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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 2 The book of the genealogy
of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the
father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of
Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became
the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was
Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the
father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king. David
became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
3 Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the
father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos, 4 Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his
brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile.
After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became
the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the
father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the
father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the
father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of
Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Thus the total number of generations from
Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile,
fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah, fourteen
6 Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came
about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, 7 but
before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous
man, 8 yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to
divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold, the angel
of the Lord 9 appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your
home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in
She will bear a son and you are to name him
Jesus, 10 because he will save his people from their
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord
had said through the prophet:
11 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child
and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God
is with us."
When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the
Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a
son, 12 and he named him Jesus.
[⇒ 1:1-⇒ 2:23] The infancy
narrative forms the prologue of the gospel. Consisting of a genealogy and five
stories, it presents the coming of Jesus as the climax of Israel's history, and
the events of his conception, birth, and early childhood as the fulfillment of
Old Testament prophecy. The genealogy is probably traditional material that
Matthew edited. In its first two sections (⇒ Matthew
1:2-11) it was drawn from ⇒ Ruth 4:18-22;
1 Chron 1-3. Except for Jechoniah, Shealtiel, and Zerubbabel, none of the names
in the third section (⇒ Matthew 1:12-16) is found in
any Old Testament genealogy. While the genealogy shows the continuity of God's
providential plan from Abraham on, discontinuity is also present. The women
Tamar (⇒ Matthew 1:3), Rahab and Ruth
(⇒ Matthew 1:5), and the wife of Uriah, Bathsheba
(⇒ Matthew 1:6), bore their sons through unions that
were in varying degrees strange and unexpected. These "irregularities"
culminate in the supreme "irregularity" of the Messiah's birth of a
virgin mother; the age of fulfillment is inaugurated by a creative act of God.
Drawing upon both biblical tradition and Jewish stories, Matthew portrays Jesus
as reliving the Exodus experience of Israel and the persecutions of Moses. His
rejection by his own people and his passion are foreshadowed by the troubled
reaction of "all Jerusalem" to the question of the magi who are
seeking the "newborn king of the Jews" (⇒ Matthew
2:2-3), and by Herod's attempt to have him killed. The magi who do
him homage prefigure the Gentiles who will accept the preaching of the gospel.
The infancy narrative proclaims who Jesus is, the savior of his people from
their sins (⇒ Matthew 1:21), Emmanuel in whom
"God is with us" (⇒ Matthew 1:23), and the
Son of God (⇒ Matthew 2:15).
2  The Son of David, the son of
Abraham: two links of the genealogical chain are singled out. Although the
later, David is placed first in order to emphasize that Jesus is the royal
Messiah. The mention of Abraham may be due not only to his being the father of
the nation Israel but to Matthew's interest in the universal scope of Jesus'
mission; cf ⇒ Genesis 22:18 ". . . . in your
descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing."
3  The successor of Abijah was not
Asaph but Asa (see ⇒ 1 Chron 3:10). Some textual
witnesses read the latter name; however, Asaph is better attested. Matthew may
have deliberately introduced the psalmist Asaph into the genealogy (and in
⇒ Matthew 1:10 the prophet Amos) in order to show
that Jesus is the fulfillment not only of the promises made to David (see 2 Sam
7) but of all the Old Testament.
4  Amos: some textual witnesses
read Amon, who was the actual successor of Manasseh (see ⇒ 1
5  Matthew is concerned with
fourteen generations, probably because fourteen is the numerical value of the
Hebrew letters forming the name of David. In the second section of the
genealogy (⇒ Matthew 1:6b-11), three kings of Judah,
Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah, have been omitted (see ⇒ 1 Chron
3:11-12), so that there are fourteen generations in that section. Yet
the third (⇒ Matthew 1:12-16) apparently has only
thirteen. Since Matthew here emphasizes that each section has fourteen, it is
unlikely that the thirteen of the last was due to his oversight. Some scholars
suggest that Jesus who is called the Messiah (⇒ Matthew
1:16b) doubles the final member of the chain: Jesus, born within the
family of David, opens up the new age as Messiah, so that in fact there are
fourteen generations in the third section. This is perhaps too subtle, and the
hypothesis of a slip not on the part of Matthew but of a later scribe seems
likely. On Messiah, see the note on ⇒ Luke 2:11.
6 [18-25] This first story of the
infancy narrative spells out what is summarily indicated in
⇒ Matthew 1:16. The virginal conception of Jesus is
the work of the Spirit of God. Joseph's decision to divorce Mary is overcome by
the heavenly command that he take her into his home and accept the child as his
own. The natural genealogical line is broken but the promises to David are fulfilled;
through Joseph's adoption the child belongs to the family of David. Matthew
sees the virginal conception as the fulfillment of ⇒ Isaiah
7  Betrothed to Joseph: betrothal
was the first part of the marriage, constituting a man and woman as husband and
wife. Subsequent infidelity was considered adultery. The betrothal was followed
some months later by the husband's taking his wife into his home, at which time
normal married life began.
8  A righteous man: as a devout
observer of the Mosaic law, Joseph wished to break his union with someone whom
he suspected of gross violation of the law. It is commonly said that the law
required him to do so, but the texts usually given in support of that view,
e.g., ⇒ Deut 22:20-21 do not clearly pertain to
Joseph's situation. Unwilling to expose her to shame: the penalty for proved
adultery was death by stoning; cf ⇒ Deut 22:21-23.
9  The angel of the Lord: in the
Old Testament a common designation of God in communication with a human being.
In a dream: see ⇒ Matthew 2:13,
⇒ 19, ⇒ 22. These dreams
may be meant to recall the dreams of Joseph, son of Jacob the patriarch
37:5-⇒ 11:19). A closer parallel is the
dream of Amram, father of Moses, related by Josephus (Antiquities 2,9,3; 212,
10  Jesus: in first-century
Judaism the Hebrew name Joshua (Greek Iesous) meaning "Yahweh helps"
was interpreted as "Yahweh saves."
11  God is with us: God's promise
of deliverance to Judah in Isaiah's time is seen by Matthew as fulfilled in the
birth of Jesus, in whom God is with his people. The name Emmanuel is alluded to
at the end of the gospel where the risen Jesus assures his disciples of his
continued presence,". . . I am with you always, until the end of the
age" (⇒ Matthew 28:20).
12  Until she bore a son: the
evangelist is concerned to emphasize that Joseph was not responsible for the
conception of Jesus. The Greek word translated "until" does not imply
normal marital conduct after Jesus' birth, nor does it exclude it.
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