New Defender's Study Bible Notes
1:1 The book. Compare this with “the book of the generations of Adam” (Genesis 5:1), the only other place in the Bible where this phrase is found. This seems symbolic. The Old Testament describes the effect of the first Adam on the human race, whereas the New Testament deals with the “second Adam” and His work for mankind.
1:1 generation. This word (Greek genesis) is obviously the word from which we get the title of the first book of the Bible. It is used only this once in the New Testament (the very first verse) except for James 3:6, where it is translated “nature.” However, it is used in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament as the translation of toledoth (“generations”), which is the key word in identifying the different original documents from which Moses compiled Genesis (see notes on Genesis 2:4 and 5:1).
1:1 Jesus Christ. A few skeptics have questioned the historical existence of Jesus Christ, arguing that the only references to Him are in Christian sources, and these are biased. The fact is, however, that Christ has been mentioned by several secular writers of the time, including Tacitus (a Roman historian), Josephus (the Jewish historian), Suetonius (another Roman historian), Pliny the Younger (a Roman magistrate), Lucian the Cynic (a Greek satirist), and Celsus (a pagan philosopher). There is no doubt whatever that He really lived and that the Christian religion was established on the strong belief that He died for our sins and then defeated death by His bodily resurrection.
1:1 the son. The use of “son” in this opening verse of the New Testament reminds us that God had promised a very special son to both David and Abraham (II Samuel 7:12-16: Genesis 22:18). Note also the promise of Isaiah 9:6.
1:3 Thamar. It is significant that four women are mentioned in this royal genealogy of Jesus—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and the wife of Uriah (Matthew 1:3,5-6). All four were special trophies of God’s grace. Tamar may have been a Canaanite who posed as a harlot to seduce Judah (Genesis 38:13-18); Rahab was also a Canaanite and had been a prostitute (Joshua 2:1); Ruth was a Moabitess (Ruth 1:4), a member of a nation committed to idolatry and opposition to the people of God; and a Hittite woman, Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, committed adultery with King David (II Samuel 11:2-5). All of these women could, by the law, have been excommunicated from Israel, executed, or both. God, however, not only redeemed them, bringing them to saving faith in Him, but even included (and mentioned) them in the human genealogy of the royal line leading to Jesus.
1:8 begat. At this point, “begat” should be understood in an ancestral, rather than immediate paternal, sense. Three names have been omitted between Jehoram and Uzziah—Ahaziah, Joash and Amaziah (II Chronicles 22:1,11; 24:1,27). The apparent reason for doing this was as a memory device, having three groups of fourteen generations from Abraham to Christ (Matthew 1:17). Some have attempted to justify placing gaps of several thousand years in the genealogies of Genesis 11 on the basis of this three-generation gap in Matthew’s genealogy. Such reasoning is indefensible, however, because Matthew’s short gap is easily filled in from other Scriptures (see also I Chronicles 3:11,12). The only basis for the arbitrarily assumed huge gaps in Genesis is the supposed need to conform to the secular chronologies proposed by evolutionary archaeologists.
1:11 begat. Jehoiakim is omitted here between Josiah and Jeconiah (II Chronicles 36:4), who is also called Coniah and Jehoiachin. See note on Matthew 1:8.
1:11 Jechonias. It was Jeconiah whose sins caused God to cut his seed off from ever sitting on David’s throne (Jeremiah 22:24-30). Yet God had also promised that David would “never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel” (Jeremiah 33:17). Thus, Jeconiah’s royal line of descendants is listed here to show the legal right of Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, to David’s throne (Matthew 1:16), even though neither Joseph nor any others of Jeconiah’s seed could ever have the spiritual right to the throne. That right must be carried through Mary’s ancestry (see note on Luke 3:23).
1:16 of whom. Note that Matthew was careful here not to say that Joseph “begat” Christ, departing from the formula used for the other ancestors of Jesus. Thus, Matthew shows that Jesus had the legal right to the throne of David, since Joseph was his foster father. The spiritual right to be king of Israel had to come from David by another route altogether.
1:16 Christ. The name “Christ,” meaning “anointed,” is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew messiah. Christ was not part of Jesus’ name (though He is frequently called Jesus Christ), but His title. He is Jesus the Christ, properly speaking.