The Book of Matthew

Chapter 1

Blaine Robison, M.A.

Published 12 October 2010; Revised 20 September 2023

Chapter  2 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 23 | 24 | 25


Scripture: The Scripture text of Matthew used below is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. See my web article The Jewish New Testament. Other Bible versions are also quoted. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Most versions can be accessed on the Internet. Messianic Jewish versions are CJB, DHE, GNC, HNV, MW, OJB, & TLV.

Sources: Bibliographic data for sources cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. The Septuagint (LXX) is the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, which was in use by Jews by the mid-2nd century BC. The LXX with English translation may be found here. Unless otherwise indicated references to the Talmud are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); available online at Click here for Talmud Abbreviations. Dates of Israelite kings are from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Dates of the nativity are from Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings (1992). Online.

Syntax: Unless otherwise noted the definitions of Greek words are from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009). See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations. Definitions of Hebrew words are from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981). The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.

Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use the terms Tanakh (Old Testament), Torah (Law), Besekh (New Testament), Yeshua (Jesus), and Messiah (Christ). I use the title "The Book of Matthew" because that is how Matthew introduces his story (Matt 1:1).

Please see the article Witnesses of the Good News for background information on Matthew and his book.

Chapter Summary

Matthew begins his narrative of the life and ministry of Yeshua with the genealogy of Yeshua from Abraham to Joseph. The purpose of the genealogy is to show the royal lineage of Yeshua from King David, one of the necessary proofs to convince a Jewish audience that Yeshua is the Messiah. The genealogy contains a few peculiarities of interest. Matthew begins by declaring Yeshua to be the "son of David," and then the "son of Abraham," because "son of David" is a Messianic title. Then the genealogy switches to Abraham as the father of the Jewish people. While genealogies in the Torah (Pentateuch) and Neviim (Prophets) typically omit mention of women Matthew identifies three non-Israelite women important to the history of Israel: Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. Matthew also mentions the Israelite wife of Uriah, although not by name.

Another unique feature of Matthew's genealogy is its division into three periods of fourteen generations each, for a total of 42 generations. Matthew does not define a generation according to a specific length of time, but by the notable men of that era that were in the Messianic line. Each of the three periods or ages of history have a defining characteristic. The first age is of the patriarchs and the confederation of tribes that descended from Jacob. The second age is of Israel being ruled by monarchs. The third age saw the end of the monarchy by the conquest of Babylon and being ruled by a succession of empires.

With the genealogy complete Matthew records the nativity of Yeshua from Joseph's perspective. Miriam who was betrothed to Joseph was discovered to be pregnant and Joseph intended to divorce her. An angel visited him and informed him that the pregnancy of Miriam was of divine origin and he was to complete his marriage duty. He was also informed the name to be given the child, which would fulfill prophecy. Joseph obeyed the instruction, but respected the virginity of his wife and waited until after the birth of the child to consummate the marriage.

Chapter Outline

Genealogy of the Messiah: Abraham to David, 1:1-6

Genealogy of the Messiah: Solomon to the Exile, 1:7-11

Genealogy of the Messiah: Return from Exile to Messiah's Birth, 1:12-17

The Pregnancy of Messiah's Mother, 1:18-20

The Naming of the Messiah, 1:21-24

Date of the Nativity

There is considerable debate concerning the year Yeshua was born. Matthew and Luke do not provide the year of Yeshua's birth, but they do set the nativity in the context of the reigns of the key political leaders (Caesar Augustus, Quirinius and Herod the Great). Church fathers placed Yeshua's birth in the 41st year of Caesar Augustus (3/2 BC), but for over a century scholars have asserted that the nativity must have occurred much earlier.

Most modern Christian and Messianic Jewish scholars offer suggestions ranging from 8 BC to 4 BC. The birth narratives simply affirm that Yeshua was born during the reign of Caesar Augustus and well before the death of Herod the Great. Based on the evidence of the church fathers and other data I am placing Yeshua's birth in the Fall of 3 BC. For a detailed analysis of the timeline of the nativity see my PowerPoint presentation The Birth of Yeshua. See also my commentary on Luke's account of the nativity: Luke 1.

Genealogy of the Messiah: Abraham to David, 1:1-6

1 The book of the genealogy of Messiah Yeshua, son of David, son of Abraham;

The book: Grk. biblos, a written account, which may reflect a formal list, such as a registry, or as a literary production and rendered as "book." of the genealogy: Grk. genesis, birth or in an extended sense as presented here, a lineage. The verse contains no definite articles so it is lit., "The book of genealogy of Yeshua, Messiah, Son of David, Son of Abraham." of Messiah: Grk. Christos (from chriō, to anoint), the expected fulfiller of the hopes of Israel for an end-time deliverer, the Messiah. In the Besekh Christos is a royal title, not a last name. The English "Christ" transliterates the Greek title, but does not translate it.

In Greek culture christos had no religious connotation at all, but Jewish translators of the LXX chose Christos to translate Heb. Mashiach, 'Anointed One,' and in so doing infused new meaning into the Greek word (DNTT 2:334). Mashiach is used in the Tanakh for the Messiah (Ps 2:2; Dan 9:25-26) and this usage defined the term among Jews in the first century. Thus, "Messiah" has special meaning as the hope of Israel, whereas the word "Christ" used by Christians has an alien and even negative meaning to Jews (Stern 1-2). For a discussion of Jewish hope and expectation of the Messiah see my article The Messiah.

Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua ("Jesus" in Christian Bibles). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua ("Joshua"), which means "YHVH [the LORD] is salvation" (BDB 221). The meaning of his name is explained to Joseph by an angel of the Lord, "You shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). The English rendering of "Jesus" originated with the Mace New Testament in 1729. For more information on the meaning our Lord's name, his identity, and the history of translation of the name see my web article Who is Yeshua?

son: Grk. huios, a male offspring or descendant, whether by direct birth or by more remote ancestry. In the LXX huios renders Heb. ben ("son," "son of"), which is used in three distinctive ways: (1) to identify direct paternity, as the son of his father (Gen 5); (2) to mean not the actual father but a more distant ancestor (e.g., Gen 32:32), as here; (3) to mean in a broader sense of having the characteristics of (e.g., Ps 89:22; Dan 3:25; cf. 2Th 2:3), and this too applies here.

of David: Grk. David (for Heb. David, "dah-veed"), a personal name meaning "beloved" or "favorite" (HBD). David is one of the most important figures in Israelite history. God chose him to be king because He "sought out for Himself a man after His own heart" (1Sam 13:14). David became King of Israel at the age of 30 and reigned 40 years (2Sam 5:4; 1Chr 3:4). He made a tremendous impact on the nation. As a military leader he broke the power of pagan peoples in the land of Canaan. In the civil sphere he made Jerusalem his capital and solidified central authority. He centralized worship in Jerusalem and established Levitical choirs.

David wrote many psalms and 73 psalms are specifically ascribed to him. He was known as the "sweet psalmist of Israel" (2Sam 23:1). Especially important is that he compiled and organized psalms into what is known as the Book of Psalms (2Chr 29:30). Jeremiah left a simple eulogy: "David did what was right in the eyes of ADONAI, and he had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite" (1Kgs 15:5 BR). The last comment on David's life in the Tanakh is from Ezra who twice refers to David as a "man of God" (2Chr 8:14; Neh 12:24).

The promise of the Messiah coming from the house of David is predicted first in Genesis:

"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples" (Gen 49:10 NASB). The LXX reads, "A ruler shall not fail to Judah and one leading from his thighs until whenever the things reserved to him should come. And he is the expectation of nations." (ABP)

This prophecy given by Jacob to his fourth son Judah affirms that the messianic line would go through his tribe. The Hebrew word shiloh is translated in English versions with the proper name "Shiloh." The meaning of the word is a matter of some scholarly debate but apparently the clause in which it is found intends "until he comes to whom it rightfully belongs" (Kaiser-Messiah 51).

Rabbinic scholarship recognized in "Shiloh" a cryptic but shorthand form of a personal name for the Messiah. Indeed Rashi, the Medieval Jewish commentator, declared concerning this passage: "Until Shiloh comes: This refers to the King Messiah, to whom the kingdom belongs, and so did [Targum] Onkelos render it: "until the Messiah comes, to whom the kingdom belongs."

The definitive prophecy of Messiah's descent from David was declared by the prophet Nathan and then reinforced by Isaiah:

"12 When your days are done and you sleep with your fathers, I will raise up your seed, who will come forth from you after you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He will build a house for My Name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me." (2Sam 7:12-14 TLV)

"6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; and the government will be upon his shoulder, … 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and sustain it with justice and righteousness from that time forward and even forever. The zeal of YHVH-Tzva’ot will do this." (Isa 9:6-7 BR)

God made a personal and everlasting covenant with David and promised that He would establish the throne of David forever, build a house for Himself and send forth a king from the loins of David to rule over his people Israel. This promise is echoed in other passages of the Tanakh (Ps 2:6-7, 11-12; 23:5; Ps 89:3-4; 132:11; Isa 11:1; 16:5; 55:3; Jer 23:5-6; 33:21). David's words in Psalm 2:7 are replicated in Paul's sermon at Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:33) and twice in his letter to the Hebrews (1:5; 5:5).

Yeshua's biological connection to King David is repeatedly emphasized in the Besekh. He was frequently addressed as "son of David" (Matt 9:27; 15:22; 20:30; 21:9, 15; 22:42; Mark 10:47-48; 12:35; Luke 3:31; 18:38) and his lineage from David is mentioned by the apostles (Acts 13:22-23; Rom 1:3; 2Tim 2:8; Rev 5:5; 22:16). God's promise that He would bring His Anointed from the line of David explains the presence of the genealogies in the apostolic narratives.

son: Grk. huios. of Abraham: Grk. Abraam, a transliteration of Heb. Avraham (SH-85), a personal name. The first Hebrew patriarch, he became the prime example of trusting faithfulness. He was the son of Terah, a descendant of Noah's son, Shem (Gen 11:27). He grew up in Ur of the Chaldees, a prominent Sumerian city. He was known at the beginning as Abram (Heb. Avram, SH-87, "exalted father"), but his name was changed subsequently to Abraham ("father of many nations," Gen 17:5). Abraham was living in Haran when God called him to migrate to Canaan, and during his sojourn there God spoke to him and established a covenant with him, which included several unconditional and everlasting promises (Gen 12:1-3; 15:1-21; 17:1-22; 22:16-18).

● God would make him into a great nation;

● God would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him;

● In him all the families of the earth would be blessed;

● All the land that he could walk through, especially the land of Canaan, would belong to him and his descendants.

● His descendants would be more numerous than he could possibly count; and

● His "Seed" (the Messiah) will possess the gates of his enemies (cf. Matt 16:18) and in his "Seed" (the Messiah) the nations of the earth will be blessed.

For more information on the great patriarch see my web article The Story of Abraham.

Calling Yeshua "son of Abraham" is not just a biological connection. The mention of David and Avraham in close proximity hints at the particular covenants God made with these two men. Being the son of David and son of Abraham meant that Yeshua would guarantee the fulfillment of those covenantal promises (cf. 2Cor 1:20).

2 Abraham fathered Isaac; and Isaac fathered Jacob; and Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers.

Abraham: Grk. Abraam. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor., cause to come into being; to beget, father, generate or procreate. In the LXX gennaō translates Heb. yalad (SH-3205), to bear or bring forth (of a mother, Gen 3:16), or to beget (of a father, Gen 4:18) (DNTT 1:176). In the Tanakh yalad is used chiefly for the female role (BDB 408), but in the Besekh gennaō is used chiefly for the male role. The active voice of the verb emphasizes the father's role in procreation and passing on his DNA, so that the genealogy conveys biological lineage.

Matthew's genealogy follows the pattern of patrilineal genealogies of Genesis (5, 10) and 1Chronicles (1─3) in naming the men and the sons they begat. No daughters are listed, but four wives are named. Gale says that Jews regard Abraham as the first Jew and the first proselyte (3; cf. Sukkah 49b), and, of course, all Jews trace their ancestry to Abraham as father of the Hebrew people (Isa 51:1-2; John 8:53; Acts 3:25; 7:2). Matthew demonstrates that being the descendant of Abraham the first Hebrew (Gen 14:13) Yeshua was also a Hebrew.

In establishing a biological and genetic connection, the genealogy does not preclude descendants being omitted. For Matthew the verb primarily signifies succession and thus the passing of covenantal rights and inheritance. This may be seen in the fact that the genealogy of Matthew contains 42 names, in contrast to Luke's genealogy which has 77 names. It is typical of Hebrew genealogies for intermediate members to be passed over. Matthew also employs a particular organizing principle stated in verse 17 below, so that all the names in the genealogy have significance in Israelite history and the Messianic line.

Isaac: Grk. ho Isaak, a transliteration of Heb. Yitzchak ("laughter"), the only son of Abraham by Sarah when Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah was ninety (Gen 21:1-6). Use of the definite article with the name signifies "the one called." Isaac was actually Abraham's second-born child, Ishmael being his first-born by Hagar, Abraham's concubine-wife. God made it clear to Abraham that being the child of promise the Messianic line would go through Isaac (Gen 21:12).

Isaac became a child of sacrifice and a type of Yeshua when God commanded Abraham to kill his son in a worship ceremony in the "land of Moriah" (Gen 22:1-14), in the vicinity where Yeshua would be crucified. Later, through the matchmaking efforts of his father, Isaac married his second cousin Rebekah (Gen 22:15, 51, 57-58, 67). God reiterated the covenant He made with Abraham with his son Isaac (Gen 26:2-5, 23-24; Ex 2:24; 6:4; Lev 26:42).

and: Grk. de, conj. marking the super-addition of a clause and may be used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement, "but;" (2) a transition in subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) continuation of a thought, "and, also;" sometimes with emphasis, "indeed," "moreover" (BAG). The third meaning is intended here. Many versions omit translation of the particle, but de is used throughout the genealogy, which gives emphasis to each clause with three effects: (1) each clause creates a clear sequence and chronology of events; (2) each clause summarizes a lengthy time of history into a few words; and (3) each clause marks each man as important in furthering of the Messianic line.

Isaac: Grk. Isaak. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Jacob: Grk. ho Iakobos attempts to transliterate Heb. Ya'akov ("Jacob"). The meaning of Jacob's name, "heel-catcher," had no pejorative connotation when first given by Isaac to his son. As indicated by Hosea 12:3, "heel-catcher" illustrated the strength and power he had with God. (For more on the background of the name and the first "Jacob" see my web article Our Father Jacob. The son of Isaac held great honor among the people of Israel and so it is not surprising that five different men bear this name in the Besekh, including the apostle misnamed "James." Each Jacob mentioned in Scripture is usually distinguished from the others by the mention of his family relations.

God reiterated the Abrahamic covenant with Isaac's son Jacob (Gen 28:10-22; 35:9-12), affirming the same promises and specifying that the Messianic line would not go through Esau. The covenant with Jacob introduced something new: Jacob's name was changed to Israel ("God perseveres," BDB 975) and God promised that from him would come a nation and an assembly of nations (Gen 35:11). Since Yeshua is a direct descendant of Jacob then he is an Israelite.

and: Grk. de, conj. Jacob: Grk. Iakobos. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Judah: Grk. ho Ioudas, a transliteration of Heb. Y'hudah ("praise YHVH," Gen 29:35; BDB 397), son of Jacob and progenitor of the tribe of Judah. Although born fourth (Gen 29:35) to Jacob's wife Leah, Judah benefited greatly from Reuben’s forfeiture of his leadership rights by defiling his father's bed (Gen 35:22; 49:4; 1Chr 5:1ff). Indeed, far more is said about the tribe of Judah in the Scriptures than any other tribe.

Before he died Jacob pronounced blessings on his twelve sons. In his patriarchal blessing of Judah (Gen 49:8-12) Jacob offers four prophecies of Judah's future (Gen 49:8-12). Moses summarizes these themes in his blessing on Judah (Deut 33:7). First, Judah would be the leader of his brothers. As a testament to this preference Judah went first in the order of march in the wilderness and was always the largest tribe in numbers. Second, Judah would be a great conqueror, which was manifest very early by Caleb and Othniel (Jdg 1:11-15, 20; 3:9-11). King David who came from Judah then accomplished the greatest military conquests in Israel's history.

Third, Judah would produce a royal line of kings and after King Saul God would never give legitimacy to any king that did not come from the tribe of Judah. Fourth, Jacob used the name "Shiloh" to promise that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10). The Talmud lists Shiloh as one of the names of the Messiah (Sanh. 98b) and the most ancient Jewish commentary on Genesis, Bereshit Rabba, also adopts this interpretation (Varner 47), as does the noted Jewish commentator Rashi (note on Gen 49:10). In addition, the Messiah would be born of David's line in a town of Judah, Bethlehem (2Sam 7:12-16; Mic 5:2). The nativity accounts of Yeshua confirm Jacob's prophecy.

A significant derivation of Ioudas is the word Ioudaios, "Jew, Judean, Jewess," with respect to birth heritage. Ioudaios translates the Heb. term Y'hudi (pl Y'hudim), which first appears in 2Kings 16:6 to refer to Judeans. Y'hudi was derived from Y'hudah, the name of Jacob's son (Gen 29:35) and thereafter his tribal descendants (Ex 31:2). During the exile Y'hudi became a synonym for all Israelites regardless of tribal origin (cf. Ezra 4:12, 23; Neh 4:1f; Esth 4:3, 7; Jer 34:9). Since Yeshua is a descendant of Judah, the tribe of Judah, and a member of the nation of Israel, he is a Jew.

and: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive – certainly, indeed, in fact, really, verily, yea (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect. There are over 50 conjunctions in biblical Greek, but kai is by far the most common in the Besekh, occurring over 9,000 times (BibleHub). The excessive use of conjunctions is evidence of either an original Hebrew text or Jewish Greek. In contrast to most Bible versions I translate all the instances of kai (and all the other conjunctions) as a reminder Hebraic writing style of the apostles.

his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun used to distinguish a person or thing from or contrast it with another, or to give him (it) emphatic prominence. The pronoun may mean (1) self, (2) he, she, it, or (3) the same. The second meaning applies here. brothers: pl. of Grk. adelphos, lit. "of the same womb," and in secular Greek meant a biological brother. In the Besekh adelphos primarily refers to blood siblings or fellow Israelites who are of the same blood by virtue of descent from Jacob. In the LXX adelphos is used for the Heb. ach, meaning (1) brother, a male sibling born of the same mother and father (Gen 4:2); also half-siblings (Gen 20:5).

Judah had five brothers born of his mother Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, and Zebulon. Judah had six half brothers - Gad, Asher, Dan, Naphtali, Joseph, and Benjamin. While the brothers were not directly in the Messianic line, their development into the nation of Israel became the context for God's great redemptive plan. (For background information on these tribes see my commentary on Revelation 7:4-8.)

3 And Judah fathered Perez and Zerah from Tamar; and Perez fathered Hezron; and Hezron fathered Ram,

And: Grk. de, conj. See the previous verse. Judah: Grk. Ioudas. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See the previous verse. Perez: Grk. ho Phares, a transliteration of Heb. Perets, a personal name meaning "breach" (Gen 38:29). He became a clan chieftain, but nothing more is known of his life. and: Grk. kai, conj. Zerah: Grk. ho Zara, a transliteration of Heb. Zerach, a personal name meaning "sunrise" (HBD), the twin brother of Perez (Gen 38:30). Like Perez he had many descendants, but nothing more is known of his life.

from: Grk. ek, prep. may be used to denote derivation or separation; from, out of. The great majority of versions translate the preposition as "by" but a few have "of" (ASV, KJV). Ek has a two-layered meaning, "out from" and "to," which makes it out-come oriented, i.e., out of the depths of the source and extending to its impact on the object (HELPS). The preposition occurs seven times in this chapter and depicts either conception in or birth from a woman's womb.

Tamar: Grk. hē Thamar, a transliteration of Heb. Tamar, a personal name meaning "date palm" (Gen 38:6). Genesis 38 tells the family story. Judah, son of Jacob, had intimate relations with a Canaanite woman named Shua (probably a concubine), who gave birth to three sons, Er, Onan and Shelah. Judah arranged a marriage for Er to a woman named Tamar. The context of the story implies that Tamar was also Canaanite. But, Er was evil, so God put him to death. The nature of Er's evil is not explained, but his conduct must have been egregiously wicked for God to act with summary judgment. In due course Judah expected Onan to marry Tamar in order to continue Er's name.

This practice is called yibbum in Judaism, based on the verb yabam (SH-2992), "to perform the duty of a husband's brother" (Gen 38:8; Deut 25:5). See my article Levirate Marriage. Judah's decision demonstrates that following the custom was not based on the character of the deceased. This story emphasizes that the duty of yibbum predated the Sinai covenant, and as a principle of law that has existed from the beginning (cf. Matt 19:4), yibbum may not be impugned. Onan did not want to produce an heir that would belong to his dead brother. The reason is not explained, but one might give him the benefit of the doubt and assume Onan had good moral and practical reasons for his opposition to the union.

Onan thus denied Tamar her full conjugal rights by ejaculating his semen on the ground rather than into his wife. As a result, God was displeased with Onan and put him to death for refusing to do his marital duty, not because his semen made contact with the ground. With two dead sons Judah became afraid that the same consequence would befall his son Shelah who was still a lad. Perhaps Judah knew that Shelah was of the same moral character as his two brothers. In any event Judah's fear denied Tamar her due. Once Shelah was fully grown and Judah denied the marriage, Tamar put a plan in motion. She disguised herself as a harlot and waited in a place she knew that Judah would pass.

The fact that Judah could be enticed by someone he viewed as a harlot says much about his own character. In the end when Tamar is discovered to be pregnant by Judah, he is forced to admit his error. Thus, Tamar obtained the security and justice that Judah had withheld from her. Many commentators condemn Judah and Tamar by the later law that forbids sexual union between a man and his daughter-in-law (Lev 18:15; 20:12), but that law assumes the daughter-in-law is married at the time of the offense and God does not apply His laws in an ex post facto manner. Tamar is clearly the object of sympathy in the story and as with Lot and his daughters there was no sin.

As a result of the union of Tamar and Judah she became part of the Messianic line. and: Grk. de, conj. Perez: Grk. Phares. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Hezron: Grk. ho Hesrōm, a transliteration of Heb. Chetsron, a personal name meaning "camping place" or "reeds" (Gen 46:12). and: Grk. de, conj. Hezron: Grk. Hesrōm. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Ram: Grk. ho Aram, which transliterates Heb. Ram, a personal name meaning "high, exalted" (Ruth 4:19). Aram is a variant spelling of Heb. Ram, which is found in several passages of the LXX and MT (Ruth 4:19; 1Chr 2:9-10, 25, 27). Like many others in early Bible times, nothing is known of these men beyond their name and family connection.

4 And Ram fathered Amminadab; and Amminadab fathered Nahshon; and Nahshon fathered Salmon.

And: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. Ram: Grk. Aram. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See verse 2 above. Amminadab: Grk. ho Aminadab, a transliteration of Heb. Amminadav, a personal name meaning "my people are generous" (Num 1:7; Ruth 4:19). There are four men named Amminadab in the Tanakh, including the father-in-law of Aaron, and two Levites (Barker 31). Many scholars believe this Amminadab to be the same as Aaron's father-in-law (Ex 6:23).

and: Grk. de, conj. Amminadab: Grk. Aminadab. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Nahshon: Grk. ho Naassōn, a transliteration of Heb. Nachshon , personal name meaning "serpent" (HBD), a leader of the tribe of Judah in the wilderness years (Num 1:7) and brother-in-law of Aaron (Ex 6:23). and: Grk. de, conj. Nahshon: Grk. Naassōn. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Salmon: Grk. ho Salmōn, a transliteration of Heb. Salma, four times (1Chr 2:11, 51, 54), Heb. Salmah, one time (Ruth 4:20), and Heb. Salmôn, one time (Ruth 4:21). The personal name means "cloak or clothing." All Bible versions spell the name as "Salmon." In the Targum he is called "Salma the righteous" (Ruth 4:20). Salmon may have been one of the two unnamed spies whose lives were saved by Rahab.

5 And Salmon fathered Boaz from Rahab; and Boaz fathered Obed from Ruth; and Obed fathered Jesse,

And: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. Salmon: Grk. Salmōn. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See verse 2 above. Boaz: Grk. ho Boos, which transliterates Heb. Boaz, a personal name meaning "lively." from: Grk. ek, prep. See verse 3 above. Rahab: Grk. hē Rhachab, a transliteration of Heb. Rachav, a personal name derived from rachab (SH-7337; 'grow wide or large'). Rahab is identified as a harlot in Jericho (Josh 2:1), although the phrase "house of a harlot" might imply she operated an inn and provided female companionship to male guests. Yet, the Tanakh passes no judgment on the Rahab's character. In any event she hid two spies sent by Joshua to determine the strength of the city.

When the king of Jericho learned of the spies' presence, he sent men to arrest them. Rahab outsmarted the king and hid the men on her roof, sending the arresting officers on a false chase toward the Jordan River. In return for her help Joshua spared her and her clan when the Israelites destroyed Jericho (Josh 6:17-25). The coming of the spies changed her life. HBD notes that some interpreters believe the Rahab in this genealogy is another woman, thinking the name of Rahab to be too scandalous for the Messiah's ancestry. However, there are men in this genealogy far more wicked than Rahab.

Jewish tradition makes Rahab the wife of Joshua and named her the ancestor of notable Israelites, such as Baruch, Jeremiah, Hilkiah the priest, and Hulda the prophetess (Megillah 14b). The Jewish legend is without biblical support and Joshua was of the tribe of Ephraim, not Judah. Only Matthew names Rahab as the mother of Boaz, but there is no reason to doubt his historical accuracy. The apostle Paul lists this courageous woman among the heroes of faith (Heb 11:31) and Jacob, the half-brother of Yeshua, considers Rahab as righteous based on her assistance to the spies (Jas 2:25).

and: Grk. de, conj. Boaz: Grk. Boos. Boaz was a wealthy kinsman of Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, the mother-in-law of Ruth (Ruth 1:2; 2:1). Boaz was of the tribe of Judah and resided in Bethlehem. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Obed: Grk. ho Iōbēd, which transliterates Heb. Oved, a personal name meaning "serving" or "worshiper." Nothing more is known of Obed, but his inclusion in the genealogy of David makes him significant. from: Grk. ek, prep. Ruth: Grk. hē Routh, which transliterates Heb. Rut, a personal name meaning "companion." Ruth was a Moabite who married an Israelite, Chilion, from an Ephrathite family that had moved into Moab to escape famine.

The story is told in the book of Ruth. Her husband and her mother-in-law's (Naomi) husband subsequently died. The Torah included the Moabites with those who had been banned from sharing God's covenant (Deut 23:3), but God had warned Israel not to provoke them to war since being the offspring of Lot He had given them land as a possession (Deut 2:9). In reality the basis for restricting other tribes from the covenant with the God of Israel had to do with their non-compliance with Torah religion and morality. God intended from the beginning that Gentiles would be included in Israel. Jacob was informed that he would be a "company of nations" (Gen 35:11) and foreigners had been included in Israel from the time of the Exodus.

Ruth joined herself to Naomi and the people of Israel by her great statement of fidelity, "where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God" (Ruth 1:16). By her example, Gentiles are only saved by joining Israel. Christian scholars treat the marriage between Boaz and Ruth as Levirate marriage (Heb. yibbum, "perform the duty of a husband's brother"). Jewish Rabbinic scholars, however, consider the case of Ruth and Boaz as being connected rather with the institution of the go'el, meaning next of kin and therefore redeemer.

In ancient Israel any duty which a man could not perform by himself had to be taken up by his next of kin, as well as any rights possessed by a man which lapsed through his inability to perform the duties attached to such rights, could be and should be assumed by the next of kin. The go'el duty was applied especially to parcels of land which any Israelite found it necessary to sell (Lev. 25:25). Another duty of the go'el was to raise offspring for his kinsman if he happened to die without any. The relative nearness of kin is not very definitely determined in the Hebrew Scriptures. The brother appears to be the nearest of all, after whom comes the uncle or uncle's son (Lev. 25:49; Num 36:11).

Boaz was Ruth's kinsman by marriage. He wasn't her brother-in-law since Naomi had only two sons and both died in Moab. Ruth 4:3 describes the relation of Naomi's husband Elimelech to the unnamed relative and Boaz as "our brother" (Heb. ach), which is used in the Tanakh of a sibling (same father and mother), half-sibling (same father), but also other blood relatives as uncle or cousin, and even a member of the same tribe. Given that Boaz points out that the unnamed relative is closer in consanguinity than he (Ruth 3:12), then the unnamed relative could be a sibling of Elimelech, making him an uncle to the husband of Ruth and Boaz a cousin.

After Naomi's arrival home Boaz takes Ruth under his protection. Naomi realized her dead husband had property that she could sell to obtain security for her and Ruth, plus gain a husband for Ruth at the same time. Of course, as a Jewish proselyte Ruth would have to marry within Naomi's tribe (cf. Num 36:1-7). However, the land had to remain within the clan and would have to be purchased by a relative. So, in this story the law of property redemption and Levirate marriage become intertwined.

When Boaz discovers Naomi's plan, he is willing to marry Ruth, but he has to resolve the matter of legal entitlement that belongs to the nearer relative. The uncle elects not to marry Ruth, probably because he already had a wife, but no son, and he did not want to invest capital in property he would gain no benefit from and be forced to bequeath his own inheritance to the first-born of Ruth. Boaz was then free to acquire the property and Ruth.

It is very possible that Boaz had a wife or concubine and even children since an unmarried man of his age and prominence would have been unusual (cf. Ruth 3:2). Wives are only mentioned in Scripture for a reason. In reality the story of Ruth is told to provide background to the story of David. Boaz's character stands in stark relief with his uncle. Boaz was not concerned about the impact on his estate but doing justice for Ruth, which makes him a giant of a man in the annals of Scripture.

and: Grk. de, conj. Obed: Grk. Iōbēd. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Jesse: Grk. ho Iessai, which transliterates Heb. Yishay, a personal name meaning "man" or "manly" (HBD). Jesse was a respected citizen of Bethlehem (1Sam 16:1, 18) and owner of flocks of sheep. He fathered eight sons―Eliab, Abinadab, Shimea, Nethanel, Raddai, Ozem, Elihu, and David―and two daughters, Zeruiah and Abigail (1Chr 2:13-16). David was often called "son of Jesse," which emphasized the stature of Jesse (e.g., 1Sam 16:18; 20:27; 22:7-9, 13; 25:10; 2Sam 20:1; 23:1; 1Kgs 12:16; Ps 72:20). The name of Jesse appears in Messianic prophecies. Isaiah spoke of a "Rod from the stem of Jesse (11:1) and of "a Root of Jesse" (11:10). For Paul, the "root of Jesse" (Rom 15:12) was a prophecy fulfilled in Yeshua.

6 And Jesse fathered David the king; and David fathered Solomon by the one of Uriah.

And: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. Jesse: Grk. Iessai. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See verse 2 above. David: Grk. ho David which transliterates perfectly the Heb. David ("dah-veed"), a personal name meaning "favorite" or "beloved" (HBD). His name first appears when God sent Samuel to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons as the next king (1Sam 16:13). At that time David was only a shepherd.

Because of his musical abilities David came to the attention of King Saul who had been forsaken by God and was troubled by an evil spirit. From time to time David would play the harp for Saul. During one of these visits the Philistines had invaded the area. Samuel recounts the story of David encounter with Goliath and his victory over the Philistines (1Sam 17). As a result of David's popular appeal Saul turned against David and made him a fugitive for several years.

the king: Grk. ho basileus, king or chief ruler. In the LXX basileus appears frequently to translate Heb. melek. In the Tanakh the title "king" was not associated with the size of territory governed (often a city), but the authority wielded. The executive and judicial functions (and sometimes legislative) of government were vested in one person. God chose David to be king because He "sought out for Himself a man after His own heart" (1Sam 13:14). David initially became king over the tribe of Judah (c. 1010 B.C.; 1Sam 2:11) because the other tribes considered Ish-bosheth, son of Saul as the true king (2Sam 2:10).

After reigning seven and a half years over Judah, he became king over all Israel at the age of 30 and reigned a total of 40 years (2Sam 5:4; 1Chr 3:4). David made a tremendous impact on the nation of Israel. In the military sphere he broke the power of all the pagan peoples in the land of Canaan and in the civil sphere he made Jerusalem his capital and solidified central authority. Perhaps most important is his accomplishments in the religious sphere. He erected the Tabernacle on Mt. Zion, centralized religion in Jerusalem and established Levitical choirs.

He wrote many psalms and 73 psalms are specifically ascribed to him. He was known as the "sweet psalmist of Israel" (2Sam 23:1). Especially important is that he compiled and organized psalms into what we now know as the Book of Psalms (2Chr 29:30). David was a true worshipper, a man imbued with the Holy Spirit (1Sam 13:14; 16:13; 2Sam 23:2). Most significant is that God made a personal and everlasting covenant with David by which God promised that He would establish his throne forever, build a house for Himself and send forth a king from the loins of David to rule over his people Israel (2Sam 7:12-14; 23:5). This promise is echoed in other passages (Ps 2:6-7, 11-12; 23:5; 89:3; Isa 55:3; Jer 23:5-6; 33:21).

The promise that the heir of David would be a son to God is the basis for the title "Son of God," which took on the Hebraic meaning of the Davidic deliverer (e.g., Matt 26:63; John 1:34, 49; 20:31). Another motif largely ignored is that David is called the "lamp of Israel" (2Sam 21:17). Yeshua as the son of David drew on this motif when he said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). David's family life has been the subject of much analysis and not a little criticism among commentators. He was a polygamist with 8 wives (Heb. ishshah) and 10 concubines (Heb. pilegesh) (2Sam 3:3-5, 13-14; 5:13; 12:7-8, 24; 15:16).

The recorded names of his wives include Michal (1Sam 18:27), Ahinoam and Abigail (1Sam 25:42-43), Maacah, Haggith, Abital, and Eglah (2Sam 3:3) and Bathsheba (2Sam 11:27). The concubines were probably the servants of his wives (2Sam 6:20-22). He had 19 named sons of his wives, besides the sons of his concubines, and one named daughter, although many other daughters were born to him (1Chr 3:1-9; 14:3-7). David's adultery with Bathsheba and conspiracy to kill her husband Uriah earned divine judgment (2Sam 12:7-10).

Yet, in spite of his moral failure the Scripture record is highly complimentary of David. During the time of the divided kingdoms after the death of Solomon there is an oft repeated phrase to describe the good kings of Judah, "He walked before me as David his father walked" (1Kgs 3:3, 14; 11:4, 6, 33, 38; 14:8; 15:3, 5, 11; 2Kgs 14:3; 16:2; 18:3; 22:2). Jeremiah left a simple eulogy of David's life: "David did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite" (1Kgs 15:5).

The last comment on David's life in the Tanakh is from Ezra who twice refers to David as a "man of God" (2Chr 8:14; Neh 12:24). David also has a highly favorable standing in the Besekh. The apostles tell the story of Yeshua as the story of the Son of David from His birth (Matt 1:1; Rom 1:3; 2Tim 2:8; Rev 22:16). At least twelve times the apostolic narratives refer to him as "Son of David." David is cited as a model of behavior (Matt 12:3), identified as a servant of God (Luke 1:69) and regarded as a Spirit-inspired prophet (Mark 12:36; Acts 1:16; 2:34; 4:25; Rom 11:9; Heb 4:7).

David thus took his place in the roll call of faithful heroes (Heb 11:32). This was "David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will" (Acts 13:22). Josephus, the Jewish historian, left this beautiful eulogy of David:

"This man was of an excellent character, and was endowed with all virtues that were desirable in a king, and in one that had the preservation of so many tribes committed to him; for he was a man of valor in a very extraordinary degree, and went readily and first of all into dangers, when he was to fight for his subjects, as exciting the soldiers to action by his own labors, and fighting for them, and not by commanding them in a despotic way. He was also of very great abilities in understanding, and apprehension of present and future circumstances, when he was to manage any affairs. He was prudent and moderate, and kind to such as were under any calamities; he was righteous and humane, which are good qualities, peculiarly fit for kings; nor was he guilty of any offense in the exercise of so great an authority, but in the business of the wife of Uriah. He also left behind him greater wealth than any other king, either of the Hebrews or, of other nations, ever did." (Ant. VII, 15:2)

then: Grk. de, conj. David: Grk. David. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Solomon: Grk. ho Solomōna, which transliterates Heb. Shelomoh, a personal name meaning "his peace." Solomon was the tenth son of David and the fourth son of Bathsheba (2Sam 5:14; 1Chr 3:5). He became the third king of Israel by the expressed will of God (1Kgs 1:29-30) and reigned forty years, c. 970-930 B.C. (1Kgs 11:42). Solomon is remembered for his wisdom, which the historical record offers anecdotes of the judging of two harlots over a baby (1Kgs 3:16-27) and the visit of the Queen of Sheba who came to test him with difficult questions (1Kgs 10:1).

Solomon was credited with originating three thousand proverbs and a thousand and five songs (1Kgs 4:32). The books of Proverbs (Heb. Mishlei), Ecclesiastes (Heb. Qohelet) and Song of Songs (Heb. Shir HaShirim) in the Bible are attributed to Solomon, as well as Psalm 72 and Psalm 127. Solomon expanded his kingdom until it covered about 50,000 square miles, from Egypt to Mesopotamia (NIBD 1000). Solomon also increased trade by land and sea, which promoted the prosperity of the nation and helped build his personal fortune.

He engaged in important building projects, including a magnificent Temple constructed according to detailed plans that his father David prepared with divine inspiration (2Sam 7:13; 1Kgs 5−8; 1Chr 28:10-19; 2Chr 8:14). The Temple complex in Jerusalem was composed of several buildings including Solomon's palace, other ostentatious buildings, and a palace for one of his wives, the daughter of the pharaoh of Egypt (1Kgs 7:1). While the Temple was the most famous of his building projects, it was by no means the only one.

Solomon fortified a number of cities to provide protection, built "store-cities" for stockpiling the materials required in his kingdom, and established military bases for contingents of charioteers (1Kgs 9:15-19). Solomon divided the country into 12 administrative districts that did not correspond to the old tribal boundaries (1Kgs 4:7-19) and had the districts provide provisions for the central government. This system, combined with control of vital north/south trade routes, made it possible for Solomon to accumulate vast wealth. His wealth was supplemented both from trading in horses and chariots and from trade carried on by a fleet of ships (1Kgs 9:26-28; 10:26-29).

Of the extravagances for which Solomon is known his marriage practice is especially notable. He "loved many foreign women" (1Kgs 11:1) and as a result he had seven hundred wives, all noble women, and three hundred concubines (1Kgs 11:3). Solomon's many wives were the result of political alliances, the first of whom was the daughter of Pharaoh of Egypt (1Kgs 3:1). Solomon thus violated God's prohibition of marrying women of idolatrous nations (Deut 7:3-4; Josh 23:11-13). While there is no biblical prohibition of polygamy, God did forbid "many" wives (Deut 17:17), but provided guidance for proper treatment of wives (Ex 21:10; Deut 21:15-17). For more information on this ancient practice see my article Polygamy.

Unfortunately, Solomon allowed his many wives to worship their native gods and even had altars to these gods constructed in Jerusalem (1Kgs 11:7-8). This toleration of evil, not found in his father, would eventually reap the whirlwind of God's judgment. Solomon's egregious marriage practice may explain the omission of any names of Solomon's wives and concubines, except for Naamah, the mother of his son Rehoboam (1Kgs 14:21). When he died he was buried in the City of David (1Kgs 11:43).

In the Besekh Solomon is mentioned in Yeshua's teaching about anxiety (Matt 6:29; Luke 12:27). Yeshua noted that the queen of Sheba came a long way to see Solomon and that "something greater than Solomon is here" (Matt 12:42; Luke 11:31). Yeshua walked in "Solomon's colonnade," the only remains of his great Temple (John 10:23; cf. Acts 3:11; 5:12) that King Herod incorporated into his rebuilt temple. Stephen noted that though David sought to find a place for God, it was Solomon who "built a house for Him" (Acts 7:47).

from: Grk. ek, prep. See verse 3 above. the one: Grk. , fem. definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun, and substitution for "wife." The normal word for wife, Grk. gunē, is omitted from the text. Curiously, Matthew also omits the name of Bathsheba. Gill suggests that Bathsheba is not named because of the sin she had been guilty of, which would easily be revived by mentioning her name. Stern assumes that Bathsheba, like Rahab and Ruth was a non-Israelite. Ellicott suggests that she was a Hittite like her husband. Samuel identifies the father of Bathsheba as Eliam ("El is kinsman," 2Sam 11:3), but Ezra gives the name as Ammiel ("my kinsman is El," 1Chr 3:5). Nothing is known of Bathsheba's mother.

of Uriah: Grk. ho Ourias, which transliterates Heb. Uriyah, a personal name meaning "fire of Yah" (HBD). Uriah was an Hittite (2Sam 11:3) and a member of David's elite warriors (2Sam 23:39). To gain this status Uriah must have embraced the Israelite religion and was circumcised. His ancestry makes the story ironic since the Hittites were to have been completely destroyed by the Israelite conquest (Ex 23:23; Deut 20:17). although there is no mention of his circumcision it was likely done because of their relationship.

The genitive case of the clause "the one of Uriah" depicts Bathsheba as belonging to Uriah. The syntax may imply that Bathsheba was his only wife, alluding to Nathan's parable of the poor man who had "one little ewe lamb" (2Sam 12:3). While Bathsheba is identified in the Tanakh as the wife (Heb. ishshah) of Uriah (2Sam 11:3), the genitive case might also imply she was his concubine. Concubines (Heb. pilegesh) were called ishshah (Gen 25:1; 30:4; 35:22; 2Sam 12:11; 16:22; 1Chr 1:32).

Genealogy of the Messiah: Solomon to the Exile, 1:7-11

7 And Solomon fathered Rehoboam; and Rehoboam fathered Abijah; and Abijah fathered Asa;

Then: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. Solomon: Grk. Solomōna. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See verse 2 above. Rehoboam: Grk. ho Rhoboam, which transliterates Heb. Rechabam, a personal name meaning "he enlarges the people" (HBD). Rehoboam was a son of Solomon by Naamah of Ammon, and succeeded to the throne at age 41 (1Kgs 11:43; 14:21). He reigned seventeen years (c. 931-913 BC). While at Shechem for his crowning ceremony as king over Israel (1Kgs 12:1), the people asked Rehoboam if he would remove some of the tax burden and labor laws which Solomon had imposed on them.

Instead of taking the advice of the older men, Rehoboam acted on the counsel of those who wanted to increase the burden. The northern tribes revolted and made the rebel Jeroboam their king. With a much reduced kingdom Rehoboam did not change his values, but continued the pagan ways which Solomon had allowed (1Kgs 14:21-24). Rehoboam wanted to march against the rebellious tribes, but he was prevented by warnings from the prophet Shemaiah and by the invasion of Shishak of Egypt. Rehoboam was further disgraced by having to empty the Temple treasury to buy off Shishak.

The marriage practice of Rehoboam was similar to his father, with three names of his wives given, as Ezra records:

"And Rehoboam took as a wife Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David and of Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse, 19 and she bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham. 20 After her he took Maacah the daughter of Absalom, and she bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maacah the daughter of Absalom more than all his other wives and concubines. For he had taken eighteen wives and sixty concubines and fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters." (2Chr 11:18-21 NASB)

When Rehoboam died he was buried in the City of David (1Kgs 14:31).

and: Grk. de, conj. Rehoboam: Grk. Rhoboam. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Abijah: Grk. ho Abia, which transliterates Heb. Abiyyah, a personal name meaning "Yah is my father." The spelling of Abbiyah actually comes from Ezra (1Chr 3:10). In 1Kings, penned by Jeremiah, he is called Abijam (Heb. Abiyyam, 1Kgs 15:1), a name meaning, "my father is Yam" (or sea), possibly a reference to Canaanite god (HBD). Abijah was his father's favorite son (2Chr 11:22). Abijah followed the sins of Rehoboam (1Kgs 15:3) but still maintained proper worship in Jerusalem (2Chr 13:10). Like his father Abijah was a polygamist with fourteen wives and begat 22 sons and 16 daughters (2Chr 13:21). The only notable achievement of Abijah was a military victory over Jeroboam of Israel (2Chr 13:15-20). Abijah reigned only three years (c. 913-911 BC) and when he died he was buried in the City of David (1Kgs 15:2, 8; 2Chr 14:1).

and: Grk. de, conj. Abijah: Grk. Abia. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Asa: Grk. ho Asaph. The Tanakh gives the name of Abijah's son as Heb. Asa, a personal name meaning "healer" (1Kgs 15:8). See the Textual Note below. There is no king by the name of Asaph in the Tanakh but some versions give the name of Abijah's son as Asaph (CEB, DLNT, ESV, ISV, MRINT, NABRE, NRSV, NTE). Asa succeeded his father Abijah to the throne of Judah and reigned forty-one years, c. 911-869 BC (2Chr 16:13). A pious man, Asa instituted several reforms to remove foreign gods and foreign religious practices from the land, even removing his mother from political power (1Kgs 15:12-13; 2Chr 14:2-3).

Scripture is silent on the marriage practice of Asa, so he may have had only one wife or just a few wives. Asa was rebuked by the prophet Hanani (2Chr 16:7) for relying on the king of Syria rather than on the Lord (1Kgs 15:17-20). Ezra, the chronicler, further reported that when Asa developed a disease in his feet, he relied on physicians rather than on the Lord (2Chr 16:12). When he died he was buried in his own tomb in the City of David (2Chr 16:14).

Textual Note

Concerning the name of Asa, it is clear that the Grk. Asaph is the form of the name preserved in the earliest MSS of Matthew, including p1 (3rd c.), and the 4th century MSS Sinaiticus and Vaticanus (GNT 1). Yet, the majority of MSS have Asa, including the Syriac, and the Vulgate (which Jerome translated from Hebrew), so it is necessary to suppose that Asaph was a scribal error. Thus, the TR (the basis for the KJV) and Maj-Text read "Asa." Metzger suggests that Matthew may have derived material for his genealogy not from the Tanakh directly, but from subsequent genealogical lists in which the erroneous spelling occurred. This theory has no evidence to support it.

The LXX in the relevant passages has "Asa," not "Asaph." According to patristic testimony Matthew was originally written in Hebrew and he would have researched his genealogy from Hebrew sources. There is no evidence that Jewish scribes copying MSS of the Tanakh changed the name of Asa into Asaph. Therefore, the scribal error should not be attributed to any previous Jewish scribe or to Matthew, but to a careless Christian scribe translating Matthew's Hebrew text.

8 And Asa fathered Jehoshaphat; and Jehoshaphat fathered Jehoram; and Jehoram fathered Uzziah

And: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. Asa: Grk. Asaph. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See verse 2 above. Jehoshaphat: Grk. ho Iōsaphat, a transliteration of Heb. Yehoshaphat, a personal name meaning "YHVH has judged." Jehoshaphat was the fourth king of Judah from the time of Rehoboam. The Greek spelling owes to the fact Greek does not have a letter with the "sh" sound. The English spelling of Bible names beginning with a "J" for the Hebrew letter Yod owes to the development of the English language. Originally the "J" was a vowel, simply a fancy "I," and pronounced phonetically as the Yod, but after the Renaissance (14th-17th century) it became a consonant with a hard sound. The Vulgate spelled the name Iosophat, and Wycliffe (1395) translated the Latin as Josaphath. The early English versions (1525-1611) spelled the name Iosaphat.

The Mace New Testament (1729) spelled the name as Josaphat, but it was the Wesley New Testament (1755) that initiated the spelling of Jehoshaphat. Ironically the KJV (1769) spelled the name Josaphat, but modern versions returned to the spelling of Jehoshaphat. The Tanakh notes the name of Jehoshaphat's mother, Azuba, and that he reigned as king over Judah reign as twenty-five years, c. 873-848 BC (1Kgs 22:42; 2Chr 20:31). He was a faithful worshiper of God (1Kgs 22:43; 2Chr 17:6) and in time of danger prayed for God's help (2Chr 20:6-12). He attacked pagan idolatry and he sent teachers to the people to teach them more about God (2Chr 17:6-9). As a ruler Jehoshaphat had a high regard for justice and instructed judges to be impartial (2Chr 19:4-11).

Nevertheless, Jehoshaphat did one thing that ultimately proved to be disastrous: he made an alliance with Ahab, king of Israel, through the marriage of his son Jehoram to Ahab's daughter Athaliah (2Chr 21:5-6). The alliance led to further dealings with Ahab (2Chr 18:1-34), which received the rebuke of the prophet Jehu (2Chr 19:1-30). After the death of Ahab a coalition of Ammonites, Moabites and Meunites attacked Judah but God provided a miraculous deliverance and victory (2Chr 20:1-25). Jehoshaphat's life record ends with an unfortunate mistake of making an alliance with Ahaziah, king of Israel for which the prophet Eliezer rebuked him (2Chr 20:35-37). Jehoshaphat reigned twenty-five years (2Chr 20:31) and when he died he was buried in the City of David (2Chr 21:1).

and: Grk. de, conj. Jehoshaphat: Grk. Iōsaphat. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Jehoram: Grk. ho Iōram, a transliteration of Heb. Yehoram, a personal name meaning "YHVH is exalted." The Greek name is a variant spelling that occurs in the LXX for Jehoram (2Kgs 9:15) and thus many versions translate the name here as Joram. This can create confusion because there was a king of Israel named Joram (2Kgs 8:16). The name of this king of Judah appears in Chronicles only as Jehoram. Some versions identify the king correctly here as Jehoram (CEV, ERV, GNB, NCV, NIRV, NIV, NLT, TLB).

Jehoshaphat had seven sons but Jehoram received the throne because he was the first-born (2Chr 21:3). Due to the alliance between Jehoshaphat and Ahab, king of Israel, Jehoram was given the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, Athaliah, as his bride. She was just as pagan and wicked as her mother. Athaliah dominated her husband and persuaded him to reintroduce and encourage Baal worship in Judah. Jehoram even murdered his six brothers when he was crowned king. During his reign Libnah and Edom broke away from Judah. He was so hated by the people that when he died they refused him burial in the royal tombs.

Upon Jehoram's death his son Ahaziah by Athaliah succeeded to the throne, c. 841 BC, but his reign only lasted a year before being killed by Jehu, the general of Jehoram's army who vowed to destroy the house of Ahab. Athaliah then took control of the government and ordered the massacre of all her grandchildren. Joash, the son of Ahaziah, was hidden from Athaliah for six years and then she was finally executed for her many crimes at the order of the high priest Jehoiada (2Kgs 11:15-16).

and: Grk. de, conj. Jehoram: Grk. Iōram. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Matthew's genealogy omits without explanation Jehoram's son Ahaziah (who reigned about a year in 841 BC), his grandson Joash (who reigned 40 years, 835-796 BC, 2Chr 24:1), and his great grandson Amaziah (who reigned 29 years, 796-767 BC, 2Chr 25:1). Gale suggests these three kings were omitted in order to have the list add up to fourteen (3), but there could have been another reason. Gill comments that these three kings were omitted either because of the curse pronounced on Ahab's family, into which Jehoram married, whose idolatry was punished to the third or fourth generation; or because these princes were of no good character; or because their names were not in the public Jewish registers.

It could be argued that other names in Matthew's list lacked good character and there is no reason to believe that Jewish records were incomplete, given the presence of their history in the LXX. Gill's first reason has the greatest merit. For Matthew to say that Jehoram fathered Uzziah is consistent with the Hebraic viewpoint of paternity, which does not always mean the immediate biological father. Isaiah told Hezekiah that his sons would go into captivity (Isa 39:7), even though the captivity would not occur until several generations thereafter. Also, Paul said that Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek because he was in the loins of Abraham when the tithes were actually paid (Heb 7:9).

Matthew's omission does not effect his express purpose, which is to show that Yeshua, the true Messiah, is of the house of David and of the tribe of Judah. Genealogical omissions are not uncommon in the Tanakh since Ezra omits six generations in his post-exile genealogy of high priests (Ezra 7:1-6), but they are contained in his longer genealogy of Chronicles (1Chr 6:1-14). Also, the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 are shorter in the Masoretic Text than they are in the LXX. (See Barry Setterfield, The Alexandrian Septuagint History, 2010).

Uzziah: Grk. ho Ozias, which attempts to transliterate the Heb. Uzziyyahu, a personal name meaning "my strength is Yah." Uzziah was also known as Azariah (2Kgs 15:1; Heb. Azaryah and sometimes Azaryahu, "Yah has helped"). The son of Amaziah, he succeeded his father to the throne when his was sixteen years old and reigned 52 years (2Kgs 15:2). The lengthy time likely includes years he functioned as co-regent after his father's imprisonment by the king of Israel (2Chr 25:23) and thus his singular reign would be c. 767-740 BC.

During most of his tenure Uzziah was a wise, pious and powerful king. He extended Judah's territory by successful campaigns against the Philistines, Arabs, Meunites, and Ammonites (2Chr 26:6-8). He fortified Jerusalem and built cisterns and military outposts to provide greater security. Unlike his predecessors who relied on the troops to supply their own arms, Uzziah armed his troops with the most advanced weapons (2Chr 26:14-15). Uzziah brought the nation to a time of great material prosperity. He was a lover of the soil who promoted agriculture (2Chr 26:10).

Yet, Uzziah is not so much remembered as the greatest leader since King Solomon, but as the "leper king." He was portrayed as a king who did what "was right in the sight of the Lord" (2Kgs 15:3), but Jeremiah offers no explanation for the king's affliction other than "the Lord struck the king" (2Kgs 15:5). On the other hand, Ezra traced Uzziah's leprosy to his prideful attempt to offer incense in the Temple (2Chr 26:16-20), reminiscent of Korah's rebellion (Num 16:1-40). Thereafter, his son Jotham reigned in his stead, though Uzziah likely remained the power behind the throne (2Chr 26:21). As a leper, Uzziah was denied burial in the royal tombs at Jerusalem and was buried instead in a field (2Chr 26:23). At Uzziah's death the prophet Isaiah had a transforming vision of the Lord, high and lifted up on a throne (Isa 6:1-13).

9 And Uzziah fathered Jotham; and Jotham fathered Ahaz; and Ahaz fathered Hezekiah;

Then: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. Uzziah: Grk. Ozias. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See verse 2 above. Matthew omits three names here: viz., Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah. Ellicott suggests that the motive for the omission was simply the desire of bringing the names in each period into which the genealogy is divided to the arbitrary standard of fourteen. Possibly, however, as it was thus necessary to omit three names, the choice of these may have been determined by the fact that they belonged to the time of Athaliah's disastrous influence in the history of the monarchy of Judah.

Jotham: Grk. ho Iōatham, a transliteration of Heb. Yotham, a personal name meaning "YHVH is perfect." He was the tenth king of Judah since Rehoboam (2Kgs 15:32-38; 2Chr 26:21-23). The royal record indicates that Jotham was twenty-five years old when he began to reign as king and he reigned for sixteen years. His mother's name was Jerusha (2Kgs 15:32). Scholars give the period of his reign as 750-731 BC. The sixteen-year period given for his reign may not includes the time that he acted as co-regent for his father Uzziah after he contracted leprosy (2Chr 26:21).

Jotham evidently was an effective ruler. His reign was a godly one, although the people persisted in idolatry. He had the benefit of the prophetic ministry of Isaiah, Hosea and Micah during his reign (Isa 1:1; Hos 1:1; Mic 1:1). His accomplishments included building the Upper Gate of the Temple and strengthening the Jerusalem wall of Ophel. He also built cities and fortified buildings throughout the countryside to further strengthen Judah. He had military success against the Ammonites and exacted tribute from them for three years (2Chr 27:3-5). Jotham's strength and prosperity were attributed to the fact that "he ordered his ways before the Lord His God" (2Chr 27:6). When he died he was buried in the City of David.

and: Grk. de, conj. Jotham: Grk. Iōatham. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Ahaz: Grk. ho Achaz, a transliteration of Heb. Achaz, a personal name meaning "he has grasped." Ahaz was the eleventh king of Judah from Rehoboam (732-716 BC). He was twenty years old when he became king and ruled sixteen years (2Kgs 15:38; 16:1-20). He was an ungodly king who promoted the worship of Molech, with its pagan rites of human sacrifice (2Kgs 16:3-4; 2Chr 28:1-4). The reign of Ahaz was contemporary with the prophets Isaiah and Micah. During this time Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel, joined forces to invade Judah with horrific success The prophet Oded rescued many captives taken to Samaria (2Chr 28:9-15).

Isaiah gave counsel to Ahaz to seek the Lord's help, but Ahaz refused the prophet's advice and appealed for help to Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria (Isa 7:1). That appeal and the resulting entanglement had unfortunate results religiously and politically in that Ahaz surrendered to Assyrian domination. He even placed an altar made from a Syrian model in the Temple (2Kgs 16:11). This time of spiritual rebellion was the time God chose to give a significant Messianic prophecy through Isaiah to Ahaz:

"Then ADONAI spoke again to Ahaz saying, 11 'Ask for a sign from ADONAI your God—from the depths of Sheol or the heights of Heaven.' 12 But Ahaz said, 'I won't ask—I wouldn't test ADONAI!' 13 Then he said, 'Hear now, house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men? Will you also weary my God? 14 Therefore ADONAI Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive. When she is giving birth to a son, she will call his name Immanuel.'" (Isa 7:10-14 TLV)

Ahaz refused to turn to God and fell deeper into idolatry and self-destruction. He had the audacity to have the high priest to construct a copy of an altar he saw in Damascus and install it in the Temple in Jerusalem (2Kgs 16:10-16). As a result of his ungodly conduct God sent judgment to Judah in the form of military defeats from every direction. When he died Ahaz suffered the final humiliation of not being buried in the royal tombs (2Chr 28:15).

and: Grk. de, conj. Ahaz: Grk. Achaz. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Hezekiah: Grk. ho Hezekias, a transliteration of Heb. Chizqiyyahu (2Kgs 16:20) occurring 77 times, a personal name meaning "Yah has strengthened." An alternate Hebrew spelling is Yechizqiyyahu (2Kgs 20:10), occurring 38 times. Hezekiah was the twelfth king of Judah from Rehoboam. He was twenty-five when he succeeded to the throne and he reigned 29 years (2Kgs 18:2), c. 716-686 BC. Hezekiah began his reign by bringing religious reform to Judah. Places of idol worship were destroyed. Hezekiah even destroyed the bronze serpent Moses had erected in the wilderness so the people would not view the bronze serpent as an object of worship.

The Temple in Jerusalem was reopened, idols removed and vessels reconsecrated (2Kgs 18:1-4). He restored the musical ministry of the Levites and organized the priests and Levites for the conducting of religious services. The tithe was reinstituted. Plans were made to observe the religious feasts called for in the Law. In particular the celebration of Passover was organized to which Hezekiah invited the northern Israelites to share. This Passover is described as of a magnitude not observed since the time of the Judges (2Kgs 23:21-23; 2Chr 30:1-27).

At this time Assyria was the dominant power. Just a few years after Hezekiah had become king, Sargon II of Assyria captured Ashdod. Hezekiah anticipated the time when he would have to confront Assyrian armies. Hezekiah fortified the city of Jerusalem and organized an army. Knowing that a source of water was crucial, Hezekiah constructed a tunnel through solid rock from the spring of Gihon to the Siloam pool. The city wall was extended to enclose this important source of water.

Isaiah warned Hezekiah not to become involved with Assyria (Isa 20:1-6). The critical time for Hezekiah came in 705 B.C. when Sennacherib became king of Assyria and levied a heavy tribute of silver and gold. In 701 B.C., Hezekiah became seriously ill (Isa 38:1-21). Isaiah warned the king to prepare for his approaching death, but Hezekiah prayed that God would intervene. God answered by promising Hezekiah fifteen more years of life and deliverance of Jerusalem from Assyria (Isa 38:4-6).

In the meantime, Sennacherib had besieged Lachish and then sent messengers to the Jerusalem to urge the people to surrender. Sennacherib boasted of having conquered 46 walled cities and having taken 200,000 captives. Sennacherib's messengers taunted that God would not come to Judah's defense. Hezekiah, dressed in sackcloth and ashes, went to the Temple to pray. He also called for Isaiah, the prophet. Isaiah announced that Sennacherib would "hear a rumor" and return to his own land where he would die by the sword (2Kgs 19:7).

Hezekiah's faith and physical recovery brought him recognition from the surrounding nations (2Chr 32:33). The Babylonian leader, Merodachbaladan, even congratulated Hezekiah on his recovery. Hezekiah hosted this Babylonian leader at a reception, but Isaiah met this event with a warning that succeeding generations would be subjected to Babylonian captivity (Isa 39:1-8).

Sennacherib destroyed the city of Babylon in 689 B.C. He then marched toward Egypt. Hoping to ward off any interference from Judah, Sennacherib sent letters to Hezekiah ordering him to surrender (Isa 37:9-38). Hezekiah took the letters to the Temple and prayed for God's help. From Isaiah came the message that Sennacherib would not prevail. In fact, Sennacherib's army was destroyed in a miraculous way (2Kgs 19:35-37). In 681 B.C., Sennacherib was killed by two of his sons as had been predicted by Isaiah in 701 B.C. When Hezekiah died he was buried in the upper section of tombs of the sons of David (2Chr 32:33).

10 And Hezekiah fathered Manasseh; and Manasseh fathered Amon; and Amon fathered Josiah;

And: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. Hezekiah: Grk. Hezekias. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See verse 2 above. Manasseh: Grk. ho Manassēs, a transliteration of Heb. Menashsheh, a personal name meaning "causing to forget." Manasseh, the only son of Hezekiah, was born within his 15-year life extension. The naming of Manasseh may have reflected Hezekiah's feelings of hope for the future, as expressed in his prayer (Isa 38:9-20). The name of his mother Hephzibah, too, was the symbol of the happy union of the land with its loyal sons (2Kgs 21:1; Isa 62:4). He was the thirteenth king of Judah from Rehoboam, and succeeded to the throne at twelve years of age, probably as co-regent at first. He reigned fifty-five years, the longest of any Judean king (B.C. 696-642). Yet, by comparison little is known of his tenure.

After the death of Hezekiah, Manasseh ceased to serve the God of his father. He did whatever his evil imagination prompted. The historical record (2Kgs 21:1-16; 2Chr 33:1-9) mentions no beneficial accomplishments, but is highly censorious of his idolatrous reign, and blames him for Judah's ultimate destruction and exile. His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion and national polity. His principal offenses are listed as erecting altars for Baal and made an Asherah, which he put in the temple; building altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD; making his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; practicing witchcraft and divination; and consorting with mediums and spiritists.

Ginzberg says that "All his acts were calculated to cast contempt upon Judaism and its tenets. It did not satisfy his evil desire to obliterate the name of God from the Holy Scriptures; he went so far as to deliver public lectures whose burden was to ridicule the Torah" (Vol. IV, Chap. IX, "Manasseh"). The success of instituting his vices showed that the reformation under his father had been to a large extent only superficial (Isa 7:10). Amid this wide-spread religious decay, faithful prophets (Isaiah, Micah) spoke out in reproof and in warning. But their fidelity to the Lord and their messages only aroused bitter hatred, and a period of cruel persecution against the godly began. There is an old Jewish tradition that Isaiah was put to death at this time (2Kgs 21:16; 24:3-4; Jer 2:30), having been sawn asunder in the trunk of a tree (Yebamoth 49b; Heb 11:37).

In response to such wickedness God brought judgment. Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor on the Assyrian throne, who had his residence in Babylon for thirteen years, took Manasseh prisoner (681 BC) to Babylon. Such captive kings were usually treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led (cf. 2Chr 33:11; 2Kgs 19:28). The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to repentance. God heard his prayer for mercy (2Chr 33:12-13, 18-19), a prayer ascribed to him is in the Apocryphal work Prayer of Manasseh. He was then restored to Jerusalem and his kingdom (2Chr 33:13), where he undertook to restore the worship of the God of Israel (2Chr 33:14-17). When he died Manasseh was buried in the garden of Uzza, the "garden of his own house" (2Kgs 21:17, 18; 2Chr 33:20), and not in the city of David, among his ancestors.

and: Grk. de, conj. Manasseh: Grk. Manassēs. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Amon: Grk. ho Amōs. See the Textual Note below. The Tanakh gives the name of Manasseh's son as Heb. Amôn ("master workman," 2Kgs 21:18), which the LXX transliterates as Amōn. Some versions translate the Grk. name as "Amos" (BLB, CEB, ESV, ISV, MRINT, NAB, NRSV, RSV, TLB), which might cause some readers to confuse him for the prophet. As with the name Asa in verse 7 above the insertion of Amōs may be attributed to a Christian scribal error.

Amon succeeded his father to the throne upon his death in 642 BC and reigned two years (2Kgs 21:19). His mother's name was Meshullemeth the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. Amon repeated the same evil as his father, but as Ezra comments did not humble himself as his father (2Chr 33:23). After two years he was assassinated in a palace revolt, but the people of the land killed the conspirators. Amon was buried in the garden of Uzza with his father.

Ginzberg comments that Amon was in the habit of saying,

"'My father was a sinner from early childhood, and in his old age he did penance. I shall do the same. First I shall satisfy the desires of my heart, and afterward I shall return to God.' Indeed, he was guilty of more grievous sins than his predecessor; he burned the Torah; under him the place of the altar was covered with spiderwebs; and, as though of purpose to set at naught the Jewish religion, he committed the worst sort of incest, a degree more heinous than his father's crime of a similar nature. Thus he executed the first half of his maxim literally. For repentance, however, he was given no time; death cut him off in the fulness of his sinful ways." (Vol. IV, Chap. IX, "Manasseh")

and: Grk. de, conj. Amon: Grk. Amōs. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Josiah: Grk. ho Iōsias, a transliteration of Heb. Yoshiyah, which occurs only once in the Tanakh (Zech 6:10), whereas his name is spelled 52 times as Yoshiyahu, a personal name meaning "Yah supports." The reason for the difference in spelling from Hebrew to Greek is that Greek has no letter with the "sh" sound, so the closest letter is the sigma ("s"). Josiah succeeded his father to the throne when he was eight years old at the insistence of those who killed his father's murderers (2Kgs 21:24). Jeremiah's record begins by summarizing the good of Josiah's reign,

"he ruled for thirty-one years [640-609 BC] in Yerushalayim. His mother's name was Y'didah the daughter of 'Adayah from Botzkat. 2 He did what was right from ADONAI's perspective, living entirely in the manner of David his ancestor and turning away neither to the right nor to the left." (2Kgs 22:1-2 CJB)

The story of Josiah's reign is set forth in 2Kings 22:1―23:26 and 2Chronicles 34:1―35:26. The narratives are clearly more positive than negative. There are several hallmarks of his reign: (1) he destroyed pagan shrines and refurbished the Temple; (2) he gave heed to a newly found book of Torah; (3) he was influenced by godly leaders, the high priest Hilkiah, the scribe Shaphan and prophetess Huldah; and (4) he led a great observance of Passover (2Chr 35:1-19). In his youth Josiah began to seek the God of David (2Chr 34:3). In his twelfth year on the throne Josiah initiated a religious purge of Jerusalem, Judah, and surrounding areas (2Chr 34:3-7). This purge included tearing down pagan altars devoted to Baal on the high places.

In his eighteenth year as king an unexpected event turned his energies in new directions. A "Book of the Law" (Heb. Sepher HaTorah) was discovered while repairs were being made on the Temple. Hilkiah, the high priest, found the book and gave it to Shaphan, the scribe, who in turn read it to King Josiah. During the reading Josiah heard that God had prophesied great wrath against Israel. Upon hearing the message of the book, Josiah tore his clothes, a sign of repentance, and humbled himself before God. Josiah was assured that the promised destruction would not come in his time (2Kgs 22:8-20; 2Chr 34:15-28). The reading of this book prompted Josiah to instigate the most far-reaching religious reforms in Israel's history.

The book of the Torah that was found and read to Josiah is not identified, but most scholars believe it to be Deuteronomy. The reaction of Josiah to the threat of wrath could refer to the list of curses in Deuteronomy 28, particularly the prophecy that Israel would be scattered among the nations (Deut 28:64-67). However, the "book" could just as easily been the entire Torah scroll. What impacted Josiah the most was the clear warnings at the end to keep God's instructions to avoid the curses for disobedience.

The Bible is silent about the remaining years of Josiah until his death. Outside Israel Assyria's power was waning, and Babylon's was on the rise. Assyria had aligned itself with Egypt against Babylon. Pharaoh Neco's troops passed through territory north of Judah en route to join forces with Assyria. Josiah made the unwise decision to have his army block the movement of Egyptian forces at Megiddo and in the ensuing battle Josiah was mortally wounded (2Kgs 23:29). His body was taken to Jerusalem where he was buried. There was great mourning for him throughout the land (2Chr 35:24-25). Though only thirty-nine when he died, Josiah was remembered as a great king:

"No previous king was like him; because he turned to ADONAI with all his heart, with all his being and with all his power, in accordance with all the Torah of Moshe; nor did any king like him arise afterwards." (2Kgs 23:25 CJB)

Textual Note

The textual evidence for the reading "Amōs," versus "Amōn," is about evenly divided, with the earliest MSS favoring Amōs and the majority favoring Amōn (GNT 1f). The NA/UBS committee gave the reading of Amōs a "B" rating, meaning there is some degree of doubt, but the reading is considered almost certain. Metzger notes that in 1Chr 3:14 most MSS present the correct Amōn, but in the narrative of 2Kgs 21:18-19, 23-25; and 2Chr 33:20-25 several Greek MSS erroneously read "Amōs." Many later MSS of Matthew, including the Vulgate and Syriac, correct the error (GNT 1f). Thus, Amōn is found in the TR (the basis of the KJV) and the Maj-Text. The great majority of Bible versions have Amon instead of Amos.

11 And Josiah fathered Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the deportation of Babylon.

And: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. Josiah: Grk. Iōsias. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See verse 2 above. Matthew omits Jehoahaz, a son of Josiah who reigned three months after the death of his father (609 BC). Jehoahaz was then taken captive to Egypt where he died (2Kgs 23:34). Matthew also omits Eliakim, who was given the name Jehoiakim by Pharaoh (2Kgs 23:34), the second-born son of Josiah (1Chr 3:15).

Jehoiakim reigned eleven years (609-597BC), and his downfall was prophesied by Jeremiah. Jehoiakim ignored justice and righteousness, and exploited the people to build an expensive house for himself. His reign was filled with abominable acts (2Kgs 23:37; 24:3-4; 2Chr 36:8). Jeremiah predicted that no one would lament his death (Jer 22:18). He was finally taken in captivity to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. No mention is made of where he died or his burial place.

Jeconiah: Grk. ho Iechonias, a transliteration of Heb. Yekonyah, rendered as Jeconiah a shortened form of Jehoiachin (Heb. Yehoyakin, 2Kgs 24:6), a personal name meaning "YHVH appoints." The name Jeconiah occurs 7 times (in Chronicles, Jeremiah and Esther); and the alternate name Jehoiachin occurs 10 times (in Kings, Chronicles and Jeremiah). Jeconiah was actually the firstborn son of Jehoiakim and the grandson of Josiah (1Chr 3:15-16) and he was eighteen years old when he came to the throne late in 597 B.C. He reigned for three months in Jerusalem before being taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (2Kgs 24:8-12).

The mention of his mother Nehushta may imply that she exercised considerable influence during the time that her son was in office. Jehoiachin evidently was a throne name taken at the time of his accession. Jehoiachin's original name seems to have been Jeconiah or Coniah (Jer 22:24, 28) (HBD). He retained the title "king of Judah" even in exile, but he never returned to Judah. Nevertheless, he was ultimately released from prison by Evil-Merodach of Babylon and accorded some honor in the land of his captivity (2Kgs 25:27-30).

and: Grk. kai, conj. his brothers: pl. of Grk. adelphos. See verse 2 above. Since the familial data begins with Josiah, then "brothers" is used here in the broader sense of fellow descendants of Josiah and not just Zedekiah, the only named male sibling of Jeconiah (1Chr 3:16). at the time: Grk. epi, prep., lit. "upon," but with the genitive case of the noun following and the temporal use of the preposition it would be translated as "at the time" (Thayer).

of the deportation: Grk. ho metoikesia, change of abode, deportation, relocation, resettlement. The noun occurs only three times in the Besekh, all in Matthew's narrative. The term refers to the fact that ancient empires relocated conquered peoples to minimize rebellion. of Babylon: Grk. Babulōn, a transliteration of the Heb. Babel, a name that stood for both a Mesopotamian empire and its capital city. The genitive case of the name is objective, which emphasizes that Babylon performed the involuntary deportation.

Babylon is mentioned in the Tanakh only in Genesis 10:8-12; 11:1-9; and in the history of the decline and fall of the kingdom of Judah and the period of the exile. The beginning of Babylon may be found in the Bible story of Nimrod (Ninus in ancient literature) who founded an empire centered in Shinar (Gen 10:10), the same area as Sumer and later identified in Scripture as Babylonia. It was Nimrod with his wife Semiramus who founded pagan religion with a pantheon of many deities that would be copied by other cultures. This early history is recounted in Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons; Henry Morris, The Genesis Record, Chapter 10; and Henry Morris, The Long War Against God, Chapter Five.

When Matthew refers to the time of before, during and after the exile of Judah he is summarizing a series of events that took place over a century. Here is an historical outline:

● Reign of Nebuchadnezzar, 606-562 BC

● First Babylonian invasion of Israel, 606 BC

Daniel + friends taken as hostages (Dan 1:1-6)

● Second Babylonian invasion of Israel, 597 BC

Ezekiel + 10,000 taken captive (2Kgs 24:14-16; Ezek 1:1)

● Third Babylonian invasion of Israel and destruction of Jerusalem, 586 BC

Surviving Jews taken captive (2Chr 36:20)

● Reign of Cyrus the Great, 559-529 BC

● Persians capture Babylon, 539 BC

Return of Jews led by Zerubbabel, 539 BC (Ezra 2:2)

● Reign of Cambyses, 529-522 BC

● Reign of Darius I, 522-486 BC

Rebuilt Temple dedicated, 516 BC

● Reign of Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) and Queen Esther, 486-465 BC

● Reign of Artaxerxes, 465-424 BC

Ezra and more exiles come to Judah, c. 458 BC (Ezra 7:1-7)

In the prophetic books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah the exile appears to be determined for seventy years. However, calculating the beginning and ending dates of this period has been the subject of considerable scholarly discussion. Should the time begin with the first captivity involving Daniel, the second captivity involving Ezekiel or the third captivity following the destruction of Jerusalem? Both Daniel (9:2) and Zechariah (1:12) relate the expression to the period of the desolation of Jerusalem, which is normally thought to last from the destruction of the temple to its rebuilding (586–516 BC).

The mention of "seventy years" in Jeremiah (25:8-12; 2910) associates the period with the period of Babylonian rule, which could be dated from the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. to the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C. (73 years) or the accession of Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C. to the fall of Babylon (66 years) or to the edict of Cyrus the following year. In fact, when giving the termination of the seventy years in Jeremiah 29:10 the Lord says, "When seventy years have been completed for Babylon," NOT "when seventy years have been completed for you."

Ezekiel (as confirmed by Ezra writing in 2Chronicles) adds the interpretation of the captivity being a judgment for failing to keep the sabbath years.

"12 I also gave them My Shabbatot, as a sign between Me and them, so that they would know that I am ADONAI who made them holy. 13 “But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness. They did not walk in My statutes. They rejected My judgments, which if a man does, he will live by them. They greatly profaned My Shabbatot. Then I resolved to pour out My fury on them in the wilderness to consume them." (Ezek 20:12-13 TLV)

"17 Therefore He brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the House of their Temple. He had no pity on young man or virgin, elderly or infirm—He gave them all into his hand....21 in fulfillment of the word of ADONAI by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had paid back her Shabbat rests—for as long as it lay desolate—the Shabbat rest was kept till 70 years were complete." (2Chr 36:17, 21 TLV)

The Torah specified a number of sabbaths, the most important of which was the seventh day Sabbath (Ex 20:8). Every major festival functioned as a sabbath, since work was prohibited during those times (Leviticus 23). In addition, a sabbath year was enjoined for the land, which required the people to allow the land to lie fallow every seventh year (Ex 23:11) and also in the fiftieth year (Lev 25:8-11). God had intended these sabbaths as a sign of the covenantal relationship with Israel, but the sabbath observances were sorely neglected in the years of evil kings.

According to Ezra, the seventy years of exile represent allowing the land to "enjoy its sabbaths." While Ezra's explanation could be a reference to an accumulation of missed sabbatical and jubilee years, but this would suggest that these years had not been observed since the time of Samuel. (Indeed, there is no mention in the Tanakh of Israel ever observing the land sabbath requirement.) However, the "sabbaths" could refer to all the missed sabbaths and only pertain to the years of spiritual apostasy. While we may lose track of what we owe God, He does not.

Genealogy of the Messiah: Return from Exile to Messiah's Birth, 1:12-17

12 And after the exile to Babylon, Jeconiah fathered Shealtiel; and Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel;

And: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. after: Grk. meta, prep. used here to mark a sequence that follows; after. the exile: Grk. metoikesia. See the previous verse. to Babylon: Grk. Babulōn. See the previous verse. Jeconiah: Grk. Iechonias. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See verse 2 above. As in the previous verse Matthew passes over a generation. Shealtiel: Grk. ho Salathiēl, a transliteration of Heb. Shealtiel, a personal name meaning "I have asked of God." Nothing else is known of him, except his descendants. Luke gives the name of the actual father of Shealtiel as Neri (Luke 3:27).

The name Neri is not found in any Tanakh genealogy, but by itself this proves nothing since intermediate members are often passed over in Hebrew genealogies. According to the translation of 1Chronicles 3:17 by modern versions the name of the father of Shealtiel was Jeconiah. Matthew repeats that information here. This presents a conundrum since Luke makes Miriam a descendant of Nathan (verse 31 below) and Jeconiah descended from Solomon, not Nathan (1Chr 3:10-16). Moreover, Jeremiah had prophesied that Jeconiah would not have a male descendant to succeed him to the throne (Jer 22:30).

A proper reading of the Hebrew text of 1Chronicles 3:17 indicates that Jeconiah had a son named Assir who became the father of Shealtiel. Modern versions translate Assir as "captive" or "prisoner" as a reference to Jeconiah. However, the MT and LXX clearly make Assir a proper name and is so translated in the earliest English versions, as well as some modern versions (BRG, DARBY, JUB, MEV, NKJV, OJB). Thus, Assir, perhaps born in the captivity and therefore so named, either died young, or was made a eunuch (cf. Isa 39:7; Jer 22:30), after which the royal line of Solomon became extinct.

Assir, however, left a daughter, who then according to the law regarding heiresses (Num 27:8-11; 36:8), married a man belonging to a family of her paternal tribe, viz., Neri, of the family of David, in the line of Nathan, and that from this marriage sprang Shealtiel (Keil 423). Barnes notes that calling Shealtiel "the son of Neri" in Luke 3:27 gives his real, or natural, descent; since no genealogy would assign to the true son and heir of a king any inferior and private parentage. However, Assir bore the DNA of Jeconiah, and this was passed via his daughter to Shealtiel.

and: Grk. de, conj. Shealtiel: Grk. Salathiēl. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Zerubbabel: Grk. ho Zorobabel, a transliteration of Heb. Zerubbabel, a personal name meaning "begotten in Babylon." Zerubbabel is identified one time as the son of Pedaiah (1Chr 3:19), but then he is identified ten times as the son of Shealtiel (Ezra 3:2, 8; 5:2; Neh 12:1; Hag 1:1, 12, 14; 2:2, 23). Pedaiah and Shealtiel were brothers (1Chr 3:17-18). The resolution to these differing passages offered by commentators include these options:

● Pedaiah, the son of Neri (Luke 3:27), married and begat Zerubbabel. Pedaiah then died and Shealtiel adopted Zerubbabel who became his heir. This option is favored by Barnes, Ellicott, and Gill.

● Shealtiel, the son of Neri, married but died childless. Pedaiah then married his widow by the law of Levirate marriage. That union produced Zerubbabel, but he is called the son of Shealtiel in accordance with the requirement of Levirate marriage for the firstborn to bear the name of the dead brother (Deut 25:6). This option is favored by Keil.

● Pedaiah, the son of Neri, married but died childless. Shealtiel then married his widow by the law of Levirate marriage, and that union produced Zerubbabel. He is called the son of Pedaiah in Chronicles in accordance with the requirement of Levirate marriage for the firstborn to bear the name of the dead brother (Deut 25:6). This option is strengthened by virtue of Matthew saying that Shealtiel "begat" (Grk. gennaō) Zerubbabel (Matt 1:12).

Zerubbabel is noted in history has having led the first group of captives from Babylon back to Jerusalem (Ezra 2:2). He assisted in the rebuilding of the Temple on the old site (Ezra 3:20), working closely with the priests and prophets of that time. Eventually he became the governor of Jerusalem and Judah (Hag 1:1).

13 And Zerubbabel fathered Abiud; and Abiud fathered Eliakim; and Eliakim fathered Azor;

And: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. Zerubbabel: Grk. Zorobabel. See the previoius verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See verse 2 above. Abiud: Grk. ho Abioud, a transliteration of Heb. Avihud, a personal name meaning "my father is majesty." The only man identified as Abiud in the Tanakh is a son of Benjamin (1Chr 8:3). Nothing more is known of the Abiud mentioned here. Ezra lists the offspring of Zerubbabel as Meshullam and Hananiah and their sister Shelomith (1Chr 3:19), so Abiud could be a more distant relation. Matthew no doubt found the name in genealogical records of Joseph.

and: Grk. de, conj. Abiud: Grk. Abioud. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Eliakim: Grk. ho Eliakim, a transliteration of Heb. Eliyaqim, a personal name meaning "God sets up." There are three men listed in the Tanakh named Eliakim, none of which is the person mentioned here. As with Abiud, Matthew no doubt found the name of Eliakim in genealogical records of Joseph. This ancestor of Yeshua is also given in Luke 3:30. and: Grk. de, conj. Eliakim: Grk. Eliakim. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Azor: Grk. ho Azōr, a transliteration of Heb. Azzur, a personal name meaning "helpful." There are three men listed in the Tanakh named Azzur, none of which is the person mentioned here. As with Abiud and Eliakim, Matthew no doubt found the name of Azor in the genealogical records of Joseph.

14 And Azor fathered Zadok; and Zadok fathered Achim; and Achim fathered Eliud;

And: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. Azor: Grk. Azōr. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See verse 2 above. Zadok: Grk. ho Sadōk, a transliteration of Heb. Tsadoq, a personal name meaning "just, righteous." There are several men in the Tanakh with the name Zadok, none of which is the person mentioned here. As with Abiud, Eliakim and Azor, Matthew no doubt found the name of Zadok in the genealogical records of Joseph. Nothing more is known of him.

and: Grk. de, conj. Zadok: Grk. Sadōk. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Achim: Grk. ho Achim, a transliteration of Heb. Yakhim, a personal name meaning "troubles" (NIBD 13). This is the only mention of Achim in the Bible. As with Abiud, Eliakim, Azor and Zadok, Matthew no doubt found the name of Achim in the genealogical records of Joseph. Nothing more is known of him.

and: Grk. de, conj. Achim: Grk. Achim. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Eliud: Grk. ho Elioud, a transliteration of Heb. Elichud, a personal name meaning "God is majestic." This is the only mention of Eliud in the Bible. As with Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok and Achim, Matthew no doubt found the name of Eliud in the genealogical records of Joseph. Nothing more is known of him.

15 And Eliud fathered Eleazar; and Eleazar fathered Matthan; and Matthan fathered Jacob.

And: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. Eliud: Grk. Elioud. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. See verse 2 above. Eleazar: Grk. ho Eleazar, a transliteration of Heb. Elazar, a personal name meaning "God has helped." There are six men with the name Eleazar in the Tanakh, none of which is the person mentioned here. As with the previous names since Abiud, Matthew no doubt found the name of Eleazar in the genealogical records of Joseph. Nothing more is known of him. and: Grk. de, conj. Eleazar: Grk. Eleazar. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Matthan: Grk. ho Matthan, a transliteration of Heb. Mattan, a personal name meaning "gift of God." As with the previous names since Abiud, Matthew no doubt found the name of Matthan in the genealogical records of Joseph. Nothing more is known of him.

and: Grk. de, conj. Matthan: Grk. Matthan. fathered: Grk. gennaō, aor. Jacob: Grk. ho Iakōb, a transliteration of Heb. Ya'akov ("Jacob"). See verse 2 above. As with the previous names since Abiud, Matthew no doubt found the name of Jacob in the genealogical records of Joseph. Nothing more is known of him. In my research I discovered that Barker, HBD and NIBD did not even list this Jacob. Such an omission cannot be accidental, but likely the result of prejudice against Jacob. There are a total of six men in the Besekh with the name Jacob (besides the patriarch) and the rest were misnamed by Christian versions as "James."

The significance of the genealogy through these generations is that God preserved the Messianic line in spite of the division of Israel into two kingdoms, the destruction of Jerusalem, the Babylonian exile and the return from exile. There were many times during this period that the Messianic line could have been expunged, but the sovereign God preserved the seed of Yeshua's forefathers.

16 And Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Miriam, from whom was born Yeshua, who is called the Messiah.

And: Grk. de, conj. See verse 2 above. Jacob: Grk. Iakōb. See the previous verse. fathered: Grk. gennaō. See verse 2 above. Joseph: Grk. ho Iōsēph, a transliteration of Heb. Yosef, which is explained in Genesis 30:24 and means "he adds, increases." Almost all that is known about Joseph of Nazareth is given in the nativity narratives, but later Matthew mentions that Joseph was a carpenter by trade (Matt 13:55). There is a divine connection to the history of Israel in that Joseph's father was named Jacob (Matt 1:16). The first Joseph in the Bible was the son of Jacob the patriarch. The first Joseph became renowned, because through him deliverance came to the entire family of Jacob, as well as the nation of Egypt. So too, the Joseph of the nativity would be part of God's plan to again bring deliverance to His people and the world, but a much more significant deliverance, freedom from sin.

Joseph probably died sometime before Yeshua's public ministry began. Yeshua passed the care of his mother to John the apostle just before his death (John 19:26-27), so she would certainly have been a widow at that point. We may note Joseph is not mentioned as a participant in any narrative after the trip to Jerusalem for the Passover when Yeshua was 12 (Luke 2:41, 48). When Miriam and Yeshua's siblings go to confront him some time after the beginning of his Galilean ministry, Joseph is not present (Mark 3:32).

The differences between the paternity references in the Nazareth visit narrative of Matthew and Mark may confuse readers. In Matthew the people say, "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't His mother called Miriam? (Matt 13:55 TLV). Note the omission of Joseph's name. Mark presents the question as, "Isn't this the carpenter, the son of Miriam?" (Mark 6:3 TLV). In reality the reference to being the carpenter's son is no proof that Joseph was alive at that time. Substituting "carpenter" for Joseph would be a respectful way of preserving his memory.

One other passage has a bearing on this subject. In John 6:42 adversaries of Yeshua make this comment, "Is this not Yeshua, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?" The perfect tense of "know" might imply that Joseph was still alive at that point. However, this verse does lend weight to the assumption of Joseph being dead based on identifying the antecedent of "father and mother." The relative pronoun "whose," being of the same genitive case as Joseph, would indicate that the adversaries speak of Joseph's parents. Thus, they mean "we know Yeshua's grandparents."

the husband: Grk. ho anēr, an adult male as distinct from woman or a young boy, often used to refer to a married man; husband. of Miriam: Grk. Mariam, fem. name, an attempt at transliterating the Heb. Miryam (Miriam in English). The first Miriam in Scripture is the sister of Aaron and Moses (Ex 15:20). The meaning of the name is not known for certain, but says that Miriam "was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved" or mr "love."

The translation history of "Miriam" is strange. The Hebrew name of Miryam, sister of Moses, occurs 16 times in the LXX and every time is spelled in Greek as Mariam. Thayer notes that Mariam is also an exact transliteration of Aramaic Mariam, which is used in the Targums. In Christian English versions the name of Moses' sister is always rendered as "Miriam." However, the Latin Vulgate (405) translated Mariam with Maria, which the Wycliffe Bible (1325) rendered as "Marie."

The use of "Mary" in English Bibles for the mother of Yeshua began with the Tyndale New Testament (1525) and Christians have called this Jewish woman by this name ever since. The choice of English translators to use "Mary" instead of her Hebrew name "Miriam" can only be to minimize her Jewish identity. David Stern offers this apt observation:

"This unfounded and artificial distinction produced by translators subtly drives a wedge between Yeshua's mother and her own Jewishness … the name "Mary" evokes in the reader's thinking an otherworldly image of "Madonna and Child," complete with haloes, beatific smiles and angels in array, instead of the New Testament's portrayal of a down-to-earth Jewish lady in an Israel village managing her wifely, maternal and other social responsibilities with care, love and faith." (3)

Little is known of Miriam of Nazareth and many curious points are left unexplained. From this context we know where she lived and that she was betrothed. Miriam was of the lineage of David, yet nothing is said of whether her parents were living or whether she had siblings. Miriam is related in some degree to Elizabeth (a descendent of Aaron), the mother of John the Immerser, and wife of the priest Zechariah (Luke 1:36).

She is alone when visited by the angel and the house is mentioned as belonging to her (Luke 1:56). Then she apparently leaves by herself on a journey of some 90 miles to visit Elizabeth. We do not know her age, but Christian pop culture presents her as a very young teenage girl. The image of Miriam presented by the apostolic narratives is of a godly, mature and capable woman, well versed in the Scriptures.

from: Grk. ek, prep., lit. "from out," suggesting from the interior outward. whom: Grk. hēs, fem. relative pronoun, who. was born: Grk. gennao, aor. pass. The syntax of gennao being in the active voice throughout the genealogy changes in the second half of this verse to the passive voice to indicate that the manner of conception changed from the normal manner. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous. See verse 1 above. the one called: Grk. legō, pres. pass. part., to make a statement or utterance, whether oral or in written form; say, tell, declare. The verb is used here in the sense of identifying someone by a name. The present tense emphasizes how thousands of believing Jews regarded Yeshua at the time of the writing. the Messiah: Grk. Christos, the expected fulfiller of the hopes of Israel for an end-time deliverer, the Anointed One or Messiah. See verse 1 above.

17 Therefore all the generations from Abraham until David, fourteen generations; and from David until the deportation of Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation of Babylon until the Messiah, fourteen generations.

Therefore: Grk. oun, conj. all: pl. of Grk. pas, extensive in scope; all or every. the generations: pl. of Grk. ho genea, lit. means family line or descent or all the people alive at a given time in history. By modern definition a generation is the span of time from the birth of the first child of a marriage to the birth of the first grandchild. Thus, the term "generation" has no fixed length (BBMS 418). Matthew proceeds to identify three periods of fourteen generations, but this does not mean that the generations were equal. from: Grk. apo, prep. used generally as a marker of separation, here denoting a point of origin; from. Abraham: Grk. Abraam. See verse 1 above.

until: Grk. heōs, adv. David: Grk. David. See verse 1 above. It's not immediately clear whether the starting and ending points are based on the births of the two men, their deaths or the birth of their sons that continued the Messianic line. fourteen: Grk. dekatessares, the numeral fourteen. generations: pl. of Grk. genea. Based on the information in verses 2 and 6 above the time period may run from the birth of Isaac (c. 2066 BC) to the birth of Solomon (c. 990 BC), about 1,076 years. The genealogy in Luke 3:31-34 concurs with Matthew's statement as far as the number of generations. Matthew's record also conforms to the genealogy of Abraham to Perez in Genesis 11:26; 21:2; 25:26; 35:23; 46:12 and Perez to David in Ruth 4:18-22. Of interest is that David was the seventh son of Jesse (1Chr 2:15) and the numerical value of his name is fourteen (Kaiser-Promise 49).

and: Grk. kai, conj. from: Grk. apo, prep. David: Grk. David. until: Grk. heōs, prep., a temporal marker of limitation, here of time; till, until, as far as. the deportation: Grk. ho metoikesia. See verse 11 above. of Babylon: Grk. Babulōn. See verse 11 above. Again, the starting and ending dates cannot be absolutely determined. There were three times when Jews were transported to Babylon: 606 BC, 597 BC and 586 BC. Probably the date in mind for this deportation is the last one in which the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem. From the birth of Solomon to 586 BC would only be 404 years. fourteen: Grk. dekatessares. generations: pl. of Grk. genea. Again there is no intention that each period of 14 generations would be equal in length.

and: Grk. kai, conj. from: Grk. apo, prep. the deportation: Grk. ho metoikesia. of Babylon: Grk. Babulōn. This deportation may be the one in 586 BC. until: Grk. heōs, prep. the Messiah: Grk. ho Christos. See verse 1 above. For Yeshua's birth this writer is using 3 BC. fourteen: Grk. dekatessares. generations: pl. of Grk. genea. The third period would be 583 years long. A symbolic interpretation might be made of the fact of three-fourteen year periods, multiples of seven, suggesting completeness. However, what's significant about Matthew's summary is not that there were 42 names from Abraham to Yeshua, but that God preserved the Messianic line through the turbulent times of the divided monarchy, the Babylonian exile and the oppression of the Greeks and Romans.

Date: March-April 3 B.C.

The Pregnancy of Messiah's Mother, 1:18-20

18 Now the birth of Yeshua the Messiah was thus. His mother Miriam having been betrothed to Joseph, but before their coming together, she was found having a child in the womb from the Holy Spirit.

Now: Grk. de, conj. the birth: Grk. ho genesis, the act of delivering a baby from a woman's body, birth. There may be a play on words here since Yeshua, the Word of God (John 1:1), was responsible for creation in the book of Genesis. Yeshua: Grk. ho Iēsous. See verse 1 above. the Messiah: Grk. Christos. was: Grk. eimi, impf., to be, a function word used primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate (BAG). The imperfect tense is used to describe continuous action in past time and thus reinforces the history of the genealogical events leading up to the nativity and then the progress of the nativity itself.

thus: Grk. houtōs, adv., in this manner, way or fashion, a term appearing in narratives to introduce the manner or way in which something was accomplished. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. mother: Grk. mētēr, a female parent in its central sense of a woman who gave birth. Miriam: Grk. Mariam. See verse 16 above. having been betrothed: Grk. mnēsteuō, aor. pass. part., means lit. "to woo and win" and refers to a commitment to marriage (BAG), lit. "betrothed." The aorist tense of the verb refers to the betrothal as a past event, occurring perhaps as much as a year previously. The passive voice of the verb indicates the fact that a Jewish woman was betrothed to her husband, not vice versa.

The participle is a verbal adjective so it refers to a relational condition of Miriam. She belonged to Joseph. In the LXX mnēsteuō translates the Heb. aras, to betroth (Ex 22:16; Deut 20:7). The translation of "engaged" in many versions is inaccurate and misleading. In Western culture "engaged" is only a promise to marry, but the Jewish custom was both religious and legal. One Christian preacher described Miriam as an "unwed mother," a totally defamatory opinion of Miriam's marital status. A few Christian versions correctly have "betrothed" (AMP, ASV, ESV, LSB, LEB, NABRE, NASB, NASU, NKJV, RSV).

Prior to the Sinaitic covenant marriage happened by a man obtaining a woman's consent and then having intercourse in private. From that point on she was his wife (e.g., Gen 25:1; 38:1-3; Ex 2:1). With the introduction of betrothal in Torah instructions a man would acquire the bride of his choice in the presence of witnesses (cf. 2Sam 3:14; Ruth 4:9-11). According to Jewish law in the first century betrothal could be accomplished in one of three ways: by money, such as a coin, or its equivalent (e.g. Ex 21:11; 22:16), by contract (e.g. Jdg 14:2; Ruth 4:9-10; Tobit 7:14), or by sexual intercourse (e.g. Deut 22:28-29) (Kiddushin 1:1).

With betrothal the woman belonged to the man and considered a married woman. That is, the woman became forbidden to all men but to whom she has now been designated. Having become a legal wife her status could only be changed by divorce or death (cf. Matt 1:19). By the first century tradition had standardized the betrothal period to not exceed twelve months for a virgin (Ketubot 5:2). Following the betrothal period the marriage was completed by the groom taking his bride into a private chamber and consummating the marriage. There was no formal wedding ceremony as such. For more information see my article Marriage in Ancient Israel.

to Joseph: Grk. Iōsēph. See verse 16 above. before: Grk. prin, adv., before. their: pl. of Grk. autos, person pronoun. coming together: Grk. sunerchomai, aor. inf., to come together as a collection of persons, but used here idiomatically of sexual relations. The point is that Joseph and Miriam did not have sex prior to the birth of Yeshua, although from a physical point of view there would have been no impediment to intimate relations. This statement does not mean that Joseph never saw Miriam naked before her delivery, but the apostolic writers purposely avoid mention of this aspect of their relationship.

she was found: Grk. heuriskō, aor. pass., to come upon by seeking, to find, or to discover by virtue of something happening. having a child: Grk. echō, pres. part., to have, hold or possess with a wide range of application. in: Grk. en, prep. the womb: Grk. gastēr, the region of the body containing the stomach and the womb. The verb "having" combined with the noun "womb" is used idiomatically for being pregnant. This point in the chronology no doubt occurs after Miriam's return from her visit with Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56). At that time she would have been three months pregnant (Luke 1:56).

The clause "found having in the womb" means that Miriam was far enough along in her pregnancy for it to be noticeable. At 12 weeks the top of the uterus has grown up and out of the pelvic cavity. Shortly thereafter this significant change usually signals the beginnings of the visible "baby bump." However, given the kind of clothing women wore in ancient times the "bump" could be hidden longer so she would not be immediately "found" to be pregnant by neighbor women. But, within a few weeks if her "baby bump" hadn't been noticed women would soon become aware that Miriam had stopped menstruating.

While menstruation was a very private matter among women, a menstruating woman separated herself during that week. She would not have any physical contact with her husband (Lev 15:19). During her menstrual period, a Jewish woman was relieved of many of her normal household duties. She did not have to go to the marketplace. She did not have sexual intercourse. The days of her menstrual period were regarded as a time out, a time for herself. Though not required by the Torah the woman would wash thoroughly after the flow of blood ceased. When David first saw Bathsheba she was washing herself after her monthly period (2Sam 11:2-5).

At some point Jewish women began using a special pool of clean water, called a mikveh, for ritual bathing. The origin of the mikveh is unknown, but its use was well-established in Jewish society by the first century. Each small community had its mikveh, and towns and cities had large numbers of them, some public, some private. The mikveh pool had to be designed and built a special way, so that it had enough headroom under water to allow complete immersion by squatting. The mikveh would have a supplementary tank for gathering clean rain water and a small pool at the entrance for washing hair, hands and feet before entering the main pool.

The purpose of the monthly bathing in the mikveh was for physical and spiritual cleanliness. The washing of the body was a tangible way for a woman to renew herself, refreshing mental, emotional and physical energies. It was a ritual that periodically gave a woman the feeling of a fresh start. The rules of ritual cleanliness meant that most people were obliged to wash themselves, wash their clothes, and put on clean clothes at frequent intervals. Since Miriam had no menstruation after she returned from Hebron she was soon found out and somebody reported the matter to Joseph.

from: Grk. ek, prep. the Holy: Grk. hagios, adj., set apart for dedication to the interests or expectations of God. The Greek text omits the definite article, but in the Hebraic sense the article is not needed since hagios is part of a name, not a title. In the LXX hagios translates Heb. qadosh (SH-6918), separate, sacred, holy (DNTT 2:224; BDB 872). Qadosh is first used of God in Leviticus 11:44. Spirit: Grk. pneuma for Heb. ruach, without the definite article. The specific name "Holy Spirit" (Ruach Qodesh) occurs only three times in the Tanakh (Ps 51:11; Isa 63:10, 11).

The Holy Spirit is identified by three other forms in the Tanakh (Ruach Elohim, Gen 1:2; Ruach YHVH, Jdg 3:10; Ruach Adonai YHVH, Isa 61:1). For this name of God Messianic Jewish versions (CJB, HNV, MW, TLV, OJB) transliterate the noun Qodesh phonetically as ha-Kodesh, with "ha" serving as a definite article. This form mimics the English translation, but not reflect the Hebrew text of passages that mention the Spirit of God. All of the passages indicate that the Holy Spirit is divine, not less or other than God. Matthew's narrative concurs with Luke that conception was accomplished by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).

19 And Joseph her husband, being righteous, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, purposed to dismiss her secretly.

And: Grk. de, conj. Joseph: Grk. Iōsēph. See verse 16 above. her: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. husband: Grk. ho anēr. See verse 16 above. The phrase is lit. "husband of her," which makes an important distinction. In the Tanakh and in Jewish culture a man possessed his wife; a woman did not possess her husband. The reference emphasizes again that Miriam belonged to Joseph as his wife, even though betrothed. being: Grk. eimi, pres. part. See the previous verse. righteous: Grk. dikaios, adj., that is, being in accord with Torah standards for acceptable behavior, upright or just. Joseph was a man who lived by God's commandments, and in accordance with those standards he was also a man of compassion.

and: Grk. kai, conj. not: Grk. , adv. wanting: Grk. thelō, pres. part., to have a desire for something or have a purpose for something; will, wish, desire. to disgrace her publicly: Grk. deigmatizō, aor. inf., to expose, make an example of, make a show of. purposed: Grk. boulomai, aor., may mean (1) have in one's mind; wish, want, desire; or (2) reach a decision upon deliberation; intend, decide, plan, will. The second meaning applies here. to dismiss: Grk. apoluō, aor. inf., set free or release. See my article Divorce in the Bible. her: Grk. autos. secretly: Grk. lathra, adv., without public exposure. There was no such thing as a "secret" divorce because bills of divorce had to be approved by rabbis and presented in front of witnesses. However, a divorce would be more "secret" than charging her before a court.

20 But having considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him by means of a dream, saying, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Miriam your wife, for the one having been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

But: Grk. de, conj. having considered: Grk. enthumeomai, aor. pass. part., direct intense attention to, to ponder or to dwell on. these things: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. For Joseph coming to a decision was complicated. He knew Miriam's character, which was probably why he was attracted to her, and why he hesitated in taking action. The news of her pregnancy was confusing. He knew he wasn't the father. If he exposed her there would be a scandal, probably a formal trial. Since the charge of adultery carried the death penalty by stoning they would have to appear before the local Bet Din of Twenty-three.

Since Joseph and Miriam were betrothed the baby would be presumed to be his. If he were to give Miriam the benefit of the doubt he would have to ask her whether she had been raped or seduced. Four to five months pregnant would argue against the defense of rape (cf. Deut 22:13-21). Eliminating that possibility would leave seduction or an affair. Proving the baby was not his would require an admission from Miriam, because his word alone would not be enough. What a mess!

behold: Grk. idou, aor. mid. imp. of eidon, the inflected aorist form of horaō ("to see") and functions as a demonstrative particle. In communities accustomed to oral communication, idou would serve to nuance a narrative reduced to writing, especially to focus on exceptional moments in the narrative (Danker). an angel: Grk. angelos means messenger, whether human or heavenly. In the LXX angelos translates Heb. malak (SH-4397), which means messenger, representative, courier or angel, first in Genesis 16:7. The decision to translate malak or angelos as angel or human relies primarily on the context. Given the double meaning of malak/angelos Scripture often adds an appropriate description to confirm the messenger as angelic. See my article The Host of Heaven.

of the Lord: Grk. kurios may mean either (1) 'one in control through possession,' and therefore owner or master; or (2) 'one esteemed for authority or high status,' thus lord or master. In the LXX kurios occurs over 9,000 times, principally to translate Heb. words for God. In the overwhelming majority of instances (over 6,000 times), kurios replaces the Hebrew tetragrammaton YHVH (DNTT 2:511). appeared: Grk. phainō, aor. pass., being in a state or condition of being visible or observed, to shine or to appear.

to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. by means of: Grk. kata, prep., the root meaning is "down," but with the noun following being in the accusative case the preposition means "according to" or "by means of" (Thayer). a dream: Grk. onar, a series of thoughts, images or emotions occurring during sleep, a dream. In biblical times God often used dreams and visions to communicate His will, provide personal guidance and to portend the future. saying: Grk. legō, pres. part. The verb at this point serves to introduce quoted material since biblical manuscripts did not employ quotation marks.

Joseph: Grk. Iōsēph. See verse 16 above. son: Grk. huios. See verse 1 above. of David: Grk. David. See verse 1 above. The angel acknowledges the testimony of Jewish genealogical records, that Joseph had descended from King David. do not: Grk. , adv., particle of negation. be afraid: Grk. phobeō, aor. pass. subj., to fear. to take: Grk. paralambō, aor. inf., to take to one's side. Miriam: Grk. Mariam. See verse 16 above. your: Grk. su, second person pronoun. wife: Grk. gunē, an adult female person, without respect to age or social status except as defined in the context. In the LXX gunē renders the Heb. ishshah ("woman").

In Scripture when a woman belongs to one man with the expectation of intimate relations (Gen 2:21-22), the Hebrew or Greek word is translated as "wife." Many versions say "as your wife," but there is no "as" in the Greek text. The narrative acknowledges that Miriam was Joseph's legal wife, but he had yet to "take" her in physical consummation and they weren't living together. However, now Joseph is instructed to complete the marriage according to law. In ordinary circumstances the groom would take the bride into a room or his house for consummation.

Although not mentioned here Jewish custom for taking a wife in the first century included preparation and presentation of a ketubah. The ketubah was a written contract that specified the bride's dowry and a husband's obligation towards his wife, including clothing and conjugal rights. The ketubah specified a settlement amount, payable to the wife on the husband's death or divorce, specified in Jewish law as 200 zuzim (Hebrew silver coins) for a virgin bride (Ketubot 1:2). This amount was the equivalent of financial support for a year. The ketubah became a lien against his property and security for the wife. Often the ketubah was prepared by a rabbi.

The ketubah would be read aloud in the company of witnesses before consummation. The completion of the ketubah shows that the bride and groom viewed marriage as more than a physical and emotional joining, but as a legal and moral commitment according to biblical law and custom. The acceptance of the ketubah by the bride signaled her readiness to proceed with consummation of the marriage.

After consummation a feast was normally held to celebrate the nuptials (Gen 29:22; Jdg 14:10; Matt 22:2; Luke 12:36; 14:8; John 2:1-2). By custom the wedding feast would generally last a week, while the bridal days extended over a full month in order to receive gifts. However, this situation was not ordinary and Matthew is silent on whether normal customs were followed.

for: Grk. gar, conj. the one: Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. having been conceived: Grk. gennaō, aor. pass. part. See verse 2 above. in: Grk. en, prep. her: Grk. autos. is: Grk. eimi, pres. from: Grk. ek, prep. the Holy Spirit: See the previous verse. The narrative emphasizes that a living person had been implanted into Miriam's womb.

The Naming of the Messiah, 1:21-24

21 And she will bear a son; and you will call the name of him Yeshua, for he will save the people of him from their sins."

And: Grk. de, conj. she will bear: Grk. tiktō, fut. mid., to cause to come into being, to give birth to, bear. The verb reflects two important facts. First, the incarnation of God into flesh (John 1:14) required the cooperation of a woman. Miriam's womb was not just a vessel that housed a divine organism, but her DNA was fused with divine DNA to produce a genuine God-man. The verb also indicates that not only would Miriam carry the baby the normal nine months, but would deliver a healthy child. a son: Grk. huios, a male offspring or descendant, whether by direct birth or by more remote ancestry.

In the LXX huios renders Heb. ben ("son," "son of"), which is used in three distinctive ways: (1) to identify direct paternity, as the son of his father (Gen 5). (2) to mean not the actual father but a more distant ancestor (e.g., Gen 32:32), as Yeshua is referred to as the son of David and Abraham (verse 1 above); or (3) to mean in a broader sense of having the characteristics of (e.g., Ps 89:22; Dan 3:25; cf. 2Th 2:3), and this too applies here. Miriam's firstborn child would be a boy, the hope of every Jewish mother. A son was insurance for future security.

and: Grk. kai, conj. you will call: Grk. kaleō, fut., to identify by name or give a term to; call. the name: Grk. onoma is used in its central sense of identifying someone. In Hebrew literature it also carries the extended sense of qualities, powers, attributes or reputation. of him: Grk. autos, pers. pron. Yeshua: See verse 1. for: Grk. gar, conj. he will save: Grk. sōzō, fut. (from saos, 'free from harm'), to deliver, or rescue from a hazardous condition, often in the sense of bodily infirmity (Matt 9:21, 22), bodily harm (Matt 14:30), as well from spiritual peril (Acts 11:14).

In the LXX sōzō translates no less than 15 different Hebrew verbs, but the most important yasha, to deliver and save (1Sam 23:5), and malat, to escape, deliver, save (1Kgs 1:12). Two important principles may be noted in the Tanakh. First, deliverance may come about through men, though possessing limitations (e.g., Gideon, Jdg 7:2). Second, the pious Israelite was aware of the fact that deliverance comes ultimately from God himself (Ps 18:2; 44:3). It is by His power and name that foes are vanquished and evil defeated. In the Besekh sōzō frequently refers to rescue from spiritual peril, including deliverance from Messianic judgment on the Day of the Lord (Matt 24:13; Rom 5:9; 1Cor 5:5, 10).

the people: Grk. laos, a group of humans, understood geographically or ethnically and in Scripture often viewed in contrast with the ruling class. The term corresponds to the Heb. am-ha'aretz, "people of the land," i.e., the people of Israel. of him: i.e., Yeshua. This promise was made concerning Jews, not to mankind in general or to the Christian Church in particular. Gentiles only receive the benefit of the saving action by virtue of being grafted into the Jewish root (Rom 11). from: Grk. apo, prep. their: pl. of Grk. autos, pers. pron., lit. "of them." The benefit is for others, not for himself.

sins: pl. of Grk. hamartia may mean (1) misdeed that creates liability for the agent; (2) the condition of being sinful; or (3) an invasive evil power. In most passages hamartia refers to an action or behavior, a departure from the way of righteousness as defined by Scripture. Hamartia is the dominant word for sin in the apostolic writings. In Greek culture hamartia meant to miss, to miss the mark, to lose, not share in something, be mistaken. A mistake is the result of ignorance. Hamartia essentially meant to fail and could mean anything from stupidity to law-breaking, anything that offends against the right, that does not conform to the dominant ethic, to the respect due to social order and to the polis (DNTT 3:577).

In contrast to the Greeks the Jews invested hamartia with a strong moral component. In the LXX hamartia translates a whole range of Hebrew words for guilt and sin, particularly Heb. chata (lapse, sin). In the Tanakh a sin is an offense against the religious and moral law of God. In ancient Israel sin was tantamount to rejecting God's covenant. Hamartia is not displaying the imperfections that separate humanity from divinity, but violating the clear instructions of God. The degree of intentionality is not a factor in defining sinful behavior, only whether the express requirements or prohibitions of Torah commandments have been violated.

Religious people may erect their own codes for determining sinful behavior, but God's judgment is based strictly on the commandments He gave and recorded in Scripture. Being saved means full and complete deliverance from the wages of sin. For more discussion on this subject see my web article What is Sin?

22 Now all this took place in order to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,

Now: Grk. de, conj. all: Grk. holos, adj., understood as a signifier of a complete unit, though not necessarily indicative of every individual part, thus 'all,' 'whole' or 'entire.' this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pron. took place: Grk. ginomai, perf., come to be, become, take place, happen or occur. in order to: Grk. hina, conj. used to add an idea that completes an intention expressed. fulfill: Grk. plēroō, aor. pass. subj., may mean (1) cause to abound in content to a maximum, fill; or (2) to bring to fruition or completion, complete, fulfill, fill up, carry out. The second meaning applies here. The point is the in the immediate situation the impregnating of Miriam is the result of a chain of events that could go back to the first verse of the chapter, i.e., the covenant with Abraham and the promise of a Seed.

what was spoken: Grk. legō, aor. pass. part., to make a statement or utterance, whether oral or written, here the former. by the Lord: Grk. kurios may mean either (1) 'one in control through possession,' and therefore owner or master; or (2) 'one esteemed for authority or high status,' thus lord or master. In the LXX kurios occurs over 9,000 times, principally to translate Heb. words for God. In the overwhelming majority of instances (over 6,000 times), kurios replaces the Heb. tetragrammaton YHVH. In addition, kurios stands in for the divine titles Adonai, Elohim, El and Eloah (DNTT 2:511).

Using kurios for YHVH is not translation as it is for Adonai ('lord'), but an interpretative substitution that encompassed all that the Hebrew text implied by use of the divine name. YHVH is the Creator and Lord of the whole universe, of men, Lord of life and death. Above all He is the God of Israel and His covenant people. By choosing kurios for YHVH the LXX also emphasized the idea of legal authority. Because YHVH delivered His people from Egypt and chose them as His possession, He is the legitimate Lord of Israel.

through: Grk. dia, prep. that conveys instrumentality; by means of, through. the prophet: Grk. prophētēs, one who is gifted with the ability for interpretation or revelation transcending normal insight or awareness, i.e., a prophet. In ancient Greek culture the word-group always had a religious meaning and referred to one who predicts or tells beforehand (DNTT 3:76). In Scripture the term "prophet" refers to one who spoke on God's behalf, whether in foretelling or forth-telling. The record of the Tanakh indicates considerable variance in the activity and ministry of Hebrew prophets.

Some prophets left literary works that later became Scripture. Others left no writings. Some gave advice to kings. Some prophesied in worship settings. Some saw visions. Some proclaimed a message in startling symbolic actions. Some were gentle, some were fiery, some were confrontational, some worshipful, some full of joy, others full of sadness. But, they all spoke for God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2Pet 1:21). The apostolic writings assert the continuation and place of biblical prophecy, which would eventually be replaced in Rabbinic Judaism by the authority of the Sages (Baba Bathra 12a; cf. John 8:53).

saying: Grk. lego, aor. pass. part. The verb at this point serves to introduce quoted material of Isaiah since biblical manuscripts did not employ quotation marks.

23 "Behold, the virgin will conceive in the womb and will bear a son, and they will call His name Emmanuel, which is translated "God with us."

The angel proceeds to quote Isaiah 7:14, an interesting detail in itself. Rarely does an angel quote Scripture, but it indicates that the angels know the content of the Bible. Behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp. See verse 20 above. The interjection serves to introduce a quotation from Isaiah 7:14. the virgin: Grk. parthenos, fem. noun, a woman beyond puberty who has never had sexual relations; maiden, virgin. In the LXX parthenos occurs 50 times and is used to translate three different Heb. words (1) almah, young woman of marriageable age and sexually a maiden; (2) betulah, an untouched maiden, a virgin, and (3) na'erah, young girl (DNTT 3:1071).

will conceive: Grk. echō, fut., lit. "will have." See verse 18 above. in: Grk. en, prep. womb: Grk. gastēr". See verse 18 above. and: Grk. kai, conj. will bear: Grk. tiktō, fut. mid. See verse 21 above. a son: Grk. huios. See verse 21 above. The identification of chastity is meant to imply fulfillment of the prophecy,

"Therefore the Lord Himself shall give to you a sign: 'Behold, a virgin [Heb. ha-almah; LXX parthenos] will conceive and bear a son, and you shall call his name Immanuel'" (Isa 7:14 BR; LXX/MT).

However, considerable controversy resulted in 1952 when the Revised Standard Version ignored the LXX and translated almah in the Isaiah passage with "young woman." Other versions later followed suit (CEB, ERV, GNB, NET, NRSV). Almah occurs seven times in the Hebrew Bible (also Gen 24:43; Ex 2:8; Ps 68:25; Prov 30:19; SS 1:3; 6:8) and always refers to an unmarried woman of good reputation (Stern 6). The context of the Isaiah passage clearly applies the meaning of betulah, an untouched maiden, to almah.

In the LXX parthenos only translates almah two times, the other passage being is Genesis 24:43, which pertains to Rebecca who is clearly identified as a virgin in verse 16. While some who object to the virgin birth insist that Isaiah only prophesied a birth for King Ahaz, the fuller context of the passage indicates that the promised sign was for the entire house of David (Isa 7:13).

Matthew's use of parthenos gives "virgin" as the meaning of almah in Isaiah 7:14. Kaiser notes that the Hebrew noun in Isaiah 7:14 is ha-almah, which speaks not of "a virgin" but "the virgin," a special one God has in mind (Kaiser-Messiah 160). Kaiser also points out that there are no ancient documents that use almah to refer to a woman who is definitely not a virgin. The promise of a virgin giving birth is an important Messianic prophecy, and therefore theologically important.

The reader should note that being a virgin says nothing of her age. A girl became accountable to the Torah (Heb. bat mitzvah, "daughter of the commandment") and thus treated as an adult when she became twelve years and a day old (Baba Kama 15a; Ketubot 39a; Kiddushin. 63b; Niddah 5:6; Yoma 8:3). Adulthood for a girl was not only determined by age but also by her having passed through puberty, that is possessing breasts and pubic hair (Kidd. 81b; Ezek 16:7-8; cf. SS 8:8).

Since marriages were often arranged by parents a girl could be selected for her future husband before bat mitzvah. Talmudic literature does speak of the typical age of marriage for males as 18 (Avot 5:21), but marriage might also take place anywhere from 16-24 years of age (Kidd. 29b-30a). Scholars generally assume Miriam's age to be between 12 and 15, but elements of the narrative (such as no mention of Miriam's parents, her lengthy trip to visit Elizabeth, Elizabeth's respect for Miriam, and Miriam's knowledge of Scripture) suggest an older age.

and: Grk. kai, conj. The conjunction continues the quotation from Isaiah 7:14. they will call: Grk. kaleō, fut., 3p-pl. See verse 21 above. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. name: Grk. onoma. See verse 21 above. Emmanuel: Grk. Emmanouēl transliterates the Heb. Immanu'el. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 18 above. translated: Grk. methermēneuō, pres. pass. part., to translate, or render a term from one language into another. The verb emphasizes that the Book was written for a primarily Jewish audience, so Matthew translates a familiar Jewish word for Gentiles who may not have understood it. The verb occurs not at all in the LXX, but does occur in the prologue (30) to Sirach and in Josephus (Ant. VIII, 5:3) (DNTT 1:580).

God: Grk. theos, the God of Israel. In secular Greek writings a number of deities, always represented in anthropomorphic form, were called theos. In ancient polytheistic culture theos was not one omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Creator and ruler of the universe and certainly not spirit as described in Scripture (John 4:24). In the LXX theos renders the generic designations of God, El (over 200 times) and Elohim (over 2300 times), as well as the tetragrammaton YHVH, over 300 times (DNTT 2:67-70).

As with many other Greek words the LXX infused new meaning into theos. The only God in existence is the God who chose Israel out of all the nations on the earth (Isa 44:6; 45:5-6, 14, 18, 21; 46:9), making Him the "God of Israel" an expression that occurs 199 times in the Tanakh and two times in the Besekh (Matt 15:31; Luke 1:68). All the other deities worshipped by religions in the world are the product of Satan-inspired imagination.

with: Grk. meta, prep., in company with. us: pl. of Grk. egō, first person pronoun. The pronoun "us" refers to Israel. Matthew explains the meaning of Immanu'el, not found in Isaiah 7:14, to any Gentile readers. The name is formed from immanu "with us" and El "God" and both words may be found in Isaiah 8:10. Yeshua was not addressed by this name during his earthly life, but the name is prophetic of his mission. Calling Yeshua "Immanuel" is consistent with the Tanakh, which uses several names to refer to the Messiah: "Shiloh" (Gen 49:10), "Branch" (Isa 11:1), "Sprout" (Jer 23:5, 33:15), and the longest, "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isa 9:6).

Nevertheless, the reality of Immanuel's meaning is expressed in three ways in the Besekh. When Yeshua gives the Great Commission he promises to be with his disciples until the end of the age (Matt 28:20). Then the apostle Paul typically closes a letter with an assurance or a wish that the Messiah would be with the recipients (Rom 16:24; 1Cor 16:23; 2Cor 13:14; Gal 6:18; Php 4:23; 1Th 5:28; 2Th 3:16; 2Tim 4:22; Phm 1:25). Then in Revelation 21:3 God promises to dwell with His people on earth in the age to come.

Matthew's explanation may also represent a play on words, since the Syrian king Antiochus IV, the proto-type anti-messiah, bore the surname Epiphanes, which meant "Illustrious" or "Manifest," as a reference to the god Zeus. In other words, the functional meaning of Epiphanes is "God with us." That Antiochus was deified is revealed in Josephus who records a letter written from certain Samaritans to Antiochus, which begins "To king Antiochus the god, Epiphanes" (Ant. XII, 5:5).

24 And Joseph, having been awakened from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Miriam his wife;

And: Grk. de, conj. Joseph: See verse 16 above. having been awakened: Grk. egeirō, aor. pass. part., to rise from a recumbent or lower position, to awaken or rouse. from: Grk. apo, prep. his sleep: Grk. hupnos, sleep in the normal sense of slumber. he did: Grk. poieō, a verb of physical action that may refer to (1) producing something material; make, construct, produce, create; or (2) to be active in bringing about a state of condition; do, act, perform, work. The second meaning applies here. as: Grk. hōs, adv. the angel of the Lord: See verse 20 above.

commanded: Grk. prostassō, aor., to give an authoritative directive, to enjoin, order or prescribe. Joseph knew that the dream he had experienced was out of the ordinary. A heavenly personage spoke to him and he treated the instruction of the angel as a direct command of God. him and took: Grk. paralambanō, aor., to receive to one's side; take, receive; or to cause to go along; take. Miriam: See verse 16 above. as his wife: Grk. gunē. See verse 20 above.

As Stern points out, the act of Joseph taking Miriam into his home meant that he was declaring the child in her womb to be his. According to Jewish law of the time, "If one says, 'This is my son,' he is to be believed" (Baba Bathra 8:6). The Sages explain that he is believed "as regards the right of heirship" (B.B. 134a). Thus Yeshua, as a legally acknowledged son, is entitled to inherit the throne of King David from Joseph, a descendant of David (verses 1 and 20 above).

25 And he knew her not until she had brought forth to a son. And he called the name of him, Yeshua.

And: Grk. kai, conj. he knew: Grk. ginōskō, impf., to know and in this context with the meaning of to know sexually or be sexually intimate. The imperfect tense describes continuous or repeated action in past time and is appropriate for the situation described here. her: Grk. autē, fem. pers. pron. not: Grk. ou, adv., particle of strong negation. until: Grk. heōs, adv. See verse 17 above. she had brought forth: Grk. tiktō, aor. See verse 21 above. a son: Grk. huios. See verse 21 above. Matthew reports that the marriage remained unconsummated until after Miriam gave birth to Yeshua. Actually, there would have been no physical impediment to intimate relations during pregnancy, but the special circumstances persuaded Joseph that he should wait to claim his marital rights. Even then, Torah regulation determined a woman to be unclean for 40 days from the birth of a boy and 80 days from the birth of a girl, so a man could not touch his wife during that period (Lev 12:1-8).

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Miriam remained a virgin all her life and that the "brothers" and "sisters" of Yeshua (Matt 13:55-56; Mark 6:3) were cousins. This unbiblical doctrine ignores the nature of Jewish culture. Only in later Christianity was celibacy prized as a part of asceticism until finally at the Council of Trent the Catholic Church compounded its error by making celibacy of greater value than marriage. However, marriage has been God's normative pattern for men and women since Creation and both Yeshua and Paul expressed a high view of marriage (Matt 19:4-6; Eph 5:22-33; 1Tim 5:14; Heb 13:4). Paul pointedly labels any forbidding of marriage as a demonic doctrine (1Tim 4:1-3).

According to the Torah sexual relations between spouses is first a right and an obligation (Ex 21:10). Applying the Torah principle Paul declared that a husband and wife may not deny each other sex without mutual agreement, even for spiritual reasons (1Cor 7:3-5). Spouses also recognize that marriage is the exclusive relationship designed for sexual intimacy between people. A husband must find his sexual satisfaction only in his wife's body to the exclusion of others (Prov 5:15-19; SS 2:16; Eph 5:29; Heb 13:4). Indeed, a loving husband nourishes and cherishes his wife's body (Eph 5:29). For Joseph and Miriam sexual consummation of the marriage would have been a normal expectation and eagerly anticipated. Sexual congress within marriage was such a normal expectation in Jewish culture that Talmudic scholars even defined the manner and frequency of marital relations (Ket. 48a; 61b; 63a; Ned. 20b).

And: Grk. kai, conj. he called the name of him: For this clause see verse 21 above. Yeshua: For the blessed name, see verse 1 above. The simple sentence reflects an obedient heart. The angel had given direction and Joseph carried it out. Of course, he would no doubt learn from Miriam that she had received the same instruction (Luke 1:31). It's not likely that the couple comprehended at the moment of naming that the meaning of their son's name portended death in order to accomplish salvation for the nation of Israel, but they would have grasped the name as a fulfillment of covenantal promises.

Works Cited

BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.

BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981. Online.

Barker: William P. Barker, Everyone In the Bible. Fleming H. Revell Co., 1966.

BBMS: Henry Morris, Biblical Basis for Modern Science. Baker Book House, 1984.

Danker: Frederick William Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. The University of Chicago Press, 2009.

DNTT: Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 Vols. Colin Brown, ed. Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.

Ellicott: Charles John Ellicott (1819–1905), Commentary for English Readers (1878). Online.

Gale: Aaron M. Gale, Annotations on "Matthew," Jewish Annotated New Testament, eds. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Gill: John Gill (1697-1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible. Online. [Baptist Bible scholar]

Ginzberg: Louis Ginzberg (1873-1953), The Legends of the Jews, 1909. [Ginzberg was professor of Talmud at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.]

GNT: The Greek New Testament, eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Bruce M. Metzger, & Allen Wiegren. American Bible Society, 1966. [NA25]

HBD: Holman Bible Dictionary. Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1991. Online.

HELPS: Gleason L. Archer and Gary Hill, eds., The Discovery Bible New Testament: HELPS Word Studies. Moody Press, 1987, 2011. (Online at

Kaiser-Messiah: Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. The Messiah in the Old Testament. Zondervan Pub. House, 1995.

Kaiser-Promise: Walter C. Kaiser, The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments. Zondervan, 2008.

Keil: C.F. Keil (1807-1888), 1 Chronicles. Trans. James Martin. Commentary on the Old Testament (C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, 1866-1891), Vol. 3. Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Online.

Metzger: Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. 2nd ed. United Bible Societies, 1994.

NIBD: Nelson's Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible. Herbert Lockyer, ed. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986.

Rashi: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaqi (1040-1105), Commentary on the Tanakh. Online. (French rabbi, rabbinical judge and commentator)

Stern: David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary. 5th ed. Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., 1996.

Varner: William C. Varner, Jacob's Dozen. The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1987.

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