✣ The Genealogy of Iēsous Christ ✣
Generally speaking, kinship and lineage was (and remains) more important in the Middle East than in the West. Matthew begins by establishing Iēsous’ credentials: He is fully Jewish because He is descended from Abraam. He is qualified to be King of the Jews because He is descended from King Dabid. And He is divine because He was begotten by God.
Matthew’s genealogy is not exhaustive, skipping generations which apparently aren’t germane to his narrative.
|2 Abraam fatheredd Isaak,||Abraam (Hebrew for ‘father of a multitude’): Originally ‘Abram’, he was the first of the three patriarchs of Judaism (Abraam, Isaak and Iakōb). His story plays a prominent role as an example of faith and is a center piece of all three Abraamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.|
|and Isaak fathered Iakōb,||Isaak (Hebrew for ‘s/he will laugh’): named thus because his mother Sarah — long past menopause — laughed when she was told she would become pregnant (Gen.17). Later God commanded Abraam to sacrifice his only son, and God spared him at the last moment (Gen.22).|
|and Iakōb fathered Ioudas and his brothers,||Iakōb (Hebrew for ‘one who follows on another’s heels’, ‘supplanter’): Iakōb, later named ‘Israēl’, was the second of the twin sons of Isaak by Rebekah. Iakōb and his mother deceived Isaak into giving him the blessing (and its benefits) instead of his older brother Esau (Gen.27). Iakōb’s twelve sons became the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israēl.|
|3 and Ioudas fathered Phares and Zarah by Thamare||Ioudas (Hebrew for ‘praise’): named thus on account of his mother Leah’s words of praise to the Lord on account of his birth.
Ioudas successfully interceded on behalf of his younger brother Iōsēph whom his other ten brothers wanted to kill.
He was the founder of the Israēlite Tribe of Ioudas. By extension, he is indirectly eponymous of the ‘Kingdom of Ioudas’, the land of ‘Ioudaia’ and the word ‘Jew’.|
Zarah: the son of Ioudas (Gen.38:30, 48:12) The text says that he was called Zerah because when he had stuck his hand out before being born, the midwife tied a bright scarlet thread around his wrist; although all other biblical uses of the word ‘zerah’ translate as ‘rise’, here the name is implied to derive from the colour of the bright thread - scarlet - which is similar to the initial color of sunrise.
Thamar: The wife successively of the two sons of Ioudas: Er and Onan. (Gen.38:8-30) Her importance in the genealogy depends on the great anxiety to keep up the lineage of Ioudas. It seems as if the family were on the point of extinction: Er and Onan had both perished suddenly, Ioudas’s wife Bathshuah died, and there only remained a son Shelah, whom Ioudas was unwilling to marry to Thamar for fear she was cursed and his son would meet with the same fate as his brothers. Ultimately Thamar entrapped the father himself into the union which he feared for his son. The fruit of their union was twins, Pharez and Zarah.
|and Phares fathered Hezron,||Phares (Hebrew for ‘breach’): the “children of Phares,” or Pharez, the son of Ioudas, appear to have been a family of importance for many centuries. (1 Chr. 27:3; Neh. 11:4,6)|
|and Hezron fathered Aram,||Hezron (Hebrew for ‘enclosed’): the son of Reuben (Num.26:6). Here is an instance where Maththaios’s genealogy skips someone.|
|4 and Aram fathered Aminadab,||Aram (Hebrew for ‘ram’).|
|and Aminadab fathered Naasson,||Aminadab (Hebrew for ‘my kinsmen are noble’): father in law of Aaron (Ex.6:23).|
|and Naasson fathered Salmon,||Naasson (Hebrew for ‘enchanter’) His sister, Elisheba, was wife to Aaron, and his son, Salmon, was husband to Rachab after the taking of Ierichō. Nashon was appointed by Mōsēs, upon God’s command, as prince and military commander of the Tribe of Ioudas and was one of the leaders of the tribes of Israēl. Although his tribe was fourth in the order of the Patriarchs, at the dedication of the Tabernacle he was the first to bring his dedicatory offering.|
|5 and Salmon fathered Boes with Rachabe,||Salmon: married to Rachab, possibly she of Ierichō. |
Rachab (Hebrew for ‘wide’): Possibly the prostitute of Ierichō who received the spies sent by Joshua to spy out the land, hid them in her house from the pursuit of her countrymen, and was saved with all her family when the Israēlites sacked the city (Josh.2).
|and Boes fathered Iōbēd with Routhe,||Boes: A wealthy Bēthleemite kinsman to Elimelech the husband of Naomi. He also married Routh, thus redeeming the estates of her deceased husband Mahlon since women couldn’t own property. Routh: Routh was a Moabitess, who married into the Hebrew family of Elimelech and Naomi, whom she met when they left Bēthleem and relocated to Moab due to a famine. See the Book of Routh.|
|and Iōbēd fathered Iessai,||Iōbēd (Hebrew for ‘worshipper‘)|
|6 and Iessai fathered King Dabid.||Iessai (Hebrew for ‘wealthy’): A wealthy man with considerable flocks, whose care was entrusted to his youngest son Dabid, the future king of Israēl.|
|And Dabid fathered Solomōn with the wifee of Ourias.||Dabid (Hebrew for ‘well-beloved’): King of Israēl. Had Bathsheba’s husband Ourias killed so he could have have Bathsheba for himself (2 Sam.11:2–5).|
|7 And Solomōn fathered Roboam,||Solomōn (Hebrew for ‘peaceable’): King of Israēl, built the first temple.|
|and Roboam fathered Abia,||Roboam (Hebrew for ‘enlarger of the people’): A king of Israēl. The people demanded relief from the severe burdens imposed by Solomōn to build the Temple, to which Roboam returned an insulting answer. This led to civil war and he was compelled to flee to Hierosoluma while Jeroboam was made king of the northern tribes. During Roboam’s lifetime peaceful relations between Israēl (thus the northern kingdom) and Ioudas (thus the southern kingdom) were never restored (2 Chr.12:15; 1 Kings 14:30). Later the country was invaded by Aiguptosians and other African nations, Hierosoluma itself was taken, and Roboam had to purchase an ignominious peace by delivering up the treasures with which Solomōn had adorned the temple and palace.|
|and Abia fathered Asaph,||Abia (Hebrew for ‘my father is YHWH’): Second King of Ioudas. He endeavored to reunite the kingdom by making war on Jeroboam. He was successful in battle, taking several of the cities of Israēl. We are told that he walked in all the sins of Roboam (1 Kings 14:23ff.).|
|8 and Asaph fathered Iōsaphat,||Asa (Hebrew for ‘physician’ or ‘cure’): Third King of Ioudas for 41 years, and zealous in maintaining the traditional worship of YHWH.|
|and Iōsaphat fathered Iōram,||Iōsaphat (Hebrew for ‘whom Jehovah judges’): one of the best, most pious and prosperous kings of Ioudas, the greatest since Solomōn.|
|and Iōram fathered Ozias,||Iōram, aka ‘Jehoram’, a King of Ioudas.|
|9 and Ozias fathered Iōatham,||Ozias (Hebrew for ‘YHWH is my strength’): After the murder of King Amaziah, his son Ozias was chosen by the people, age sixteen, to occupy the vacant throne; and for the greater part of his long reign of fifty-two years he showed himself a wise, active and pious ruler. His end was less happy, however: elated with his splendid career, he determined to burn incense on the altar of God, but was opposed by the high priest Azariah and eighty others (Ex.30:7–8; Num.16:40; 18:7). Enraged, Ozias pressed forward with his censer and was suddenly smitten with leprosy.|
|and Iōatham fathered Achaz,||Iōatham (Hebrew for ‘YHWH is honest’): a King of Ioudas, and a contemporary with the prophets Ēsaias, Hosea, Amōs, and Micah, by whose advice he profited.|
|and Achaz fathered Ezekias,||Achaz (Hebrew for ‘possessor’): Fourteenth King of Ioudas. At the time of his accession, Rezin king of Damascus and Pekah king of Israēl had recently formed a league against Ioudas, and they proceeded to lay siege to Hierosoluma. The prophet Ēsaias gave advice and encouragement to Achaz, and the allies failed in their attack on Hierosoluma (Is.7–9). But, the allies inflicted a severe injury on Ioudas by the capture of Elath, a flourishing port on the Red Sea, while the Philistines invaded the west and south (2 King 16; 2Chr 28). Achaz, having turned his back on YHWH, sought deliverance from his troubles by appealing to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, who came to his aid. But the price was that Achaz had to became tributary to Tiglath-Pileser. He died age 36, but was refused a burial with the kings his ancestors (2 Chr.28:27).|
|10 and Ezekias fathered Manasssēs,||Ezekias (Hebrew for ‘the might of YHWH’): Ezekias witnessed the destruction of the northern Kingdom of Israēl by Sargon’s Assyrians in c. 720 BC and was king of Ioudas during the invasion and siege of Hierosoluma by Sennacherib in 701 BC. Ēsaias and Micah prophesied during his reign.|
|and Manasssēs fathered Amōs,||Manasssēs: Manasssēs was the first king of Ioudas who would not have had a direct experience with the Kingdom of Israēl (Samaria), which had been destroyed by the Assyrians in c. 720 BC with much of its population deported. He re-instituted polytheistic worship and reversed the religious changes made by his father Ezekias.|
|and Amon fathered Iōsias,||Amon: King of Ioudas most remembered for his idolatrous practices while king, which led to a revolt against him and eventually his assassination.|
|11 and Iōsias fathered A Iechonias and his brothers in the time of the Babulōnian exile.||Iechonias (Hebrew for ‘YHWH will fortify [his people]’): a king of Ioudas who was dethroned by the King of Babulōn in the 6th century BC and taken into captivity.|
|12 After the Babulōnian exile,
Iechonias fathered Salathiēl,
|and Salathiēl fathered Zorobabel,||Salathiēl (Hebrew for ‘I asked El [for this child]’): regarded as the second Exilarch (or king-in-exile).|
|13 and Zorobabel fathered Abioud,||Zorobabel: a governor of a Persian province, Zorobabel is always associated with the high priest who returned with him (Joshua son of Jozadak). Together these two men led the first wave of Jews returning from Babulōnian exile and began to rebuild the Temple (see the Book of Ezra).|
|and Abioud fathered Eliakim,||Abioud the only mention of Abioud in the Bible, (O.T. & N.T.) is here.|
|and Eliakim fathered Azōr,||Eliakim: An earlier Eliakim was finance minister to King Ezekias (2 King 18, 19). Nothing is known of this one.|
|14 and Azōr fathered Sadōk,||Azōr: the only mention of Azōr in the Bible, (O.T. & N.T.) is here.|
|and Sadōk fathered Achim,||Sadōk (Hebrew for ‘righteous’). An earlier Sadōk was high priest for kings Dabid and Solomōn. Nothing is known of this one.|
|and Achim fathered Elioud,||Achim: the only mention of Achim in the Bible, (O.T. & N.T.) is here.|
|15 and Elioud fathered Eleazar,||Elioud: the only mention of Elioud in the Bible, (O.T. & N.T.) is here.|
|and Eleazar fathered Matthan,||Eleazar: There were earlier Eleazar’s, one of whom was near kin to Abraam. Nothing is known of this one.|
|and Matthan fathered Iakōb,||Matthan: the only mention of Mattan in the Bible, (O.T. & N.T.) is here.|
|16 and Iakōb fathered Iōsēph the husband of Maria,||Iakōb: An earlier Iakōb was one of the three patriarchs. Nothing is known of this one.|
was born Iēsous
the one being called Christ.
|Iōsēph: Except that he was Maria’s husband, nothing is known about Iōsēph.|
17 Therefore all the generations from Abraam until Dabid are fourteen generations, and from Dabid until the Babulōnian exile are fourteen generations, and from the Babulōnian exile until the Christ are fourteen generations.
✣ The Birth of Iēsous Christ ✣
18 Now the birth of Iēsous Christ was thus: Maria his mother having been betrothed to Iōsēph, before they came together g she was found having life in the belly by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Iōsēph her husband-to-be, being just, and not wishing to put her to open shameh, purposed to dismiss her secretly. 20 So having pondered these things, behold an angel of the Lord in a dream appeared to him saying: Iōsēph son of Dabid, you should not fear to take to yourself Maria your wife. For what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a son, and you will call his name Iēsous, for he himself will save his people from their sins. 22 This whole thing came about so that the things said by the Lord through the prophet be fulfilledi when he saysj:
And will bring forth a son,
And they shall call his name “Emmanouēl” l.
which is, being translated: “God is with us.” 24 And Iōsēph having arisen from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord ordered, and took to himself his wife. 25 And he did not knowm her until she brought forth a sonB, and she called his name Iēsous.
a The book as we know it with pages and a spine (properly called a ‘codex’) wasn’t invented until some time in the second through fourth centuries, so in the first century they would likely still be using scrolls. A physical book/scroll would be a BIBLION/βιβλίον. But the word here, BIBLOS/βίβλος = ‘book’ in a more abstract sense, as in a ‘book of accounts’ for accounting. See the Glossary: BIBLOS/βίβλος.(↩1)
c Can also mean ‘descendant’ — more than one generation apart.(↩1)
d GENNAŌ/γεννάω: the reproductive process in general: sire (male) or give birth (female), depending on context. GENNAŌ/γεννάω is how we generate the next generation. See the Glossary: GENNAŌ/γεννάω(↩2)
e Four women are named in Maththaios’s geneaology: Thamar (v.3), Rachab (v.5), Routh (v.5) and Bathsheba (v.6). At least three were Gentiles (Thamar, Rachab and Routh), Bathsheba was probably an Israēlite but closely associated with the Hittites because of Ourias, her Hittite husband (2Sam 11). Maththaios including women in this genealogy was quite contrary to custom.(↩3, 5, 6)
f ‘whom’ is feminine, thus definitely referring to Maria(↩16)
h In that day and culture, being pregnant out of wedlock could get you stoned to death (see Deut.22:22). In the Jewish context, “full betrothal was so binding that its breaking required a certificate of divorce, and the death of one party made the other a widow or widower”. See Net, 2, fn. 8(↩19)
l Curiously, there is no record of anyone calling Iēsous ‘Emmanouēl’. Names however also represented the authority of the person with that name. We have a vestige of that in English with “Stop in the name of the Law!”(↩23)
✣ ✣ ✣
A insert “Joachim; and Joachim fathered” fewith It won’t be fourteen generations if Joachim is included. See vs. 17.; as the text reads: אBWKH vulgate all(↩11)
B “a son” אB; “her first born son”: DHK all(↩25)