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these predictions had been accomplished; a thing which we should naturally expect if the Gospel was not written until after these calamities came upon the Jews. Compare Acts xi. 28. It has been till lately uniformly regarded as having been written before either of the other evangelists. Some of late have, however, endeavoured to show that Luke was written first. All testimony, and all ancient arrangements of the books, are against the opinion; and when such is the fact, it is of little consequence to attend to other arguments.

In all copies of the New Testament, and in all translations, this Gospel has been placed first. This, it is probable, would not have been done, had not Matthew published his Gospel before any other was written.

Matthew, the writer of this Gospel, called also Levi, son of Alpheus, was a publican, or tax-gatherer, under the Romans. See notes on Matt. ix. 9, Luke v. 27. Of his life and death little is certainly known. Socrates, a writer of the fifth century, says that he went to Ethiopia, after the apostles were scattered abroad from Judea, and died a martyr in a city called Nadebbar; but by what kind of death is altogether uncertain. However, others speak of his preaching and dying in Parthia or Persia,—and the diversity of their accounts seems to show that they are all without good foundation. See Lardner's works, vol. v., pp. 296, 297.

“ As the sacred writers," remarks Dr Campbell, “especially the evangelists, have many qualities in common, so there is something in every one of them, which, if attended to, will be found to distinguish him from the rest. That which principally distinguishes Matthew, is the distinctness and particularity with which he has related many of our Lord's discourses and moral instructions. Of these, his sermon on the mount, his charge to the apostles, his illustrations of the nature of his kingdom, and his prophecy on Mount Olivet, are examples. He has also wonderfully united simplicity and energy in relating the replies of his Master to the cavils of his adversaries. Being early called to the apostleship, he was an eye and ear witness of most of the things which he relates : and though it does not seem to have been the scope of any of these historians to adjust their narratives by the precise order of time wherein the events happened, there are some circumstances which incline us to think, that Matthew has approached at least as near that order as any of them."

FAMILY COMMENTARY.

MATTHEW.

.

to say,

CHAPTER I. 1 The genealogy of Christ from Abraham to Joseph. 18 He was conceived by the Holy Ghost,

and born of the Virgin Mary when she was espoused to Joseph. 19 The angel satisfiath

the misdeeming thoughts of Joseph, and interpreteth the names of Christ. THE THE book of the generation of Jesus Christ, bthe son of David, “the son

of Abraham.
a Luke iii. 23.; 6 Ps. cxxxii, 11 ; Isa. xi. 1; Jer. xxiii. 5; chap. xxii. 42; John vii. 43; Acts ii. 30, and xiii. 23; Rom. i. 3.

c Gen. xii. 3, and xxii. 18; Gal. iii. 16. Ver. 1. The book of the generation. This is the proper title of the chapter. It is the same as

“ The account of the ancestry or family, or the genealogical table of Jesus Christ.” The phrasa is common in Jewish writings. Compare Gen. v. 1. “ This is the book of the generations of Adam;" i. e., the genealogical table of the family or descendants of Adam. See also Gen. vi. I. The Jews, moreover, as we do, kept such tables of their own families, and it is probable that this was copied from the record of the family of Joseph. 1 Jesus. See ver. 21. Christ. The word Christ is a Greek word, signifying anointed. The Hebrew word signifying the same is Messiah. Hence, Jesus is called either the Messiah, or the Christ, meaning the same thing. The Jews speak of the Messiah; Christians speak of him as the Christ. Anciently when kings and priests were set apart to their office, they were anointed with oil. Lev. iv. 3, vi. 20; Exod. xxviii. 41, xxix. 7; 1 Sam. ix. 16, xv. 1 ; 2 Sam. xxiii. 1. To anoint, therefore, means often the same as to consecrate, or set apart

office. Thence those thus set apart are said to be anointed, or the anointed of God. It is for this reason that the name is given to the Lord Jesus. Dan. ix. 24. He was set apart by God to be the King, and High Priest, and Prophet of his people. Anointing with oil was, moreover, supposed to be emblematic of the influences of the Holy Spirit; and as God gave him the Spirit without measure (John iii. 34), so he is called peculiarly the Anointed of God. The son of David. The word son among the Jews had a great variety of significations. It means literally a son; then a grandson, a descendant, an adopted son, a disciple, or one who is an object of tender affectionone who is to us as a son. In this place it means a descendant of David, or one who was of the family of David. It was important to trace the genealogy of Jesus up to David, because the promise had been made that the Messiah should be of his family, and all the Jews expected that it would be so. It would be impossible, therefore, to convince a Jew that Jesus was the Messiah, unless it could be shown that he was descended from David. See Jer. xxiii. 5 ; Ps. cxxxii. 10, 11; compared with Acts xiii. 23, and John vii. 42. 9 The son of Abrahan. The descendant of Abraham. The promise was made to Abraham also. See Gen. xii. 3, xxi. 12; compare lleh. xi. 13; Gal. iii. 16. The Jews expected that the Messiah would be descended from him; and it was important, therefore, to trace the genealogy up to him also. Though Jesus was of humlile birth, yet he was descended from most illustrious ancestors. Abraham, the father of the faithful, and “ the beauteous model of an Eastern prince ;” and David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, the conqueror, the magnificent and victorious leader of the people of God, were both among his ancestors. From

to any

these two persons, the most eminent for piety, and the most renowned for their excellencies, of all
the men of antiquity, sacred or profane, the Lord Jesus was descended; and though his birth and
life were humble, yet they who regard an illustrious descent as of value, may find here all that is
to be admired in piety, purity, patriotism, splendour, dignity, and renown.
2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and 'Jacob begat Judas

and his brethren; 3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and
Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4 And Aram begat
Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon ;
5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth ;
and Obed begat Jesse; 6 And 'Jesse begat David the king; and David the
king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 7 And 'Solo-
man begat Roboam ; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;
8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram ; and Joram
begat Ozias; 9 And Ozias begat Joatham ; and Joatham begat Achaz;
and Achaz begat Ezekias; 10 And “Ezekias begat Manasses; and
Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; 11 And || "Josias begat
Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were ocarried away to
Babylon; 12 And after they were brought to Babylon, PJechonias begat
Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 13 And Zorobabel begat
Abiud ; and Abiud begat Eliakim ; and Eliakim begat Azor; 14 And
Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;
15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Mat-
than begat Jacob; 16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary,
of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

d Gen. xxi. 2, 3. e Gen. xxv. 26. f Gen, xxix. 35. g Gen. xxxviii. 27. h Ruth iv. 18, &c.; 1 Chron. ii. 5, 9, &c. il Sam. xvi. I, and xvii. 12. 2 Sam. xii. 24. 11 Chron. iii. 10, &c. m 2 Kings xx. 21; 1 Chron. iii. 13. | Some read Josias begat Jakim and Jukim begat Jechonias. n See I Chron. iii. 15, 16. 0 2 Kings xxiv. 14-16, and xxv. 11; 2 Chron. Xxxvi. 10, 20; Jer. xxvii. 20, and xxxix. 9, and lii. 11, 15, 28-30; Dan. i. 2. P 1 Chron. iii. 17, 19. 9 Ezra iii. 2, and v. 2; Neh. xii, 1; Hag. i. 1.

2–16. These verses contain the genealogy of Jesus. Luke also (chap. iii.) gives a genealogy of the Messiah. No two passages of Scripture have caused more difficulty than these, and various attempts have been made to explain them. There are two sources of difficulty in these catalogues. 1st, Many names that are found in the Old Testament are here omitted ; and, 2d, The tables of Matthew and Luke appear in many points to be different. From Adam to Abraham Luke only has given the record. From Abraham to David the two tables are alike. Of course there is no difficulty in reconciling these two parts of the tables. The difficulty lies in that part of the genealogy from David to Christ. There they are entirely different. They are manifestly different lives. Not only are the names different, but Luke has mentioned, in this part of the genealogy, no less than 42 names, while Matthew has recorded but 27.

Various ways have been proposed to explain this difficulty; and it must be admitted that none of them is perfectly satisfactory: It does not comport with the design of these Notes to enter minutely into an explanation of the perplexities of these passages. All that can be done is to suggest the various ways in which attempts have been made to explain them. 1. It is remarked, that in nothing are mistakes more likely to occur than in such tables. From the similarity of names, and the various names by which the same person is often called, and from many other causes, errors would be more likely to creep into the text in genealogical tables than in other writings. Some of the difficulties may have possibly occurred from this cause. 2. Most interpreters have supposed that Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph, and Luke that of Mary. They were both descended from David, but in different lines. This solution derives some plausibility from the fact that the promise was made to David, and as Jesus was not the son of Joseph, it was important to show that Mary was also descended from him. Though this solution is plausible, and may be true, yet it wants evidence. It cannot, however, be proved that this was not the design of Luke. 3. It has been said, also, that Joseph was the legal son and heir of Heli, though the real son of Jacob; and thus the two lines terminated in him. This was the ancient explanation of most of the fathers, and on the whole is most satisfactory. It was a law of the Jews, that if a man died without children, his brother should marry his widow. Thus the two lines might have been intermingled. According

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to this solution, which was first proposed by Africanus, Matthan, descended from Solomon, married Estha, of whom was born Jacob. After Matthan's death, Matthat being of the same tribe, but of another family, married his widow, and of this marriage Heli was born. Jacob and Ileli were therefore children of the same mother. Heli dying without children, his brother Jacob married his widow, and begat Joseph, who was thus the legal son of Heli. This is agreeable to the account in the two evangelists. Matthew says that Jacob begat Joseph ; Luke says that Joseph was the son of Heli,-i. e., was his legal heir, or reckoned in law to be his son.

Though these solutions may not seem to be entirely satisfactory, yet there are two additional considerations which should set the matter at rest, and lead to the conclusion that the narratives are not really inconsistent. 1. No difficulty was ever found, or alleged, in regard to them, by any of the early enemies of Christianity. There is no evidence that they ever adduced them as containing a contradiction. Many of those enemies were acute, learned, and able; and they show by their writings that they were not indisposed to detect all the errors that could possibly be found in the sacred narrative. Now it is to be remembered, that the Jews were fully competent to show that these tables were incorrect, if they were really so; and it is clear that they were fully disposed, if possible, to do it. The fact, therefore, that it is not done, is clear evidence that they thought it to be correct. The same may be said of the acute Pagans who wrote against Christianity. None of them have called in question the correctness of these tables. This is full proof that, in a time when it was easy to understand these tables, they were believed to be correct. 2. The evangelists are not responsible for the correctness of these tables. They are responsible only for what was their real and professed object to do. What was that object? It was, to prove to the satisfaction of the Jews that Jesus was descended from David ; and therefore, that there was no argument from his ancestry that he was not the promised Messiah. Now, to make this out, it was not necessary, nor would it have conduced to their argument, to have formed a new table of genealogy. All that could be done was, to go to the family records, to the public tables, and copy them as they were actually kept, and show that, according to the records of the nation, Jesus was descended from David. This, among the Jews, was full and decided testimony in the case. And this was doubtless done. In the same way, the records of a family among us, as they are kept by the family, are proof in courts of justice now, of the birth, names, &c., of individuals. Nor is it necessary nor proper for a court to call them in question, or to attempt to correct them. So the tables here are good evidence to the only point that the writers wished to establish ; that is, to show to the Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was descended from Darid. All that can be asked now, is, whether they copied the tables of those families correctly. It is clear that no man can prove that they did not so copy them; and therefore, that no one can adduce them as an argument against the correctness of the New Testament.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations;

and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are four

teen generations. 17. All the generations, &c. This division of the names in their genealogy was doubtless adopted for the

purpose of aiding the memory. It was common among the Jews, and other similar instances are preserved. They were destitute of other books beside the Old Testament, and had but few copies of that among them, and those chiefly in their synagogues ; they would, therefore, naturally devise plans to keep up the remembrance of the principal facts in their history. One method of doing this was, to divide the tables of genealogy into portions of equal length, to be committed to memory. This greatly facilitated the remembrance of the names. A man who wished to commit to memory the names of a regiment of soldiers, would naturally divide it into companies and platoons, and this would greatly facilitate his work. This was doubtless the reason in the case before us; and though it is not strictly accurate, yet it was the Jewish way of keeping their records, and answered their purpose. There were three leading persons and events that nearly, or quite, divided their history into equal portions,—Abraham, David, and the Babylonish Captivity. From one to the other was about fourteen generations, and, by omitting a few names, it was sufficiently accurate to be made a general guide or directory in remembering their history.

In counting these divisions, however, it will be seen that there is some difficulty in making out the number fourteen in each division. This may be explained in the following manner :- In the first division, Abraham is the first, and David the last, making together fourteen. In the second series, David would be naturally placed first, and the fourteen was completed in Josiah, about the time of the captivity, as sufficiently near for the purpose of convenient computation. 2 Chron. xxxv.

First Division,

Second Division.

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In the third division Josiah would naturally be placed first, and the number was completed in Joseph, So that David and Josiah would be reckoned twice. This may be shown by the following table of the names :

Third Division.
Abraham
David

Josias
Isaac
Solomon

Jechonias
Jacob
Roboam

Salathiel
Judas
Abia

Zorobabel
Phares
Asa

Abiud
Esrom
Josaphat

Eliakim
Aram
Joram

Azor
Aminadab
Ozias

Sadoc
Naasson
Joatham

Achim
Salmon
Achaz

Eliud
Booz
Ezekias

Eleazar
Obed
Manasses

Matthan
Jesse
Amon

Jacob
David
Josias

Joseph
-14
-14

-14 I Carrying away into Babylon. This refers to the captivity of Jerusalem, and the removal of the Jews to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, 588 years before Christ. See 2 Chron. xxxvi.

Josiah was king when these calamities began to come upon the Jews, but the exact time of the seventy years of captivity did not commence until the 11th year of Zedekiah's reign, or 32 years after the death of Josiah. Babylon was situated on the Euphrates, and was encompassed with walls which were about 60 miles in circuit, 87 feet broad, and 350 feet high, and the city was entered by 100 brazen gates, 25 on each side. It was the capital of a vast empire, and the Jews remained there for 70 years. 18 Now the "birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother

Mary was espoused to Joseph,|| before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

1 The Fifth Year before the Common Account called Anno Domini. 18. On this wise. Thus; in this manner.—Espoused. Betrothed, or engaged to be married. There was commonly an interval of 10 or 12 months among the Jews between the contract of marriage and the celebration of the nuptials (see Gen. xxiv. 55 ; Judges xiv. 8); yet such was the nature of this engagement, that unfaithfulness to each other was deemed adultery. See Deut. xxii. 25, 28.-With child by the Holy Ghost. See Note, Luke i. 35. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not 'willing to make her

a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

Luke i. 27.

& Luke i. 35.

Deut. xxiv. l.

19. Her husband. The word in the original does not imply that they were married. - It means here, the man to whom she was espoused. 9 A just man. justice consists in rendering to every man his own; yet this is evidently not the character intended to be given here of Joseph. It means that he was kind, tender, merciful ; so attached to Mary, that he was not willing that she should be exposed to public shame. He sought, therefore, secretly to dissolve the connection, and to restore her to her friends without the punishment commonly inflicted on adultery. The word just has not unfrequently this meaning of mildness, or mercy. See 1 John i. 9; Ps. cxlv. 17, 18, 19. 1 A public example. To expose her to public shame or infamy. Adultery has always been considered a crime of a very heinous nature. In Egypt, it was punished by cutting off the nose of the adulteress; in Persia, the nose and ears were cut off; in Judea, the punishment was death by stoning. Lev. xx. 10; Ezek. xvi. 38, 40; John viii. 5. This punishment was also inflicted where the person was not married, but betrothed. Deut. xxii. 23, 24. In this case, therefore, the regular punishment would have been death in this painful and ignominious manner; yet Joseph was a religious man, mild and tender, and he was not willing to complain of her to the magistrate, and expose her to death, but sought to avoid the shame, and to put her away privately. I Put her away privately. The law of Moses gave the husband the power of divorce. Deut. xxiv. 1. It was customary in a bill of divorce to specify the causes for which the divorce was made, and witnesses were also present to testify to the divorce; but in this case, it seems, Joseph resolved to put her away without

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