Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

also called "anointed" in Psalm ii. 2, Acts | the son of Abraham;" that as "the son of iv. 27, Heb. i. 9. The Spirit which was given Abraham" he was a Jew, and as "the son to him without measure was the sacred unc- of David" he was of the royal race, and of tion, with which he was consecrated by God the tribe of Judah. As Matthew wrote printhe Father to the offices which he sustains, cipally for the Jews, he brings down the geas the one Mediator between God and man. nealogy from Abraham; whereas Luke, who wrote for the Gentiles, traces it back to Adam, who was the common father of all mankind, Luke iii. 23-38.

Jesus is here said to be "the Son of David." The word "Son" is frequently employed to designate any descendant however remote. The Christ, the promised Saviour was to be "the Son of David," as is re

peatedly stated in the Old Testament, as in

2 Sam. vii. 16, Psalm lxxxix. 4, Isaiah ix. 7, Jeremiah xxiii. 5, 6, Ezek. xxxvii. 24, Amos

ix. 11; also in Luke i. 32, 33, and Acts ii. 30. And we find from several passages in the New Testament, that the Jews expected that the Messiah should be the Son of David, as from Matth. xii. 23, xxi. 9, xxii. 42, Luke xviii. 38.

He is also called "the Son of Abraham."

It was promised to Abraham that the Saviour should be descended from him. This promise is recorded in Genesis xii. 3, and was first given to Abraham, when God called him out of Ur a city of Chaldea, and is to this effect- " in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed," and is again more fully stated in Gen. xxii. 18, where God is stated to have said to him, immediately after the offering of Isaac. "in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." This promise is explained in Acts iii. 25, 26, and Gal. iii. 16, as referring to the Saviour, and as receiving its fulfilment in his blessing sinners by turning them from their iniquities.

David is here mentioned before Abraham, because, in tracing back the pedigree of Jesus, his name is sooner arrived at; and both are mentioned in this verse, before the genealogy is formally given, because they were the most remarkable characters in the ancient history of the Jewish people, and to them especially the promises of a Saviour were vouchsafed.

The genealogy is prefixed to the biography of Jesus, in order to shew that he was "the son of David, the son of Abraham," and thus far to identify him with the promised Messiah; and likewise to prove that he was the rightful heir of David's throne. There are some things in this genealogy which may appear difficult to us, but they did not appear so to the Jews at the time when it was published; nor do these difficulties interfere with the main object of the Evangelist, which is to prove that Christ was "the son of David,

2. Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob, and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren,

Here the genealogy commences. The account of the birth of Isaac is given in Gen. xxi. 1-3. He was born when Abraham and Sarah were both very old, in the of the year world 2108, or 1896 years before the birth of Christ. He was a remarkable type of the Saviour. Jacob was the son of Isaac and fourth son of Jacob and Leah, Gen. xxix. Rebekah, Gen. xxv. 20-26. Judah was the of the tribe of Judah, Heb. vii. 14; and 32-35. We have here proof that Christ was

hence he is called "the Lion of the tribe of

Judah," Rev. v. 5. The brethren of Judah are here mentioned because they, together with him, were the patriarchs and heads of the flesh Christ came, and because they were the Jewish nation, of which as concerning equally interested with him in all the blessings which Christ confers.

3. And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar, and Phares begat Esrom, and Esrom begat Aram,

Phares and Zara were the sons of Judah by Thamar, who was the daughter-in-law of Judah, as she had been the wife of his son Er, Gen. xxxviii. 12–30: hence they were born in incest, yet one of them was a direct ancestor of Christ. From this circumstance we learn that the wickedness of man cannot frustrate the purposes of God, or make his promise to fail. And this was an instance of the Saviour's humiliation that he became the descendant of persons whose characters were tarnished with crime. Zarah is mentioned here as well as Phares, his twin brother, in order, perhaps, to prevent our supposing that Phares was not the son of Judah who had been born in incest, but that he was another son of Judah of the same name.

Esrom the son of Phares is called Hezron | intervened not less than 360 years, and yet in the Old Testament, Gen. xlvi. 12; and Aram is called Ram, Ruth iv. 18, 19. These and other similar instances which occur in this genealogy, are only differences in the spelling, corresponding with the difference between the Hebrew and Greek languages.

4. And Aram begat Aminadab, and Aminadab begat Naasson, and Naasson begat Salmon,

Of the persons who are mentioned in this verse very little is said in the Old Testament. Aminadab, the son of Aram or Ram, Ruth iv. 19, was the father of Elisheba, who was married to Aaron the high priest, Exodus vi. 23. Naasson is mentioned in Numbers i. 7, as head of the tribe of Judah, when the

people were numbered and marshalled in the Wilderness of Sinai, the second year after they had come out of Egypt. Salmon the son of Naasson, who is called Salma in the Old Testament, 1 Chron. ii. 10, 11, is said, in I Chron. ii. 51, to have been "the Father of Bethlehem," which probably means that he took up his residence in that city and greatly improved it.

5. And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab, and Booz begat Obed of Ruth, and Obed begat Jesse,

Booz was the son of Salmon by Rachab, Ruth iv. 21, 1 Chron. ii. 11. Rachab is the same as Rahab who received the spies sent forth by Joshua to view the promised land, Joshua ii. 1. The Hebrew word which is there rendered a "harlot," may signify a hostess or tavern keeper, who provides food for travellers. She was a woman of Canaan, and is commended for her faith in Hebrews xi. 31.

Obed was the son of Booz by Ruth, Ruth iv. 13-17. Ruth was a woman of Moab,

who was married to a son of Naomi a woman

of Bethlehem. When she and her mother

in-law were both left widows, they went to reside in Bethlehem. It was here that she went out to glean in the fields of Booz, who was a rich citizen of Bethlehem, and who was also her kinsman, and subsequently married her.

That Obed begat Jesse is asserted in Ruth iv. 22. Between Salmon and David there

there are only three names, or three generations, between them-Salmon, Booz, Obed, Jesse, David. This circumstance is supposed by some persons to present a very serious difficulty. To the humble Christian, however, who fully recognises the infinite power of God, it can present no difficulty which Faith cannot easily surmount. He who ordained the general rules by which human families are increased and preserved from one generation to another, can as easily where the accomplishment of some great and make an exception in any particular case, important object is to be effected. The genealogical tree which exhibits the pedigree of the Saviour was, by divine appointment, to unbroken and uninterrupted line. The word extend from Abraham through David, in an effect, and therefore we may be well assured of God had been pledged to Abraham to this that the power of God would be exercised in order to fulfil his promise. For this reason, when it was the intention of God that the

line should pass through a son of Abraham, who was not yet born though he was an old man, a miracle was wrought in order to fulfil the divine purpose, for unquestionably the birth of Isaac was miraculous. And afterwards we find that the barrenness of Rebekah was removed by God in consequence of the prayer of Isaac, Gen. xxv. 21. Nor is it at all inconsistent with the power of God to suppose that Booz, Obed, and Jesse, might each of them have been near 100 years old when their respective sons were born. Indeed, in the age in which they lived, the life of man was considerably more protracted than at present. A short time before, Moses had lived to the age of 120, at which advanced time of life his natural strength was not abated, Deut. xxxiv. 7; and at the age of 85, Caleb was strong and fit for war, Joshua xiv. 10, 11.

6. And Jesse begat David the King, and David the King begat Solomon of her who had been the wife of Urias,

David was the seventh son of Jesse, 1 Chron. ii. 13-15. He was born in Bethlehem in the year of the world 2919, or 1085 years before Christ. He is styled "The King," because he is the first person of that

7. And Solomon begat Roboam, and Roboam begat Abia, and Abia begat Asa,

of the Kings of Israel. He built the first Solomon was one of the most distinguished temple in Jerusalem, 1 Kings vi. 1-14. He

rank whose name occurs in the genealogy, | under all the circumstances of the case, was and to intimate that we enter here upon a manifestly his duty. new period in the history of the people of Israel; hitherto, they were under Patriarchs and Judges, but now they are governed by Kings, and in the person of David, who was specially chosen and appointed by God, 1 Sam. ix. 17, the sceptre was fixed and established in the tribe of Judah. He may also be styled "the King" in this place, in order that we may be led to regard him as being as much a type of the Saviour as to his official dignity, as he was an ancestor of Christ in his personal capacity. David was only fifteen years of age when Samuel was sent to anoint him, 1 Sam. xvi. 1-13. He continued to feed his father's flocks until he was appointed armour-bearer to Saul, but was subsequently recognised as King over all Israel. In his appointment to the kingdom, a foundation was laid for the fulfilment of Jacob's memorable prophecy, that the sceptre should not depart from Judah until Shiloh should come, Gen. xlix. 8-10.

The account of David's taking the wife of Uriah, and of Solomon's birth, is fully given in the 11th and 12th chapters of the 2d book of Samuel. The name of Solomon's mother was Bathsheba or Bathshua. David, having first committed adultery with her, caused Uriah her husband to be killed, in order that he might make her his wife. This fearful iniquity on the part of David greatly displeased the Lord, who sent Nathan the prophet to reprove him for his great sin, and to tell him that his first son by Bathsheba should die. David repented sincerely of his crime, and has left a valuable and interesting evidence of the intensity and sincerity of his penitential sorrow in the fifty-first Psalm, which he composed after he had been brought by divine grace to a sense of his guilt. His example remains upon record as a striking proof of the frailty and peccability of even the very best of men, and at the same time affords a glorious and consolatory evidence that God delighteth in mercy, and is ever ready to forgive. We have here also another proof that the sinfulness of man can never make void the promises of God, in the fact that one of the sons of David by Bathsheba was a direct ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ. Probably God intended, by selecting her son to this honour, to shew his approbation of David's subsequent conduct, in not discarding Bathsheba, but in continuing to retain her as his wife, which,

was the author of the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, and of the Canticles. His son Rehoboam, called here Roboam, succeeded him in the kingdom, 1 Kings xi. 43. In his time the ten tribes revolted under Jeroboam, and formed the separate kingdom of Israel, 1 Kings xii. 16-20, the chief city of which was Samaria. Abiam or Abijam the son of Rehoboam succeeded him, 1 Kings xiv. 31; and Asa succeeded Abijam, 1 Kings xv. 8.

8. And Asa begat Josaphat, and Josaphat begat Joram, and Joram begat Ozias,

Josaphat, or Jehoshaphat, succeeded Asa, 1 Kings xv. 24. Joram, or Jehoram, succeeded Jehoshaphat, 1 Kings xxii. 50.

It is here said that Joram begat Ozias, or Uzziah, called also Azariah, but he was not his immediate father, for there were three persons between Jehoram and Uzziah; Jehoram begat Ahaziah, 2 Kings viii. 24; Ahaziah begat Joash, or Jehoash, who succeeded him in the kingdom, 2 Kings xi. 21; and Joash begat Amaziah, 2 Kings xii. 21; and Amaziah begat Uzziah, who was also called Azariah, 2 Kings xv. 1. Thus there is an omission of three names, those of Ahaziah, Jehoash, and Amaziah, in this genealogy as given by St. Matthew. These omissions, however, were common in Jewish genealogies. We have an instance in the book of Ezra in the 7th chapter, Ezra traces back his own descent to Aaron, from whom he was the twenty-third person inclusive in a direct line, as appears from the 6th chapter of the first book of Chronicles, and yet the genealogy which he there gives of himself contains only seventeen persons: in the 3d verse he calls Azariah the son of Meraioth; whereas it is evident from 1 Chron. vi. 7-9, that there were six persons between them. We should notice also, that according to the Hebrew usage, any lineal descendant, however

remote, may be called the Son; and any lineal | ancestor, however remote, may be called the Father.

In this case, however, it is easy to suggest a reason for the omission of the names of those three kings in the Saviour's genealogy. They were all the descendants of the wicked Ahab, for Jehoram married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab, against whom the curse which is recorded in 1 Kings xxi. 21, was denounced, that his posterity should be cut off. Thus, by the righteous decree of God, who visits the sins of the fathers upon the children unto

the third and fourth generation, these three of his descendants were not only cut off by an untimely death, but likewise from the honour of being enrolled amongst the ancestry of the Saviour. Ahaziah reigned only a year and was killed by Jehu, of whom it is said that the Lord had anointed him to cut off the house of Ahab, 2 Chron. xxii 7-9. Joash and Amaziah were both killed by their own servants, 2 Chron. xxiv. 25, and xxv. 27.

9. And Ozias begat Joatham, and Joatham begat Achaz, and Achaz begat Ezekias,

Ozias or Azariah was the father of Joatham or Jotham, who succeeded him in the kingdom, 2 Kings xv. 7. Jotham was the father of Achaz or Ahaz, 2 Kings xv. 38, and xvi. 1. Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah, who is here called Ezekias, 2 Kings xvi. 20. It was to Ahaz that the remarkable prophecy of the Saviour's birth, which is referred to in the 23d verse of this chapter, was given.

10. And Ezekias begat Manasses, and Manasses begat Amon, and Amon begat Josias,

Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, 2 Kings xx. 21; the good father of an evil son; for moral qualities are not hereditary, nor can piety and virtue be transferred, like property, from one generation to another. Whenever grace is conferred upon a man, it comes fresh from heaven. It is supposed that Isaiah the prophet was put to death by Manasseh.

Manasseh was the father of Amon, 2 Kings xxi. 18. Amon was the fourteenth king of Judah; he did that which was evil in the

sight of God, and was slain by his own servants after a reign of two years. He was succeeded by his son Josiah, 2 Kings xxi. 24, of whom it is said that "he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left," 2 Kings xxii. 2.

11. And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon;

Josias was the father of Jechonias, who was also called Jehoiakim and Eliakim, 2 Kings xxiii. 34-37. His brethren were Johanan, Zedekiah, and Shallum, 1 Chron. iii. 15, 16. Shallum, the youngest son, called also Jehoahaz, was elected king on his father's death, 2 Kings xxiii. 30-32, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 1-4. Jehoiakim, who is here mentioned by the name of Jechonias, succeeded him, 2 Kings xxiii. 34. And after some interval the son of Jehoiachim, 2 Kings xxiv. 17. Zedekiah, called also Mattaniah, succeeded Thus the three sons of Josiah all sat upon the throne of Judah, and on this account they are all referred to in this verse.

There were three transportations of the Jews to Babylon: the first was in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, when the prophet Daniel went, 2 Kings xxiv. 1, 2; Daniel i. 1-6: the second was eight years afterwards, under Jehoiakin, the son of Jehoiakim, when Ezekiel was brought, 2 Kings xxiv. 10-12; Ezek. xl. 1; the third was eleven years afterwards, under Zedekiah, 2 Kings xxv. 1-11. It is to the first of these transportations that reference is here made, four years before which Josias had been slain.

12. And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel, and Salathiel begat Zorobabel,

It should be carefully observed that the Jechonias, who is mentioned in this verse, is a different person from the Jechonias in the former verse. Jechonias in the 11th verse is the same as Eliakim or Jehoiakim: Jechonias in this verse is the same as Eliakin or Jehoiakin or Coniah. Probably the reason why two persons are thus called by the same name, is because their Hebrew names, Jehoiakim and

Jehoiakin, are so like each other, differing | 14. He was Governor of Judah at the reonly in the final letter, that the same Greek word Jechonias is the proper rendering and representative of both. There is therefore

a variation in this and the former verse from the style employed in the remainder of the genealogy, for in the other verses each name is mentioned twice, first as the son and then as the father, which is not the case in this instance. But this may be easily accounted for by a very probable supposition, that the genealogy given by St. Matthew consists of two distinct and detached parts, which were extracted by him from two separate registries; the former part, taken from one registry, ending with the 11th verse; and the latter part, taken from another registry, commencing with the 12th verse. The transportation of the Jews to Babylon, and the confusion which must have been caused by it, would account for the existence of different records, and the circumstance of the Evangelist taking extracts from two separate records is quite sufficient to account for the interruption and alteration in his style which occurs here. There are some MSS. which supply the ellipsis, and read the passage thus-" And Josias begat Jehoiakim, and Jehoiakim begat Jechonias;" but there is not, however, sufficient reason for adopting this in preference to the common reading.

Coniah or Jehoiakin, called here Jechonias, was the last king in the regular and direct line from David who reigned over Judah, for Zedekiah, his uncle, the son of

his grandfather Josiah, succeeded him on the throne, 2 Kings xxiv. 17. The prophet Jeremiah was commanded by God to write Coniah "childless," Jeremiah xxii. 28–30.

We are not, however, to understand this word "childless," in this case, in its obvious and primary signification, as implying that Jechonias should have no children, for he had many children, 1 Chron. iii. 17, 18, and as he was a direct ancestor of the Saviour, he must have had at least one child. The prophet himself explains the sense in which he uses the word in the same verse in which he records the denunciation, as meaning that

[ocr errors]

no man of his seed should prosper, sitting upon the throne of David and ruling any more in Israel."

Coniah or Jechonias was the father of Salathiel, 1 Chron. iii. 17. Zorobabel is the person who is called Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel in Ezra iii. 2, 8, and Haggai i. 1, 12,

turn from the captivity, and laid the foundation of the second temple, Ezra v. 2. Shealtiel and Salathiel are both versions of the same Hebrew name. In 1 Chron iii. 17-19, it is said that Zerubbabel was the son of Pedaiah, and that Pedaiah was the brother of Salathiel the son of Jechonias, whereas Matthew says that Zerubbabel was the son of Salathiel. It is probable that this discrepancy is to be accounted for, by having recourse to the regulation recorded in Deut. XXV. 5, and supposing that Salathiel, the elder brother, died childless, and that his younger brother Pedaiah married his widow, and raised up seed unto his brother, so that, naturally, Zerubbabel was the son of Pedaiah, though in a legal sense the son of Salathiel; and St. Matthew strictly complies with the law in saying that "Salathiel begat Zorobabel," for the first born after the marriage of the younger brother to the widow of the elder, was to "succeed in the name of the brother which was dead, that his name be not put out of Israel," Deut. xxv. 6.

13. And Zorobabel begat Abiud, and Abiud begat Eliakim, and Eliakim begat Azor,

14. And Azor begat Sadoc, and Sadoc begat Achim, and Achim begat Eliud,

15. And Eliud begat Eleazar, and Eleazar begat Matthan, and Matthan begat Jacob,

16. And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

The name of Abiud does not occur in the enumeration of the sons of Zorobabel contained in 1 Chron. iii. 19, 20. We must account for this, by either supposing that Zorobabel had other children who are not mentioned in the book of Chronicles, or else that one of the persons there mentioned must have had the name of Abiud as well as the name which is there attributed to him.

We can now make no farther references to the Old Testament. St Matthew most probably took the genealogy which he gives in this chapter from the Jewish records; being led to do so by the Holy Spirit, through

« ÎnapoiContinuă »