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h Ruth iv. 18. of Thamar; and 1 Phares begat Esrom; and h Esrom begat Aram; 4 and Aram begat Aminadab; and 1 Ami

12 Sam. xii. 24.


11 Kings xiv.





1 Kings xi. nadab begat Naasson; and h Naasson begat Salmon; 5 and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed m1 Kings xv. of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6 and Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of p 2 Kings vill. her [a that had been the wife] of Urias; 7 and Solomon begat


n 1 Kings xv. 24.

01 Kings xxii.


xi. 2: xii. 21:

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r 2 Kings xv.


8 2 Kings xvi. and


Kings xx.




q see 2 Kings Roboam; and 'Roboam begat Abia; and m Abia begat Asa; 21:xv.7. 8 and Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; Joram begat Ozias; 9 and 9 Ozias begat Joatham; Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; Ezekias begat Manasses; and "Manasses begat and Amon begat Josias; 11 and Josias begat and 1 Chron. Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were


u2 Kings xxi. 10 and


v2 Kings xxi.


w see note:

iii. 15, 16.




a not expressed in the original.

It most probably is, that the Evangelist omitted what was ordinary, but stated what was doubtful or singular. It has been suggested, that as these women are of Gentile origin or dubious character, they may be mentioned as introducing the calling of Gentiles and sinners by our Lord: also, that they may serve as types of the mother of our Lord, and are consequently named in the course of the genealogy, as she is at the end of it.

5. Rachab] It has been imagined, on chronological grounds, that this Rachab must be a different person from Rahab of Jericho. But those very grounds completely tally with their identity. For Naashon (father of Salmon), prince of Judah (1 Chron. ii. 10), offered his offering at the setting up of the tabernacle (Num. vii. 12) 39 years before the taking of Jericho. So that Salmon would be of mature age at or soon after that event; at which time Rahab was probably young, as her father and mother were living (Josh. vi. 23). Nor is it any objection that Achan, the fourth in descent from Judah by Zara, is contemporary with Salmon, the sixth of the other branch: since the generations in the line of Zara average 69 years, and those in the line of Phares 49, both within the limits of probability. The difficulty of the interval of 366 years between Rahab and David does not belong to this passage only, but equally to Ruth iv. 21, 22; and is by no means insuperable, especially when the extreme old age of Jesse, implied in 1 Sam. xvii. 12, is considered.-I may add that, considering Rahab's father and mother were alive, the house would hardly be called the house of Rahab except on ac

count of the character commonly assigned to her. 8. Joram ... Ozias] Three kings, viz. Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah (1 Chron. iii. 11, 12), are here omitted. Some think that they were erased on account of their connexion, by means of Athaliah, with the accursed house of Ahab. Simeon is omitted by Moses in blessing the tribes (Deut. xxxiii.): the descendants of Zebulun and Dan are passed over in 1 Chron., and none of the latter tribe are sealed in Rev. vii. But more probably such erasion, even if justifiable by that reason, was not made on account of it, but for convenience, in order to square the numbers of the different portions of the genealogies, as here. Compare, as illustrating such omissions, 1 Chron. viii. 1 with Gen. xlvi. 21. 11. Josias . Jechonias] Eliakim, son of Josiah and father of Jechonias, is omitted; which was objected to the Christians by Porphyry. The reading which inserts Joacim (i. e. Eliakim) rests on hardly any foundation, and would make fifteen generations in the second "fourteen." The solution of the difficulty by supposing the name to apply to both Eliakim and his son, and to mean the former in ver. 11 and the latter in ver. 12, is unsupported by example, and contrary to the usage of the genealogy. When we notice that the brethren of Jechonias are his uncles, and find this way of speaking sanctioned by 2 Chron. xxxvi. 10, where Zedekiah, one of these, is called his brother, we are led to seek our solution in some recognized manner of speaking of these kings, by which Eliakim and his son were not accounted two distinct generations. If we compare 1 Chron. iii. 16 with 2 Kings

17. see notes.

carried away to Babylon: 12 and after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel 1 Chron. iil. begat Zorobabel; 13 and Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 14 and Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; 15 and Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; 16 and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 17 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.

18 Now the b 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

bread, generation.

xxiv. 17, we can hardly fail to see that there is some confusion in the records of Josiah's family. In the latter passage, where we have "his father's brother," the LXX render "his son." 12. Jecho

nias. . . . Salathiel] So also the genealogy in 1 Chron. iii. 17. When, therefore, it is denounced (Jer. xxii. 30) that Jechoniah should be childless,' this word must be understood as explained by the rest of the verse, 'for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David and ruling any more in Judah.'

Salathiel.. Zorobabel] There is no difficulty here which does not also exist in the O. T. Zerubbabel is there usually called the son of Shealtiel (Salathiel). Ezra iii. 2, &c. Neh. xii. 1, &c. Hag. i. 1, &c. In 1 Chron. iii. 19, Zerubbabel is said to have been the son of Pedaiah, brother of Salathiel. Either this may have been a different Zerubbabel, or Salathiel may, according to the law, have raised up seed to his brother.

13. Zorobabel..... Abiud] Abiud is not mentioned as a son of the Zerubbabel in 1 Chron. iii.-Lord A. Hervey, On the Genealogies of our Lord, p. 122 ff., has made it probable that Abiud is identical with the Hodaiah of 1 Chron. iii. 24, and the Juda of Luke iii. 26.-On the comparison of this genealogy with that given in Luke, see notes, Luke iii. 23-38.

17. fourteen generations] If we carefully observe Matthew's arrangement, we shall have no difficulty in completing the three "fourteens." For the first is

с render, For when.

from Abraham to David, of course inclu-
sive. The second from David (again in-
clusive) to the migration; which gives
no name, as before, to be included in both
the second and third periods, but which is
mentioned simultaneously with the beget-
ting of Jechonias, leaving him for the third
period. This last, then, takes in from
Jechonias to JESUS CHRIST inclusive.
that the three stand thus, according to
the words of this verse: (1) from Abraham
to David. (2) From David to the migra-
tion to Babylon, i. e. about the time when
Josiah begat Jechonias. (3) From the mi-
gration (i. e. from Jechonias) to Christ.


18-25.] CIRCUMSTANCES OF His Birth.

18. espoused] i. e. betrothed. The interval between betrothal and the consummation of marriage was sometimes considerable, during which the betrothed remained in her father's house, till the bridegroom came and fetched her. See Deut. xx. 7. came together] Here to be understood of living together in one house as man and wife. Chrysostom well suggests, that the conception was not allowed to take place before the betrothal, both that the matter might take place more in privacy, and that the Blessed Virgin might escape slanderous suspicion.

was found not merely for was, as some have said, but in its proper meaning:she was discovered to be, no matter by whom. The words "of (by) the Holy Ghost," are the addition of the Evangelist declaring the matter of fact, and do not


Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, a 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. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name y Ezek. xxxvi. JESUS: for HE shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which render, an.



belong to the discovery. 19. husband] so called, though they were as yet but betrothed: so in Gen. xxix. 21. Deut. xxii. 24. just] "and not willing" is, not the explanation of just, but an additional particular. He was a strict observer of the law, and (yet) not willing to expose her. The sense of kind,' merciful,' proposed by some instead of just, is inadmissible.

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privily] Not without any writing of divorcement,' which would have been unlawful; but according to the form prescribed in Deut. xxiv. 1. The husband might either do this, or adopt the stronger course of bringing his wife to justice openly. The punishment in this case would have been death by stoning. Deut. xxii. 23.

20. behold] answers to the Hebrew "hinneh," and is frequently used by Matt. and Luke to introduce a new event or change of scene: not so often by Mark, and never with this view in John.

an angel] The announcement was made to Mary openly, but to Joseph in a dream; for in Mary's case faith and concurrence of will were necessary,-the communication was of a higher kind,--and referred to a thing future; but here it is simply an advertisement for caution's sake of an event which had already happened, and is altogether a communication of an inferior order: see Gen. xx. 3. But see on the other hand the remarks at the close of the notes on ver. 21. son of David] These words would recall Joseph's mind to the promised seed, the expectation of the families of the lineage of David, and at once stamp the message as the announcement of the birth of the Messiah. May it not likewise be said, that this appellation would come with more force, if Mary also were a daughter of David? The addition, "thy wife," serves to remind Joseph of that relation which she already held by betrothal, and which he was now exhorted to recognize. See above on ver. 19.


21. Jesus] The same name as Joshua, the former deliverer of Israel. Philo says, "Jesus is, being interpreted, 'The salvation of the Lord."" He] emphatically: He alone: best rendered, perhaps, it is He that.' his people] In the primary sense, the Jews, of whom alone Joseph could have understood the words: but in the larger sense, all who believe on Him: an explanation which the tenor of prophecy (cf. Gen. xxii. 18: Deut. xxxii. 21), and the subsequent admission of the Gentiles, warrant. Cf. a similar use of 'Israel' by St. Peter, Acts v. 31. their sins] It is remarkable that in this early part of the evangelic history, in the midst of pedigrees, and the disturbances of thrones by the supposed temporal King of the Jews, we have so clear an indication of the spiritual nature of the office of Christ. One circumstance of this kind outweighs a thousand cavils against the historical reality of the narration. If I mistake not, this announcement reaches further into the deliverance to be wrought by Jesus, than any thing mentioned by the Evangelist subsequently. It thus bears the internal impress of a message from God, treasured up and related in its original formal terms.-"Sins" is not put for the punishment of sin, but is the sin itself the practice of sin, in its most pregnant sense. How suggestive it is,' remarks Bishop Ellicott, that while to the loftier spirit of Mary the name of Jesus is revealed with all the prophetic associations of more than David's glories-to Joseph, perchance the aged Joseph, who might have long seen and realized his own spiritual needs, and the needs of those around him, it is specially said, thou shalt call his name Jesus: for He shall save his people from their sins.' Historical Lectures on the Life of our Lord, p. 56. 22. that

it might be fulfilled] It is impossible to interpret that in any other sense than

was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 z Be- I. vii. 14. hold, e 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. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

II. 1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came a wise. Acts xvi

e render, the.

in order that. The words "all this was done," and the uniform usage of the N. T., forbid any other. Nor, if rightly viewed, does the passage require any other. Whatever may have been the partial fulfilment of the prophecy in the time of Ahaz, its reference to a different time, and a higher deliverance, is undeniable: and then, whatever causes contributed to bring about all this, might be all summned up in the fulfilment of the divine purpose, of which that prophecy was the declaration. The accomplishment of a promise formally made is often alleged as the cause of an action extending wider than the promise, and purposed long before its utterance. And of course these remarks apply to every passage where the phrase is used. Such a construction can have but one meaning. If such meaning involve us in difficulty regarding the prophecy itself, far better leave such difficulty, in so doubtful a matter as the interpretation of prophecy, unsolved, than create one in so simple a matter as the rendering of a phrase whose meaning no indifferent person could doubt. The immediate and literal fulfilment of the prophecy seems to be related in Isa. viii. 1-4. Yet there the child was not called Emmanuel: but in ver. 8 that name is used as applying to one of far greater dignity. Again, Isa. ix. 6 seems to be a reference to this prophecy, as also Micah v. 3.

23. the virgin] the words are from the Septuagint. Such is the rendering of the LXX. The Hebrew word is the more general term, "the young woman," and is so translated by Aquila. they shall call] This indefinite plural is surely not without meaning here. Men shall call-i. e. it shall be a name by which He shall be called -one of his appellations. The change of person seems to shew, both that the prophecy had a literal fulfilment at the time, and that it is here quoted in a form suited to its greater and final fulfilment.


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a (magi) Dan.


Hebrew has, thou shalt call' (fem.). Emmanuel] i. e. God (is) with us. In Isaiah, prophetic primarily of deliverance from the then impending war; but also of final and glorious deliverance by the manifestation of God in the flesh.

25.] With regard to the much-controverted sense of this verse we may observe, (1) That the primâ facie impression on the reader certainly is, that knew her not was confined to the period of time here mentioned. (2) That there is nothing in Scripture tending to remove this impression, either (a) by narration,—and the very use of the term, "brethren of the Lord" (on which see note at ch. xiii. 55), without qualification, shews that the idea was not repulsive: or (b) by implication,-for every where in the N. T. marriage is spoken of in high and honourable terms; and the words of the angel to Joseph rather imply, than discountenance, such a supposition. (3) On the other hand, the words of this verse do not require it: the idiom being justified on the contrary hypothesis. See my Greek Test. On the whole it seems to me, that no one would ever have thought of interpreting the verse any otherwise than in its primá facie meaning, except to force it into accordance with a preconceived notion of the perpetual virginity of Mary. It is characteristic, and historically instructive, that the great impugner of the view given above should be Jerome, the impugner of marriage itself: and that his opponents in its interpretation should have been branded as heretics by after ages. See a brief notice of the controversy in Milman, Hist. of Latin Christianity, i. 72 ff. he called] i. e. Joseph;

see ver. 21.

CHAP. II. 1-12.] VISIT AND ADORATION OF MAGI FROM THE EAST. 1. Bethlehem of Judæa] There was another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulun,

b Gen. xxv. 6. 1 Kings iv.

30. Job i. 3.

men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star

near the sea of Galilee, Josh. xix. 15. The name Bethlehem-Judah is used, Judges xvii. 7, 8, 9: 1 Sam. xvii. 12. Another name for our Bethlehem was Ephrath; Gen. xxxv. 19; xlviii. 7; or Ephrata, Micah v. 2. It was six Roman miles to the south of Jerusalem, and was known as the city of David,' the origin of his family, Ruth i. 1, 19.

in the days of Herod] HEROD THE GREAT, son of Antipater, an Idumæan, by an Arabian mother, made king of Judæa on occasion of his having fled to Rome, being driven from his tetrarchy by the pretender Antigonus. This title was confirmed to him after the battle of Actium by Octavianus. He sought to strengthen his throne by a series of cruelties and slaughters, putting to death even his wife Mariamne, and his sons Alexander and Aristobulus. His cruelties, and his affectation of Gentile customs, gained for him a hatred among the Jews, which neither his magnificent rebuilding of the temple, nor his liberality in other public works, nor his provident care of the people during a severe famine, could mitigate. He died miserably, five days after he had put to death his son Antipater, in the seventieth year of his age, the thirtyeighth of his reign, and the 750th year of Rome. The events here related took place a short time before his death, but necessarily more than forty days; for he spent the last forty days of his life at Jericho and the baths of Callirrhoe, and therefore would not be found by the magi at Jerusalem. The history of Herod's reign is contained in Josephus, Antt. books xiv.xvii.

It would be useless to detail all the conjectures to which this history has given rise. From what has been written on the subject it would appear, (1) That the East may mean either Arabia, Persia, Chaldæa, or Parthia, with the provinces adjacent. See Judges vi. 3: Isa. xli. 2; xlvi. 11: Num. xxiii. 7. Philo speaks of "the Eastern nations and their leaders the Parthians." In all these countries there were magi, at least persons who in the wider sense of the word were now known by the name. The words in ver. 2 seem to point to some land not very near Judæa, as also the result of Herod's enquiry as to the date, shewn in "two years old." (2) If we place together (a) the prophecy in Num. xxiv. 17, which could hardly be unknown to the Eastern astrologers, - and (b) the assertion of Suetonius "that there prevailed an an

cient and consistent opinion in all the East, that it was fated that at that time those should go forth from Judæa who should rule the empire:"-and of Tacitus, to the same effect and nearly in the same words, and (c) the prophecy, also likely to be known in the East, of the seventy weeks in Daniel ix. 24;-we can, I think, be at no loss to understand how any remarkable celestial appearance at this time should have been interpreted as it was. (3) There is no ground for supposing the magi to have been three in number (as first, apparently, by Leo the Great, A.D. 450); or to have been kings. The first tradition appears to have arisen from the number of their gifts: the second, from the prophecy in Isa. lx. 3. Tertullian seems to deduce it from the similar prophecy in Ps. lxxii. 10, for, he says, the Magi were most commonly kings in the East.

2. his star] There is a question, whether this expression of the magi, we have seen his star, points to any miraculous appearance, or to something observed in the course of their watching the heavens. We know the magi to have been devoted to astrology: and on comparing the language of our text with this undoubted fact, I confess that it appears to me the most ingenuous way, fairly to take account of that fact in our exegesis, and not to shelter ourselves from an apparent difficulty by the hypothesis of a miracle. Wherever supernatural agency is asserted, or may be reasonably inferred, I shall ever be found foremost to insist on its recognition, and impugn every device of rationalism or semi-rationalism; but it does not therefore follow that I should consent to attempts, however well meant, to introduce miraculous interference where it does not appear to be borne out by the narrative. The principle on which this commentary is conducted, is that of honestly endeavouring to ascertain the sense of the sacred text, without regard to any preconceived systems, and fearless of any possible consequences. And if the scientific or historical researches of others seem to contribute to this, my readers will find them, as far as they have fallen within my observation, made use of for that purpose. It seems to me that the preliminary question for us is, Have we here in the sacred text a miracle, or have we some natural appearance which God in His Providence used as a means of indicating to the magi the birth of His Son ?


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