Thursday, February 24, 2022

A Study of Matthew - Chapter 1 - Genealogy and Birth


The book of Matthew will be shown to be a Jewish book, written around 65AD. Matthew of course was Jewish, and the great quantity of Old Testament (OT) quotes reveal his audience to be Jewish. Only the Jewish people would be well versed in the OT scriptures.

Matthew's gospel has two purposes:

  • The first to show the Messiahship of Jesus.

  • The second is to present the Kingdom program of God.

John the Baptist declared that the Kingdom was at hand, which means that the King was present. Unbelieving Jews would scoff at this, saying "if He is King, where is His kingdom". Because of their objections, Matthew will explain the outworking of Jesus kingdom, and how it will all work. He will show how Israel rejected the King, the Kingdom was postponement, and the inauguration of the church as a result of the postponement of the Kingdom. He will show how the Gentiles came to be a part of the program of the Kingdom.

Matthew 1:1 - Genealogy Prologue

It is notable that Matthew starts the genealogy off by indicating that Jesus is both, the "son of David" and "the son of Abraham".

Mat 1:1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Matthew begins by implicitly pointing out the issue of Israel rejecting their Messiah. The "son of David" is mentioned first, and speaks to Jesus coming as King, as per the Davidic Covenant, hence "son of David". The term was Jewish, national and royal. Jesus was rejected as King by national Israel.

2Sa 7:12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. (13) He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Mic 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

Nathanael's response to Jesus shows the expectation of the Jewish people that Jesus, the son of David, was coming to establish the Messianic Kingdom, which they would have understood to be in Jerusalem with the Messiah on the throne of David.

Joh 1:48-49 "How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." (49) Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel."

The "son of Abraham" is mentioned second, and speaks to the promise that will be given to all nations, "you will be a blessing". This term is personal, national and universal.

Gen 12:1-2 The LORD had said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you. (2) "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

Matthew 1:2-17 -The Genealogy

Matthew's focus is on Jesus as Messiah. The Messiah was a Hebrew and Abraham was the first Hebrew. So Matthew's genealogy begins with Abraham.

Mat 1:2-17 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, (3) Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, (4) Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, (5) Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, (6) and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife, (7) Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, (8) Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, (9) Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, (10) Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, (11) and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. (12) After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, (13) Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, (14) Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, (15) Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, (16) and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. (17) Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

It is interesting to note the women in the genealogy.

  • Tamar - A woman of questionable moral judgment (Gen 38:6-30)

  • Rahab - A Gentile prostitute - (Jos 2:1-24)

  • Ruth - A Moabite Woman (a foreigner) - The Book of Ruth

  • Uriah's wife - Bathsheba, whom with David bore an illigitiment son, Solomon - (2Sa 11:1-27)

In vs. 16, instead of continuing the genealogy down through the man's side of the family, as "the father of" Joseph is noted to be the husband of Mary, and Mary is said to be the "mother of Jesus". This is Matthew hinting at the virgin birth.


The inclusion of these women of questionable moral character reveals God's delight in accomplishing His Holy tasks with whomever He chooses, even those the world would just as soon assign to the trashbin of humanity. What does this tell you about God's love for you?

These names also show God's grace in dealing with His people, and His desire to seek and save the lost and to minister to them.

Do you think your past might negate your service to the Lord? The names in this genealogy would suggest otherwise.

Matthew 1:18-20 - Joseph Torn

Mat 1:18-20 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. (19) Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. (20) But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

According to Jewish Law, when a man and woman were betrothed to each other, they were bound by all the laws that governed a married couple except that they did not live together. This means that they could not separate without a formal divorce.

Joseph was betrothed to Mary, but not yet married. So when Mary became pregnant before the wedding, Joseph had a dilemma. According to Jewish Law, he could have her put to death for adultery (although in this society that didn't happen often). Joseph was a devout man and devoted to God and His standards in the law. He was called a "righteous" man, so he was torn on how to respond.

Deu 22:22-24 If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. (23) If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, (24) you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death--the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man's wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

But Joseph was a kind and compassionate man, and showing mercy, did not want to expose her to the public disgrace such a proceeding as divorce while betrothed would bring, so he set out divorce her quietly, without prying eyes and ears. The law made provision for this. Divorce in that day was a social status and the women were shunned. Additionally the man who ignored the status of a woman who was found in adultery would be held in public disgrace.

After his struggle and decision to be merciful and settle this quietly, he was visited by an angel in a dream. The angel assured Joseph that he did not need to fear from breaking the law or taking Mary as his wife, and was told that Mary had conceived through the Holy Spirit.

Joseph was called the "son of David" another hint that Matthew gave us that Jesus was the King who had been awaited from ancient times that would set up His reign on David's throne in Jerusalem.


The comparison between the Jewish law and the reality of "free love" today shows how far we have come. The value and respect for the marriage relationship has fallen far. Imagine how different the world would be if families remained intact for the life of the wife and husband. How different families would be, and children grew up with a mother and a father, and extended families took care of each other through financial and health issues.

Matthew 1:21-23 - The Angelic Visit

Mat 1:21-23 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (22) All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: (23) "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us").

The angel tells Joseph that he is to name the child "Jesus", "because He will save His people from their sins". The name "Jesus" appears to be the NT equivalent of the OT name "Joshua", who brought the Israelites into the promised land. The Jewish people would have associated Jesus with the Messianic work of salvation that was anticipated by the Jewish people. So Jesus's work was to be two fold, to reign as King in Jerusalem, and to save His people (the Jews) from their sin.

Luk 2:25-30 In Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was a good and godly man. He was waiting for God's promise to Israel to happen. The Holy Spirit was with him. (26) The Spirit had told Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. (27) The Spirit led him into the temple courtyard. Then Jesus' parents brought the child in. They came to do for him what the Law required. (28) Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said, (29) "Lord, you are the King over all. Now let me, your servant, go in peace. That is what you promised. (30) My eyes have seen your salvation.

The angel now connects the virgin conception of Jesus to the prophet Isaiah. Matthew, in recording this certainly sees the prophecy of Isa 7:14 as fulfilled in Jesus birth. His purpose is to emphasize that people will recognize that Jesus was indeed God among us in calling Him Immanuel (God with us).

Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Luke provides additional information on the topic of Jesus's throne and kingdom. First, the angel in announcing the child, is careful to identify Joseph as a "descendant of David".

Luk 1:27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.

Luke adds additional detail, noting that this child will be given the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob's descendants forever, in a never ending kingdom.

Luk 1:32-33 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, (33) and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end."

Matthew 1:24-25 - The Conclusion of the Genealogical Account

Mat 1:24-25 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. (25) But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Upon receiving the dream, Joseph with no question proceeds with the orderly process of marrying Mary. There is no reason to suspect he went in a hurry to do this, unless their wedding day was already upon them, but Joseph would have just followed their normal course of action.

The one thing that Joseph did though is not consummate their marriage until after the birth of Jesus.

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