1. Prologue

i] The genealogy of Jesus


Matthew opens his book with the genealogy of Jesus starting from Abraham.


The genealogy of Christ serves as a "witness to Matthew's conviction that the coming of Jesus was no unpremeditated accident, but occurred in the fullness of time and in the providence of God, who overruled the generations to inaugurate in Jesus the time of fulfillment", Hill.


i] Context: Matthew's gospel consists of a prologue which serves to introduce us to the person of Jesus, 1:1-2:3, and an epilogue which covers the passion and resurrection of Jesus, 26:1-28:20. The body of the gospel consists of 5 major teaching blocks, each block consisting of a discourse and a related narrative which develops and applies the theme covered in the discourse:


The Argument Proper, 5:1-25:46

I. Salvation:

Discourse: Salvation cannot be either attained or maintained by obedience to the law, 5:1-7:29.

Narrative: Salvation is a gift of grace appropriated through faith in Christ, 8:1-9:34.

2. The mission of the church:

Discourse: Serving Christ in a world hostile to the gospel, 9:35-10:42.

Narrative: The mission at work, 11:1-12:50.

3. The gospel:

Discourse: The nature of the gospel, 13:1-52.

Narrative: The gospel at work, 13:53-17:23.

4. Christian community:

Discourse: Life under kingdom authority, 17:24-18:35.

Narrative: Building community through acceptance and forgiveness, 19:1-20:34.

5. The coming of the Son of Man.

Narrative: Out with the old and in with the new, 21:1-23:39.

Discourse: The day of judgment, 24:1-25:46.


The Prologue, 1:1-4:25:

In this first major narrative section Matthew establishes that Jesus is the long-promised messiah, the Son of God, whose coming realizes the kingdom of heaven for the fulfillment of the covenant.

In this opening section Matthew addresses the question, Who is Jesus? He answers the question in presents in two parts, the origin and birth of Jesus, 1:1-2:23, and Jesus' early Galilean ministry, serving as preparation for his public ministry, 3:1-4:25. The first part covers the birth and childhood stories, 1:1 to 2:23: the divine call to Joseph, the wise men worship Jesus, and the escape of Joseph and his family to Egypt. The second part covers the ministry of John the Baptist, the baptism and temptation of Jesus, ending with a summary of Jesus' early Galilean ministry, 3:1-4:25.


ii] Background: In the latter part of the Old Testament period through to the New Testament, genealogies became an important statement of racial purity, particularly of those who returned to Jerusalem with Zerubabel from the exile in Babylon and who did not interbreed with the syncratic Jews of the land (later classified as Samaritans); note the numerous lists and registers in Chronicles.

The two genealogies in the New Testament, Matthew and Luke, are primarily sourced from 1Chron.1:1-4, 24-27, and Gen.5:3-32, 11:10-26. From Abraham to David the lists are much the same. From David to Joseph the lists diverge. Matthew traces Jesus' heritage through Solomon and the kings of Judah, obviously making a point by this choice. Luke traces Jesus heritage through Nathan, another son of David. The two lists converge on Shealtiel and Zerubbabel, separate and then converge on Joseph. Some commentators have suggested that Luke is actually tracing Jesus' heritage through Mary, who like Joseph, was a descendant of David. Technical problems exist with both lists, but the gospel writers are simply using a family genealogy to establish Jesus' claim to be the Son of David, and thus the realization of the promises of the covenant.


iii] Structure: The Genealogy of Jesus:

Title, v1.

Genealogy, v2-16.

The first 14 generations, v2-6a;

The second 14 generations, v6b-11;

the third 14 (13) generations, v12-16.

Summary, v17


Possible Chiasmus noted in this passage:

A. Jesus Christ, v1b;

B. David, v1c;

C. Abraham, v1d;

C1. Abraham, v2;

B1. David, v6;

A1. Jesus Christ, v16.


iv] Interpretation:

Numerology is sometimes evident in the scriptures and the genealogy of Jesus may be an example. It has been noted that the Hebrew consonants for David - D + w + d - = 14 using gematria. Such would further emphasize the Davidic heritage of Jesus. But why 14? It has been noted that the fourteen generations between the captivity and Jesus, taking a generation as 35 years = 490, which aligns with Daniel's seven weeks of years equalling 490 years. This is all somewhat of a stretch, as are the many other constructs offered by commentators (eg., the cycle of the moon, 14 waxing, 14 waning, 14 waxing), but none-the-less, Matthew's artificial construct is designed to make a point.

D&A tend to the view that gematria has been "a factor in the construction of Matthew's genealogy." David's name is fourteenth in the list, it is mentioned in 1:1 and 1:17, and takes the title "king", v6. They conclude that "David is the key to the pattern of Matthew's genealogy." Jesus is the long awaited son of David, the prophesied anointed on, the messiah.

Text - 1:1

The Introduction: i] Title. Probably something like, "This is the life story about Jesus the Messiah, who is the son of David, the son of Abraham." Fenton takes it further arguing that it is "telescopic: it can be extended to include more and more of what Matthew is beginning to write about."

BibloV (oV) "This" - a book, record. Nominative absolute. The word has a wide range of meanings from "codex, papyrus roll, scroll, ......." through to "letter", or more generally "a record."

genesewV (iV ewV) gen. "is the genealogy" - of the genealogy. The genitive is adjectival, epexegetic, limiting "book, scroll" by specifying which book is in mind. Here with the sense of "a history / life story of a family", even, "origin" = "the story of Jesus origin."

Ihsou (oV) gen. "of Jesus" - The genitive seems best taken as adverbial, reference / respect; "with respect to / about / concerning Jesus", but it could simply be treated as possessive. The idea that "of genealogy" is referring to the forming of the new creation would require the genitive to be subjective, but such is a bit of stretch.

Cristou (oV) gen."the Messiah" - christ. Genitive is apposition to "Jesus".

uiJou (oV) gen. "the son" - son. The genitive in apposition to "Christ Jesus", or adjectival, attributive, limiting "Jesus Christ", "who is the son of David."

Dauid gen. "of David" - of david [son of abraham]. The genitive is adjectival, relational. Jesus is the true seed of David and of Abraham. Son of David = messiah, and son of Abraham = the one who inherits the promises of the covenant thru faith / faithfulness.


ii] The genealogy, v2-16: Genealogies seek to trace linage back to a great one of the past; for Matthew the linage ends with the great one.

MariaV (a) gen. "[husband] of Mary" - [and jacob fathered joseph, the husband] of mary. The genitive is adjectival, relational.

ex (ek) + gen. "[Mary was the mother of Jesus]" - from [whom was born jesus]. Expressing source / origin.

oJ legomenoV (legw) pres mid./pas. part. "who is called" - the one being called [christ]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "Jesus" by description.


iii] Summary, v17. Matthew specifies the pattern of fourteen just in case the reader has missed it. Its artificiality is indicated in the second series in that he does not include the kings between Joram and Uzziah, the descendants of the evil Athaliah, namely Ahaziah, Joash and Amaziah. The thrice repeated "fourteen" indicates its importance, which, as indicated above, is most likely that D +w +d, the consonants for David, = 14 when using gematria.

oun "therefore" - Inferential, drawing a logical conclusion.

apo + gen. "from [Abraham]" - [all the generations] from [abraham]. Temporal use of the preposition.

ewV + gen. "to [David]" - until [david were fourteen generations]. Here as a temporal preposition.

BabulwnoV (wn wnoV) gen. "to Babylon" - [and from david until the deportation] of babylon, [fourteen generations, and from the deportation to babylon until the christ, fourteen generations]. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / local; "the transportation which entailed removing the Jewish population of Jerusalem to Babylon."


Matthew Introduction

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