The Genealogy of Jesus from Matthew Chapter One
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8 And Asa begot Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat begot 1Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah,
17 Thus 1all the generations from Abraham 2until David are fourteen generations, and from David 3until the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon 4until the Christ, fourteen generations.
20 But while he pondered these things, behold, an aangel of the Lord appeared to him in a bdream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife, for that which has been 1begotten in her is 2of the cHoly Spirit.
The Bible is a book of life, and this life is a living person, the wonderful and all-inclusive Christ. The Old Testament gives a portrait, in types and prophecies, of this wonderful person as the Coming One. Now, in the New Testament, this wonderful person has come. The first page of the New Testament, in recommending this wonderful person to us, gives us His genealogy. This genealogy can be considered an abstract of the Old Testament, which in itself is the detailed genealogy of Christ. To understand the genealogy in Matthew, we need to trace the origin and history of every incident.
Christ, as the wonderful center of the entire Bible, is all-inclusive, having many aspects. The New Testament at its beginning presents four biographies to portray the four main aspects of this all-inclusive Christ. The Gospel of Matthew testifies that He is the King, the Christ of God prophesied in the Old Testament, who brings the kingdom of the heavens to the earth. The Gospel of Mark tells us that He is the Servant of God, laboring for God faithfully. Mark's account is most simple, for a servant does not warrant a detailed record. The Gospel of Luke presents a full picture of Him as the only proper and normal man who ever lived on this earth; as such a man, He is the Savior of mankind. The Gospel of John unveils Him as the Son of God, the very God Himself, who is life to God's people. Among the four Gospels, Matthew and Luke have a record of genealogy; Mark and John do not. To testify that Jesus is the King, the Christ of God prophesied in the Old Testament, Matthew needs to show us the antecedents and status of this King, to prove that He is the proper successor to the throne of David. To prove that Jesus is a proper and normal man, Luke needs to show the generations of this man, to attest that He is qualified to be the Savior of mankind. For the record of a servant, Mark does not need to tell us His origin. To unveil that Jesus is the very God, neither does John need to give us His human genealogy; rather, he declares that, as the Word of God, He is the very God in the beginning.
The kingdom, of which Christ is the King, is composed of Abraham's descendants, including both his descendants in the flesh and those in faith. Hence, the genealogy of Christ in Matthew begins with Abraham, the father of the called race, not with Adam, the father of the created race. God's kingdom is not built with the created race of Adam but with the called race of Abraham, which includes both the real Israelites (Rom. 9:6-8) and the believers in Christ (Gal. 3:7, 9, 29). To prove by relating His genealogy that Jesus is a proper man qualified to be the Savior of mankind, Luke traces His genealogy back to Adam, the first generation of mankind. (back to v. 1)
12 In the genealogy of Jesus given by Luke, which proves that He is a proper man, the title Christ is not mentioned (Luke 3:23-38). But in the genealogy of Christ given here by Matthew, which proves that He is the King, the Christ of God, the title Christ is emphasized repeatedly (vv. 1, 16-17). (back to v. 1)
13 Solomon is a type of Christ as the son of David, the One who inherits the throne and kingdom of David (2 Sam. 7:12-13; Luke 1:32-33). Solomon, as a type of Christ, did mainly two things: he built the temple of God in the kingdom (1 Kings 6:2) and spoke the word of wisdom (1 Kings 10:23-24; Matt. 12:42). Christ, in fulfilling this type, is now building the real temple of God, the church, in the kingdom of God and has spoken the word of wisdom. (back to v. 1)
14 Isaac is a type of Christ as the son of Abraham, the One who inherits the promise and blessing God gave to Abraham (Gen. 22:17-18; Gal. 3:16, 14). Isaac also, as a type of Christ, did mainly two things: he obeyed his father even unto death and was resurrected from death (Gen. 22:9-10; Heb. 11:19), and he took Rebekah, a Gentile woman, as his wife (Gen. 24:61-67). Christ, in fulfilling this type, was put to death and offered to God and was resurrected from death, and He is taking the church as His bride out of the Gentiles. (back to v. 1)
21 Abraham begot eight sons (Gen. 16:15; 21:2-3; 25:2). Among those eight, only Isaac is counted as the promised seed (Rom. 9:7-8). Hence, Christ is his descendant to fulfill God's promise given to Abraham and to him (Gen. 22:18; 26:4). (back to v. 2)
22 Isaac begot twin sons, Esau and Jacob (Gen. 25:21-26), but only Jacob was chosen by God (Rom. 9:10-13). Hence, Christ is his descendant to fulfill God's promise given to Abraham, to Isaac, and to him (Gen. 22:18; 26:4; 28:14). (back to v. 2)
23 The birthright of the promised seed consists of the double portion of the land, the priesthood, and the kingship. Reuben, as the firstborn son of Jacob, should have inherited the birthright. But because of his defilement he lost the birthright (Gen. 49:3-4; 1 Chron. 5:1-2). The double portion of the land went to Joseph through his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Josh. 16—17); the priesthood went to Levi (Deut. 33:8-10); and the kingship was given to Judah (Gen. 49:10; 1 Chron. 5:2). Hence, Christ, the King of God's kingdom, is a descendant of Judah (Heb. 7:14); as such, He inherits the kingdom.
(back to v. 2)
24 Neither the brothers of Isaac nor the brother of Jacob, but only the brothers of Judah, are mentioned in this genealogy, because only Judah's brothers were chosen by God. (back to v. 2)
31 Pharez and Zarah were twins. At the time of delivery Zarah put out his hand, and the midwife marked it with a scarlet thread, indicating that he would be the firstborn. However, Pharez preceded him to be the firstborn (Gen. 38:27-30). Pharez was not chosen by man but was sent by God, proving that it was not by man's choice but by God's. (back to v. 3)
32 In the genealogy of Adam no woman is recorded (Gen. 5:1-32), but in this genealogy of Christ five women are mentioned. Only one of these five was a chaste virgin—Mary, a descendant of the chosen race. Of her, Christ was directly born (v. 16). Among the rest—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth (v. 5), and Bathsheba, who had been the wife of Uriah (v. 6)—some were Gentiles, some were remarried, and three were even sinful—Tamar committed incest, Rahab was a prostitute, and Bathsheba committed adultery. This indicates that Christ is related not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles, even to the sinful people, and is the kingly Savior of typical sinners. Tamar was Judah's daughter-in-law. Judah begot Pharez and Zarah of her by incest (Gen. 38:6-30). What an evil! (back to v. 3)
51 Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho (Josh. 2:1), a place cursed by God for eternity (Josh. 6:26). After she turned to God and God's people (Josh. 6:22-23, 25; Heb. 11:31) and married Salmon, a leader of Judah, the leading tribe (1 Chron. 2:10-11), she brought forth Boaz, a godly man, out of whom Christ came. Regardless of our background, if we turn to God and His people and are joined to the proper person among God's people, we will bring forth proper fruit and participate in the enjoyment of the birthright of Christ. (back to v. 5)
52 Boaz redeemed his kinsman's inheritance and married the man's widow (Ruth 4:1-17). By so doing he became a notable forefather of Christ, a great associate of Christ. (back to v. 5)
53 The origin of Ruth was incest, for she belonged to the tribe of Moab (Ruth 1:4), the fruit of Lot's incestuous union with his daughter (Gen. 19:30-38). Deuteronomy 23:3 forbade the Moabites to enter the assembly of Jehovah, even to the tenth generation. Ruth, however, not only was accepted by the Lord but also became one of the most important ancestors of Christ because she sought God and God's people (Ruth 1:15-17; 2:11-12). Regardless of who we are and what our background is, as long as we have a heart that seeks God and His people, we are in a position to be accepted into the birthright of Christ.
Boaz's mother, Rahab, was a Canaanitess and a prostitute, and his wife, Ruth, was a Moabitess of incestuous origin and a widow. Both were Gentiles and of low class, yet they are associated with Christ. Christ is joined not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles, even to those of low estate. (back to v. 5)
54 Isaiah 11:1 prophesied that Christ would be "a twig (lit.) out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch...out of his roots." Christ came out of Jesse. However, Isa. 11:10 says that Christ is the root of Jesse, indicating that Jesse came out of Christ. Jesse was one who brought forth Christ, one who branched out Christ by being rooted in Christ. (back to v. 5)
61 David was the eighth son of his father and was chosen and anointed by God (1 Sam. 16:10-13). The number eight signifies resurrection. That David as the eighth son was chosen by God indicates that his association with Christ was in resurrection. Furthermore, he was a man after the heart of God (1 Sam. 13:14) and brought in God's kingdom for Christ.
David was the last of the generations of the fathers. He was also the first of the generations of the kings. He was the conclusion of one age and the beginning of the next. He became the landmark of two ages because he brought in the kingdom of God and was closely associated with Christ. (back to v. 6)
62 In this genealogy, only David is called "the king" because it was through him that the kingdom with the kingship was brought in. (back to v. 6)
63 When David committed murder and adultery, he was rebuked by the prophet Nathan, whom God had sent purposely to condemn him (2 Sam. 12:1-12). When David was condemned, he repented. Psalm 51 is the record of his repentance. He repented and God forgave him (2 Sam. 12:13). Then he begot Solomon (2 Sam. 12:24). Hence, Solomon is the issue of man's transgression and repentance plus God's forgiveness.
The genealogy in Matthew says that David begot Solomon, but the genealogy in Luke says that Nathan was the son of David (Luke 3:31). First Chronicles 3:5 tells us that Nathan and Solomon were two different persons. Luke's record is the genealogy of David's son Nathan, who was Mary's forefather, whereas Matthew's record is the genealogy of David's son Solomon, who was Joseph's forefather. One genealogy is the line of Mary, the line of the wife; the other is the line of Joseph, the line of the husband. Both Mary and Joseph were descendants of David. Under God's sovereignty they were joined together by marriage, so that through Mary, Joseph was indirectly associated with Christ. Christ can be counted as a descendant of David through either Solomon or Nathan. Hence, He has two genealogies.
Strictly, Solomon was not a direct forefather of Christ. His relationship with Christ was indirect, through the marriage of Joseph, his descendant, to Mary, of whom Christ was born (v. 16). The Old Testament did not say that Christ would be Solomon's descendant, but it prophesied repeatedly that Christ would be a descendant of David (2 Sam. 7:13-14; Jer. 23:5). Although Christ was not a direct descendant of Solomon, the Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ as a descendant of David were nevertheless fulfilled. (back to v. 6)
64 Uriah was a Hittite, a heathen, and his wife was Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:3). David murdered him and took Bathsheba. Hence, she was remarried as a result of murder and adultery (2 Sam. 11:26-27). David, a man after the heart of God, did right in the eyes of the Lord all the days of his life, except for this one evil (1 Kings 15:5). This genealogy does not say "of Bathsheba" but "of her who had been the wife of Uriah," to emphasize this great sin of David's, thus showing that Christ as the kingly Savior is related not only to the heathen but also to sinners. (back to v. 6)
71 Beginning with Rehoboam, the kingdom of David was divided (1 Kings 11:9-12; 12:1-17). Of the twelve tribes, one was kept for David's sake (1 Kings 11:13), that is, for Christ. Christ needed the kingdom that belonged to the house of David, because He had to be born as an heir to David's throne.
After being divided, the kingdom of David was in two parts. The northern part was called the kingdom of Israel (a universal name) and was composed of ten tribes of Israel; the southern part was called the kingdom of Judah (a local name) and was composed of two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. Although the kingdom of Israel was more universal than that of Judah, not one of the names of the kings of Israel was included in the genealogy of Christ. The kings of Israel were excluded because they were not associated with Christ. They were for something other than Christ. (back to v. 7)
81 The genealogy here records that "Joram begot Uzziah." However, 1 Chron. 3:11-12 says, "Joram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son, Amaziah his son, Azariah" (who is Uzziah—2 Kings 15:1, 13). Three generations—Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah—were omitted. This must have been because of the evil marriage of Joram and the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, which corrupted Joram's descendants (2 Chron. 21:5-6; 22:1-4). In accordance with Exo. 20:5, three generations of Joram's descendants were cut off from the genealogy of Christ. (back to v. 8)
111 The genealogy here records that "Josiah begot Jeconiah." However, 1 Chron. 3:15-16 says, "The sons of Josiah...the second Jehoiakim...and the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son." One generation—Jehoiakim—was omitted from the genealogy of Christ. This must have been because he was made king by Pharaoh of Egypt and collected taxes for Pharaoh (2 Kings 23:34-35). (back to v. 11)
112 Jeconiah was not reckoned a king in the genealogy, because he was born during the captivity and was a captive (2 Chron. 36:9-10—Jehoiachin is Jeconiah). According to the prophecy in Jer. 22:28-30, none of Jeconiah's descendants would inherit the throne of David. If Christ had been a direct descendant of Jeconiah, He would not have been entitled to the throne of David. Although Jer. 22:28-30 says that all the descendants of Jeconiah are excluded from the throne of David, Jer. 23:5 says that God would raise up a Shoot to David, a King who would reign and prosper. This Shoot is Christ. This prophecy confirms that Christ would be the descendant of David, although not a direct descendant of Jeconiah, and would inherit the throne of David. (back to v. 11)
113 In this genealogy there is no mention of the brothers of any kings. However, here the brothers of Jeconiah are mentioned, proving that Jeconiah was not reckoned a king in this genealogy of Christ. (back to v. 11)
114 Referring to the carrying away of the children of Israel into captivity in Babylon. So in v. 17. (back to v. 11)
121 Even those who were carried away as captives to Babylon were included in this sacred record of Christ's genealogy because they had an indirect relationship with Christ through Mary, the wife of one of their descendants and the mother of Jesus. (back to v. 12)
122 "Jeconiah begot Salathiel, and Salathiel begot Zerubbabel." Compare this record with 1 Chron. 3:17-19, which says, "The sons of Jeconiah... Salathiel...and Pedaiah...and the sons of Pedaiah were, Zerubbabel," showing that Zerubbabel was the son of Pedaiah, Salathiel's brother. Zerubbabel was not Salathiel's son but was his nephew, and he became his heir. Perhaps this was a case in accordance with Deut. 25:5-6. Even that word in Deuteronomy is related to the genealogy of Christ.
Zerubbabel was one of the leaders who returned to Jerusalem from the captivity in Babylon (Ezra 5:1-2). He was also a leader in the rebuilding of God's temple (Zech. 4:7-10). The Old Testament predicted that Christ, as a descendant of David, would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:4-6). Without the return from captivity, it would not have been possible for Christ to be born in Bethlehem. God's command that the captives return was not only for the rebuilding of the temple of God but also to prepare for Christ to be born in Bethlehem. Christ needed some people to be in the proper place to bring Him to earth the first time. Similarly, for His second coming Christ needs some of His people to return from their captivity to the proper church life. (back to v. 12)
161 Here the genealogy says that "Jacob begot Joseph," but Luke 3:23 says, "Joseph, the son of Heli." Luke's record was "according to law" (a literal translation of "so it was thought" in Luke 3:23), indicating that Joseph was not actually the son of Heli but was reckoned his son according to the law. Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli, Mary's father. This may be a case according to Num. 27:1-8 and 36:1-12, in which a regulation was made by God that if any parents had only daughters as heirs, the inheritance would go to the daughters, who would then have to marry a man of their own tribe in order to keep their inheritance within that tribe. Even such a regulation in the Old Testament is related to the genealogy of Christ, showing that all Scripture is a record of Christ. (back to v. 16)
162 At this point the record of this genealogy does not say, "Joseph begot Jesus," which is similar to what is said of all the foregoing persons; it says, "Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus." Jesus was born of Mary, and not of Joseph, since it was prophesied that Christ would be the seed of the woman and would be born of a virgin (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14). Christ could not have been born of Joseph because Joseph was a man and a descendant of Jeconiah, none of whose descendants could inherit the throne of David (Jer. 22:28-30). However, Mary was a virgin and a descendant of David (Luke 1:27, 31-32); as such, she was the right person of whom Christ should be born. The marriage of Joseph and Mary brought Joseph into relationship with Christ and united into one the two lines of Christ's genealogy for the bringing in of Christ, as shown in the chart on the following page.
This chart shows that the generation of Jesus Christ begins from God and continues until it reaches Jesus. It proceeds from God to Adam, from Adam to Abraham, from Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, and on to David. After David it divides into two lines, the first running from Nathan to Mary and the second from Solomon to Joseph. Eventually, these two lines are brought together by the marriage of Mary and Joseph, to bring in Jesus Christ. In this way Christ was apparently a descendant of Jeconiah, who seemed to be in the line of the royal family; actually, He was not a descendant of Jeconiah, Joseph's forefather, but a descendant of David, Mary's forefather, so that He could qualify to inherit the throne of David. (back to v. 16)
163 This genealogy first mentions four women who were either remarried or sinful. In addition, here it mentions a chaste virgin. This indicates that all the persons named in this genealogy were born in sin, except Christ, who was born in holiness.
Abraham, David, and Mary were the three persons crucial to the bringing in of Christ. Abraham represents a life by faith; David, a life under the dealing of the cross; and Mary, a life of absolute surrender to the Lord. It was through these three kinds of lives that Christ was brought forth into humanity. (back to v. 16)
164 Christ is emphasized here to prove that Jesus is the very Messiah (Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament. (back to v. 16)
171 This genealogy is divided into three ages: (1) from Abraham until David, fourteen generations, the age before the establishing of the kingdom; (2) from David until the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations, the age of the kingdom; (3) from the deportation to Babylon until the Christ, again fourteen generations, the age after the fall of the kingdom. According to history, there were actually forty-five generations. By deducting from these generations the three cursed generations and the one improper generation, and then adding one by making David two generations (one, the age before the establishing of the kingdom, and the other, the age of the kingdom), the generations total forty-two, being divided into three ages of fourteen generations each. The number fourteen is composed of ten plus four. Four signifies creatures (Rev. 4:6); ten signifies fullness (25:1). Hence, fourteen signifies the creatures in full. Fourteen generations being multiplied by three indicates that the Triune God mingles Himself with the creatures in full.
This genealogy is of three sections: the section of the fathers, the section of the kings, and the section of the civilians, which includes the captured ones and the recovered ones. God the Father corresponds with the section of the fathers, God the Son with the section of the kings, and God the Spirit with the section of the civilians. This too indicates the mingling of the Triune God with His human creatures.
Three times fourteen is forty-two. Forty is the number for trials, temptations, and sufferings (Heb. 3:9; Matt. 4:2; 1 Kings 19:8). Forty-two signifies rest and satisfaction after trial. The children of Israel traveled through forty-two stations before they entered the good land of rest. The millennial kingdom as a rest will come after the forty-two months of the great tribulation (Rev. 13:5). After all the generations of trials, temptations, and sufferings, Christ came as the forty-second generation to be our rest and satisfaction. (back to v. 17)
172 David is the end of the generations of the fathers and the beginning of the generations of the kings. He was the one person used by God as a landmark to conclude the section of the fathers and to begin the section of the kings. (back to v. 17)
173 At the time of degradation no person was there as a landmark to demarcate the generations as did Abraham and David. Thus, the deportation became a landmark, a landmark of shame. (back to v. 17)
174 Luke's record begins with Jesus and traces back to God. Matthew's record proceeds from Abraham to Christ. Luke goes back and up to God; Matthew comes forward and down to Christ. All the generations were directed to Christ and brought in Christ. Christ is the goal, the consummation, the conclusion, the completion, and the perfection of all the generations; as such, He fulfills their prophecies, solves their problems, and meets their needs. When Christ comes, light, life, salvation, satisfaction, healing, freedom, rest, comfort, peace, and joy all come with Him. From this point on, the whole New Testament is a full expounding of this wonderful Christ, who is everything to us. Hallelujah, Christ has come! (back to v. 17)
181 Lit., out of. Although Christ was born of Mary (v. 16), He was a child of the Holy Spirit. The birth of Christ was directly of the Holy Spirit (v. 20). His source was the Holy Spirit and His element was divine. Through the virgin Mary He put on flesh and blood, the human nature, taking the likeness of the flesh (Rom. 8:3), the likeness of men (Phil. 2:7). (back to v. 18)
191 A righteous man at that time was one walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord (Luke 1:6), i. e. , one who was living according to the law of God with the propitiation made by the offerings. (back to v. 19)
192 Lit., release her. (back to v. 19)
201 God was first born into Mary through His Spirit; after the conception was completed, He, with the human nature, was born to be a God-man, possessing both divinity and humanity. This is the origin of Christ. (back to v. 20)
202 Lit., out of. (back to v. 20)
211 Jesus is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name Joshua (Num. 13:16), which means Jehovah the Savior, or the salvation of Jehovah. Hence, Jesus is not only a man but Jehovah, and not only Jehovah but Jehovah becoming our salvation. Thus, He is our Savior. He is also our Joshua, the One who brings us into rest (Heb. 4:8; Matt. 11:28-29), which is Himself as the good land to us. (back to v. 21)
221 One who is commonly considered a foreteller. But in the Scriptures a prophet is one who speaks for God, speaks forth God, and predicts. (back to v. 22)
231 This son of the virgin is the seed of the woman prophesied in Gen. 3:15. (back to v. 23)
232 Jesus was the name given by God, whereas Emmanuel, meaning God with us, was the name by which man called Him. Jesus the Savior is God with us. He is God, and He is also God incarnated to dwell among us (John 1:14). He is not only God but God with us. (back to v. 23)
233 Christ as the very Emmanuel not only was with us when He was on earth, but also is with us, since His ascension, whenever we are gathered into His name (18:20). Moreover, He will be with us all the days until the consummation of the age (28:20). (back to v. 23)
251 The birth of Christ was prepared and accomplished by God's sovereignty. By His sovereignty God brought back to Judea from the captivity in Babylon the ancestors of both Joseph and Mary under the leadership of their forefather Zerubbabel (v. 12; Ezra 5:1-2). Again by His sovereignty God placed both Joseph and Mary in the same city, Nazareth (Luke 1:26; 2:4). Even more, by His sovereignty God brought Joseph and Mary together in marriage so that Christ could be brought in as the legal heir to the throne of David. (back to v. 25)