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GOSPEL OF MATTHEW.
THE information concerning Matthew, in the New Testament, is brief. In the ninth chapter of his Gospel, it is related that Jesus, on one of his excursions to Capernaum, saw Matthew "sitting at the receipt of custom;" that is, in the house where he attended as taxgatherer, or collector of the revenue. Being bidden by Jesus to follow him, he immediately obeyed. The account which Mark (2: 14) and Luke (5: 27,28) give, is the same, excepting that the person is designated by another name; that is, Levi. It was, however, common among the Jews for the same person to have more names than one, and to be called by either of them. Thus Peter is also named Simon; Lebbeus (compare Matthew 10:3, and Luke 6: 16) is also named Thaddeus and Judas.
That the person named Levi, by Mark and Luke, is the same as Matthew, is evident from the perfect agreement in the circumstances related by the three evangelists, and from the fact, that, in the list of the twelve Apostles (Matthew 10: 3), Matthew is called the publican. It was on account of his being a publican, that he was "sitting at the receipt of custom;" that is, at the custom-house, or tax-gatherer's office.
There is an additional agreement in the accounts of the three writers, and it is one which reflects much credit on Matthew. In Matthew's Gospel, after the calling of him by Jesus is mentioned, the account proceeds to state, that Jesus and many others were sitting at meat in the house. Now, from Mark (2:15), we learn, that this en tertainment took place in Levi's (that is, Matthew's) own house; and from Luke (5:29), we learn more distinctly, that Levi (that is.
PREFACE TO THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW.
Matthew) furnished this entertainment. Matthew's design, doubtless, was, besides paying respect to Jesus, to give his former friends an opportunity for familiar acquaintance with Jesus, and to give Jesus a favorable opportunity for free and unrestrained conversation on religion and the Messiah's dispensation.
We cannot fail to notice the modesty of Matthew in his narrative. He gives himself no commendation: but while he wished to communicate the important conversation to which this interview gave rise, he has furnished no hint by which it could be known that the conversation occurred in connection with an entertainment given by himself. He wished to do honor to his Master, and to preserve the important sentiments which his Master had expressed. To others he left it, if they chose so to do, to make known the important part which he had in this matter.
Matthew's Gospel is believed, from the tradition of the earliest ages of Christianity, to have been written first of all the Gospels, in the order of time. The precise time cannot be fixed. It was probably not later than the year 50 or 60 of the Christian era; that is, somewhere within twenty or thirty years after the death of Christ. It has, however, by some writers, been assigned to as early a date as eight years after the death of Christ. A principal object with Matthew seems to have been, to excite and cherish confidence in Jesus, as the expected Messiah. His work is, therefore, distinguished by a careful pointing out of resemblances in the history of Jesus to events and declarations stated in the Old Testament.
GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW.
5 And Salmon begat Booz THE HE book of the generation of Rachab; and Booz begat of Jesus Christ, the son of Obed of Ruth; and Obed beDavid, the son of Abraham. gat Jesse; 2 Abraham begat Isaac ; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Sal
6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been
the wife of Urias;
7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;
8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;
9 And Ozias begat Joaamong them; and if one, professing to be the Messiah, could not trace his descent to David and to Abraham, he would fail in a particular, respecting which the prophets had distinctly spoken. Hence Jesus Christ is expressly called "the son of David." That the Messiah was to descend from the royal line of David, was firmly believed by the Jews. See Is. 9:7. 11: 1. (Jesse was father of David.) See also Jer. 23: 5. And David's descent from Abraham was unquestionable.
1. The book of the generation. This expression corresponds to our word genealogy, or family record; so that the whole phrase, The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, means, the genealogy, or family record, of Jesus Christ. That record follows, and exhibits the names of the principal ancestors of Jesus. The word generations is used in the Old Testament in a similar manner; and is employed with reference to descendants as well as to ancestors. See Gen. 5:1. 10: 1. 11: 10. From being used to desig-names of the genealogy there are slight nate family record, it came to signify departures from the sounds of the same family history, as in Gen. 37: 2; and names in the Old Testament, on achistorical account in general, as in count of the different powers of the Gen. 2: 4. Hebrew language, and of the Greek. Thus Esrom, in the 3d verse, is the same as Hezron in the Old Testament; Aram, v. 4, is the same as Ram in 1 Chron. 2: 10; Naasson, the same as Nahshon. Booz, in v. 5, is the same as Boaz, Ruth 4: 21. Ozias, in v. 8, is the same as Uzziah.
2. Judas; the Greek method of ex pressing the word Judah. In several
It was customary among the Jews, and still is among the Arabians, to preserve such lists of names as Matthew has recorded in this chapter. In the case of the Jews, it was important, because the Messiah, the great object of their expectation, was to arise from
tham ; and Joatham begat 13 And Zorobabel begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ez- Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliaekias ; kim; and Eliakim begat Azor;
10 And Ezekias begat Maand Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;
14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;
15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;
11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon ;
16 And Jacob begat Joseph 12 And after they were the husband of Mary, of whom brought to Babylon, Jechonias was born Jesus, who is called begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;
17 So all the generations
ed; and, for a similar instance in respect to the word beget, see Deut. 4: 25; Isa. 39: 7; in which last verse, the scriptural history shows that it was the comparatively remote descendants of Hezekiah, not his immediate children, who were to be carried captives to Babylon.
17. So all the generations, &c. The list of all the names from Abraham to Jesus being very long, it was desirable to abridge it. Hence several names that occur in the Old Testament history are omitted by Matthew. Thus, in the 8th verse, Joram [Jehoram, 2 Kings 8: 16] is said to have been the father of Ozias [Uzziah, 2 Chron. 26: 1]. But by examining the history, as given in the books of Kings and of Chronicles, it will be seen that there were three kings between Joram and Uzziah. There are, also, other omissions. In order to abbreviate a long list of names, omissions like these were common, as they are at the present day among the Arabians, who trace their descent from Abraham. Such omissions do not, of course, impair the genealogy, as a whole; for the principal point to be obtained is secured, that is, the tracing of the genealogy to a particular individual, and doing this in a way that cannot lead to mistake. It is here, however, necessary to observe that the words son and daughter, and the word beget, are used in the Scriptures with a much broader application than among us. They are employed in reference to a person's remote descendants, as well as to his immediate descendants. For an instance of this in the use of the word son, the first verse of this chapter may be consult-served a genealogical list of the names
The evangelist Luke has also pre
After the list of names was thus abridged, it was desirable, in order to aid the memory, to make a division of the names recorded. For this purpose, Matthew selected three principal eras in the history of the Hebrews, and included fourteen names in each class. The three eras are, the reign of Da vid, the commencement of the Babylonian captivity (here called the carrying away to Babylon; see 2 Kings, 24th and 25th chapters), and the birth of the Messiah. By this means the whole length of time from Abraham to the coming of the Messiah, is divided into three parts, as stated in the verse under consideration. By numbering the names, there will be found fourteen from Abraham to David; thence onward to the captivity [that is, the carrying away to Babylon], fourteen more; and then commencing anew with Jechonias (as the 12th verse seems to require), and including Jesus, there is another set of fourteen names.