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fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen gen
from Abraham to David are [erations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen genera tions.
of Jesus' ancestors, chap. 3: 23-38. The list, as given by Luke, differs from that furnished by Matthew. Matthew says, the father of Joseph, Mary's hus-alogical register, Luke inserts her husband, was Jacob (1: 16); Luke says, band's name; that is, instead of Mary, the father of Joseph was Heli. But he mentions Joseph, and calls him the there is no contradiction between the "son of Heli," as he was Heli's sontwo evangelists; for they trace the fam-in-law, having married Mary, his ily descent in two distinct lines. They daughter. Thus Heli was father [faboth mention Abraham, and agree in ther-in-law] of Joseph, inasmuch as their list of names from Abraham to he was father of Joseph's wife. David. Passing from David, Matthew proceeds with the line of the kings who descended from David, while Luke proceeds with David's descendants through Nathan, who was one of David's sons (2 Sam. 5: 14), but not his successor in the government; and it at length appears, that by both of these lines Jesus descended from David. Now, a very natural remark, in this view of the matter, is, that Matthew traces the descent of Joseph, the reputed and legal father of Jesus; and
Luke traces the descent of Mary, the mother of Jesus. But instead of inserting the name of a female in a gene
This view, which reconciles the two records, is confirmed by the different words used by the two evangelists to express descent. Matthew uses the word beget, implying natural connection; Luke uses the expression son of, a more general term. Thus, while Jacob is truly said, by Matthew, to have begotten Joseph, Heli_is_with equal truth represented, by Luke, as the father [father-in-law] of Joseph.
The account just given may thus be presented to the eye :
It may be objected to this view of | by Luke, mentions two names which the matter, that the line, as presented also occur in Matthew's list, namely,
18 Now the birth of Jesus 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on
Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Salathiel and Zorobabel. Matt. 1: 12, 13. Luke 3:27. But it may be replied, that, while the names are the same, there is no necessity for believing that the persons thus named were
ing to the then existing practices among the Jews, a bill of divorce could be procured without having the cause of the divorce distinctly stated in the writing.
20. The angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream. God, who had ordered all the circumstances by which Joseph was so much perplexed, made a special communication to him, in a dream. The word rendered angel signifies primarily a messenger, and applies both to men who are sent by their fellow-men on messages (as in Luke 7: 24, where the expression messengers of John is in the Greek the angels of John), and to those heavenly beings whom God is represented as employing. Since the idea of a messenger
19. Joseph her husband. Among the Jews, there was commonly an interval of ten or twelve months, some-performing the will of another, is the times a much longer time, between the fundamental idea of the word angel, engagement to marry and the cele- the word is applicable to any thing bration of the nuptials. Yet, as soon which the Lord may employ in exeas the engagement to marry was made, cuting his purposes, particularly if his the ersons were spoken of as husband purposes are executed in an uncommon and wife, and unfaithfulness to each or striking manner. Hence the word other was regarded in the same light as is applied to the providential care of if the marriage ceremonies had actually God (Ps. 34: 7. 91: 11), and to any been performed. See Deut. 22: 23, special arrangement of circumstances 24. A just man. The word here by which God effects some signal retranslated just is as general in its ap-sults (2 Kings 19: 35, in which instance plication as our word good, and con- probably the pestilence is called an antains in it the idea of kindness, as well gel; Acts 12: 23, in which instance a as that of integrity. The same word sudden and fatal attack of disease is is used in 1 John 1: 9, with reference so called); as well as to the real emto the forgiveness of sins, which is ployment of heavenly beings, as in peculiarly an act of mercy or kindness. Acts 12: 7-11. 10: 3, 30. În effecting his designs, God may be constantly employing the agency of angels in ac
cordance with the established laws of the material universe, and of the spirits of men. In the case of Joseph, his circumstances were such that he needed special guidance from heaven; no human being was adequate to guide him. Thus situated, he had a remarkable
18. On this wise; in this manner. The word wise, as a substantive, and used separately from another word, is now obsolete. It is still retained, however, as an appendage to other words; as lengthwise, likewise. It corresponds to our modern word way, or manner. Espoused, engaged to be married. Before they came together; before they lived together as husband and wife.
Not willing to make her a public example; not willing to expose her to public infamy, by bringing an accusation against her. The kind feelings of Joseph, and the attachment which he had cherished for Mary, led him to seek a dissolution of the intended connection by giving her a bill of divorce in a private manner. Accord
these things, behold, the angel | for that which is conceived in of the Lord appeared unto him her is of the Holy Ghost. in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife;
21 And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall
This extraordinary creation of the human nature of Jesus Christ is no more incredible than the creation of Adam and Eve, as related in the book of Genesis. That it was supernatural, is true; but that He, who established the laws of nature, can produce an
dream. The dream was attended with such circumstances and such special impressions on his mind, that he could not reasonably doubt its having proceeded from God. The dream might have been suggested to his mind by an angel commissioned from above. A message from God, such as was now communicated to Joseph, would accord with his former confidence in the piety of Mary, and with the entire absence of any feeling of guilt on her part; and when he learned from Mary the circumstances related at full length by Luke (1:26 -56), he might well acknowledge the hand of God, and regard the dream as a special event, arranged for relieving his mind, and for lead-effect either in accordance with those laws, or in a manner above them, is also true. The redemption of apostate sinners was certainly a very special case; and it is not surprising that the measures preparatory to this very special object should be themselves distinguished by some peculiarity. Nor was it at all unworthy in the Divine Being thus manifestly and miraculously to interpose in reference to so wonderful an object. Nor may it be unsuitable to remark, that, as he who stood at the head of the human family in regard to the first creation, was in a peculiar sense the product of creating power, so he who was to be the head of the new, the spiritual creation, was also in a peculiar sense the product of the same creating power.
ing him in the path of duty, and as excited in his mind by one of those heavenly messengers who are prompt in obeying the will of their Lord.
That dreams were in former times among the means employed in communicating the knowledge of God's will, or of future events, to men, appears to be sustained by the Scriptures. The dreams of Joseph, as related in Gen. 37: 5-7, 9, and of the officers of Pharaoh, in Gen. 40, occupied a very special place in the order of events. Examine also Numb. 12: 6, and Job 33: 14-17. In the second chapter of Matthew, there is repeated mention of information from above being made in the same way. But the circumstances of men in those ancient times were so different from ours, that we are not at liberty to regard our dreams as proceeding from God, with the intention of making known to us his will. There are other ways in which we can acquire knowledge of our duty. Thou son of David. In the existing circumstances of Joseph, and with special reference to the ob
21. Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save. Among the Jews, names, besides distinguishing one individual from another, were often otherwise significant. They were sometimes suggested by some remarkable circumstances connected with the child or the family, or by some re
ject for which the divine communica-vealed design of God in connection
tion was made to him, this appellation was peculiarly appropriate. It was in harmony with the design to impress Joseph with the belief that Mary was about to become the mother of the Messiah, as it was a distinct recognition of Joseph's descent from David
an important circumstance in regard to the husband of the Messiah's mother. || Is of the Holy Ghost. Compare Luke 1: 35.
save his people from their was spoken of the Lord by the sins. prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which
same in signification; namely, Saviour, or, The LORD will save. The difference in the manner of spelling and sounding Joshua and Jesus arises from the different powers of the Hebrew language, and of the Greek; Joshua being the sound more formed to the Hebrew, and Jesus to the Greek. I observe here, in passing, that in two passages of the New Testament (Acts 7: 45, and Heb. 4: 8), the word Jesu smeans the Joshua of the Old Testament. The name Joshua could not be expressed in the Greek language more nearly than by the word Jesus. || His people. The Jews supposed that the Messiah was coming with special reference to their being rescued from an abject condition, and regarded themselves as his people. But this communication to Joseph, coming from heaven, must be considered as referring to the real object of the Messiah, and to the relation which he was to sustain to others besides the Jews. He was to be the Spiritual Redeemer and Lord of men. His people, then, are those who acknowledge his government and rely on him for spiritual blessings. These he will deliver from their sins. The new dispensation was specially designed to effect a change in the inward characters of men, and, by making them holy, to deliver them from the just consetion. In the same chapter of Num-quences of sin, particularly in eter bers (v. 16), it is related that Moses changed the name Oshea to the name Jehoshua. The alteration was made, so far as the letters of the word in the original are concerned, by merely prefixing a part of the word which expresses Jehovah. Thus, to the idea of salvation, or deliverance, was added the idea, that the salvation proceeded from Jehovah. The words Joshua [the same as Jehoshua, only abbreviated] then, and Jesus, are the
This name is the same as that which is called in the Old Testament Joshua. In Num. 13: 8, mention is made of Oshea, the son of Nun. The word Oshea, when regarded according to its etymology, signifies salva
with the birth of the child. Hagar's child (Gen. 16: 11) was to be named Ishmael, "because," as the angel said, "the Lord hath heard thy affliction." The name is compounded of two words, which in Hebrew signify God will hear. Compare Gen. 41: 51, 52. Ex. 2: 10. 18: 3, 4. Names were sometimes given as intimations of some design of God to be hereafter accomplished. See Hosea 1: 4, 6, 9. Compare Is. 8: 3, 4. In accordance with this custom, the son who was to be born to Mary, was to be named JESUS. To understand the meaning of this name, we must trace it back to the Hebrew language, from which it was derived. The word which is the root of this name, means to save. Sometimes the word which signifies God, and sometimes a part of the word corresponding to Jehovah, was used in connection with another word to compose a name. This is the case in the present instance; and the word properly means, The LORD will save. It was to be given to the son of Mary, because he was to be the Saviour, divinely appointed to deliver his people from their sins.
22, 23. That it might be fulfilled, &c. The subject thus far spoken of, was of a most extraordinary character; and the result which was to flow from those events, was also very extraordinary. The evangelist regarded the event announced by the angel, as a striking fulfilment of certain prophetic language which had been used on a former occasion. The language used on that former occa
a son, and they shall call his ing interpreted, is, God with name Emmanuel; which, be- us.
sion was singularly applicable to the circumstances which he was relating; it might be applied to them with a greater fulness and particularity, than to the occasion which first called it forth. It was spoken by Isaiah (7: 14) to king Ahaz, when the king and all his people were filled with terror, in view of an invasion threatened by the confederated kings of Israel and Syria. Isaiah was directed by the Lord to go to Ahaz, and bid him dismiss his fears, because the design of the confederated kings should not be accomplished. He was commissioned, moreover, to assure Ahaz, that Syria had already arrived to the height of its power; that it would be allowed to make no such addition to its power as the conquest of Jerusalem would be; and that the kingdom of Israel was already on the wane, and within sixtyfive years would be wholly broken up. Ahaz might, therefore, set his mind at rest, and place unshaken confidence in God. It was then proposed to him to ask some particular token from the Lord, as an assurance of what God had promised. On his declining to select a sign, the prophet himself was directed by the Lord to mention one; namely, that a certain virgin should soon become the mother of a son, and should call his name Emmanuel; and that before this child should be old enough to refuse the evil and to choose the good, the kings of Israel and Syria should both be cut off.
The language, then, here quoted from Isaiah, had reference, probably, at first. to the deliverance of Jerusalem from the threatened invasion. The history of those times, as related in the Old Testament, agrees with this view. In 2 Kings 15: 29, 30, it is related that "in the days of Pekah, king of Israel [the same as mentioned by Isaiah], came Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-bethmaacha, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried
them captive to Assyria. And Hoshea, the son of Elah, made a conspiracy against Pekah, the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him." In the 16th chapter of the same book, it is also related, that Tiglath-pileser, "king of Assyria, went up against Damascus [the chief city of Syria], and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin" [who is mentioned by Isaiah]. The death of these kings occurred shortly after their attempt upon Jerusalem. Thus the language of Isaiah appears to have had reference to events that were speedily to take place; and, thus understood, it was happily adapted to the circumstances of Ahaz and his people.
But it may be asked, How could the name Emmanuel be given to the son whose birth was predicted, if there was nothing uncommon in his nature? This inquiry is answered by referring to a usual practice, among the ear Jews, of giving to children names significant of some circumstance or event, and of employing the name of God in compounding names for children. In the case spoken of by Isaiah, the nation was in dread of an invasion from powerful confederated foes; and in view of their danger, their hearts trembled like the leaves of a forest. But they were encouraged to be quiet, because God was on their side; and to the child whose birth was foretold, a name was to be given significant of the promised interposition of God. Other names in the Jewish nation were compounded of some common word, and of the name of God; as, for instance, Joshua, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, &c.
The use which Matthew has made of this passage, has led to the belief that Isaiah really predicted in those words the birth of Jesus Christ; and the language of Matthew does certainly, at first sight, appear to favor this belief. It is proper, then, to inquire whether the language of Mat