Matthew 1




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The genealogy of Christ divided into three classes of fourteen

generations each: The first fourteen, from Abraham to David,


The second fourteen, from Solomon to Jechonias, 7-10.

The third fourteen, from Jechonias to Christ, 11-16.

The sum of these generations, 17.

Christ is conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin

Mary, when she was espoused to Joseph, 18.

Joseph's anxiety and doubts are removed by the ministry of an

Angel, 19, 20;

by whom the child is named JESUS, 21.

The fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah relative to this,

22, 23.

Joseph takes home his wife, Mary, and Christ is born, 24, 25.


Verse 1. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ] I

suppose these words to have been the original title to this

Gospel; and that they signify, according to the Hebrew

Phraseology, not only the account of the genealogy of Christ, as

detailed below, but the history of his birth, acts, sufferings,

death, resurrection, and ascension.

The phrase, book of the generation, sepher toledoth,

is frequent in the Jewish writings, and is translated by the

Septuagint, βιβλοςγενεσεως, as here, by the evangelist; and

regularly conveys the meaning given to it above; e. g. This is the

book of the generations of Adam, Ge 5:1. That is, the account of

the life of Adam and certain of his immediate descendants. Again.

These are the generations of Jacob, Ge 37:2. That is, the account

or history of Jacob, his son Joseph, and the other remarkable

branches of the family. And again. These are the generations of

Aaron and Moses, Nu 3:1. That is, the history of the life and

acts of these persons, and some of their immediate descendants.

The same form of expression is also used, Ge 2:4, when giving the

history of the creation of heaven and earth.

Some have translated βιβλοςγενεσεως, The book of the genealogy;

and consider it the title of this chapter only; but the former

opinion seems better founded.

Jesus Christ] See on Mt 1:16, 21.

The son of David, the son of Abraham] No person ever born could

boast, in a direct line, a more illustrious ancestry than Jesus

Christ. Among his progenitors, the regal, sacerdotal, and

prophetic offices, existed in all their glory and splendour.

DAVID, the most renowned of sovereigns, was king and prophet:

ABRAHAM, the most perfect character in all antiquity, whether

sacred or profane, was priest and prophet: but the three offices

were never united except in the person of Christ; he alone was

prophet, priest, and king; and possessed and executed these

offices in such a supereminent degree as no human being ever did,

or ever could do. As the principal business of the prophet was to

make known the will of God to men, according to certain partial

communications received from Heaven; so Jesus, who lay in the

bosom of the Father, and who was intimately and thoroughly

acquainted with all the mysteries of the eternal world, came to

declare the Divine nature and its counsels to mankind; see

Joh 1:18.

As the business of the priest was to offer sacrifices to God, to

make atonement for the sins of the people; so Christ was

constituted a high priest, to make, by the sacrifice of himself,

an atonement for the sins of the whole world; see 1Jo 2:2, and

the whole Epistle to the Hebrews. As the office of king was to

reign over, protect, and defend the people committed to his care

by the Divine Providence; so Christ is set as a king upon Sion,

having the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of

the earth for his possession, Ps 2:6, 8, &c. Of the

righteousness, peace, and increase of whose government, there

shall be no end, Isa 9:7.

This three-fold office, Christ executes not only in a general

sense, in the world at large; but, in a particular sense, in

every Christian soul. He is first a prophet, to teach the heart

of man the will of God; to convict the conscience of sin,

righteousness, and judgment; and fully to illustrate the way of

salvation. He is next a priest, to apply that atonement to the

guilty conscience, the necessity of which, as a prophet, he had

previously made known. And lastly, as a king, he leads captivity

captive, binds and casts out the strong man armed, spoils his

goods, extends the sway of the sceptre of righteousness, subdues

and destroys sin, and reigns Lord over all the powers and

faculties of the human soul; so that AS sin reigned unto death,

EVEN so does grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life,

by Jesus Christ our Lord. Ro 5:21.

It is remarkable, that the evangelist names David before

Abraham, though the latter was many generations older: the reason

seems to be this, that David was not only the most illustrious of

our Lord's predecessors, as being both king and prophet; but

because that promise, which at first was given to Abraham, and

afterwards, through successive generations, confirmed to the

Jewish people, was at last determined and restricted to the family

of David. Son of David, was an epithet by which the Messiah was

afterwards known among the Jews; and, under this title, they were

led to expect him by prophetic authority. See Ps 89:3, 4;

Ps 132:10, 11, compared with Ac 13:23, and Isa 11:1;

Jer 23:5.

Christ was prophesied of under the very name of David.

See Eze 34:23, 24; 37:24, 25.

Verse 2. Abraham begat Isaac] In this genealogy, those persons

only, among the ancestors of Christ, which formed the direct line,

as specified: hence no mention is made of Ishmael, the son of

Abraham, nor of Esau, the son of Isaac; and of all the twelve

patriarchs, or sons of Jacob, Judah alone is mentioned.

Verse 3. Phares and Zara] The remarkable history of these

twins may be seen, Gen. 38: Some of the ancients were of opinion,

that the evangelist refers to the mystery of the youngest being

preferred to the eldest, as prefiguring the exaltation of the

Christian Church over the synagogue. Concerning the women whose

names are recorded in this genealogy, see the note at the end of

the chapter.

Verse 8. Joram begat Ozias] This is the Uzziah, king of Judah,

who was struck with the leprosy for his presumption in entering

the temple to offer incense before the Lord. See 2Ch 26:16, &c.

Ozias was not the immediate son of Joram: there were three kings

between them, Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah, which swell the

fourteen generations to seventeen: but it is observed that

omissions of this kind are not uncommon in the Jewish genealogies.

In Ezr 7:3,

Azariah is called the son of Meraioth, although it is evident,

from 1Ch 6:7-9,

that there were six descendants between them. This circumstance

the evangelist was probably aware of; but did not see it proper to

attempt to correct what he found in the public accredited

genealogical tables; as he knew it to be of no consequence to his

argument, which was merely to show that Jesus Christ as surely

descended, in an uninterrupted line from David, as David did from

Abraham. And this he has done in the most satisfactory manner;

nor did any person in those days pretend to detect any inaccuracy

in his statement; though the account was published among those

very people whose interest it was to expose the fallacy, in

vindication of their own obstinate rejection of the Messiah, if

any such fallacy could have been proved. But as they were silent,

modern and comparatively modern unbelievers may for ever hold

their peace. The objections raised on this head are worthy of no

regard; yet the following statement deserves notice.

St. Matthew took up the genealogies just as he found them in the

public Jewish records, which, though they were in the main

correct, yet were deficient in many particulars. The Jews

themselves give us sufficient proof of this. The Talmud, title

Kiddushim, mentions ten classes of persons who returned from the

Babylonish captivity: I. COHANEY, priests. II. LEVEY,

Levites. III. YISHRAEL, Israelites. IV.

CHULULEY, common persons, as to the priesthood; such whose fathers

were priests, but their mothers were such as the priests should

not marry. V. GIREY, proselytes. VI. CHARUREY,

freed-men, or servants who had been liberated by their masters.

VII. MAMZIREY, spurious, such as were born in unlawful

wedlock. VIII. NETHINEY, Nethinim. IX.

SHETUKEY, bastards, persons whose mothers, though well known,

could not ascertain the fathers of their children, because of

their connections with different men. X. ASUPHEY, such as

were gathered up out of the streets, whose fathers and mothers

were utterly unknown. Such was the heterogeneous mass brought up

from Babylon to Jerusalem; and although we learn from the Jews,

that great care was taken to separate the spurious from the

true-born Israelites, and canons were made for that purpose, yet

it so happened, that sometimes a spurious family had got into high

authority, and therefore must not be meddled with. See several

cases in Lightfoot. On this account, a faithful genealogist would

insert in his roll such only as were indisputable. "It is

therefore easy to guess," says Dr. Lightfoot, "whence Matthew took

the last fourteen generations of this genealogy, and Luke the

first forty names of his: namely, from the genealogical rolls, at

that time well known, and laid up in the public κειμηλια,

repositories, and in the private also. And it was necessary

indeed, in so noble and sublime a subject, and a thing that would

be so much inquired into by the Jewish people, as the lineage of

the Messiah would be, that the evangelists should deliver a truth,

not only that could not be gainsayed, but also might be proved and

established from certain and undoubted rolls of ancestors." See

Horae Talmudicae.

Verse 11. Josias begat Jechonias, &c.] There are three

considerable difficulties in this verse.

1. Josias was not the father of Jechonias; he was only the

grandfather of that prince: 1Ch 3:14-16.

2. Jechonias had no brethren; at least, none are on record.

3. Josias died 20 years before the Babylonish captivity took

place, and therefore Jechonias and his brethren could not have

been begotten about the time they were carried away to Babylon.

To this way be added a fourth difficulty, viz. there are only

thirteen in this 2nd class of generations; or forty-one, instead

of forty-two, in the whole. But all these difficulties disappear,

by adopting a reading found in many MSS. ιοωσιαςδεεγεννησετος

ιωακειμ� ιωακειμδεεγεννησετονιεχονιαν. And Josias begat

JEHOIAKIM, or Joakim, and JOAKIM begat Jechonias. For this

reading, see the authorities in Griesbach. Josiah was the

immediate father of Jehoiakim (called also Eliakeim and Joakim)

and his brethren, who were Johanan, Zedekiah, and Shallum: see

1Ch 3:15.

Joakim was the father of Joachin or Jechonias, about the time of

the first Babylonish captivity: for we may reckon three Babylonish

captivities. The first happened in the fourth year of Joakim, son

of Josiah, about A. M. 3398. In this year, Nebuchadnezzar, having

taken Jerusalem, led a great number of captives to Babylon. The

second captivity happened under Jechoniah, son of Joakim; who,

having reigned three months, was taken prisoner in 3405, and was

carried to Babylon, with a great number of the Jewish nobility.

The third captivity took place under Zedekiah, A. M. 3416. And

thus, says Calmet, Mt 1:11 should be read:

Josias begat Joakim and his brethren: and Joakim begat Jechonias

about the time of the first Babylonish captivity; and Jechonias

begat Salathiel, after they were brought to Babylon. Thus, with

the necessary addition of Joakim, the three classes, each

containing fourteen generations, are complete. And to make this

the more evident, I shall set down each of these three generations

in a separate column, with the additional Joakim, that the reader

may have them all at one view.

1 Abraham 1 Solomon 1 Jechonias

2 Isaac 2 Rehoboam 2 Salathiel

3 Jacob 3 Abia 3 Zorobabel

4 Judah 4 Asa 4 Abiud

5 Pharez 5 Josaphat 5 Eliakim

6 Esrom 6 Joram 6 Azor

7 Aram 7 Ozias 7 Sadoc

8 Aminadab 8 Joatham 8 Achim

9 Naason 9 Achaz 9 Eliud

10 Salmon 10 Ezekias 10 Eleazar

11 Booz 11 Manasses 11 Matthan

12 Obed 12 Amon 12 Jacob

13 Jesse 13 Josias 13 Joseph

14 David 14 Joachim 14 JESUS

In all forty-two generations.

Verse 12. Jechonias begat Salathiel] After Jechonias was

brought to Babylon, he was put in prison by Nebuchadnezzar, where

he continued till the death of this prince, and the accession of

Evilmerodach, who brought him out of prison, in which he had been

detained thirty-seven years, and restored him to such favour that

his throne (seat) was exalted above all the kings which were with

him in Babylon: Jer 52:31, 32. But though he thus became a royal

favourite, he was never restored to his kingdom. And, according

to the prophecy of Jeremiah, Jer 22:30, no man of his seed

sat upon the throne of David; yet the regal line was continued

through his son Salathiel, who died in Babylon: but Zorobabel, his

son, returned from captivity, and by him the race of David was

continued, according to Matthew, by Abiud; and, according to Luke,

by Rhesa. See on Lu 3:23, &c.

The term carrying away to Babylon, μετοικεσια, from μετοικεω,

to change a habitation, or place of residence, would be more

properly translated by the word transportation, which is here

peculiarly appropriate: the change was not voluntary; they were

forced away.

Verse 16. Jesus, who is called Christ.] As the word χριστος

Christ, signifies the anointed or anointer, from χριω, to anoint,

it answers exactly to the Hebrew mashiach, which we pronounce

Messiah or Messias; this word comes from the root mashac,

signifying the same thing. As the same person is intended by both

the Hebrew and Greek appellation, it should be regularly

translated The Messiah, or The Christ; whichever is preferred, the

demonstrative article should never be omitted.

Priests, prophets, and kings, among the Jews, were anointed in

order to the legitimate exercise of their respective offices.

Hence the word χριστος Christ, or Mashiach, became a

name of dignity, and often signified the same as king.

See Isa 45:1; Ps 105:15; Le 4:3; 6:20; 1Sa 2:10.

The words Mashiach and melec, χριστος and

βασιλευς, Christ and king, are frequently interchanged.

1Sa 2:10; Ps 2:2, 6; Lu 23:2;

and see the Scholia of Rosenmuller on this place. The reason of

this may be seen in the following note, which I extract from the

comment on Ex 29:7.

"It appears from Isa 61:1,

that anointing with oil, in consecrating a person to any important

office, whether civil or religious, was considered as an emblem of

the communication of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit.

This ceremony was used on three occasions, viz. the installation

of prophets, priests, and kings, into their respective offices.

But why should such an anointing be deemed necessary? Because the

common sense of men taught them that all good, whether spiritual

or secular, must come from God, its origin and cause. Hence it

was taken for granted, 1. That no man could foretell events,

unless inspired by the Spirit of God. And therefore the prophet

was anointed, to signify the communication of the Spirit of wisdom

and knowledge. 2. That no person could offer an acceptable

sacrifice to God for the sins of men, or profitably minister in

holy things, unless enlightened, influenced, and directed, by the

Spirit of grace and holiness. Hence the priest was anointed, to

signify his being divinely qualified for the due performance of

his sacred functions. 3. That no man could enact just and

equitable laws, which should have the prosperity of the community

and the welfare of the individual continually in view, or could

use the power confided to him only for the suppression of vice and

the encouragement of virtue, but that man who was ever under the

inspiration of the Almighty. Hence kings were inaugurated by

anointing with oil. Two of these offices only exist in all

civilized nations, the sacerdotal and regal; and, in some

countries, the priest and king are still consecrated by anointing.

In the Hebrew language mashach signifies to anoint; and

mashiach, the anointed person. But as no man was ever

dignified by holding the three offices, so no person ever had the

title Mashiach, the anointed one, but Jesus, The CHRIST. He alone

is King of kings, and Lord of lords: the king who governs the

universe, and rules in the hearts of his followers; the prophet,

to instruct men in the way wherein they should go; and the great

high priest, to make atonement for their sins. Hence he is called

the Messias, a corruption of the word ha-mashiach, THE

anointed ONE, in Hebrew; which gave birth to οχριστος ho

Christos, which has precisely the same signification in Greek: of

him, Melchisedeck, Abraham, Aaron, David, and others, were

illustrious types. But none of these had the title of THE

MESSIAH, or THE ANOINTED OF GOD. This does, and ever will, belong

exclusively to JESUS, The CHRIST."

Verse 17. Fourteen generations] See Clarke on Mt 1:11.

The Jews had a sort of technical method of summing up generations in

this way. In Synopsis Sohar, p. 132, n. 18, we have the following

words; "From Abraham to Solomon were fifteen generations; and then

the moon was at the full. From Solomon to Zedekiah were other

fifteen generations; the moon was then in the wane, and Zedekiah's

eyes were put out." That is, the regal state came to its zenith

of light and glory in the time of Solomon; but decreased

gradually, till it became nearly extinct in the days of Zedekiah.

See Schoetgen.

Verse 18. Espoused to Joseph] The word μνηστευθεισης, from

μνηστευω, to contract, or betroth, refers to the previous

marriage agreement, in which the parties mutually bound themselves

to each other; without which, no woman was ever married among the

Jews. Among the Hindoos, a woman is espoused often a whole year,

and even longer before the marriage takes place.

Before they came together] The woman was espoused at her own,

or her father's house; and, generally, some time elapsed before

she was taken home to the house of her husband: De 20:7;

Jud 14:7, 8. This custom has been immemorially observed among

the inhabitants of Ireland, who have not only this, but many

Asiatic customs, which, added to various authentic historic

proofs, are collateral evidences that they received the Christian

religion, not from the popes of Rome, but through the means of

Asiatic missionaries.

Among the Jews, the espousal, though the marriage had not been

consummated, was considered as perfectly legal and binding on both

sides; and hence a breach of this contract was considered as a

case of adultery, and punished exactly in the same way. See

De 22:25, 28. Nor could a contract of this kind, though there

was no cohabitation, be broken but by a regular divorce, as Mr.

Selden, in his Uxor Hebraica, has proved at large from the Jewish


She was found with child] Her situation was the most

distressing and humiliating that can be conceived. Nothing but

the fullest consciousness of her own integrity, and the strongest

confidence in God, could have supported her in such trying

circumstances, where her reputation, her honour, and her life were

at stake. What conversation passed between her and Joseph, on

this discovery, we are not informed; but the issue proves that it

was not satisfactory to him: nor could he resolve to consider her

as his wife, till God had sent his angel to bear the most

unequivocal testimony to the virgin's innocence. His whole

conduct, on this occasion, was exceedingly benevolent and humane.

He might at once have taken the advantage of the law,

De 22:23, 24, and had her stoned to death.

Verse 19. To make her a public example] παραδειγματισαι, to

expose her to public infamy; from παρα, near, and δεικνυμαι, I

show, or expose; what is oddly, though emphatically, called in

England, showing up-exposing a character to public view. Though

Joseph was a righteous man, δικαιος, and knew that the law

required that such persons as he supposed his wife to be should be

put to death, yet, as righteousness is ever directed by mercy, he

determined to put her away or divorce her privately, i.e. without

assigning any cause, that her life might be saved; and, as the

offence was against himself, he had a right to pass it by if he

chose. Some have supposed that the term δικαιος should be

translated merciful, and it certainly often has this

signification; but here it is not necessary.

Verse 20. That which is conceived (or formed) in her] So I

think γεννηθεν should be translated in this place: as it appears

that the human nature of Jesus Christ was a real creation in the

womb of the virgin, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The angel of

the Lord mentioned here was probably the angel Gabriel, who, six

months before, bad been sent to Zacharias and Elisabeth, to

announce the birth of Christ's forerunner, John the Baptist.

See Lu 1:36.

Verse 21. JESUS] The same as Joshua, Yehoshua, from

yasha, he saved, delivered, put in a state of safety. See on

Ex 13:9; Nu 13:16,

and in the preface to Joshua.

He shall save his people from their sins.] This shall be his

great business in the world: the great errand on which he is come,

viz. to make an atonement for, and to destroy, sin: deliverance

from all the power, guilt, and pollution of sin, is the privilege

of every believer in Christ Jesus. Less than this is not spoken

of in the Gospel; and less than this would be unbecoming the

Gospel. The perfection of the Gospel system is not that it makes

allowances for sin, but that it makes an atonement for it: not

that it tolerates sin, but that it destroys it. In Mt 1:1, he

is called Jesus Christ, on which Dr. Lightfoot properly remarks,

"That the name of Jesus, so often added to the name of Christ in

the New Testament, is not only that Christ might be thereby

pointed out as the Saviour, but also that Jesus might be pointed

out as the true Christ or Messiah, against the unbelief of the

Jews." This observation will be of great use in numberless places

of the New Testament. See Ac 2:36; 8:35; 1Co 16:22; 1Jo 2:22;

1Jo 4:15, &c.

Verse 22. By the prophet] ISAIAH is added here by several

MSS., versions, and fathers. The prophecy is taken from Isa 7:14.

Verse 23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child] We have

already seen, from the preceding verse, that this prophecy is

taken from Isa 7:14; but it may be necessary to consider the

circumstances of the original promise more particularly. At the

time referred to, the kingdom of Judah, under the government of

Ahaz, was reduced very low. Pekah, king of Israel, had slain in

Judea 120,000 persons in one day, and carried away captives

200,000, including women and children, together with much spoil.

To add to their distress, Rezin, king of Syria, being confederate

with Pekah, had taken Elath, a fortified city of Judah, and

carried the inhabitants away captive to Damascus. In this

critical conjuncture, need we wonder that Ahaz was afraid that the

enemies who were now united against him must prevail, destroy

Jerusalem, and the kingdom of Judah, and annihilate the family of

David! To meet and remove this fear, apparently well grounded,

Isaiah is sent from the Lord to Ahaz, swallowed up now both by

sorrow and by unbelief, in order to assure him that the counsels

of his enemies should not stand; and that they should be utterly

discomfited. To encourage Ahaz, he commands him to ask a sign or

miracle, which should be a pledge in hand, that God should, in due

time, fulfil the predictions of his servant, as related in the

context. On Ahaz humbly refusing to ask any sign, it is

immediately added, Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a

sign: Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son; and shall

call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, &c. Both

the Divine and human nature of our Lord, as well as the miraculous

conception, appear to be pointed out in the prophecy quoted here

by the evangelist:-He shall be called IM-MENU-EL;

literally, The STRONG GOD WITH US: similar to those words in the

New Testament:-The Word which was God-was made flesh, and dwelt

among us, full of grace and truth: Joh 1:1, 14.

And, God was manifested in the flesh: 1Ti 3:16. So that we are

to understand, God with us, to imply God incarnated-God in human

nature. This seems farther evident from the words of the prophet,

Isa 7:15.

Butter and honey shall he eat-he shall be truly man, grow up and

be nourished in a human, natural way; which refers to his being

WITH US, i.e. incarnated. To which the prophet adds, That he may

know to refuse the evil and choose the good:-or rather, According

to his knowledge, le-daato, reprobating the evil, and

choosing the good. This refers to him as GOD; and is the same

idea given by this prophet, Isa 53:11:

By (or in) his knowledge (the knowledge of Christ crucified,

be-dadto) shall my righteous servant sanctify many; for he shall

bear their offences. Now this union of the Divine and human

nature is termed a sign or miracle, oth, i.e. something

which exceeds the power of nature to produce. And this miraculous

union was to be brought about in a miraculous way: Behold a VIRGIN

shall conceive: the word is very emphatic, ha-almah, THE

virgin; the only one that ever was, or ever shall be, a mother in

this way. But the Jews, and some called Christians, who have

espoused their desperate cause, assert, that "the word almah

does not signify a VIRGIN only; for it is applied, Pr 30:19, to

signify a young married woman." I answer, that this latter text

is no proof of the contrary doctrine: the words derec

geber be-almah, the way of a man with a maid, cannot be proved to

mean that for which it is produced: beside, one of De Rossi's MSS.

reads be-almaiu, the way of a strong, or stout, man

( geber) IN HIS YOUTH; and in this reading the Syriac,

Septuagint, Vulgate, and Arabic agree, which are followed by the

first version in the English language, as it stands in a MS. in my

own possession-the weie of a man in his waring youthe; so that

this place, the only one that can with any probability of success

be produced, were the interpretation contended for correct, which

I am by no means disposed to admit, proves nothing. Beside, the

consent of so many versions in the opposite meaning deprives it of

much of its influence in this question.

The word almah, comes from alam, to lie hid,

be concealed; and we are told that "virgins were so called,

because they were concealed or closely kept up in their fathers'

houses, till the time of their marriage." This is not correct:

see the case of Rebecca, Ge 24:43, and my note there: that of

Rachel, Ge 29:6, 9, and the note there also: and see the case of

Miriam, the sister of Moses, Ex 2:8, and also the Chaldee

paraphrase on La 1:4,

where the virgins are represented as going out in the dance. And

see also the whole history of Ruth. This being concealed, or kept

at home, on which so much stress is laid, is purely fanciful; for

we find that young unmarried women drew water, kept sheep, gleaned

publicly in the fields, &c., &c., and the same works they perform

among the Turcomans to the present day. This reason, therefore,

does not account for the radical meaning of the word; and we must

seek it elsewhere. Another well known and often used root in the

Hebrew tongue will cast light on this subject. This is galah,

which signifies to reveal, make manifest, or uncover, and is often

applied to matrimonial connections, in different parts of the

Mosaic law: alam, therefore, may be considered as implying the

concealment of the virgin, as such, till lawful marriage had

taken place. A virgin was not called almah, because she was

concealed by being kept at home in her father's house, which is

not true, but literally and physically, because, as a woman, she

had not been uncovered-she had not known man. This fully applies

to the blessed virgin: see Lu 1:34.

"How can this be, seeing I know no man?" and this text throws much

light on the subject before us. This also is in perfect agreement

with the ancient prophecy, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the

head of the serpent," Ge 3:15; for the person who was to

destroy the work of the devil was to be the progeny of the woman,

without any concurrence of the man. And, hence, the text in

Genesis speaks as fully of the virgin state of the person, from

whom Christ, according to the flesh, should come, as that in the

prophet, or this in the evangelist. According to the original

promise, there was to be a seed, a human being, who should destroy

sin; but this seed or human being must come from the woman ALONE;

and no woman ALONE, could produce such a human being, without

being a virgin. Hence, A virgin shall bear a son, is the very

spirit and meaning of the original text, independently of the

illustration given by the prophet; and the fact recorded by the

evangelist is the proof of the whole. But how could that be a

sign to Ahaz, which was to take place so many hundreds of years

after? I answer, the meaning of the prophet is plain: not only

Rezin and Pekah should be unsuccessful against Jerusalem at that

time, which was the fact; but Jerusalem, Judea, and the house of

David, should be both preserved, notwithstanding their depressed

state, and the multitude of their adversaries, till the time

should come when a VIRGIN should bear a son. This is a most

remarkable circumstance-the house of David could never fail, till

a virgin should conceive and bear a son-nor did it: but when that

incredible and miraculous fact did take place, the kingdom and

house of David became extinct! This is an irrefragable

confutation of every argument a Jew can offer in vindication of

his opposition to the Gospel of Christ. Either the prophecy in

Isaiah has been fulfilled, or the kingdom and house of David are

yet standing. But the kingdom of David, we know, is destroyed:

and where is the man, Jew or Gentile, that can show us a single

descendant of David on the face of the earth? The prophecy could

not fail-the kingdom and house of David have failed; the virgin,

therefore, must have brought forth her son-and this son is Jesus,

the Christ. Thus Moses, Isaiah, and Matthew concur; and facts,

the most unequivocal, have confirmed the whole! Behold the wisdom

and providence of God!

Notwithstanding what has been said above, it may be asked, In

what sense could this name Immanuel be applied to Jesus Christ, if

he be not truly and properly GOD? Could the Spirit of truth ever

design that Christians should receive him as an angel or a mere

man, and yet, in the very beginning of the Gospel history, apply a

character to him which belongs only to the most high God? Surely

no. In what sense, then, is Christ GOD WITH US? Jesus is called

Immanuel, or God with us, in his incarnation.-God united to our

nature-God with man-God in man.-God with us, by his continual

protection.-God with us, by the influences of his Holy Spirit-in

the holy sacrament-in the preaching of his word-in private

prayer. And God with us, through every action of our life, that

we begin, continue, and end in his name. He is God with us, to

comfort, enlighten, protect, and defend us in every time of

temptation and trial, in the hour of death, in the day of

judgment; and God with us, and in us, and we with and in

him, to all eternity.

Verse 25. Her first-born son] τονυιοναυτηςτονπρωοτοκον.

Literally, That son of hers, the first-born one. That Mary might

have had other children, any person may reasonably and piously

believe; that she had others, many think exceedingly probable, and

that this text is at least an indirect proof of it. However this

may be, the perpetual virginity of Mary should not be made an

article of faith. God has not made it one: indeed it can hardly

bear the light of several texts in the Gospels.

He knew her not] Had no matrimonial intercourse with her-TILL

she had brought forth that son of hers, of whom the evangelist had

been just speaking, the first-born, the eldest of the family, to

whom the birthright belonged, and who was miraculously born before

she knew any man, being yet in a state of virginity. See on

Mt 13:55. The virginity of Mary, previously to the birth of

Christ, is an article of the utmost consequence to the Christian

system; and therefore it is an article of faith: her perpetual

virginity is of no consequence; and the learned labour spent to

prove it has produced a mere castle in the air. The thing is

possible; but it never has been, and never can be proved.

He called his name JESUS.] This name was given by the command

of God, see Mt 1:16, and was imposed on Christ when eight days

old; for then, according to the Jewish law, he was circumcised:

thus he had the name of Saviour given when he first began to shed

that blood without which there could be no remission of sins.

The goodness of God is manifested, not only in his giving his

Son to save a lost world, but also in the choice of the persons

who were his progenitors: among whom we find, First, SAINTS, to

excite our courage: Abraham, remarkable for his faith; Isaac, for

his obedience; and Jacob, for his fervour and constancy.

Secondly, Penitent SINNERS, to excite our confidence: such as

David, Manasses, &c.

Thirdly, Sinners, of whose repentance and salvation we hear

nothing; to put us on our guard. Who can read the account of

idolatrous Solomon, who, from the whole evidence of the sacred

history, died In his sins, without trembling?

Four WOMEN are mentioned in this genealogy: two of these were

adulteresses, Tamar and Bathsheba; and two were Gentiles, Rahab

and Ruth, and strangers to the covenant of promise; to teach us

that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and that, though strangers

to his people, we are not on that account excluded from a

salvation which God has designed for all men. He is not the God

of the Jews only; he is also the God of the Gentiles.

The state of the royal family of David, the circumstances of the

holy virgin and her spouse Joseph, the very remarkable prophecy of

Isaiah, the literal and circumstantial fulfilment of it, the names

given to our blessed Lord, the genealogical scroll of the family,

&c., &c., are all so many proofs of the wisdom, goodness, and

providence of God. Every occurrence seems, at first view, to be

abandoned to fortuitous influence, and yet the result of each

shows that God managed the whole. These circumstances are of the

greatest importance; nor can the Christian reader reflect on them

without an increase of his faith and his piety.

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