Matthew: Chapter 1 Footnotes
1:1 Hebrews kept extensive records of family ancestry for a variety of purposes (inheritance, rights, establish person's heritage, etc.) thus knowing the genealogy of Jesus is in keeping with the practices of the time.
1:1-1:17 While there discontinuity in the genealogy (as pointed out by many critics), many believe this section is simply to show that Jesus was the culmination of the kingship of Israel. A bit of a stretch (in my opinion), is the following: "These 'irregularities' culminate in the supreme 'irregularity' of the Messiah's birth of a virgin mother"10. If interested in the genealogy, the footnotes of many Bibles will include an explanation of the importance of each individual that is included.
1:17 Since Matthew specifically emphasizes that each section has fourteen, it is unlikely that that the thirteen of the last was due to his oversight. While some theorize that Jesus counts for two, it is more likely that this slip is the fault of a later scribe.
1:18-1:25 Virginal conception as fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel".
1:18 A Jewish betrothal was considered a binding pledge- much more so than we view it today- that was legal and only breakable by divorce. As to whether sexual relations were allowed at this time, sources differ: some say 'yes,' some say 'no.'
1:19 As the betrothal was considered as binding as marriage, her pregnancy would be viewed as adultery, the penalty for which was death. Joseph, wishing to spare Mary this fate, but also maintain his dignity/righteousness, planned a quiet divorce.
1:21 Jesus: in 1st century Judaism, the Hebrew name Joshua meaning "Yahweh helps" was also interpreted as "Yahweh saves"
1:24 Like the patriarchs in Genesis, we see Joseph as obedient to the divine instructions given to him.1
1:25 This verse is cited by many Protestants as proof that Mary was not a perpetual virgin. One should note that the word "until" does not imply nor exclude "relations" after the birth of Jesus. I take no stand on the matter and believe there are more important things to focus on than the bed of Joseph and Mary.
(Note: see "New Testament" main page for list of sources)
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Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
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Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong