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Matthew Chapter One


I. Content of the Chapter


I. The genealogy of the king

A. The title of the genealogy. (1)

  B. The fourteen generations from Abraham to David. (2-6)

  C. The fourteen generations from David until the captivity in Babylon. (6-11)

  D. The fourteen generations from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ. (11-16)

  E. The summary of the genealogy. (17)


II. The birth of the king

A.   The conception of Mary from the Holy Spirit. (18)

B.   The revelation to Joseph concerning the Lord’s birth from the angel. (19-23)

C.   The birth and name of the king. (24-25)


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Matt. 1:1 “The book of the genealogy of Jess Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.”

   YLT: A roll of the birth of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham.”

   Meaning of Words: Abraham”: father of all peoples, father of many nations; “son”: child, grandson, adopted son, disciple, and the beloved; “David”: the beloved; “Jesus”: Jehovah the savior, the salvation of Jehovah; “Christ”: the anointed one; “genealogy”: the origin, the beginning and the history.

   Literal Meaning: The name “Jesus” means He is Jehovah Himself coming to be our savior to make us receive God’s salvation.

The name “Christ” indicates that He was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit (Luke. 4:18, Dan. 9:26) and separated unto God to be the king and the priest of the kingdom of God, sent into the world to fulfill God’s counsel and will.

“Jesus Christ”, “Jesus” is the name He adapted in humility as a man; “Christ” is the name He adapted in his honor (as God’s anointed one). He humbled Himself at first, and was then highly exalted. (see Phil. 2: 6-11)

This verse implies that the following genealogy is to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah promised by God in whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed and He is the one who shall inherit the throne of David forever. 

   Spiritual Meaning: “the Son of David” denotes that Jesus Christ is the one typified by “Solomon” the son of David:

1) Who came to inherit the throne of David and the kingdom. (2Sam. 7:12-13, Jer. 23:5, Luke. 1:32-33)

2) Who brought peace (the meaning of “Solomon”) to His people.

3) Who spoke the words of wisdom. (1Kings. 10:23, Matt. 12:42)

4) Who built the God’s temple---the assembly---to be the dwelling place of God. (1Kings. 6:2, Eph. 2:21-22)

“The Son of Abraham” denotes that Jesus Christ is the one typified by “Isaac” the son of Abraham:

1)    Who came to inherit the land of God’s promise. (Gen. 15:18)

2)    Who became obedient to the point of death and was raised up from the dead. (Gen. 22:9-10, Heb. 11:17-19, Phil. 2:8)

3)    In whom all the nations shall be blessed. (Gen. 22:18, Gal. 3:14)

4)    Who would eventually marry the gentile bride---the assembly. (Gen. 24:67, John. 3:29, Rev. 19:7)

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ” indicates that every one in the genealogy is closely connected with the coming of Christ. All their life and history are conducive to the coming of Christ.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) “Jesus Christ”, in the original, is the first name occurred in the whole New Testament. This indicates that He starts the New Testament because  grace and truth in the New Testament all come from Him. He is the beginning, the process and the consummation of the whole New Testament.

        2) “Jesus Christ” is also the last name mentioned in the whole New Testament. (Rev. 22:21) “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (Rev. 22:13) From the beginning to the end He is.

     3) “Jesus Christ” is also the first name occurred between the Old Testament and the New Testament, showing that He is the turning point of the two testaments---He ended and consummated the Old Testament and He opened and initiated the New Testament.

     4) “Jesus” is in Hebrew “Joshua”. He is the true Joshua (Num. 13:16), coming into the world to lead God’s people into the true sabbatism. (Heb. 4:8-9) “Christ” is in Hebrew “Messiah”. (John. 1:41) He is the Messiah to establish the kingdom of God on earth.

     5) The genealogy of Jesus Christ begins not with Adam, but with Abraham and David, denoting that the Lord is the king (the Son of David) of the people who receive God’s grace by faith (the Son of Abraham).

     6) Jesus is “the Son of Abraham”, coming into the world to die for our sins so that we can be justified by faith (the type of “Isaac”); He is also “the Son of David”, the conqueror who will reign as the king. (the type of “Solomon”)

     7) “The Son of David” shows that Christ, though being despised and rejected by men, is anointed by God. (see 1Sam. 16:6-13) He also bruised the enemy’s (the type of Goliath) head on the cross. (see Gen. 3:15, 1Sam. 17:49)

     8) “The Son of Abraham”: the son represents his father---Abraham came out of his country and sojourned in a foreign country, hoping for a better and heavenly homeland; in like manner, Christ left His heavenly country and throne for us to sojourn on earth, without a place to lay His head upon for thirty-three years and a half.

     9) Besides the name “Jesus Christ”, “David” is both the first and last name mentioned in the New Testament. (Rev. 22:16)

     10) “The Son of David”: the promise of Messiah was made directly for David (2Sam. 7:12,16). The true Messiah, therefore, must come out of David. (see Ps. 132: 10-11, Is. 11:1, Jer. 23:5; cf. John. 7:42, Acts. 13: 23, Rom. 1:3)

     11) In this verse the Lord is called “the Son of Abraham” because of God’s promise for Abraham. (Luke. 1:73) And Abraham rejoiced to see Him. (John. 8:56)

     12) This verse especially emphasizes that Jesus Christ is the Son of David and the Son of Abraham, denoting that this book has two threads: one is the Son of David (the prophet), the other is the Son of Abraham (the priest); and Jesus Christ fulfills this two kinds of ministries.

     13) “The Son of David” shows that He is Christ and “the Son of Abraham” shows that He is Jesus; He is the savior, the king and everything.

     14) The Lord Jesus is “the Son of David”, denoting His relationship with the Jews; He is “the Son of Abraham”, denoting His relationship with all the nations of the earth. He is “the king of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2) and “the savior of all people” (Luke. 2:10-11) on earth.

     15) The first 25 chapters of this book depict Jesus Christ as “the Son of David” and the following 3 chapters describe Him as “the Son of Abraham”.

     16) The Lord Jesus Christ was “the Son of Abraham” in His first coming and He would be “the Son of David” in His second coming.

     17) The name “Jesus Christ” indicates that He humbled Himself at first and was then highly exalted; He suffered at first and was then glorified. If indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Rom. 8:17)

     18) Christ is the center of all the God’s promises. And in Him all the promises of God are Yes and Amen. In Him only can we be complete. (Col. 2:10)

      19) “The genealogy” is the story of reproduction of life. The genealogy of Jesus Christ records those who are connected with Him in life and could therefore reproduce the life of Christ.

      20) Every Christian is supposed to be the living genealogy of Christ and the living letter written by Christ (2Chr.3:3), commending Christ to people.

      21) He who is able to manifest Christ is he who has a part in the genealogy of Christ. Every one belonging to Christ should exercise godliness to manifest Christ. (1Tim. 3:16)


Matt. 1:2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.

YLT: Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob, and Jacob begat Judah and his brethren

Meaning of Words: “begot”: to bring forth, to bear; “Isaac”: joy, laughter; “Jacob”: to take hold of one’s heel, the supplanter, to track; “Judah”: praise.

   The Background: “Abraham”: the ancestor of the called race. (Gen. 15:6, Rom. 4:2-3, Gal. 3:6) He was not only justified by faith, but also lived by faith. (Heb. 11:8)

“Isaac” was the son born by God’s promise, when Abraham and Sarah were in their old age after their natural fertility had been dried up. (Gen. 21: 1-3)

“Jacob” was morally not as good as his brother Esau, cunning and treacherous, having deceived his brother and father. (Gen. 25:29-33, 27:18-29) But God chose him.

Judah” stood out of his brothers because he sympathized his suffered brother. (Gen. 44:18-34)

“And his brothers” were selected by God to be ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Num. 1)

Literal Meaning:  the word “begot” used in this genealogy (2-16) means “come out of his father’s lineage”. Therefore Matthew omitted several generations (see the background in 1:8, 10) in his record and purposely arranged three periods of fourteen generations to express spiritual meanings.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) The genealogy of Christ begins with “Abraham”, showing that only the          called race---the believers---become partakers of Christ.

2) We should learn from Abraham’s sample of faith---denying ourselves and              receiving Christ as our all. Only in this way could we obtain and manifest the life of Christ.

3) God rejected Ishmael but chose “Isaac” (Gen. 17:18-19), denoting that we become partakers of Christ not by our struggle and effort but by God’s promise and selection. (Rom. 9:8)

4) Ishmael was the first son of Abraham, while Isaac was the second one. God chose the second rather than the first. In God’s calculation: any fleshly work of the nature counts for nothing; only the spiritual work of God is acceptable to God.

     5) The birth of Jesus Christ is the glad (the meaning of “Isaac”) tidings for us. (Luke. 2:10)

     6) “Isaac” was born by the free woman through promise. (Gal. 4:21-31) God gave us Jesus Christ, so that we can be God’s free children through promise.

     7) “Abraham begot Isaac”. “Isaac” testified that Christ inherits all the fullness of God the Father.

     8) God rejected Esau but chose “Jacob”, denoting that God selects people not by their works but by God Himself. (Rom. 9:11-13)

     9) “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. ” (Rom. 9:15-16)

     10) God selected Jacob, though Jacob was not as good as Esau as far as their works are concerned. It shows that we receive God’s grace not because of our advantages or superiority over others, but because of God’s selection.

     11) “Isaac begot Jacob” “Jacob” testified that Christ obtains the birthright.

     12) “Judah” was not the first-born son according to the order of birth and he   was not as noble as “Joseph” in the social position. We are called not by our wisdom, power or dignity, therefore, no flesh should glory in His presence. (1Chr. 1:26-29)

     13) Jacob begot Judah and his brothers” “Judah” testified that Christ is the leader, the head of the new creation.

     14) “and his brothers” denotes that Christ is so rich that thousands of people, though unnamed, are also partakers of the testimony and manifestation of  Christ.

     15) There are many “died”s in the genealogy of the first Adam (Gen. 5)    while there are all “begot”s in the genealogy of Christ (the last Adam). It denotes that Christ is the king of life.

     16) The testimony and manifestation of Christ is a matter of life.


Matt. 1:3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram.

YLT: and Judah begat Pharez and Zarah of Tamar, and Pharez begat Hezron, and Hezron begat Ram,

Meaning of Words:  “Tamar”: palm tree, to be set upright; “Perez”: to break through; “Zerah”: the oriental, sunrise, to rise, sprout; “Hezron”: prosperous, thriving; “Ram”: highland.

   The Background: “Tamar” was the wife of Judah’s first son. After her husband’s death, Tamar, in order to preserve the lineage of her husband, disguised herself as a temple prostitute and offered herself to Judah her father-in-law. Through the incest Tamar had twin sons Perez and Zerah. (Gen. 38:6-30)

  “Perez and Zerah” were twin brothers. The one that should be born first became last and the last became first.

  “Perez begot Herzon”, please see Gen. 46:9

  “Herzon begot Ram”, “Ram” (Luke.3:23) may be the “Ram” (1Chr. 2:9, Ruth. 4:19)

Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Though “Tamar’s” behavior was sinful, her intent was righteous. (Gen. 38:26) We should do our utmost to obtain God’s blessing.

         2) “Tamar” did her utmost to obtain the birthright even through incest. It shows that in order to gain Christ we should pursue Him at any cost, not being indecisive or restrained by regulations and methods. However, we should not follow her immoral way.

   3) The story of “Tamar” tells us to gain Christ at any price. But the story of her son “Perez” tells us that the gain of Christ is not men’s struggle or effort, but God’s predestination.

   4) “Zera” was chosen by men, but “Perez” was chosen by God. (Gem. 38:27-30) It denotes that the one chosen by men is rejected by God and the one chosen by God is rejected by men. (1Pet. 2:4)


Matt. 1:4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon.

   YLT: and Ram begat Amminadab, and Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon,

   Meaning of Words:  Amminadab”: my people are rich; “Nahshon”: attractive, glamorous; “Salmon”: shading, high fortress, ascent.

The Background: this part of the genealogy is also recorded in Ruth. 4 and 1Chr. 2. While the children of Israel were in the wildness, “Nahshon” was the leader of the tribe of Judah, the first army of the whole Israel forces. (Num. 2:3, 9)

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) He who is valiant in spiritual battle is he who will bear powerful witness to Christ.

         2) We should let Him have the preeminence in all things. (Col. 1:18)


Matt. 1:5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,   

YLT: and Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab, and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth, and Obed begat Jesse,

Meaning of Words:  “Rahab”: generosity; “Boaz”: there’s power in him, swift, vigorous, prompt; “Ruth”: fellowship, friend, kindness, pleasure, rose, beauty; “Obed”: worship, bondman, service; “Jesse”: firm, strong, abundant.

   The Background: “Rahab” used to be a prostitute in the city of Jericho and her whole family was saved because she helped the two Israel spies with hiding them up. (Josh. 2: 1-21. 6: 22-25)

“Ruth” was a woman from Ammonite---a nation being cursed by God. (Deut. 23: 3) She was remarried to Boaz because she followed her mother-in-law to return to the land of Judah. (Ruth. 4: 9-10)

Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) “Rahab”, the unclean and shameful woman, after being convicted, got a son Boaz who feared God and loved men. (see Ruth) As long as a sinner repents, he can bear fruit of holiness.

         2) “Boaz”, having sympathized the poor and week Ruth, got David the king coming out of himself. (Ruth. 2:19, 4: 21-22) He who sympathizes his poor and week brothers and sisters is he who will be the king in the kingdom in the future.

    3) The Lord Jesus is indeed the friend and savior of sinners and he sympathizes with our weakness (Her. 4:15). Whoever trusts in Him will receive good at the end.

    4) Let each of the believers look out not only for their own enjoyment of Christ, but also for the enjoyment of Christ of others. (Phil. 2:4)

    5) “Ruth”, an Ammonite woman who shall not enter the assembly of the Lord forever, became an ancestor of Christ by loving the kingdom and God of her mother-in-law (Ruth. 1:16). It shows that whoever draws near to the Lord will be acceptable to Him.

    6) In Scripture, Christ is not only the branch out of the stem of Jesse, but also the root of Jesse. (Is. 11:1, 10); “Jesse” came out of Christ and also begot Christ. The believers are born out of Christ and also manifest Christ.


Matt. 1:6 “and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

   YLT: “and Jesse begat David the king. And David the king begat Solomon, of her Uriah's,

   Meaning of Words: “David”: the beloved; “Uriah”: the light of God, the Lord is light; “Solomon”: peaceful, wise man.

 The Background: “the wife of Uriah” was the Hittite Bathsheba. In Scripture, her name was purposely unmentioned because her remarriage was the result of David’s adultery and murder (2Sam. 11: 2-27). The only wrongness of David in all the days of his life was that he committed adultery and married the wife of Uriah (1Kin. 15:5). However, later David repented earnestly and was foreign by God (Ps. 51; 2Sam. 12:13).

   Literal Meaning: “David the king” there were many kings in the genealogy, but it was only recorded “David the king” here. It denotes that the kingship started from David. He opened up the age of kings and brought in the kingdom. The Book of Matthew emphasizes Jesus as the king who inherits the throne from David.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1)Jesse begot David the king” David is the eighth son of Jesse. The number “eight” means resurrection. The Lord Jesus reigns as a king in his resurrection (Matt. 28:18). In the same way, those who live with Him in his resurrection are acceptable to God and will reign together with Him in the coming kingdom.

         2) The four women, though infamous, were recorded in the Lord’s        genealogy. It shows that the Lord’s salvation make the gentile sinners have part in the Lord. (We are all sinful women before God.)

3) The four unclear women were recorded in the Christ’s genealogy. It tells us that no matter how unclear and sinful you are, as long as you are united to Christ by faith, you will probably be sanctified by the life of Christ and have part in bringing in Christ and reproducing Christ.

     4) In the four unclean women, “Tamar” sinned initiatively and she represents sin; “Rahab” represents faith (Heb. 11:31, James. 2:25); “Ruth” represents being redeemed to obtain spiritual grace and inheritances; Once “the wife of Uriah” was married to David, she stayed in the family of David forever. She represents the firmness of salvation.

     5) “The wife of Uriah” shows the sin of David and “Solomon” shows the grace of God. Any one, though sins, as long as he repents, will receive God’s grace. “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” (Rom. 5:20)

    6) There is no peace in the heart of a sinner. As long as a sinner repents, he can receive peace (the meaning of “Solomon”) and God’s favor (2Sam. 12: 24-25).


Matt. 1:7 “Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa.

   YLT: and Solomon begat Rehoboam, and Rehoboam begat Abijah, and Abijah begat Asa,

   Meaning of Words:       “Rehoboam”: to liberate; “Abijiah”: Jehovah is his father. The Lord is his father; “Asa”: doctor, injurious.

The Background: In the therein of Rehoboam the king, the kingdom was separated into two kingdoms: Judah and Israel (2Chr. 11:2-17). But for the sake of David, God set up his son after him in Jerusalem (1Kin. 15:4).

Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Jehovah’s word is settled in heaven forever (Ps. 119:89). Not one has failed of all the promises of God (Josh. 23:14).

         2) God selected Rehoboam and the Judah instead of Israel which was consisted of most of the elect people. It shows that the grace of God’s election is according the principle of “remnant” (Rom. 11:5). The God’s overcomers are a minority.


Matt. 1:8 “Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah.

   YLT: and Asa begat Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat begat Joram, and Joram begat Uzziah,

   Meaning of Words: “Jehoshaphat”: to be judged by God; “Joram”: the one God holds high; “Uzziah”: God is strength, the Lord is strong.    

The Background: “Asa begot Jehoshaphat” Jehoshaphat was also named Azariah. Three generations were omitted between Joram and Azariah (1Chr. 3: 11-12, 2Kin. 15:13) because they abandoned God, bowed to idols and were cursed by God. (2Chr. 23:3, 24:17-18, 25:14)

       Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Three generations were omitted between Joram and Azarish. It shows that God is jealousy and shall visit iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and the forth of the idolaters (Ex. 20:5).

         2) If we are willing to be united to Christ, we should never worship idols.


Matt. 1:9 “Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. YLT: and Uzziah begat Jotham, and Jotham begat Ahaz, and Ahaz begat Hezekiah,

   Meaning of Words: “Jotham”: God is upright; “Ahaz”: the owner, he owns; “Hezekiah”: God is strength, the Lord is strength.


Matt. 1:10 “Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah.

   YLT: and Hezekiah begat Manasseh, and Manasseh begat Amon, and Amon begat Josiah,

   Meaning of Words: “Manasseh”: to forget; “Amon”: to conceal, the nourished, worker; “Josiah”: the one God heals, the one God has established.


Matt. 1:11 “Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.

   YLT: and Josiah begat Jeconiah and his brethren, at the Babylonian removal.

   Meaning of Words: “carried away”: expatriation, a change of abode; “Babylon”: disorder, the gate of Baal; “Jeconiah”: the one God has predestinated, the one the Lord has established.

   The Background: Josiah begot Jeconiah” One generation was omitted between Josiah and Jeconiah (1Chr. 3:15-16), probably because he had connection with the Pharaoh of Egypt (2Kin. 23:34-35).

     Literal Meaning: “Jeconiah”, though used to be the king, was treated as common people because here it was recorded by the Holy Spirit as “the time they were carried away to Babylon” and “and his brothers”.  

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) One generation was omitted between Josiah and Jeconiah for its connection with Egypt (the type of the world). Friendship with the world is enmity with God (James. 4:4). If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him (1John. 2:15).

         2) Twenty two kings were recorded from Rehoboam to Josiah. Six among them were good kings while the other six were evil ones. Sometimes good fathers begot evil sons; sometimes evil fathers begot good sons. They were recorded in the genealogy of Christ, not by their own goodness or evil, but by their being partakers in bringing in Christ.


Matt. 1:12 “And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel.

   YLT: And after the Babylonian removal, Jeconiah begat Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begat Zerubbabel,

   Meaning of Words: “Shealtiel”: to ask from God; “Zerubbabel”: born in Babylon, disperses in Babylon.

   The Background: Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel Zerubbabel was not Shealtiel’s own son. Probably, Shealtiel died early, having no son, and his brother Pedaiah married his wife. Then Zerubbabel was born and succeeded to Shealtiel (1Chr. 3: 17-19, Deu.25: 5-10). This shows that Zerubbabel was not the direct descendant of Jeconiah. Thus, the curse to Jeconiah which was spoken by God through Jeremiah that “None of his descendants shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David” (Jer. 22: 28-30) was fulfilled. God had also predicted through Jeremiah that “I will raise to David a branch of righteousness, a king shall reign and prosper” (Jer. 23: 5). The branch was the Lord Jesus.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) The Lord Jesus was not the descendant of Jeconiah, but the son of David. Therefore, He has no connection with the curse to Jeconiah. But the promise to David by God was fulfilled on Him. Oh, how marvelous is His works and how settled is His faithfulness.

         2) Zerubbabel led the captive of God’s elect to return to Jerusalem from Babylon to rebuild the house of God (Ezra. 5: 2). The return of the captivity provided a chance for the birth of Christ in Bethlehem (Matt. 2: 4-6). If we are captive in Babylon (the type of the world) all the time, we will be unable to manifest Christ to people.


Matt. 1:13 “Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor.

   YLT: and Zerubbabel begat Abiud, and Abiud begat Eliakim, and Eliakim begat Azor,

   Meaning of Words: “Abiud”: father of dignity; “Eliakim”: God has established him; “Azor”: helpful.


Matt. 1:14 “Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud.

   YLT: and Azor begat Sadok, and Sadok begat Achim, and Achim begat Eliud,

   Meaning of Words: “Zadok”: just; “Achim”: the one God has made him steadfast; “Eliud”: God the Majesty, God that I praise.


Matt. 1:15 “Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob.

   YLT: and Eliud begat Eleazar, and Eleazar begat Matthan, and Matthan begat Jacob,

   Meaning of Words: “Eleazar”: the one God has helped; “Matthan”: gift; “Jacob”: to take hold of one’s heel, the supplanter, to track.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         Those people mentioned in the genealogy after verse 12 were low. However, Jesus came out of them. God has chosen the base things of the world, the things which are despised and the things which are not (1Cor. 1: 28).


Matt. 1:16 “And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

   YLT: and Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was begotten Jesus, who is named Christ.

   Meaning of Words: “Joseph”: he will add; “Mary”: betrayer, bitterness.

  Literal Meaning: Matthew recorded “Jesus who is called Christ” purposely to prove that Jesus is Christ. This genealogy confirms that Jesus is the Christ predicted in the Old Testament.

   The whole genealogy centered on men by saying “someone begot someone”. But when it referred to Jesus, the writing was changed to “Mary, of whom was born Jesus”, centering on woman. It shows that the Lord Jesus came out of the virgin and was “the seed of the woman” (Gen. 3:15) instead of the descendant of men. Therefore he did not inherit the sinful nature common to the entire Adam race.

   This verse also denotes that Jesus was not Joseph’s own son and consequently not the descendant of Jeconiah (see the background in v.12). However, He was the son of Mary and consequently the son of David (Luke. 3:23-31).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) The common feature of the five women in Matt. 1 is their faith. No matter what kind of sinner he is, he can be united to Christ as long as he has faith.

2) The former four among the five women in Matt.1 were unclean or had bigamous marriages and only the mother of Jesus Mary was a virgin. (see Matt. 1:23) It shows that Christ is sinless and was born in holiness.

3) There were names of women in the genealogy of Matthew because God was looking for “the seed of the woman”. God did not find “the woman” among the former women until the fifth one, the Virgin Mary who brought in Christ.


Matt. 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.        YLT: All the generations, therefore, from Abraham unto David fourteen generations, and from David unto the Babylonian removal fourteen generations, and from the Babylonian removal unto the Christ, fourteen generations.

   Literal Meaning: “so” shows the conclusion was calculated according to the scriptures mentioned above not by the history. For in this calculation several generations were purposely omitted, it is not a historical calculation but a spiritual one.

Three fourteen generations amount to forty-two generations. But actually there were only forty-one generations because David was both counted in the end of the first fourteen generation and the beginning of the second fourteen generations. Some people regarded Jeconiah as both the end of the second fourteen generations and the beginning of the third fourteen generations. However, he, being rejected by God (Jer. 22:24), was not listed in the age of kings (the second fourteen generations).

Note that between the end of the second fourteen generations and the beginning of the third fourteen generations, Matthew divided these two fourteen generations up not by men’s name but by the matter of the captivity. It shows that Christ is the one who sums up the age of kings------he came to inherit the throne of David.

   Spiritual Meaning: “fourteen generations” Multiply seven by two is fourteen. Seven means perfect, two means testimony, in consequence, fourteen means the perfect testimony; “Three fourteen generations” Three represents God and it denotes that this testimony was made by God. Multiply three by fourteen is forty-two which is the number representing suffering and test. Another explanation: fourteen is ten plus four. Ten means perfect and four means the creation. In consequence, “three fourteen generations” denotes that they represent all the creation before God.

The whole genealogy denotes that:

  1) All the people mentioned in the genealogy were arranged by God and they, as a whole, bore perfect witness to Christ;

  2) They went through tribulations and tests to bring in Christ; Christ was their glorious goal in the tribulations;

  3) The existence of the creation is for Christ;

  4) If anyone does not have Christ, he lives under vanity, having no rest.

The three fourteen generations represents three period of experience of Christians:

  1) From Abraham to David------the period we first believed, in which we overcame, burned, devoted ourselves to God, submitted to God and made ourselves ruled by God;

  2) From David until the captivity in Babylon------the period in which our nature and flesh were put to death and we were captive, desolate and depressed;

  3) From the captivity in Babylon until the Christ------the period in which we restored from desolation and achieved the fullness of Christ.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) “From Abraham” shows that Abraham was the ancestor of the new race, the starter of a new age and the one who brought in the promise of Christ.

         2) “To David… from David” shows that David summed up the first age and opened up the second age. He inherited the first age and ushered into the second. He started the age of kings and brought in the throne of Christ.

3) Three fourteen generations represent the three periods of the Jews in the time of Old Testament------the fathers, the kings and the king’s fall. These finally direct to Christ.

4) The genealogy was recorded one by one until the Christ. During the several thousand of years, though the enemy had stirred up trouble and the world was full of disorder and turmoil, God’s will of His Son was held steadfastly in His supreme hand. All things will be fulfilled in due time according to His predestinated will.  

5) In the genealogy, there were kings, common people, the captive and those who returned from the captive. It tells us that whoever you are, dignified or undignified and whatever you have suffered, unhappiness or evil, as long as you are united to Christ by faith, with his glorious life you will be raised up, released, unstrained, renewed and had become partakers of the incorruptible hope of glory.

6) All the figures mentioned in the genealogy all presented to “the Christ”------Christ is the destination of all things and the ultimate value of life------men live to present and manifest Christ.

7) The crisis of God’s people is not their failure or fall (the captivity in Babylon), but their unwillingness to repent and return to God (from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ).


Matt. 1:18 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.”

   YLT: “And of Jesus Christ, the birth was thus: For his mother Mary having been betrothed to Joseph, before their coming together she was found to have conceived from the Holy Spirit,

   Meaning of Words: “as follows”: in this way, thus; “was betrothed”: to give a souvenir (engagement present), to accept the engagement; “came together”: associate with, or cohabit (conjugally); “with”: have

   The Background: “was betrothed” According to the present customs, after their betrothal, the man and women are regarded as husband and wife (see v.19-20, Deut. 22:23-24). However, they are not allowed to have sexual relationship until a set day in which the husband takes her home in a wedding and knows her.

   Literal Meaning: “she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” It shows that Jesus, the conception of Mary, was the supernatural work By God. It is totally different from the common conception by the way of a man with a woman. Common people are seeds of men and only Jesus is “the seed of the women” (Gen. 3:15).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) The Lord Jesus was born through the conception of Mary from the Holy Spirit. He has both the humanity and the divinity, i.e. God was manifested in the flesh.

         2) The Lord Jesus, both God and man, is qualified to be our savior who negatively bore the sins of men and positively gave God’s life to men.

     3) “Mary” represents those who, being unspotted from the world, love the Lord with pure heart. In such people Christ was conceived and grew up.

     4) The conception of Mary was fulfilled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is full of power. But unless we submit to Him, He will have the chance to work in us.


Matt. 1:19 “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.”

   YLT: and Joseph her husband being righteous, and not willing to make her an example, did wish privately to send her away.

   Meaning of Words: “make her a public example”: show to the public.

   The Background: In ancient times, if a woman, being betrothed to a husband, was found unfaithful to her husband, will be sentenced to death. (Deut. 22:23)      

   Literal Meaning: “husband” does not mean a man who has got married in the original.

  “A just man” does not mean the righteous before God (Rom. 3:10), but the man who keeps the law. Paul said that he was blameless concerning the righteousness in the law. (Pill. 3:6) 

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) “A just man” is the one who minds the interests of others and respects others.

         2) Without the revelation or guidance from God, only the justice of men will not help to do the will of God; sometimes even block the fulfillment of the will of God (“was minded to put her away secretly”).

     3) A natural man does not know spiritual things, therefore, he felt confused.


Matt. 1:20 “But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

  YLT: “And on his thinking of these things, lo, a messenger of the Lord in a dream appeared to him, saying, `Joseph, son of David, thou mayest not fear to receive Mary thy wife, for that which in her was begotten of the Holy Spirit,

   Literal Meaning: “while he thought about these things” It denotes that Joseph walked circumspectly.

  “The angel of the Lord” The angel was sent by God to declare God’s will to men.

  “In a dream” In old times, the time before the Holy Spirit guides the believers with its abode in them, God often communicated with men and revealed Himself by the way of dreams (Gen. 28:10-17, 1Kin. 3:5, etc.).

  “The son of David” probably implies his connection with the birth of the Messiah.

  “Do not be afraid” Joseph was afraid to take to him Mary because he was a just man. A just man was not willing to hurt others, or to hurt himself by covering sins and being spotted by sins.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) When dealing with things, we’d better think carefully before do them. The one who is unwilling to “think” before God is fool. If someone learns from God superficially, he would make decisions hastily.

         2) “Thinking” the things of the Lord is to give the Lord a chance of working to guide us.

     3) The significant feature of the humble is that they “are afraid” to be wrong. If someone is afraid to be wrong, naturally, he will think carefully before God.

     4) The wrath of men does not produce the righteousness of God. The true righteous has open heart towards men, the ability of self-control and the fear of God.

     5) The abidance of the Holy Spirit in Mary (“which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”) and the revelation of Christ to Joseph (“an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream”) will together will bring in the will of God.

     6) Only when the thoughts of men stopped (fell asleep), God’s will was revealed to men (“an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream”).

     7) Only the revelation of Christ (the angel talked about Christ with Joseph) could set men free from the law (he minded to put her away secretly) for the fulfillment of God’s will.

     8) “Which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” “which is conceived in her” was Christ. The center of God’s revelations is of Christ.


Matt. 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.

   YLT: and she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.'

   Meaning of Words: “Jesus”: Jehovah the savior, salvation of Jehovah; “save…from”: to heal, be whole.

   Literal Meaning: “His people”: people belonging to God; “save people from their sins”: He not only saves us with the forgiveness of our sins, but also delivers us from the strength and power of sin, no longer being the slaves of sin.  Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) “His people” shows that the Lord came to be the king. The Lord is not the king who led His people out of the tyranny of Roman government, but the king who saved His people from the strength of sin.

         2) The faith and obedience to the Lord Jesus are essentially important. Only by this way, we will be saved. Anyone who is willing to be “His people” and be reigned by Him, he will be saved from sins.

3) The salvation of the Lord Jesus is not partial, but full. It is not a way like the life buoy (one would be saved from drowning but is still threatened by water), but a way like the lifesaving boat (one would not only be saved from drowning, but also be saved from water into the boat)


Matt. 1:22 “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:

   YLT: And all this hath come to pass, that it may be fulfilled that was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,

   Meaning of Words: “was done”: to become, to be fulfilled; “be fulfilled”: full, the ultimate and perfect fulfillment.

   Literal Meaning: in the Gospel of Matthew, the fulfillments of the words in the Old Testament have been mentioned fifteen times. (1:22; 2:15,17,23; 3:15; 4:14; 5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14,35; 21:4; 26:54,56; 27:9) It means that God has already predestinated the happening of these things. He had made the prophecies, which were recorded in the Old Testament, through prophets in advance.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will not know the words in Scripture concerning the Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth (John. 16:13).

         2) The coming of Christ has perfectly fulfilled the prophecies in Scripture. Christ is the destination of all prophecies.


Matt. 1:23 “’Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,which is translated, God with us.’”

   YLT: `Lo, the virgin shall conceive, and she shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel,' which is, being interpreted `With us God.'

   Meaning of Words: “the virgin”: a maiden, an unmarried daughter.

   Literal Meaning: “the virgin shall be with child” The definite article “the” shows that she is unique and particularly prepared by God.

  “They shall call His name Immanuel”. “Jesus” is His name called by God, showing His ministry; “Immanuel” is His name called by men, showing His feature. “Immanuel” shows that:

  1) He is not only the Son of God, but also God Himself becoming flesh;

  2) He is both God and man, i.e. God in man and man in God. In Him is God with man;

  3) If we obtain Him, we obtain God; if we abide with Him, we abide with God;

  4) Only in Him, we can have the experience of “God with us”.

  Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Besides the Lord Jesus, we have no other way to obtain God. Only by calling on the name of the Lord, we will experience God’s presence.

         2) “Jesus” expresses the procedure of salvation and “Immanuel” expresses the aim of salvation. The Lord has saved us from sins (v. 21) to realize “God with us”.

3) To bring in the mutual communication between God and men, the obstacle------sin must be put away. Unless men’s sin is put away, “God with us” will not be realized.

4) Only in Christ, God and man may meet by peace. Only in Christ, there is the existence of “Immanuel”.

5) An angel of the Lord said a saying of the Scripture to Jesoph and the words of God helped him out of his trouble. When covered by the cloud of doubt, what we need is that the Holy Spirit would remind us one or two verses of the Holy Scripture and make the words shine, and then we will be quickened immediately.


Matt. 1:24 “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,

   YLT: and did not know her till she brought forth her son -- the first-born, and he called his name Jesus.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) The just man Joseph was cowardly in sins-----he is afraid to take to him Mary his wife. However, he was brave in God’s will and “took to him his wife” at any price.

         2) In order to be used by God and keep the will of God, we should sacrifice our fame and feelings for the Lord.

3) After receiving the revelation of God, one should not reconsider or doubt about it. If someone doubts about the words of God, he will fall into darkness.

4) Courage, promptitude and promptness (“being aroused from sleep, did…”) are needed to keep the will of God. Procrastination and delay will certainly hold things up.

5) Revelation delivers people from all the natural trouble and confusions and helps people draw strength from God to do the things which are impossible with m en.

Matt. 1:25 “and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

   YLT: and did not know her till she brought forth her son -- the first-born, and he called his name Jesus.

   Literal Meaning: “did not know her till…” means that Mary bore other children with Joseph after the birth of Jesus. Therefore, the view in Catholic Church that    “Mary was the Virgin Mary who kept her virginity forever” did not agree with the record in Scripture.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Christianity is absolutely not an abstinent religion and sexual desire is not regarded unclean in Bible. The forbiddance of marriage is of the devil (1Tim. 4:1-3)

         2) The one who is able to be used by God is able to wait. Joseph was a good example of “buffeting his body” (1Cor. 9:27)


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Knowing the Lord from His Names

I. “Jesus” (v.16, 21) ------He is God Himself coming to be the savior of men;

II. “Christ” (v.16) ------He was anointed by the Holy Spirit;

III. “The Son of David” (v.1) ------He was the king of the kingdom;

IV. “The Son of Abraham” (v.1) ------He will inherit the promise;

V. “Immanuel” (v.23) ------He brings men into God’s presence.


Receiving Teachings from the Genealogy

I. Everyone in the genealogy had became partakers of Christ and showed the coming of Christ. (v.1)

II. The four unclean women in the genealogy denote that we were sinners originally:

A.         “Tamar” (v.3) ------she initiatively committed a sin of incest with her father-in-law;

B.   “Rahab” (v.5) ------she was a prostitute in the city of Jericho;

C. “Ruth” (v.5) ------she was an Ammonite women cursed by God;

D. “The wife of Uriah” (v.6) ------she was remarried to David because of the sin of fornication.

III. We have become partakers of God. It is not of us who run, but of God who shows mercy:

A. “Isaac” (v.2) ------God rejected his consanguineous brother Ishmael;

B. “Jacob” (v.2) ------God rejected his twin brother Esau;

C. “Juda” (v.2) ------he was not the firstborn son;

D. “Perez and Zerah” (v.3) -----the one that should be born first became last and the last became first.

IV. We not only obtain Christ by faith, but also manifest the life of Christ by faith.

   A. “Abraham” (v. 2) ------he was justified by faith and would live by faith:

   B. “Rahab” (v.5) ------she bound the line of scarlet cord by faith and her whole family was saved;

V. We should love God and brothers:

  A. “Judah” (v.2) ------he sympathized his suffered brother;

  B. “Boaz” (v.5) ------he sympathized the poor and helpless Ruth;

  C. “Ruth” (v.5) ------she loved Naomi her mother-in-law and the God and kingdom of her mother-in-law;

  D. “David the king” (v.6) ------he made preparations for the temple of God and had served his own generation by the will of God;

  E. “Solomon the king” (v.6) ------he built the Holy Temple for God.   

VI. We should not love the world and idols:

   A. “Joram begot Uzziah” (v.8) ------three generations between them was omitted because of idolatry;

   B. “Josiah and Jeconiah” (v.11) ------one generation between them was omitted for the connection with Egypt.

VII. What matters is not our failure or fall, but our unwillingness to repent.

    A. “David the king begot… by her who had been the wife of Uriah.” (v.6)------it is a fact of his failure of sin;

    B. “Begot Solomon” (v..6) ------David repented completed and was forgiven by God. In consequent, peace was brought in;

    C, “They were carried away to Babylon” (v.11) ------it is a type that God’s people were captivated into the sinful world;

    D. “Zerubbabel” (v.12) ------he lead God’s people to return back to the Holy City and rebuild the Holy Temple.

VIII. When our natural life was deprived, our spiritual life will grow up into the fullness of the Lord to testify Christ:

    A. “Jacob” (v.2) ------his natural life was dealt with by God and turned to be “Israel”;

    B. “From the captivity in Babylon until the Christ” (v.17) ------it is a type that God’s people restore from the desolation and achieve the fullness of Christ to manifest Christ;

    C. “Fourteen generations…fourteen generations…fourteen generations” (v.17) ------it delicates that through and after complete trials, the spiritual life has grown up to testify Christ fully;

    D. “Bogot…bogot…begot” (v.2-16) ------the testimony of Christ is a matter of life, therefore, the spiritual life should grow up to testify Christ.


Four Unclean Women in the Genealogy (v.3-6)

I. They were all gentile women;

II. They were either harlot or remarried women;

III. “Four” in Bible represents all the creation and human beings (Rev. 4:6-7). Therefore, they are the type of the gentile sinners originally who were born in sins.


How to Bring Christ to Men

I. It is initiated, revealed and promoted by God:

  A. “She was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (v.18) ------Christ is conceived in Mary by the mighty works of the Holy Spirit;

  B. “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream” (v.20) ------God’s revelations enable Joseph to perform his part in the birth of Christ;

  C. “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet” (v.22) ------the birth of the Lord was predestinated by God

II. It happens when men hear, believe and obey the words of God:

  A. “She was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (v.18) ------she accepted the words of the angel of the Lord determinedly regardless of her reputation (see Luke. 1:38);

  B. “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (v.24) ------he obeyed the command of the angel of the Lord willingly regardless of the possible ridicule and shame from men;

III. It needs cooperation among believers:

  A. “Joseph, the husband of Mary” (v.16) ------in the matter of the birth of the Lord Jesus, Joseph and Mary should work together;

  B. “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David…’” (v.20) ------on one hand, we should have revelation like Joseph;

  C. “The virgin shall have a child” (v.23) ------on the other hand, we should love the Lord in a pure heart like Mary;

  D. “And did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son” (v.25) ------they both magnify the Lord and cooperate closely. How great it is.


The Procedure and Aim of the Salvation

I. The procedure: “Jesus” (v.21) -----saved His people form their sins;

II. The aim: “Immanuel” (v.23) ------God with us.


Features of the Just Man Joseph

I.A just man” (v.19) ------he was upright;

II. “Not wanting to make her a public example” (v.19) ------he was not willing to humiliate others;

III. “Be afraid to” (v.20) ------he was not willing to defile himself;

IV. “Thought about these things” (v.20) ------he walked circumspectly;

V. “Did as the angel of the Lord command him” (v.24) ------ he kept the will of God at any price.

VI. “Did not know her till she had brought forth the first son” (v.25) ------he feared God and was self-controlled.


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren