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nealogy of Jesus. Luke also, ch. iii., gives a genealogy of the Messiah. No two passages of scripture have caused more difficulty than these, and various attempts have been made to explain them. There are two sources of difficulty in these catalogues. 1. Many names that are found in the Old Testament are here omitted; and 2. the tables of Matthew and Luke appear in many points to be different. From Adam to Abraham, Luke only has given the record. From Abraham to David the two tables are alike. Of course there is no difficulty in reconciling these two parts of the tables. The difficulty lies in that part of the genealogy from David to Christ. There they are entirely different. They are manifestly different lives. Not only are the names different, but Luke has mentioned, in this part of the genealogy, no less than forty-two names, while Matthew has recorded but twenty-seven.
7 And Solomon begat Roboam;" and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;
8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;
9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias ;
10 And Ezekias begat Manas
Various ways have been proposed to explain this difficulty; and it must be admitted that none of them is perfectly satisfactory. It does not comport with the design of these notes to enter minutely into an explanation of the perplexities of these passages. All that can be done is to suggest the various ways in which attempts have been made to explain them. 1. It is remarked that in nothing are mistakes more likely to occur than in such tables. From the similarity of names, and from the different names by which the same person is often called, and from many other causes, errors would be more likely to creep into the text in genealogical tables, than in other writings. Some of the difficulties may have pos
71 Chron. iii. 10. 8 Kin. xx. 21. 1 Chron. iii. 13.
sibly occurred from this cause. 2. Most interpreters have supposed that Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph, and Luke that of Mary. They were both descended from David, but in different lines, This solution derives some plausibility from the fact that the promise was made to David, and as Jesus was not the son of Joseph, it was important to show that Mary was also descended from him. Though this solution is plausible, and may be true, yet it wants evidence. It cannot, however, be proved that this was not the design of Luke. 3. It has been said also that Joseph was the legal son and heir of Heli, though the real son of Jacob, and thus the two lines terminated in him. This was the ancient explanation of most of the fathers, and on the whole is the most satisfactory. It was a law of the Jews, that if a man died without children, his brother should marry his widow. Thus the two lines might have been intermingled. According to this solution, which was first proposed by Africanus, Matthan, descended from Solomon, married Estha, of whom was born Jacob. After Matthan's death, Matthat being of the same tribe, but of another family, married his widow, and of this marriage Heli was born. Jacob and Heli were therefore children of the same mother. Heli dying without children, his brother Jacob married his widow, and begat Joseph, who was thus the legal son of Heli. This is agreeable to the account in the two evangelists. Matthew says that Jacob begat Joseph; Luke says that Joseph was the son of Heli, i. e. was his legal heir, or reckoned in law to be his son. This can be seen by the plan
ses; and Manasses begat Amon; | to Babylon, Jechonias begat Saand Amon begat Josias ; lathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel ;3
11 And Josias1 begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: 12 And after they were brought
1 Some read, Josias begat Jakim, and Jakim begat Jechonias.
given below, showing the nature of the
Though these solutions may not seem to be entirely satisfactory, yet there are two additional considerations which should set the matter at rest, and lead to the conclusion that the narratives are not really inconsistent. 1. No difficulty was ever found, or alleged, in regard to them, by any of the early enemies of Christianity. There is no evidence that they ever adduced them as containing a contradiction. Many of those enemies were acute, learned, and able; and they show by their writings that they were not indisposed to detect all the errors that could possibly be found in the sacred narrative. Now it is to be remembered that the Jews were fully competent to show that these tables were incorrect, if they were really so; and it is clear that they were fully disposed, if possible, to do it. The fact, therefore, that it is not done is clear evidence that they thought it to be correct. The same may be said of the acute Pagans who wrote against Christianity. None of them have called in question the correctness of these tables. This is full proof that, in a time when it
13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;
21 Chron. iii. 17. Neh. xii. 1.
was easy to understand these tables, they were believed to be correct. 2. The evangelists are not responsible for the correctness of these tables. They are responsible only for what was their real and professed object to do. What was that object? It was to prove to the satisfaction of the Jews, that Jesus was descended from David, and therefore that there was no argument from his ancestry that he was not the promised Messiah. Now to make this out it was not necessary, nor would it have conduced to their argument, to form a new table of genealogy. All that could be done was, to go to the family records-to the public tables, and copy them as they were actually kept, and show that, according to the records of the nation, Jesus was descended from David. This, among the Jews, was full and decided testimony in the case. And this was doubtless done. In the same way, the records of a family among us, as they are kept by the family, are proof in courts of justice now, of the birth, names, &c., of individuals. Nor is it necessary or proper for a court to call them in question, or to attempt to correct them. So the tables here are
14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;
15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;
16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom
1 Luke i. 31-35.
good evidence to the only point that the writers wished to establish: that is, to show to the Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was descended from David. All that can be asked now is, whether they copied the tables of those families correctly. It is clear that no man can prove that they did not so copy them, and, therefore, that no one can adduce them as an argument against the correctness of the New Testa
In counting these divisions, however, it will be seen that there is some difficulty in making out the number fourteen in each division. This may be explained in the following manner. In the first division, Abraham is the first, and David the last, making together fourteen. In the second series, David would naturally be placed first, and the fourteen was completed in Josiah, about the time of the captivity, as sufficiently near for the purpose of convenient computation. 2 Chron. xxxv. In the third division, Josiah would naturally be placed first, and the number was completed in Joseph. So that David and Josiah would be reckoned twice. This may be shown by the following table of the names:
facilitated the remembrance of the names.
was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon
17. All the generations, &c. This division of the names in their genealogy was doubtless adopted for the purpose of aiding the memory. It was common among the Jews; and other similar instances are preserved. They were destitute of other books besides the Old Testament, and had but few copies of that among them, and those chiefly in their synagogues. They would, therefore, naturally devise plans to keep up the remembrance of the principal facts in their history. One method of doing this was, to divide the tables of logy into portions of equal length, to be committed to memory. This greatly
-14 -14 -14. Carrying away into Babylon. This refers to the captivity of Jerusalem, and the removal of the Jews to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, five hundred and eighty years before Christ. See 2 Chron. xxxvi.¡ Josiah was king when these calamities began to come upon the Jews, but the exact time of the seventy years of captivity did not commence until the eleventh year of Zedekiah's reign, or thirty-two years after the death of Josiah. Babylon was situated on the Euphrates, and was
unto Christ are fourteen genera- she was found with child of the tions.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together,
1 Lake i. 27-35. Fifth year before the account called A.D.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded 3 to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on
3 Deut. xxiv. 1-4.
flicted where the person was not married, but betrothed. Deut. xxii. 23, 24. In this case, therefore, the regular pun
encompassed with walls which were about sixty miles in circuit, eighty-seven feet broad, and three hundred and fifty feet high, and the city was entered by a hun-ishment would have been death in this painful and ignominious manner. Yet Joseph was a religious man, mild and tender; and he was not willing to complain of Mary to the magistrate, and expose
25, 28. ¶ With child by the Holy Ghost. See note, Luke i. 35.
dred brazen gates, twenty-five on each side. It was the capital of a vast empire, and the Jews remained there for seventy years. See my notes on Isaiah, ch. xiii. 18. On this wise. Thus. In this man-her to death, but sought to avoid the ner. Espoused. Betrothed, or engag- shame, and to put her away privately. ed to be married. There was commonly¶Put her away privily. The law of an interval of ten or twelve months Moses gave the husband the power of among the Jews between the contract divorce. Deut. xxiv. 1. It was custoof marriage and the celebration of the mary in a bill of divorce to specify the nuptials. See Gen. xxiv. 55; Judges causes for which the divorce was made, xiv. 8; yet such was the nature of this and witnesses were also present to testify engagement, that unfaithfulness to each to the divorce. But in this case it seems other was deemed adultery. See Deut. Joseph resolved to put her away without specifying the cause; for he was not willing to make her a public example. This is the meaning here of privily. Both to Joseph and Mary this must have been a great trial. Joseph was ardently attached to her, but her character was likely to be ruined, and he deemed it proper to separate her from him. Mary was innocent, but Joseph was not yet satisfied of her innocence. Yet we may learn how to put our trust in God. He will defend the innocent. Mary was in danger of being exposed to shame. Had she been connected with a cruel, passionate, and violent man, she would have died in disgrace. But God had so ordered it, that she was connected with a man mild, amiable, and tender; and, in due time, Joseph was apprized of the truth in the case, and took his faithful and beloved wife to his bosom. Thus, our only aim should be to preserve a conscience void of offence, and God will guard our reputation. We may be assailed, or circumstances may be against us; but in due time God will take care to vindicate our character, and save us from ruin.
19. Her husband. The word in the original does not imply that they were married. It means here the man to whom she was espoused. ¶A just man. Justice consists in rendering to every man bis own. Yet this is evidently not the character intended to be given here of Joseph. It means that he was kind, tender, merciful; so attached to Mary, that he was not willing that she should be exposed to public shame. He sought, therefore, secretly to dissolve the connexion, and to restore her to her friends without the punishment commonly inflicted on adultery. The word just has not unfrequently this meaning of mildness, or mercy. See 1 John i. 9. Psa. cxlv. 17; see ver. 16-19 of the psalm. A public example. To expose her to public shame or infamy. Adultery has always been considered a crime of a very heinous nature. In Egypt it was punished by cutting off the nose of the adulteress; in Persia the nose and ears were cut off; in Judea the punishment was death by stoning. Lev. xx. 10; Ezek. xvi. 38, 40; John viii. 5.. This punishment was also in
20. He thought on these things. Ho did not act hastily. He did not take the
these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee 1 ch. ii. 13, 19, 22.
course which the law would have permitted him to do, if he had been hasty, violent, or unjust. It was a case deeply affecting his happiness, his character, and the reputation and character of his chosen companion. God will guide the thoughtful and the anxious. And when we have looked patiently at a perplexed subject, and know not what to do, then God, as in the case of Joseph, will interpose to lead us, and direct our way. Psa. xxv. 9.
The angel of the Lord. The word angel literally means a messenger. It is applied chiefly in the scriptures to those invisible holy beings who have not fallen into sin; who live in heaven 1 Tim. v. 21, compare Jude 6; and who are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. Heb. i. 13, 14. Dan. ix. 21. The word is sometimes applied to men, as messengers Luke vii. 24; ix. 52; James ii. 25; to the winds Psa. civ. 4; to the pestilence Psa. lxxviii. 49; or to whatever is appointed to make known, or to execute the will of God. It is commonly applied, however, to the unfallen, happy spirits that are in heaven, whose only dignity and pleasure it is to do the will of God. Various ways were employed by them in making known the will of God, by dreams, visions, assuming a human appearance, &c. In a dream. This was a common way of making known the will of God to the ancient prophets and people of God. Gen. xx. 3; xxxvii. 5; xli. 1. 1 Kin. iii. 5. Job iv. 13-15. Dan. vii. 1. In what way it was ascertained that these dreams were from God, cannot now be told. It is sufficient for us to know that in this way many of the prophecies were communicated; and to Temark that now there is no evidence that we are to put reliance on our dreams. Dreams are wild, irregular movements of the mind, when it is unshackled by reason, and it is mere superstition to suppose that God now makes known his will in this way. See my Introduction to Isaiah. Son of David. Descendant of David. See ver. 1. The angel put him
Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."
21 And she shall bring forth a * Begotten. Luke i. 31-38.
in mind of his relation to David perhaps to prepare him for the intelligence that Mary was to be the mother of the Messiah the promised heir of David. ¶ Fear not. Do not hesitate or have fears about her virtue and purity. Do not fear that she will be unworthy of you, or will disgrace you.
21. His name JESUS. The name Jesus is the same as Saviour. It is derived from the verb signifying to save. In Hebrew it is the same as Joshua. In two places in the New Testament it is used where it means Joshua, the leader of the Jews into Canaan, and in our translation the name Joshua should have been retained. Acts vii. 45. Heb. iv. 8. It was a very common name among the Jews. He shall save. This expresses the same as the name, and on this account the name was given to him. He saves men by having died to redeem them; by giving the Spirit to renew them John xvi. 7, 8; by his power in enabling them to overcome their spiritual enemics, in defending them from danger, in guiding them in the path of duty, in sustaining them in trials and in death; and he will raise them up at the last day, and exalt them to a world of purity and love. His people. Those whom the Father has given to him. The Jews were called the people of God, because he had chosen them to himself, and regarded them as his peculiar and beloved people, separate from all the nations of the earth. Christians are called the people of Christ, because it was the purpose of the Father to give them to him Isa. liii. 11; John vi. 37, and because in due time he came to redeem them to himself. Titus ii. 14. 1 Peter i. 2. ¶ From their sins. This is the great business of Jesus in coming and dying. It is not to save men in their sins, but from their sins. Sinners could not be happy in heaven. It would be a place of wretchedness to the guilty. The design of Jesus was, therefore, to save from sin; 1. by dying to make an atonement, Titus ii. 14; and 2. by renewing the