Matthew Chapter 1

The roots of Jesus

1 This is the account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham.

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.

3 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron of Aram.

4 Aram was the father of Amina dab, Aminadab of Nahshon, Nahshon of Salmon.

5 Salmon was the father of Boaz. His mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed. His mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse.

6 Jesse was the father of David, the king. David was the father of Solomon. His mother had been Uriah¡¯s wife.

7 Solomon was the father of Re ho boam. Then came the kings: Abijah, Asaph,

8 Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah,

9 Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah,

10 Manasseh, Amon, Josiah.

11 Josiah was the father of Jecho niah and his brothers at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 After the deportation to Baby lon Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel and Salathiel of Zerub babel.

13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud of Eliakim, and Eliakim of Azor.

14 Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, and Akim the father of Eliud.

15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar of Matthan, and Matthan of Jacob.

16 Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus who is called the Christ ¨C the Messiah.

17 There were then fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, and fourteen generations from David to the deportation to Babylon, and fourteen generations from the de port ation to Babylon to the birth of Christ.

Jesus born of a virgin mother

18 This is how Jesus Christ was born. Mary his mother had been given to Joseph in marriage but be fore they lived together, she was found to be preg nant through the Holy Spirit.

19 Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all se crecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to discredit her.

20 While he was pondering over this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ¡°Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit,

21 and now she will bear a son. You shall call him ¡®Jesus¡¯ for he will save his people from their sins.¡±

22 All this happened in order to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

23 The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and he will be called Emmanuel which means: God-with-us.

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do and he took his wife to his home.

25 So she gave birth to a son and he had not had marital relations with her. Joseph gave him the name of Jesus.


Comments Mathew, Chapter 1

• 1.1 Many books in the Bible are careful to show that the events and persons they speak about are rooted in earlier history, for the whole Bible draws its strength from a continuity of history and from the fidelity of God to his promises. That is the meaning of this list of ancestors. Matthew prefers to call it as do the other books of the Bible: the document of the origins.

Luke 3:23 has another genealogy of Jesus that aims to emphasize his solidarity with the whole human race.

There are 42 names on the list, arranged in three series of 14 names each, a symbolic number for the Jews. It is obvious that it is not a complete list.

Jesus is the son of Abraham. Abraham is the father of the believers. God promised to unite all nations around his race. Jesus is also the son of David: all Israel knew that the Savior would be a descendant of David.

The first series of names appears in Ruth 4:18. The second is made up of kings, descendants of David, mentioned in the Book of Kings. The Bible does not say anything about the descendants of Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:3).

The list extends to Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus (v. 16). Among the Jews, this adoption was sufficient for Jesus to be considered, like Joseph, son of David.

Four names included in the list belong to women, all described in the Bible: Tamar, who gave everything so as not to lose the divine blessings; Rahab, a foreign prostitute whom the Bible praises (Jos 2); Ruth, another foreigner of exemplary conduct; and the widow of Uriah, the beautiful Bathsheba, who shared David¡¯s sin.

All of this background discreetly announces him who came down to save sinners and to open the Kingdom of Israel to the multitudes coming from the pagan world.

The Savior is the flower and fruit of our earth and of the chosen race at the same time (Is 45:8). God led the Jewish people to a degree of human and religious maturity where the coming and teaching of Jesus would take on its full meaning.

We must un derstand that we are in solidarity with Christ first of all through human ties. The history of the present time, as well as the history of our families, prepares the second coming of Christ to humankind.

• 18. The wording of verse 16 should be noted. Jesus is not the son of Joseph. The beginning of the paragraph intends to remind us that Jesus is both a legitimate son of David through Joseph and the Son of God conceived through the Holy Spirit by a virgin-mother.

These short and almost bashful sentences do not dare to unveil the mystery of Mary, the virgin through whom life on earth touches God and offers itself as an oblation. A messenger breaks through the night and speaks with silent words: the world is open to the active presence of God.

Mary was engaged. Engagements gave to the Jewish people practically every right of marriage, especially conjugal rights. The only difference was that women continued to live under the parents¡¯ tutelage and in their pa ren tal home. The Jews were markedly a ¡°macho¡± society. A woman necessarily belonged to a man, either to her father, her husband, or her son. Mary was already the wife of Joseph, but she could not be under his authority until he brought her to his home (vv. 20 and 24).

With reference to the virginity of Mary, see Luke 1:26.

The virginity of Mary was not in keeping with the Jewish mentality that gave first place to fecundity. It was not so unusual that Joseph would accept such a situation. At this time certain Jews belonging to the party of the Essenes lived celibacy, as did the monks.

Joseph made plans to divorce her secretly. The Gospel is not precise as to his reasons for so doing. In any case it is unthinkable that people might have doubted Mary¡¯s fidelity.

The intervention of the angel in the Gospel is not to reassure Joseph but to inform him of his role in the plan of God: You shall call him ¡®Jesus¡¯, and you will receive him as your son.¡± Joseph was a ¡°descendant of David¡± and Jesus adopted by Joseph would be a legitimate descendant of David. Most probably Mary did not even belong to the tribe of Judah, which was that of David, but like her cousin Eliza beth, she belonged to a family of priests of the tribe of Levi.