity between several names in lines that are unquestionably distinct.

Homiletical And Practical

Besides the value of this genealogy, to the Jews and to us, in showing that Jesus was a descendant of David, as it had been predicted that the Messiah would be, the apparently barren list of names might suggest much thought to a mind familiar with the Old Testament. During all this long period, the providential arrangements were going on, which prepared for the coming of the "seed" promised to Abraham. Every person in this genealogy the wicked as well as the devout, even the woman of stained character formed a link in the chain of providences. Through all the troubled centuries, through all the national changes, whether reigning in splendour, or dethroned and in captivity, or afterwards subsiding into insignificance under the rule of the high priests or of Herod, the appointed line was preserved; until among the rude population of an obscure village, are found the hard-working carpenter and the poor maiden, who are chosen to rear the seed of Abraham, the son of David.

Matthew 1:1 . Christ, as (1) the son of Abraham, (Galatians 3:16 ) (2) the son of David. The Jews are the only race of mankind that can trace their origin in authentic history to a single ancestor. Matthew 1:2 ff. The Old Testament history, (1) a history of Providence, (2) a history of Redemption; each finding its climax and consummation in Christ. Matthew 1:3-5 . The divine sovereignty and condescension, in causing the Saviour to spring from a line containing some persons so unworthy of the honour, and who reflected so little credit on their descendants. And a rebuke to that excessive pride of ancestry, to which the Jews were so prone, and which is so common among mankind in general. Chrys .: "He teaches us also hereby, never to hide our face at our forefathers' wickedness, but to seek after one thing alone, even virtue." Matthew 1:7 ff. Bad men linked to good men, (1) as descendants of the good, (2) as ancestors of the good. Matthew 1:11 . The removal to Babylon, as a step in the preparation for Messiah. Matthew 1:17 . The three great periods of Jewish history before Christ, as all preparing in various ways for his coming and his work.

Verses 18-25

Matthew 1:18-25 . Jesus Born Of A Virgin Mother

Having presented the genealogy of Jesus, the inspired writer commences the narrative proper with matters pertaining to Jesus' birth and infancy. (Matthew 1:18 to Matthew 2:23 ) The passage now before us is designed to show, that he was born of a virgin mother. Matthew does not mention the annunciation to Mary, nor the birth of the forerunner, (Luke 1:0 ) but begins at the time when it became apparent that Mary was with child, which would be soon after her return from the visit to Elisabeth. (Luke 1:56 )

Matthew 1:18 . The birth [1] of Jesus Christ was on this wise . It has already been intimated (Matthew 1:16 ) that he was not in the ordinary way the son of Joseph; and this point is now distinctly stated. His mother Mary . It is no doubt wisely provided that we know very little concerning the personal history of "Mary the mother of Jesus." (Acts 1:14 ) The traditions relating to her, so highly prized by Romanists, are of no value. She was probably (see on "Matthew 1:17 ") a descendant of David. We know nothing of her parents, or of any brothers; there is allusion to a sister (John 19:25 ), who is by some identified with "Mary the wife of Clopas," mentioned just after, and who upon that supposition must have borne the same name (see on "Matthew 13:55 "). We are informed that Elisabeth was her kinswoman, (Luke 1:36 ) so that Jesus and his forerunner were remote relatives Mary's early home appears to have been Nazareth, and she probably lived a life of poverty and toil. As to her character, we are somewhat better informed. In Luke's narrative she appears before us as a deeply pious maiden, prompt to believe what God revealed, (Luke 1:38 , Luke 1:45 ) and anxious to have all difficulties in the way of her faith removed; (Luke 1:34 ) as humbly rejoicing in the high privilege secured to her by the divine promise, (Luke 1:46-55 ) and through the years which followed thoughtfully pondering the things which occurred in connection with her child. (Luke 2:19 ) The familiarity with Scripture manifested by her song of thanksgiving, (Luke 1:46 ff,) shows how lovingly she had been accustomed to dwell on the word of God. Mary was of course not faultless, but her character was worthy of her high providential position, and she deserves our admiration and gratitude. Above all the "mothers of the wise and good" may we call her 'happy', (Luke 1:48 ) and cherish her memory. The utterly unscriptural, absurd, and blasphemous extreme to which the Romanists have gradually carried their veneration of Mary, must not drive us into the opposite extreme. The name 'Mary' is the same as Miriam, and is often written Mariam in the Greek, particularly when applied to the mother of our Lord (e. g., Matthew 1:20 ). Its original meaning of rebelliousness was quite suitable for the sister of Moses.

[1] The correct text of the Greek is genesis , 'origin,' and so birth, rather than gennesis , prob. derived from eggenthe in Matthew 1:16 . A few very early versions and Fathers here omit 'Jesus,' reading simply 'the birth of the Christ,' and this is adopted by Treg., Westcott Hort, and McClellan. The question is quite interesting, for the principles involved, to students of text-criticism (see Treg., Tisch., Scriv., W. H.); but it does not seem allowable to leave the reading of all the Greek MSS. and most versions. The practical difference is not very important (see on "Matthew 1:1 "). In the second clause omit gar of the common Greek text, leaving the simple genitive absolute. Matthew quite frequently employs this construction (Weiss).

Of Joseph likewise but little is known. Though of the old royal family, he appears to have been quite poor, and to have followed the lowly calling of wood-workman, probably what we call a carpenter (compare see on "Matthew 13:55 "). He is here declared (Matthew 1:19 , Rev. Ver.) to be a 'righteous' man, and we shall presently find him faithfully attentive to his precious charge (ch. 2); but beyond this the Scriptures give us no information (compare at end of Matthew 2:0 ).

Espoused , Rev. Ver. gives betrothed . So Wyc., Tyn., Gen. The Com. Ver. followed Rheims in giving "espoused," which formerly meant betrothed. It appears to have been a custom among the Jews for a betrothed maiden to remain still for some time in her father's house, before the marriage was consummated; and before they came together, probably refers to their coming to live in the same home, though it may be taken in the other sense, which is obvious. (compare 1 Corinthians 7:5 ) She was found , does not imply an attempt at concealment, but merely states that it was then ascertained. The expression is consistent with the view that she herself discovered the fact, and then, through information conveyed in some suitable way, it was ascertained by Joseph. The narrative is marked by great delicacy. A little reflection will suggest reasons why a divine revelation on the subject was made to Mary beforehand, and to Joseph only after the fact had become apparent. A different course with regard to either of them would have occasioned additional embarrassment and distress. Ghost is an Anglo Saxon word of the same meaning as the Latin 'Spirit,' and having the same primary sense of 'breath' (see on "Matthew 16:25 "). It has in modern times given way to the Latin term, and become obsolete, except (1) as denoting a spirit of a dead person supposed to become visible, (2) as used in the phrase 'to give up the ghost' (equals expire), and (3) as applied to the third person of the Trinity. In this last sense our Common English Version employs it only in those passages of the New Testament in which 'holy' is prefixed, so as to make the personal designation 'The Holy Ghost'; and employs it in all such passages, except Luke 11:13 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:8 . When used without 'holy' in the New Testament and everywhere in the Old Testament, the word is 'Spirit.' (Compare as to 'hallow,' on Matthew 6:9 ). It is to be regretted that Rev. Ver. did not uniformly adopt 'Holy Spirit,' with Amer. Revisers. Compare on Matthew 3:11 ; Matthew 12:32 ; Matthew 28:19 . Of the Holy Ghost , (literally out of, marking the Holy Spirit as the source or cause of her, condition), is here not meant to be understood as a part of the discovery, but is a fact appended by the narrator. Under ordinary circumstances, Mary's condition would have involved a crime which, by the law of Moses, was punished with death by stoning. (Leviticus 20:10 ) And a betrothed woman must be treated in this respect as if already married. (Deuteronomy 22:23 f)

Matthew 1:19 . From the time of betrothal the parties were legally bound to each other, so as to be called husband and wife, (Matthew 5:20 ; Deuteronomy 22:24 ) and so that unchastity in either would be adultery. An unrighteous man would have cherished a passionate angel and sought to punish as severely as possible. Joseph, being a just (Rev. Ver. righteous ), man , (compare 1 Samuel 24:17 ) was not inclined to extreme severity, but was disposed to divorce her privately. (So Bleek, Grimm, Cremer). Or it may be understood thus: Joseph, being righteous (and therefore feeling that in such circumstances he could not take her as his wife), and yet not willing to expose her publicly, [1] was disposed to pursue a middle course, and divorce her privately. (So Meyer, Weiss, Morison.) The statement has been frequently made (so Chrysostom, Grotius), that the Greek word rendered 'righteous' may signify 'good, kind,' but it has not been shown to have that meaning anywhere in the New Testament, and the common meaning gives a good sense, in either of the above ways. It would appear that the law, (Deuteronomy 22:23 f) was not regarded as compelling a husband to accuse his wife as an adulteress, and so Joseph would not be violating the law if he should avoid the extreme course, and divorce her, and this without stating his reason in the "writing of divorcement," (Matthew 5:31 ). Edersheim shows such a course to accord with custom and Rabbinical opinion.

[1] The earliest MSS. read deigmatisai , 'make her a spectacle,' the common Greek text paradeigmatisai , 'make her an example.' It is somewhat difficult to decide which is the correct reading, but the difference in meaning is unimportant.

Matthew 1:20 . The angel , more probably an angel , although the Greek might be understood as definite because of the Lord being appended. As to the angels, see on "Matthew 18:10 ". Divine communications by means of dreams are mentioned by Matthew 1:20 , Matthew 2:12-13 , Matthew 2:19 , Matthew 27:19 ; and referred to in Acts 2:17 ; not elsewhere in New Testament. Edersheim shows that the Jews attached great importance to dreams. There was probably something connected with such dreams as really gave divine guidance to distinguish them from ordinary dreams. Joseph is addressed as son of David , and thereby somewhat prepared for the remarkable disclosure about to be made. He probably knew that his was a leading branch of the royal family (see on "Matthew 1:17 "). Mary thy wife , the betrothed woman being frequently spoken of as a wife. (Deuteronomy 22:24 ) So as to 'Joseph her husband,' in Acts 2:19 . Of the Holy Ghost . Accordingly in Matthew 1:21 it is not, shall bring forth a son 'unto thee,' as was said to Zacharias, (Luke 1:13 )

Matthew 1:21 . Jesus is the same name as Joshua, a contraction of Jehoshuah, (Numbers 13:16 , 1 Chronicles 7:27 ) signifying in Hebrew 'Jehovah is helper,' or 'Help of Jehovah.' In the later books, ( e. g ., Nehemiah 7:7 , Nehemiah 8:17 ; Ezra 2:2 , etc.), it sometimes takes the form Jeshua (Jeshuah), and this the Greek translators of the Old Testament expressed (compare on Matthew 1:2 ) by Jesus. (In the Jewish books subsequent to Christianity it is frequently Jeshu). The name Joshua is everywhere in the Septuagint found in this form, Jesus, and so in the two passages of the New Testament in which Joshua is mentioned. (Acts 7:45 ; Hebrews 4:8 ) As applied to our Lord there is of course a certain modification of the idea conveyed by the name, but the leading thought is the same, viz., deliverance, salvation, and that springing from Jehovah. Like Joshua, who led Israel into the promised land, Jesus was to be the leader and ruler of his people, the "captain of their salvation", (Hebrews 2:10 ) under whose guidance they would be delivered from all dangers and brought safe to the rest that remaineth. (Hebrews 4:9 ) Like the high-priest Joshua, who was associated with Zerubbabel in bringing the Jews back from the captivity, (Ezra 2:2 ; Zechariah 8:1 ) Jesus was to be the high-priest of his people. He thus answered at the same time to the civil and religious rulers of the nation, at once King and Priest. Compare "he shall be a priest upon his throne," said of Joshua in Zechariah 6:13 . [1] Mary had also been told (Luke 1:31 ) that the child must be named Jesus, but without the reason for it here given. For he shall save . In Revised Version, it is he that shall save . The word 'he' is here pretty clearly emphatic in the Greek, he himself, he and no other, though Revised Version rather exaggerates the emphasis. [2] The word rendered 'save' signifies primarily to 'preserve,' secondarily to 'deliver,' and it often conveys both ideas at the same time. It is applied to physical dangers (Matthew 8:25 ), death (Matthew 24:22 ; Matthew 27:40 , Matthew 27:42 ), disease (Matthew 9:21-22 ; James 5:15 ), and to sin and its consequences, which is the common use. From their sins , from both the consequences and the dominion , both the penalty and the power of their sins. Messiah did not come, as the Jews commonly supposed he would, simply to save his people from the dominion of foreigners; it was something deeper and higher, to save them from their sins. And not to save them in their sins, but from their sins. His people would to Joseph naturally mean Israel. It may have been meant to denote the spiritual Israel, including some of the nation, though not all (Romans 9:6 , Romans 9:27 , Romans 9:31 ; Romans 11:7 ), and some Gentiles. (Romans 9:25-26 , Romans 9:30 ) Or the angel may have meant simply the people of Israel, i. e ., the truly pious among them, not intending to exclude the Gentiles from being saved by Jesus, but confining the view at present to the salvation of the Jews. So the angel announces to the shepherds "great joy, which shall be to all the people." (Luke 2:10 , Revised Version) Ecclus. Sirach 46:1 says of Joshua, "Who according to his name became great for the salvation of his elect" (God's elect), which shows that the meaning of the name would be readily apprehended, and the connection in Ecclus. clearly confines the "elect" to Israel. Compare the restriction of our Lord's ministry, and the temporary restriction of the ministry of the Twelve, to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15:24 ; Matthew 10:5 , Matthew 10:6 .) The same question as in this case arises in Acts 5:31 , Revised version "to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins."

[1] Other persons named Joshua or Jesus are found in 1 Samuel 6:14 , 1 Samuel 18:2 ; Kings 1 Samuel 23:8 ; Luke 3:29 ; Colossians 4:11 ; Ecclus. Prologue and 50:27; Josephus, "Ant."vi. 6, 6; xi. 7, 1; xii. 5, 1; xv. 3, 1. See also Bar-Jesus, Acts 13:6 . Jason, in Acts 17:5 ; Romans 16:21 is the same name altered into a form sounding better in Greek, as Jews among us often give their names a more English shape.

[2] Winer, Fritzsche, Meyer, and others, hold that autos in Nom. is always emphatic. But the New Testament has some examples (see Buttmann, p. 107, Grimm II. 2) in which it cannot without great violence be so understood, and we seem compelled to admit that it is occasionally only an unemphatic 'he,' etc. (Latin is ). It is freely so used in modern Greek (Mullach), and there is a partly similar use of in late Latin ipse (Ronsch). Compare Ellicott on Colossians 1:1 ; Moulton's note to Winer p. 187.

Matthew 1:22 . All this was done , etc. The statement and quotation in Matthew 1:22 f. has been understood by some expositors (Chrys., Alexander) as a part of the words of the angel. They render: 'And all this has taken place, [1] it may be fulfilled,' etc., and the language, so far as that goes, warrants their interpretation. In Matthew 26:56 , the same form of expression is commonly referred to the speaker of what precedes, and not to the Evangelist; (compare Mark 14:49 ) in Matthew 21:4 , the connection will admit of either view. (see on "Matthew 21:4 "). In the present case, however, we should have to suppose the angel to be anticipating when he says: "All this has taken place," for most of the events to which he refers were yet future; and in Matthew 21:4 , no part of the event in question has taken place when the Saviour speaks. Matthew has not elsewhere than in these three passages the precise expression, 'all this has taken place in order that,' etc., but he remarks upon the designed fulfilment of prophecy much oftener than the other Evangelists, so that it is quite natural to refer this statement to him; which on the whole seems decidedly best. Looking back upon the events, Matthew connects them with the time at which he is writing, and thus very naturally says: 'All this has taken place that it might be fulfilled, etc. [2] Fulfilled is the translation of a Greek word being applied to a work or a duty, and to predictions, as here. This last very important use, to fulfil (a prediction), is found frequently in Matthew, (Matthew 1:22 , Matthew 2:15 , Matthew 2:17 , Matthew 2:23 , Matthew 4:14 , Matthew 8:17 , Matthew 12:17 , Matthew 13:35 , Matthew 21:4 , Matthew 26:54 , Matthew 26:56 , Matthew 27:9 ) and in John; (John 12:38 , John 13:18 , John 15:25 , John 17:12 , John 18:9 , John 18:32 , John 19:24 , John 19:36 ) several times in Luke (Luke 1:20 ; Luke 4:21 ; Luke 21:22 ; Luke 24:44 ), and in Acts (Acts 1:16 , Acts 3:18 , Acts 13:27 ) once in Mark (Mark 14:49 ) and in James (James 2:23 ) An examination of these passages would show that in general they will admit only the strict sense of fulfil, implying a real prediction, and that no one of them requires the quite different meaning attached to the term by some expositors, viz.: that while there was no real prediction, the New Testament occurrence reminded the Evangelist of the Old Testament passage, or so resembled the Old Testament occurrence as to warrant the application to it of the same language. This serious departure from the etymology and regular use of the word is supposed by such expositors to be required by a few passages in which it is difficult for us to see that there exists the strict relation of prediction and fulfilment. But such passages, it will be found, all admit of at least a possible explanation in consistency with the idea of a real fulfilment (see on Matthew 2:15 , Matthew 2:18 ), and we have no right to take this or any other word in a sense alien to its origin and use, unless there be found passages in which it cannot possibly have the usual meaning. The strict application of this rule of interpretation is here a matter of importance, as the question involved seriously affects the prophetic relation between the Old and the New Testament.

[1] The word rendered in the Common English Version 'was done'; properly signifies to 'come to be,' 'come to two,' 'happen,' etc., and this meaning is very important for the exact exposition of many passages in the Testament. The student should look out for this and not be content to render it loosely.

[2] The peculiar idiom of the Greek makes it equally proper to render 'that it may,' or 'that it might,' according to the connection.

But two things are to be observed. (1) The New Testament writers sometimes quote Old Testament expressions as applicable to gospel facts or truths, without saying that they are prophecies (e. g., Romans 10:18 ), and in some cases it is doubtful how they intend the quotation to be regarded. (2) It is often unnecessary, and sometimes impossible, to suppose that the prophet himself had in mind that which the New Testament writer calls a fulfilment of his prediction. Some predictions were even involuntary, as that of Caiaphas. (John 11:50 ) Many prophecies received fulfilments which the prophet does not appear to signifying to 'make full,' to 'fill up.' (So the English fill full or fulfil). It is often used in New Testament, both literally, as to fill a valley, boat, etc., and figuratively, as to fill with gladness, knowledge, etc. In a derivative sense it signifies to 'perform fully,' 'accomplish,' have at all contemplated. But as God's providence often brought about the fulfilment though the human actors were heedless or even ignorant of the predictions they fulfilled ( e. g. , John 19:24 ), so God's Spirit often contemplated fulfilments of which the prophet had no conception, but which the Evangelist makes known. And it is of a piece with the general development of revelation that the later inspiration should explain the records of earlier inspiration, and that only after events have occurred should the early predictions of them be fully understood.

Some still insist that the phrase that it might be fulfilled should be rendered, or at any rate should be understood as denoting, 'so that it was fulfilled,' expressing only the result ; but the best scholars are now very nearly unanimous in maintaining that we must hold fast, in this and all similar passages, to the established meaning of the phrase. The design expressed is often not merely, and in some cases not at all, that of the human agents, but the design of God in his providence. It is probably the failure to note this simple distinction while it was clearly perceived that in some passages no such design as that stated can have been entertained by the actors themselves that has led numerous earlier interpreters, including some of the Greek Fathers, to accept the sense of result; and the disposition to do so has doubtless been strengthened in some minds by dislike to the idea of divine predestination. Notice that the term which here precedes does not exactly signify 'was done' (which would direct our thoughts to the human actors), but, as above explained, 'has occurred,' 'has taken place,' i. e. , in the course of providence. (Compare on Matthew 2:17 , and Matthew 6:10 ).

Matthew 1:23 . The quotation is from Isaiah 7:14 . Proposing to give Ahaz a sign of speedy deliverance from his enemies, Ephraim and Syria, the prophet speaks as here quoted, adding (Alexander's version): "Curds and honey shall he eat until he shall know (how) to reject the evil and choose the good; for before the child shall know (how) to reject the evil and choose the good, the land of whose two kings thou art afraid shall be forsaken." A certain woman (to us unknown), then a virgin, would bear a son; and before he should arrive at the early age indicated, i. e. , in the course of a few years, Ahaz would be delivered from the dreaded kings of Syria and Israel by the coming of the Assyrians, who would lay those countries waste. Then Judah would prosper, and the growing child would have other food than merely curds and honey. It is not necessary to maintain that Isaiah himself saw anything further in the prediction. But as 'spoken by [1] the Lord, through the prophet,' we learn from Matthew that it also pointed forward to the birth from the more notable virgin, of one who should be not merely a pledge of divine deliverance, but himself the Deliverer; who should not simply give token by his name of God's presence to protect, but should himself be the present and manifest Deity. We need not suppose that Matthew would in argument with a Jew have appealed to this passage as by itself proving to the Jew that Jesus was the Messiah for we have no information that the Jews understood it as a Messianic passage but it is one of many predictions, some more and some less plain, which all combined would furnish conclusive proof. And we, who might never have perceived such a reference in the prophet's words, accept it on the authority of the Evangelist, and do so without difficulty, because we see how fully the prophetic books are pervaded by the Messianic idea. (Acts 10:43 ) 'To him all the prophets bear witness.' Some expositors of Isaiah (at Hengstenberg, Alexander) understand an exclusive reference to the birth of Jesus; but how could that possibly become a sign to Ahaz of his speedy deliverance from Syria and Ephraim? The Hebrew is, literally, "Behold, the maiden conceiving and bringing forth a son, and calling " etc. As the calling is future, it is natural to take the other participles as future also (Toy.) The last Hebrew verb might mean 'thou shalt call,' and so the Sept. has "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son, and thou shalt call," etc. Matthew has substantially the same as the Septuagint (which he commonly follows, compare on Isaiah 8:3 ,) only changing the last verb to 'they shall call,' i. e. , people shall call he shall be so recognized. (Compare Isaiah 8:3 ) The Hebrew substantive signifies 'maiden.' No case has been found in which it must mean a married woman; the only examples adduced by Gesenius and others (Proverbs 30:19 Song of Song of Solomon 6:8 ) fail to prove the point. The Sept. here translates 'virgin,' Matthew confirms that by his authority, and all the efforts have failed to show that it is wrong. [2] Immanuel. One of the forms of the principal Hebrew word for God is el; and immanu signifies 'with us.' While this was to be the actual name of the child born in the time of Ahaz, it was for Jesus not a name actually borne, but only a description of his character and position. Compare the name Jedidiah, 'beloved of Jehovah,' which Nathan gave to Solomon at his birth, (2 Samuel 12:25 ) but which was not actually borne by him. Compare also Isaiah 60:18 ; Ezekiel 48:35 .

[1] For the principal actor old English commonly said 'of' (same word as Latin ab, Greek apo); in modern English it is 'by.' The intermediary we now most clearly express by 'through.'

[2] This Hebrew word is almah . Another word, bethulah , generally means virgin, but in Joel 1:8 is clearly applied to a young wife. If such an instance had been found for almah , it would have been claimed as triumphant proof that 'virgin' is not here a proper translation. The other Greek translations of Isaiah render by neanis , a young woman; but it must be remembered that the Christians early began to use this passage against the Jews, and that of the three translators Aquila was a Jew, Theodotion a Jew or a heretic, Symmachus an Ebionite (Judaizer,) which makes their rendering suspicious. Buxtorf and Levy give no Aramaic (Chaldee) examples in which almah must mean a married woman. The result seems to be that almah does not certainly prove a virgin birth but fully admits of that sense, which Matthew confirms.

Matthew 1:24 . Joseph, believing and obedient, at once married his betrothed, with all the customary ceremonies, taking her to his house, where she would have his protection and tender care. They lived in Nazareth. (See on "Matthew 2:23 ".)

Matthew 1:25 . Till she brought forth her firstborn son . The Revised Version properly omits the phrase, 'her firstborn.' [3] Though not said here, it is said in Luke 2:7 , that he was 'her firstborn.' This phrase of Luke, and Matthew's 'till,' naturally suggest that Mary afterwards bore other children, but do not certainly prove it. The word 'till' is sometimes employed where the state of things do not change after the time indicated. Yet the examples adduced (the best are, perhaps, Psalms 112:8 , Psalms 110:1 ; less apposite are Genesis 8:7 ; Deuteronomy 34:6 ; 1 Samuel 15:35 ; 2 Samuel 6:23 ; Isaiah 22:14 ; 1 Timothy 4:13 ) are none of them really similar to the one before us. The word will inevitably suggest that afterwards it was otherwise, unless there be something in the connection or the nature of the case to forbid such a conclusion. In like manner the dedication of the firstborn son (Exodus 13:15 ) gave a sort of technical sense to the term 'firstborn,' which might cause it to be applied to an only child. Still, this would be very unnatural for Luke, writing long afterwards, and perfectly knowing that there was no other offspring, if such was the case. Combine these separate strong probabilities furnished by 'till' and 'firstborn' with the third expression 'brethren' or 'brothers' and even "sisters " (see on "Matthew 13:55 "), and the result is a very strong argument to the effect that Mary bore other children. The Romanists hold marriage to be a less holy state than celibacy, and so they set aside all these expressions without hesitation. When some Protestants (as Alexander), on grounds of vague sentiment, object to the idea that Mary was really a wife, and repeatedly a mother, they ought to perceive that the Evangelists had no such feeling, or they would certainly have avoided using so many expressions which naturally suggest the contrary. It was inevitable that Jesus should be commonly regarded as the son of Joseph (Matthew 13:55 ; John 1:46 ), for the divine communications to Joseph and Mary could not at present be made known. Accordingly even Mary says, 'thy father and I,' and even Luke 'his parents'. (Luke 2:41 , Luke 2:43 , Luke 2:48 .)

[3] This is the reading of the two oldest (B and ‏ א ‎), and several other important Greek MSS. (Z. 1, 33), and often four oldest versions (old Latin, old Syriac, and the two Egyptian.) The additional words, 'her firstborn,' are obviously added from Luke 2:7 , where the text does not vary. We can see why many copies should have inserted them here, to make Matthew similar to Luke, and can see no reason why any copy should have omitted them here, when well known to exist in Luke. Observation shows that assimilation of parallel passages was almost always effected by insertion in the shorter, and the probable reason is that it would have been held irreverent by students and copyists to omit anything from the longer text.

Homiletical And Practical

Matthew 1:18 f. The most 'highly-favoured' of all women has to bear for a time the deepest reproach a woman can suffer. (Edersheim: "The first sharp pang of the sword which was to pierce her soul.") But it proves only a step in the progress to everlasting honour.

Matthew 1:19 f. Divine guidance in perplexity. (1) A perplexity here of the most cruelly painful sort. (2) The perplexed man is unselfishly anxious to do right. (3) He takes time and reflects. (4) The Lord directs him. Personal righteousness and prayerful reflection will often carry us through; and the result may be the highest joy. Jer. Taylor: "In all our doubts we shall have a resolution from heaven, or some of its ministers, if we have recourse thither for a guide, and be not hasty in our discourses, or inconsiderate in our purposes, or rash in judgment."

Matthew 1:20 . Jesus and the Holy Spirit. (1) His humanity due to the Holy Spirit. (2) His whole life controlled by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 4:1 ; Matthew 12:28 ; John 3:34 ; Hebrews 9:14 ). (3) His mission vindicated and commended by the Holy Spirit. (1 Timothy 3:16 ; John 16:8-11 .) (4) His work continued by the Holy Spirit (John 14:16 , John 16:13 Acts 16:7 ; 'the Spirit of Christ,' Rein. Acts 8:9 .)

Matthew 1:21 . The three Joshuas. Our Saviour.

I. What he is. (1) God with us. (2) Born of a woman. (8) Thus the God-man.

II. What he does. (1) He will save. (2) He will save his people. (3) He will save his people from their sins. The gospel not merely gives us religious instruction, but makes known a personal Saviour. Its power does not reside in propositions, but in a person.

Matthew 1:22 . Providence fulfilling prophecy.

Matthew 1:21-23 . Nicoll: "Jesus Christ was, (1) The child of the Holy Ghost, who had existed from eternity, and now entered into the sphere of sense and time; (2) Born into the world with a distinct mission his name was called Jesus, because he was to save."

Matthew 1:23 . Mary. (1) The Mary of prophecy. (2) The Mary of history. (3) The Mary of modern fancy. See Milton's "Hymn on the Nativity," and Marks. Browning's noble poem, "The Virgin Mary to the Child Jesus." Lorimer: "Such a mother must have exerted a marked influence on the character of her child. To question it would he to question the reality of his humanity."

The Incarnation, as to its nature, is of necessity unfathomably mysterious; but as a fact, it is unspeakably glorious, and, with the Atonement and Intercession, it furnishes a divinely simple and beautiful solution of the otherwise insoluble problem of human salvation. Many things the world accepts and uses as vitally important facts, concerning the nature of which there may yet be questions it is impossible to answer.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Broadus, John. "Commentary on Matthew 1". "Broadus' Commentary on Matthew". 1886.