New Testament Commentary - Matthew 1

by Don R. Hender

Matthew will present Jesus from the strict Jewish perspective. He will first present Jesus as the Son of Abraham who was the promised Messiah of the Covenant of Abraham and the fathers. And then Matthew will present Him as the promised Messiah, the Son of David of that Royal and promised blood line. Abraham, as a part of the Covenant, was promised to be the ancestor of the promised Savior of the world. To qualify to be the Messiah, Jesus would have to be of the linage of Abraham through a known and tracable linage to him. Also, King David was also promised that the promised Messiah would be of his linage. This was not of the 'Covenant' promise as was Abraham's promise, for King David was not a righteous bearer of the Covenant. But David was promised that the promised Messiah would be considered to be of his blood line linage. And for Jesus to be accepted as the promised 'Son of David', he would also have to demonstrate a known genealogy back to David.

Now Matthew provides this strict Jewish linage back to King David and to Abraham. And he does so according to Jewish tradition. While Christ was not the literal son of Joseph the carpenter, his immediate performing earthly father by the Jewish traditional laws of adoptive sons, Jesus was considered to be Joseph's firstborn son under those traditions as Joseph raised Jesus and did train he up in his own profession. He married Mary, the mother of Jesus, and accepted her son as his own. And not only this, but he did train him in his own profession as a carpenter. This made Jesus to be the legal and lawful son and heir of Joseph, and the legal and lawful heir to the linage of Joseph as well as Mary back to King David and to father Abraham.

Now to meet the Jewish traditions in every respect, Matthew forces the ancestry of Christ to have 14 generations to King David and 14 generations from David back to Abraham. This was to meet the 'Jewish' traditions of sacred numbers, which is not a true gospel of God tradition but rather a Jewish tradition of superstition. It is easily shown that Matthew's account of the genealogy is flawed missing known generation with the forcing of information to fit the numbers of traditional Jewish superstition. Whether these were the actual work of Matthew or an adaption from such preserved traditional genealogies of the Jews is unknown.

Further, Matthew's account is from the Jewish perspective, which ignored other known facets of the Messiah's character that were not strictly Jewish. After all, Matthew's prime concern was to present to the Jews the Messiah in the most acceptable manner possible. Any know facts and/or traditions which would interfer with this position were simply ignored. After all, Matthew's intented audience was strictly the Jewish audience for whom he did prepare his Gospel. And in this sense it is a Gospel which promoted the asspects favored by the 'Judizers', meaning those who continued to keep the traditions of Judism alive in the Church of Christ despite the fact that the old law was fulfilled and no longer applicable in Christ's Church.

Scriptural Text [& Editorial]
Commentary & Explanation
Footnotes ~ References ~ JST
             CHAPTER 1

Christ is born of Mary—She conceives by the power of the Holy Ghost—Our Lord is named Jesus.

The Royal Genealogy of Joseph the carpenter, by Jewish Law the adoptive father of Jesus—The Messiah is born of Mary—Her conception is by the power of the Holy Ghost—Our Lord is named after His preexistent name of Yehoshua (Jesus in the Greek transliteration) meaning 'Jehovah is Salvation'.
  1 THE book of the generation of Jesus Christa, the son of aDavid, the son of Abraham.

Messiah ben David 
From one known Jewish perspective, the promised Son of David was the very divine promised Messiah come to take upon himself the sins of the world. But not all Jews upheld this perspective. The various 'sects' of Judaism vary now as the did then in the days of Christ as to what they did and did not believe. Many today do not believe that the son of God will be the promised Messiah, but that he will be the son of a man. They do not believe Isaiah's sign that a virgin will give birth. The same was the case in the days of Jesus' morality. To many the blasphemey was not just the concept of Jesus stating that he was the Son of God, but they did not believe that God would have a son who would come to earth. True, it was a matter of controversy among the sects, but the prevailing thought of those in charge of the Sanhedrian was that there would never be such a Son of God and for one to state that he was the Son of God was to blaspheme that name of God, making God but common to man. And they believed not then nor do many now believe in the divine nature of the promised Messiah.
 1a The book of the generation of Jesus Christ Matthew is considered to be an official 'historian' of the early Church, perhaps even specifically assigned to write his history to the Jews in the Jewish perspective. Thus this first Gospel takes upon itself the aspect of being an early Church's official history of Jesus Christ. It is 'The Book of the Generation of Jesus Christ'. And might be considered an answer to the question, 'Who shall declare his generation?' (Isaiah 53:8, Acts 8:33, Mosiah 14:8, Mosiah 15:10) Though written by a Jew, the Apostle Matthew (Levi), to the Jews of Palestine from a very Jewish perspective, it is considered to be an official history of the life of Jesus Christ. The only other Gospel written directly by an Apostle of the Lord is that of John and John did not write a history to the world, but John did write of the doctrines of Christ to the already converted members of the Church. John's Gospel is more of a doctrinal disertation than a historical one.
  Now as to Christ's Generation, one might consider it from his birth in mortality until his death upon the cross. Yet he was resurrected and does live today. And most assuredly he did live before, being the Firstborn of the Father in the spirit. Thus while the Gospels as concerned primarily with his mortal mission and of the events from his birth to Mary to when he was crucified and resurrected, that mostly concerns his 'temporal generation.' Certainly from a more universal perspective, Christ's or Jehovah's generation has a far more reaching beginning with His being the Firstborn Son of God in the spirit at the beginning of the ages of man in the preexistent realm. And his life and mission has not ended yet, but does continue even until the end. Thus in a more universal perspective, His Generation is bracketed by he being the Alpha, the Beginning and the Omega, the End of all the ages of mankind. Thus when Matthew declares that his it the Book of the Generation of Jesus Christ, it must be understood to be so limited in its nature to concern the mortal ministry of the Messiah, and further only from a Jewish perspective. And thus the question still goes unanswered as to who will declare His gereation from the beginning to the end.
 1a TG Jesus Christ, Davidic Descent

Son of the Covenant 
More than just being the Son of Abraham, Jesus Christ was the promised Son of the Covenant, which was the promises made to the fathers who go back through Noah, Enoch and Adam as well as others. And that Covenant, more than being just the Covenant of Abraham and the fathers, was the Covenant of God made to his spirit children before the foundation of the world. This eternal perspective of the Covenant ought to be set forth, as it is still the Gospel Covenant being kept today in the going forth of the Gospel to all the nations of he earth unto to thier being blessed according to the promise made to Abraham, Noah, Enoch, Adam and all of us who were in the preexistent councils when it was first made there.

Royal Line Genealogy of Mary, and Adoptive Father of Jesus

     BOTH Joseph and Mary were related and of near kin cousins of the Royal House of David as tracked by the Jewish Bible. As many a 'Royal Linage' does in having to find a legitimate heir when the biological blood line fails, so did the Royal linage of the House of David. One such jump was when, as prophesied by Jeremiah, Jehoiachin/Coniah failed to produce a male heir, the near biological substitute from Solomon's brother Nathan's male line, Salathiel, was 'adopted' into the Royal linage from Jehoiachin. This accounts for one difference between Matthew's and Luke's given genealogies. Further, the Royal line actually descended through Mary's father, who also had no male heirs, and he so adopted his son-in-law and nephew, Joseph, Mary's spouse to be his male royal heir. Thus Matthew's genealogy give the Royal Linage, which also happen's to be Mary's immediate actual linage as to who her father, Jacob was.
                               |                      |
                             Jacob   (Royal Line*)   Heli
                             Mary          =        Joseph
* Argue the Royal Linage transfer how you will, Mary was the daughter 'blood line' from Jacob, who was Heir, being the elder son of Matthan/Matthat. Now, when Jacob had no sons, Mary could legitimately be 'Queen,' but a 'King' was in preference so that meant a male heir and thus Jacob's Nephew, the son of Jacob's brother Heli, was so 'adopted' and selected. The other justifying arguement is that since Jacob had no son, the Royal linage went to Jacob's brother Heli and thence to Joseph. Either way it works. But Matthew did give Mary's father Jacob as through whom it came. And Luke, who gives Joseph's extended blood line linage, identifies Heli as Joseph's biological father. Now, of course the 'scholars' are going to get into a fuss over who actually gave whose line, Matthew - Joseph or Mary and/or Luke - Mary or Joseph. James E. Talmage happens to agree with me, so I can cite him as my authority. I came to that conclusion on my own and then found that Talmage had previously agreed with me. In any event, it is quite evident that Jesus was the legitimate Royal Linage heir of David.
  2 aAbraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat bJudas and his brethrena;
  3 And Judas begat aPhares and bZara of Thamar; and Phares begat cEsrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
  4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and aNaasson begat Salmon;
 2a Jacob begat Judas and his brethren Now since this is the 'very Jewish' perspective of the history of Jesus Christ, it must be understood that Judah would be so emphasized above all his brethren, including Joseph of Egypt and his son Ephraim who were the actual heirs of the covenant birthright. But from the Jewish perspective, as in the last verses of the Book of Ruth, it is the Savior's Jewish bloodline which is being traced here from Boaz down to King David and in 14 symbolic generations from King David down until Jesus Christ, which is the 'Royal linage' of the Messiah. This Royal Linage from King David will follow the Royal heirship line, which in fact is not the literal parental linage, as some substitutions of next of kin become the Royal Line by the default of such ones as Jehoiachin/Coniah (Jeremiah 22:30), who had no literal descendants which inherited the throne of David according to the word of Jeremiah the prophet. This will be further explored when Luke gives the literal parental linage apart from the Royal Linage lines.  2a Gen. 25:19
   b TG Israel, Judah, People of
 3a Ruth 4:18 1 Chr. 2:4 (4-15)
   b Gen. 38:30
   c 1 Chr. 2:9
 4a 1Num. 1:7
  5 And Salmon begat aBooz of Rachaba; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
  6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat aSolomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;

Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba 
Rahab of Jericho was not a Hebrew in her national origin though we do not know exactly what her nationality was. Ruth was a Moabitess, a descendant of Lot. And Bathsheba may as well have been of other than Israelite nationality, having been the wife of Uriah the Hittite. But according to 'Jewish' law, such a wife would be 'adopted' into being an Israelite by conversion to the faith. The irony, it that this three consecutive generations of presented wifes in Matthew does well present the descendants of David to be of mixed national origin as where the dreaded Samaritans of such mixed linage of Hebrew and some other. King David was accepted by the Jews as their own, but not by all and not at all times. It would seem that in the view of the 'strictest' Jewish scholars, the Pharisees, Jesus, a Son of David, of the house of David, could be attacked upon this basis as being of mixed national origin and to be such as the Samaritans. This is even more the case when one considered that David was legally and rightfully of the house of Ephraim, having Mahlon the Ephrathite as his Law of Moses parent under the law which made Boaz the surrogate parent to raise up seed unto the dead house of Elimelech. 'Says we not well that thou art a Samaritan?'(John 8:48) Jesus never replied that he was not a Samaritan, for he was and would not deny it.
 5a Rachab This is presumed by Christian theologist to be Rahab of the days of Joshua fame, of the city of Jericho. According to certain Rabbinical traditions that Rahab married Joshua and had at least two daughters by him. The time span from Nahshon (Numbers 1:4) the prince of Judah who lived in Egypt, who was appoint by Moses to head the tribe of Judah in the wilderness and died in the wilderness without ever seeing the promised land to Boaz who some 200 years later married Ruth, would be such that it would logically require more than just one generation between them, especially in Rahab is contempory with Joshua and is a wife under him. But the Bible only gives Solmon (Ruth 4:20) or Salma (1 Chronicles 2:11) betwix Nahshon and Boaz, which according to New Testament scholars, this Rachab married (Matthew 1:5) and begat Boaz. If this was the same as Rahab, the innkeeper of Jericho, then she would have had to of been older than Sarah, wife of Abraham to have parented Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth by the end of the record of the Judges, which record the Book of Ruth once was of according to Josephus. What would fit the timeline and traditions of Rahab being Joshua's wife, is if the Rachab mentioned by Matthew as Boaz's immediated mother were a daughter of granddaughter of Rahab of Jericho. This might well place Boaz in the position of being by marriage the kinsman of a branch of the tribe of Ephraim (See Messiah ben David ~ Messiah ben Joseph).
 More likely, which explains the kinship of Elimelch and Boaz, this Rachab was a daughter of Rahab named after her mother at best. She would perhaps and 'possibly most likely' be one of the daughters of Joshua by Rahab. And then this is the maternal marriage kinship that makes Elimelech, descendant of Joshua the Ephrathite, to be 'brother-cousin' unto Boaz in the same respect that Laban and Jacob where kinsmen and called 'brothers' (Genesis 29:12, 15).
 5a Ruth 4:21
 6a 2 Sam. 12:24-25; 1 Chr. 3:5

  7 And Solomona 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;
 7a Solomon The brother of Solomon was Nathan. They were boths sons of King David by his wife Bathsheba. When Jehoiachin has no heirs, the substituded 'adopted' son near kinsman in Babylon was traced all the way from Nathan. His name was Salathiel. This situation is confirmed by the prophecy of Jeremiah and by the parallel genealogy prepared by Luke of Joseph, Mary's cousin.

  10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;
  11 And Josias begat Jechoniasa and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to aBabylon:
  12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiela; and Salathiel begat aZorobabel;
 11a Josias begat Jechonias Jehoiachin was the son of Jehoiakim who was the son of Josiah (2 Kings 24:6; 2 Chronicles 36:8; . The known parenthood of Jehoiachin is left out (as are others) to force the 14 generations from King David to Jesus Christ which Matthew desires to make Jesus more pleasing to the Jewish traditions of sacred numbers.
 12a Jochonias begat Salathiel Whether Jechonias is thought to be Jehoiachin or Jehoiakim, the father of Jehoiachin, one might contend. According to Jeremiah none of Jehoiachin's posterity would ever reign upon David's thone (Jeremiah 22:30). And it is a fact that the Gospel of Luke, whose genealogy is considered to be a direct male patriarchal line to David rather than the Royal line, makes Salathiel the actual son of Neri and not Jechonias. It does seem that the Royal Line has jumped to the 'next of kin' or the next in line, perhaps so provided by Levirate marriage substitution to the Royal House of David by the near kinsman Neri, which Neri according to Luke was a literal descendant from Nathan son of David rather than Solomon (See Luke 3:27-31).
 11a TG Israel, Bondage of, in Other Lands
 12a 1 Chr. 3:19 (17-19); Ezra 2:2 (1-3);
       Hag. 1:1

  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 aJoseph the husband of bMary, of whom was born cJesus, dwho is called eChrist.
  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 fourteen agenerations.
 16a Luke 3:23-38
     b 1 Nep. 11:18 (14-21); Mosiah 3:8
     c Luke 20:14; D&C 93:14 (3-17)
     d JST Matt. 1:4 the prophets have
       written, who is called Christ.

     e The Greek title "Christ" and the
       Hebrew title "Messiah" are
       synonymouse, meaning "Anointed

 17a TG Book of Remembrance

Matthew's Account of Christ's Birth

  18 ¶ aNow the bbirth of Jesus Christ was con this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
  19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick aexample, was bminded to cput her away privily.
 2a Gen. 25:19
   b TG Israel, Judah, People of
 3a Ruth 4:18 1 Chr. 2:4 (4-15)
   b Gen. 38:30
   c 1 Chr. 2:9
 4a 1Num. 1:7
  20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a adream, saying, Joseph, thou son of bDavid, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the cHoly Ghost.
  21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his aname bJESUS: for he shall csave his people from their sins.
 2a Gen. 25:19
   b TG Israel, Judah, People of
 3a Ruth 4:18 1 Chr. 2:4 (4-15)
   b Gen. 38:30
   c 1 Chr. 2:9
 4a 1Num. 1:7
  22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
  23 aBehold, a bvirgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his cname dEmmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
 2a Gen. 25:19
   b TG Israel, Judah, People of
 3a Ruth 4:18 1 Chr. 2:4 (4-15)
   b Gen. 38:30
   c 1 Chr. 2:9
 4a 1Num. 1:7
  24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his awife:
  25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her afirstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
 2a Gen. 25:19
   b TG Israel, Judah, People of
 3a Ruth 4:18 1 Chr. 2:4 (4-15)
   b Gen. 38:30
   c 1 Chr. 2:9
 4a 1Num. 1:7