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The Gospel according to MATTHEW.
1: 1 - 25.
pp. 15 - 19
Before we commence the exposition of chapter 1: we would advise the reader to have
a copy of the Revised Version (R.V.) and a modern version, the New International
Version (N.I.V.) and read them side by side with the Authorized Version (A.V.). While
we shall attempt a verse by verse exposition, for the sake of space we cannot make long
quotations from the text of any version as this would take up too much space.
Matthew 1: 1 - 17.
The gospel commences with the genealogy of Christ: "the book of the generation of
Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matt. 1: 1, A.V.). "A record of the
genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham" (N.I.V.). This is traced
through David back to Abraham, the father of the Jewish race. There is another
genealogy in Luke's Gospel which goes back to Adam, the father of the human race.
Each of these pedigrees is in line with the object which the writers had in view; the
former Jewish and the latter Gentile. Matthew's line is traced to David through Solomon,
but Luke's is to David through Nathan (another son of David).
The genealogy in Matthew is divided into three parts of fourteen generations each. In
order to do this, in the second part he omits three names, and he does likewise in the
third part and counts both David and Jeconias twice. It should be remembered that
Matthew's object was not to give a complete succession, but only to make sure there was
no break in the line and that no name was included which did not belong to the line.
The important name was David which occurs five times. The letters of proper names
had a numerical value, the consonants being D-4, V-6 and D-4 making a total of fourteen
(14 = 2X7). This may have influenced the writer to divide the genealogy into three parts
of 14 generations each.
There are difficulties when one compares these genealogies. Some go as far to say
that they cannot be reconciled. But we must be careful not make difficulties. Omitting
names was a common practice among the Jewish genealogists and we should know
something about the laws of Moses pertaining to inheritance.
Genealogies occupied an important place in Israel, divided as they were into twelve
tribes with inheritances which could become involved by intermarriage. A man's
grandson could be called his son, and so could a son-in-law. Also we should remember
the provision that was made in the law of Moses for a married man who died childless.
The husband's brother was required to raise a family through the widow and the children
were to take the name of the deceased man. This guaranteed that the family name was
not blotted out, the line extinguished and the inheritance lost (Deut. 25: 5-10).