Matthew 1:1. The book That is, This is the book, the verb being elegantly omitted, according to the custom of the Hebrews, and also of the Greeks and Romans; of the generation Or, as the Syriac expresses it, The writing, narrative, or account of the generation, or birth of Jesus, &c. The word γενεσις , indeed, here rendered generation, sometimes signifies the history of a person’s life, yet it is much more frequently used for genealogy, or birth; and it seems to be intended to be taken in this restrained sense here. Dr. Macknight renders the phrase, The table of the genealogy of Jesus: observing that the word Βιβλος , book, is used in this limited sense Mark 10:4, where a bill of divorce is so called: and Jeremiah 32:12, where a deed of conveyance is termed ספר , a book. Indeed, the Jews, and also the Greeks, called all writings books, whether short or long. Of Jesus Christ Jesus is his proper name, given him by God, his true Father, Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31; Luke 2:21. Christ is, as it were, a surname, descriptive of his unction to the prophetic, priestly, and kingly offices. To the name Christ, that of Jesus is often superadded in the New Testament, not only that Christ might be pointed out for the Saviour, as the word Jesus signifies, but that Jesus might be shown to be the true Messiah, or Christ, in opposition to the unbelief of the Jews. The son of David, the son of Abraham i.e., a descendant of David and Abraham; the word son, in the language of the Hebrews, being put for any descendant, however remote. Here the evangelist proposes what he is going to prove; viz, that Jesus Christ, whose history he is about to give, was the son of David and Abraham, which it was necessary he should show because the grand prophetical character of the Messiah was, that he was to spring from Abraham and David. The sense of the latter clause, indeed, the son of Abraham, is ambiguous: it may mean either that David was the son of Abraham, or, which seems the more probable sense, that Christ, who was the son of David, was also the son of Abraham. This sense accords better both with the following words, and with the design of the evangelist, which was to show, that Christ was descended from both these renowned patriarchs, and that in him was fulfilled the promises made to both. David is first named, 1. That the catalogue, to begin from Abraham, might proceed regularly, without the repetition of his name; 2. Because the memory of David was more fresh upon the minds of the Jews, and his name in greater repute than that of Abraham, especially when the discourse related to the Messiah, John 7:42; more plain and explicit promises of him being made to David, and the prophets having spoken of Christ under the name of David. Add to this, that David was both a prophet and a king, and therefore a more manifest type of the Messiah, who sustains both of these offices, as well as that of a priest. Hence those who had entertained higher conceptions of Christ than others, termed him the son of David, as appears from many passages in the gospels.
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