New Defender's Study Bible Notes
1:18 espoused. According to Jewish law at the time, the espousal was almost equivalent to marriage, except for the consummation, and could be dissolved only by a legal divorce. Infidelity during that period on the part of the bride might even be punishable by death (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Joseph, however, was a “just man” (Matthew 1:19), who loved Mary, and was unwilling to have her humiliated even by a public divorce.
1:18 before they came together. The miracle of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus was not His virgin birth, for it was a normal human birth in every way, but rather His miraculous conception. This was the woman’s seed (Genesis 3:15), the “new thing in the earth” (Jeremiah 31:22) and the prophesied virgin conception of Isaiah 7:14. It is explicitly recorded here in Matthew 1:18-25, and also in Luke 1:26-38, then further implied in John 1:14, Galatians 4:4 and other Scriptures.