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Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament

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Matthew 1:1

The Book (biblov).
There is no article in the Greek, but the following genitives make it definite. It is our word Bible that is here used, the Book as Sir Walter Scott called it as he lay dying. The usual word for book is a diminutive form (biblion), a little book or roll such as we have in Luke 4:17, "The roll of the prophet Isaiah." The pieces of papyrus (papurov), our paper, were pasted together to make a roll of varying lengths according to one's needs. Matthew, of course, is not applying the word book to the Old Testament, probably not to his own book, but to "the genealogical table of Jesus Christ" (biblov genesewv Ihsou Xristou), "the birth roll of Jesus Christ" Moffatt translates it. We have no means of knowing where the writer obtained the data for this genealogy. It differs radically from that in Luke 3:23-38. One can only give his own theory of the difference. Apparently in Matthew we have the actual genealogy of Joseph which would be the legal pedigree of Jesus according to Jewish custom. In Luke we apparently have the actual genealogy of Mary which would be the real line of Jesus which Luke naturally gives as he is writing for the Gentiles. {Jesus Christ}. Both words are used. The first is the name (Ihsouv) given by the angel to Mary (Matthew 1:21) which describes the mission of the child. The second was originally a verbal adjective (xristov) meaning anointed from the verb to anoint (xriw). It was used often in the Septuagint as an adjective like "the anointed priest" (1 Kings 2:10) and then as a substantive to translate the Hebrew word "Messiah" (Messiav). So Andrew said to Simon: "We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, Christ" (John 1:41). In the Gospels it is sometimes "the Anointed One," "the Messiah," but finally just a proper name as here, Jesus Christ. Paul in his later Epistles usually has it "Christ Jesus."
The Son of David, the son of Abraham (uiou Daueid uiou Abraam).
Matthew proposes to show that Jesus Christ is on the human side the son of David, as the Messiah was to be, and the son of Abraham, not merely a real Jew and the heir of the promises, but the promise made to Abraham. So Matthew begins his line with Abraham while Luke traces his line back to Adam. The Hebrew and Aramaic often used the word son (bhn) for the quality or character, but here the idea is descent. Christians are called sons of God because Christ has bestowed this dignity upon us (Romans 8:14; 9:26; Galatians 3:26; 4:5-7). Verse 1 is the description of the list in verses 2-17. The names are given in three groups, Abraham to David (2-6), David to Babylon Removal (6-11), Jechoniah to Jesus (12-16). The removal to Babylon (metoikesiav Babulwnov) occurs at the end of verse 11, the beginning of verse 12, and twice in the resume in verse 17. This great event is used to mark off the two last divisions from each other. It is a good illustration of the genitive as the case of genus or kind. The Babylon removal could mean either to Babylon or from Babylon or, indeed, the removal of Babylon. But the readers would know the facts from the Old Testament, the removal of the Jews to Babylon. Then verse 17 makes a summary of the three lists, fourteen in each by counting David twice and omitting several, a sort of mnemonic device that is common enough. Matthew does not mean to say that there were only fourteen in actual genealogy. The names of the women (Thamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba the wife of Uriah) are likewise not counted. But it is a most interesting list.

 


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Matthew 1:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/rwp/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=001&verse=001>. Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960.

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