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nias, about the time of the exile of Babylon.'n These restorations of the received text admitted, all discrepancies with the Old Testament genealogies are avoided, and the Evangelist's computation in the 17th verse is perfectly correct, which, as the text now stands, it notoriously is not.
It is to be observed that it is not said of Joseph that ' he begat’ Jesus, in like manner as it is said of Jacob that he begat' Joseph ; the phraseology which the Evangelist had employed throughout is singularly changed when he connects the two last links in his extended chain of descent. Jesus is said, indeed, to have been begotten' of Mary, and Joseph is also said to have been the husband' of Mary, but Jesus is not said to have been begotten by Joseph. This sudden and remarkable change in the Evangelist's phraseology is evidently designed to challenge marked attention to the fact that the generation of Jesus was altogether different from that of either of the persons previously mentioned, and is of itself sufficient proof that Matthew's object was only to establish for Jesus such a relationship to David, and, through David, to Abraham, as would arise from the fact that Mary, of whom he was begotten,' was the wife of a person whose descent in the direct
επί της μετοικεσίας Βαβυλώνος. The existence of two methods of indicating time in such a language as the Greek especially, the one with the simple genitive (genitivus absolutus), and the other with the genitive following the preposition én? is of itself sufficient proof that their meaning is not identical. The following passages may be adduced in proof that the genitive with êtà is to be understood in the wider latitude. ... temporis laxior designatio (Grotius in loc.). I. In Marc. ii. 26, it is said of David that he went into the house of God,' and eat of the shewbread, ÉT! ’ABladap Toll dpxiepéws. On reference to 1 Sam. xxi. it will be seen that the circumstance took place during the high-priesthood not of Abiathar but of his father Abimelech, vid. Kuinoel in loc. Marc. ed. 3tia Lips. 1824. II. In Luke iii. 3, the commencement of John's ministry is thus chronologically described ;-'in the fifteenth year of the government of Tiberius Cæsar, Pontius Pilate being governor (nyeuoveủovtos II) of Judæa and Herod being tetrarch (tetpap xoûvtos) of Galilæa ... επί αρχιερέως (rec, αρχιερέων)'Αννα και Καϊάφα. Both methods of indicating time are here employed. The question of the reading is not to our purpose : if dpxeepéwr be retained, then the éi must relate to both Annas and Caiaphas; if ápx: epéws, the former cannot be excluded : in any case therefore the high-priesthood of Annas will be embraced by the period to which the evangelist refers. Now, we know from Josephus (Antiq. 1. xviii. 2, 2; see Lardner, vol. i. 143, ed. 1788) that Caiaphas was appointed to office by the predecessor of Pilate, Valerius Gratus, and consequently the high-priesthoud of Annas must have been of still earlier date. What the evangelist evidently intends by the emè therefore, is about the time of: when he meant his meaning to be construed with strictness he uses the genitive, and when with some latitude the preposition. See Selden de Succ. in Pontific. i. xii. p. 167, ed. Franc. 1673. Baronii Ann. Ecc. ad Ann. xxxi. On this use of ¢? Kuinoel in loc. Matt. ed. 4ta., has the following note: ' Euthymius Zigabenus, επί τ. μ. Β. αντί του, πλησίον του καιρού της μετοικεσίας. Sermo familiaris. Comp. sub Facciolati. s. v. “The beginning of the Babylonian bondage falls really in the fourth year of Jehoiakim ('Iwakelu), in which Jerusalem was taken, tribute levied on the king, and a number of captives carried into exile.' Hengstenberg on Daniel, p. 147, Clark's ed. The emendation proposed in the text is thus still further vindicated by the significance of the evangelist's indication of time.
line from David the king' was matter of indisputable evidence. The genealogy is in fact that of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and only that of Jesus in so far as he was Mary's son.
On comparison of this account of the descent of Jesus Christ' with the concurrent genealogies, and especially with that given from David to Salathiel, in 1 Chron. iii., an omission will be observed of three names between those of Joram and Ozias – Ochozias, Joas, and Amazias. Further omissions, it is evident, have been made between Zorobabel and Joseph. Whatever the reason, the fact that such omissions are of very frequent occurrence in Scriptural genealogies is beyond dispute. A remarkable instance will be found on comparison of Ezra vii. 1-5, with 1 Chron. vi. 3-15. In Ezra, Azariah is called the son of Meraioth.' In the book of Chronicles it appears that Azariah was the son of Johanna, Meraioth being his ancestor, at the distance of six generations. This instance, to which, on further research, we cannot doubt but that many parallels would be discovered, is alone sufficient to prove that the omissions in Matthew are in perfect keeping with the structure of Jewish genealogies generally. We need not, therefore, be detained any longer with the descent,' but proceed at once with our investigation of the narrative, to which the genealogy is prefixed by way of general introduction.
These are the words of the Evangelist : His mother, Mary, having been betrothedo to Joseph, before that they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. The marriage did not immediately follow the betrothment; indeed, from Deut. xxi. 11-13, it would almost seem that legally it could not ;P at least, in the case of Joseph and Mary, it did not; and when this discovery was made they were still living separately, whether in the same neighbourhood or in different places, however, does not appear. Matthew proceeds—Now Joseph, her husband, 9 being a just man, yet not willing to expose her, intended to have put her away privately. The discovery having been made, there were at least two courses open for Joseph to pursue. Indeed, upon the supposition that Deut. xxi. 14 relates to "betrothment' generally, as well as to that of a female captive, in particular, there were three. Waiving the third, however, Joseph might
• • Betrothed' is indeed an inadequate rendering of uvnotéverbal in its scriptural usage ; but it is preferable to espoused.' If the one means too little, it is evident that the other means too much. The fact is, that we, not having the thing, have not the word by which to name it. Deut. xx. 7; xxii. 23 et seq., especially the latter. On the distinction between betrothment and marriage, see Selden's Uxor Hebraica,' 1. ii. c. 1; also Calmet's Dictionary, art. "Nuptiæ,' ed. Mansi, 1759,
This is evidently Mr. Greswell's opinion. 'On the Parables,' vol. v. pt. i. 446. 9 Αι γάρ ομολογίαι γάμοις ισοδυναμούσιν αις ανδρός όνομα και γυναικός, και τάλλα Tà être ouvódous égypápetai. Philo, ‘De Specialibus Legibus ;' Oper. ii. 311, 42; ap. Greswell, ubi supra.
either have given Mary a writing of divorcement, in which the reason of the 'putting away' was distinctly and prominently mentioned, or he might have given her a 'writing,' in which the reason was withheld.
The former course of procedure would have involved his betrothed in an exposure to which Joseph himself would have been an intentional party; the latter would have involved no such result. The Evangelist evidently means that Joseph intended to adopt the latter course, and not the former, since the
of the Jews will not allow us to understand him to have meant anything less. It is added in continuation : "Now, he having thought of this, behold! an angel of (the) Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “ Joseph, son of David, be not afraid to take Mary thy wife, for that which is begotten in her, is of the Holy Ghost! Now, she shall bear a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” Now, all this happened that (that) might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “ Behold! the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel,” which is, interpreted, God with us.' The prophet referred to is Isaiah: the passage will be found ch. vii. 14. The quotation perfectly corresponds with the Lxx. (Alex. Ms.), word for word.
Matthew's interpretation of its reference will, upon reflection, commend itself as the only true one.
The fact of the conception of a virgin is unique. As we are not now commenting upon Isaiah, but Matthew, it were a digression to make any remarks upon the connection in which the passage originally occurs, otherwise, we think it might be shown that this not only is the reference required by the fact, but also that it adds both strength and meaning to the whole address of which the prediction forms a part. Ch. i. concludes with saying, “Now, Joseph having arisen from sleep, did as the angel of (the) Lord had charged him, and he took his wife, and knew her not until she had borne her first-born son.
And he called his name Jesus.' Does it not seem, at least, to be implied, that Mary afterwards bare other children, and, indeed, other sons ? + The question is of some importance in relation to inquiries, which the student of the Gospels
• Maimonides apud Buxtorfium de Divort.' p. 76:- Femina ex quo desponsata est, licet nondum vel a viro cognita vel in domum mariti sui sit ingressa, est uxor viri ..
et si maritus seu sponsus ejus velit eam repudiare, oportet ut id faciat libello repudii. Abarbanel, ib. p. 125:- Si vir aliquis ducat uxorem, et accidat, ut non inveniat gratiam in oculis ipsius, eo quod sit contraria naturæ ipsius, aut quod inveniat in ea turpitudinem aliquam, quam tamen revelare nolit, seu quod nullos ejus rei testes habeat, sed quod honori suo consultum velit; atque hujus rei caussa scribat ei libellum repudii.' Ap. Kuinoel in loc. Matt.
* See Henderson on Isaiah, p. 61.
+ The text of the Vatican ms., however, as given by Muralto omits the clause autas töv 7PWTótokov entirely, and so do other mes. of importance.
will find himself more than once compelled to entertain. As an interval was evidently supposed between Joseph's discovery that Mary was with child' and his 'taking her ;' so, also, between that period and the birth of her first-born,' the structure of the narrative plainly indicates another ; but what took place during either or both of these intervals, or how long they were, are questions for entertaining which Matthew supplies us with no materials whatever. We may now dismiss the first chapter, and proceed to an investigation of that portion of the narrative which is contained in the second.
The second chapter opens thus : Now, Jesus having been born in Bethlehem of Judæa, in the days of Herod the king, behold! Magi from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews ? for we have seen his star in the East, and (we) have come to worship him.' Of course, then, a sufficient interval must have elapsed between the actual birth of Jesus, and the actual arrival of the Magi at Jerusalem, to cover the time which the Magi would have required in order to make the necessary preparations for their journey, and to complete the journey itself, which, in those days, must have been long and tedious." These considerations would infer the interval, in every probability, to have extended over even several months. Who these Magi were, and even whence they came, are questions to which we can only offer approximate and hypothetical replies.* They are questions, indeed, rather for the curious than for the student. The part which Magianism played in the ancient world is too notorious to render such a visit as this in the least suspicious ;' and the ap
On the length of time required for the journey Mr. Greswell has some very curious, and, so far as they go, very satisfactory calculations in his ‘Dissertations upon a Harmony of the Gospels,' vol. ii. 138, ed. 2, 1837.
• The tradition of the Church, and the opinion of the learned, with nearly one voice, lead us to seek in Arabia the seat of these eastern sages. This general consent is trebly justified : 1. By the authority of the prophetic Scriptures; 2. By the position of the Arabian peninsula ; . . . . 3. By the joint testimony of Pliny and Ptolemy, who speak of Arabia as a seat or school of the Magi ; the very title by which St. Matthew designates the wise men in the Gospel. I shall take the direction in which the index of Scripture points upon the map of Ptolemy; and seek, on the eastern coast of the peninsula, in his Magorum Sinus, the proper seat of the Magi of the New Testament (It) was situated in the territory of the Themi on the coast of the Persian Gulf. In the book of Baruch this Hagarene race," the merchants of Meran and Theman”
are represented as “seekers after wisdom,” aud "searchers out of understanding :” in other words, as Magi, or wise men. What more just or natural inference can be drawn from these historical facts than that the Magi . . . who came to pay their homage to the infant Messiah . . . were, in fact, Ishmaelites of the Magian tribe of Tema ?' The Rev. C. Foster, B.D., Historical Geography of Arabia,' vol. i. 305-307. For the Romish legend see Quarterly Review,' Oct. 1846. The whole article (Cologne) will amply repay perusal. See also Lord Lindsay’s ‘Sketches of the History of Christian Art,' vol. i. pp. xliv.-xlvi.
y See Kitto's Biblical Cyclopædia, article . Magi.'
pearance of the star is obviously one of the many supernatural occurrences which at such a crisis as the birth of Jesus might have been expected. The Magi studied astrology, and in their study found a sign of Christ. If it offends us to find that God has used the errors of man to lead him to a knowledge of the great truths of salvation, as if thereby He had lent himself to sustain the False, then must we break in pieces the chain of human events, in which the True and the False, the Good and the Evil, are so inseparably linked, that the latter often serves for the point of transition to the former. Especially do we see this in the history of the spread of Christianity, where superstition often paves the way to faith. God condescends to the platforms of men in training them for belief in the Redeemer, and meets the aspirations of the truth-seeking soul even in its error! In the case of the wise men a real truth, perhaps, lay at the bottom of the error, the truth, namely, that the greatest of all events, which was to produce the greatest revolution in humanity, is actually connected with the epochs of the material universe, although the links of the chain may be hidden from view. ?
The singular inquiry which the Magi proposed on their arrival at Jerusalem, reaching the ears of such a man as Herod, very naturally excited his alarm. Accordingly, the Evangelist proceeds to say: “Now, having heard (of it), Herod the king was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him ; and, assembling the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them when the Christ should be born. Now, they said to him, In Bethlehem of Judæa, for thus has (it) been written by the prophet : And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art by no means the least among the governors of Juda, since from thee shall come out a governor, who shall feed my people Israel. The passage thus adduced in confirmation of their reply is Mic. v. 1, Lxx. It is evidently
Neander, 'Life of Christ,' Introd. c. iii. $ 19, p. 26, ed. Lond. 1848. On the subject hinted at in the close of this passage, the reader so disposed will find some invaluable suggestions in Babbage’s ‘Ninth Bridgewater Treatise,' where it is very fully discussed, though from a very different point of view. _Justin Martyr evidently traces some connection between this visit and Old Testament prophecy, which he supposes to have penetrated whence the Magi came. Και ότι ως άστρον έμελλεν ανατέλλειν αυτός διά του γένους του Αβραάμ, Μωσης παρεδήλωσεν (Thirlby, προεδήλωσεν) ούτως ειπών Ανατελεί άστρον εξ Ιακώβ και ηγούμενος εξ Ισραήλ .... 'Ανατείλαντος ούν και εν ουρανώ άμα τα γεννηθήναι αυτόν αστέρος, ως γέγραπται εν τοίς απομνημονεύμασι των αποστόλων αυτού, οι από 'Αρραβίας μάγοι εκ τούτου επιγνόνTes Tapeyévovto kal a Pooekúvno av aŭtq.-J.M., Dial. c. Tryph., $ 106, Op. ed. Otto, Jenæ, 1843, ii. 356.
a That is, he assembled the sanhedrim ..... under the word dpxiepes are comprehended .. · whosoever of the clergy were members of the sanhedrim; and under the scribes of the people are comprehended all those of the sanhedrim who were not of the clergy-Lightfoot, in loc. Works, vol. i. 109. fol. 1684.