The reason Matthew begins with a study of the Genealogy is to establish the credentials of the promised King of Israel. Genealogy in Greek is the same word for Genesis or beginning. Genealogies were an essential element in establishing one’s credentials. Ezra 2:62 speaks of the returning exiles who ‘searched for their family records but could not and so were excluded from the priesthood. The great rabbi Hillel asserted his credentials by appealing to his genealogy which he could trace to King David. The Jewish historian Josephus, who lived at the end of the first century, begins his autobiography by relating his genealogy. Genealogical records were kept in the Temple and the genealogy recorded here is to establish the claim that Yeshua was qualified to be the promised Messiah. His genealogy links him to Abraham and King David and that He is the fulfillment of God’s promise to them. Abraham was told that in his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 22:18). God told David that his throne and kingdom would be established forever (Ps. 89:3-4).
Matthew 1:1-2 Unlike a man-made religion which would gloss over the failings of its founders, The Bible portrays its hero’s quite vividly as sinful men. The genealogy of the Messiah demonstrates the fallen nature of its heroes. Abraham was not a perfect man, but one chosen by God. There are many failings of Abraham recorded in Scripture (Gen. 12:4 & 10 20; 16:1 6; Gen. 20:1 7). Despite these failures Abraham was described as God’s friend (Is. 41:8). What made Abraham a Friend of God was his faith, Abraham believed God’s Word and it made him righteous (Gen. 15:6). It is faith in the promised seed that makes us righteous as well.
The Talmud describes describe two Messiah’s in its writings. One is called “Messiah Ben Joseph” the favorite son of Jacob. He is so named because of the various prophecies that describe the Messiah experiencing the various trials that Joseph experienced from his family.
The traditional rabbinic view, till Renaissance times, was that Messiah ben Joseph is taught in the Law and the Prophets. The Talmud Bavli passage on Messiah ben Joseph, Sukkah 52a, says that Zechariah 12.10 refers to him. The eighth-century midrash, Pirqei de Rabbi Eliezer 22.a.ii, says that Moses spoke of him… So too Sa‘adya Gaon, in the tenth century, after relating the career of Messiah ben Joseph, which he learned from the sages, concludes, ‘I looked into Scripture and I found in it supports for each point in the account.’ Later rabbinic authorities took the same view, with the sole exception of Radak who confessed skepticism on the subject.
He is so named because like Joseph he would be betrayed by his brothers sold for the price of a slave as described in Zech. 11:12-13 and would suffer on behalf of his brothers Isa. 52:13–Isa. 53. The other Messiah is called Messiah Ben David, since he will sit on the throne of David and bring Israel peace from her enemies and rule over the nations (2 Sam 7:12-16; Ps 89:3f; 132:11; Is 9:6f; 11:1;).
“There is the twofold picture the Jewish prophets gave of the Messiah. For centuries past, during the formulation of the Talmud, the rabbis made serious studies of messianic prophecies and concluded that the prophets spoke of two different Messiahs. The Messiah who was to come, suffer, and die was termed Mashiach ben Yosef or Messiah, the Son of Joseph. The second Messiah who would then come following the first was termed Mashiach ben David or Messiah, the Son of David… That the Old Testament presents these two lines of messianic prophecy was something that all the early rabbis recognized. The Old Testament never clearly states that there will be two Messiahs. In fact, many of the paradoxical descriptions are found side by side in the same passages in which, it seems, that only one person is meant. Nevertheless, for the early rabbis, the Two Messiahs Theory seemed to be the best answer
Isaac like Abraham had his failings, but he too was pleasing to the Lord. Gen. 26 & Gen. 27 describe them, but like Abraham, Isaac he demonstrated his faith in his youth (Gen. 22). Jacob also had many shortfalls and yet was chosen and beloved by God. Jacob seemed to believe that the Lord helps those who help themselves; consider the plot that he joined with his mother to gain the birthright that was already promised to him (Gen 27). Jacob becomes a transformed man when he finally comes to the end of his own resources as we see in Gen. 32.
Matthew 1:3-4 Judah and Tamar are in the genealogical line which again reveals the grace of God in overlooking the transgressions of both Judah and Tamar described in Genesis 38. Intermarriage caused him and his children to walk in the way of the Canaanites. Tamar who was a Canaanite and Judah’s daughter in law gives birth to a son from Judah. Yet she is the first of four significant women in the genealogy of David and the Messiah. For all of his sin, Judah found forgiveness in his later life in the eyes of his father Jacob and the Lord. Judah is the fourth born and yet receives the blessing of a first born because of Reuben’s sin with Bilhah, Rachel’s, servant. Simeon and Levi were disqualified by Jacob for their deception in killing the sons of Hamor described in Gen. 34. We learn of this in Jacob’s prophetic words in Gen. 49:10.
Matthew 1:5 Rahab the Harlot is the second significant woman in the genealogical line. Rahab was essentially a prostitute who became a child of promise because of her faith in the God of the Israel (Josh. 2:8 11). She blessed Israel and so received God’s blessing. The third significant woman in the genealogical line is Ruth the Moabite who was a woman of both faith and humility. She recognized that the God of Israel was the One true God. She like Abraham left her family to go to a land that she knew nothing about. She was responsible for turning Naomi’s “Mara” (Bitterness) to Joy as described in the book named for her. Boaz became Naomi’s Kinsmen Redeemer. This role is described in Gen. 38:9; Deut. 25:5 10; Ruth 4:1 8. A Redeemer was person who would recover persons or things that had been lost or forfeited through various means. A redemption price was generally needed for this recovery or restoration. A human intermediary, known in the Hebrew as the Goel acted to secure the redemption. Yeshua is our Kinsmen Redeemer we were lost, sold into bondage and were redeemed with a costly price (Gal 3:13 4:5, Col 1:14).
The genealogical line to this point demonstrates that God has worked and continues to work with people like ourselves sinful and broken, Jew and Gentile alike. Those who sinned were chastened and experienced the consequences of their sin. Yet they were able to be restored because they found redemption from God by His grace.
V 6 David the King – The Davidic Covenant – King David was promised by God “When your days are over, and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever (2 Samuel 7:12 13). This is a clear reference not to King Solomon but to the Messiah. Solomon’s Kingdom did not endure forever as we shall see.
2 Samuel 7:11 18 was an unconditional, perpetual, everlasting covenant. It guaranteed 3 things to David and Israel: A House, a throne, and a Kingdom. There were 5 irrevocable provisions of this covenant given to Israel, and through Israel to the nations.
1. A Nation forever The Jewish people are foundationally a nation. They are a nation in dispersion and in these days they are a nation reunited in its homeland. (Genesis 17:7 8).
2. A Land Forever The nation was promised a homeland forever (Genesis 15:18). Over and over Israel was reminded that the Land belonged to the Lord. (Lev 25:23) ‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. It is from this tiny land that God will conclude His redemptive program for the world.
3. A House Forever (2 Sam 7:16). This house refers to the Davidic line which will continue forever. The Davidic line continues today in the Son of David, Yeshua. He will rule and reign over the nation of Israel as He now rules over the church.
4. A Throne forever (Psa. 89:34 36) Although Israel has passed through thousands of years of successive captivities and scatterings, this covenant has remained in force. The Throne of David was confirmed afresh in Luke 1:32 33.
5. A Kingdom forever (2 Sam. 7:16) This kingdom will be established on earth as it is in heaven at his return. It will be the kingdom restored to Israel just as the Jewish apostles asked in Acts 1:6. It will be on the very land promised to the Jewish people. The covenants, which are at the foundation of all prophecy, possess a validity which is irrevocable and unchangeable. They cannot be set aside either by human policies or politics, or historical changes because they constitute the purposes and plans of God.
The punishment of David’s adultery with Bathsheba (the fourth woman in the genealogical line of the Messiah) was the death of their son (2 Sam 12:15). The Lord demonstrated His forgiveness of David with the birth of Solomon who was loved by the Lord (2 Sam 12:24 25). God forgave David his sin, but the consequences of his sins could not be avoided. David’s oldest son Amnon like his father was unable to control his lust and raped his half-sister, Tamar. Absalom her brother avenged her sister by killing Amnon and eventually usurping the throne from his father King David (2 Sam 13 15).
Matthew 1:7 King Solomon was blessed and greatly loved by God. However, God’s blessings on Solomon and the nation of Israel were conditional on him and his children keeping God’s commands (1 Kings 3:2 14 & 1 Kings 9:1 10). Sadly, Solomon disobeyed the Law of the Lord by:
2. Taking many wives (Deut. 17:17 1 Kings 11:1)
3. Accumulating great wealth (Dt. 17:17; 1 Kings 10:14 25).
Solomon broke all three commands, and the result was that his heart was led astray and God brought judgment on both Solomon and Israel (1 Kings 11:9 13). God caused the Kingdom to be divided in 930 B.C. (1 Kings 11:26 40). Rehoboam, Solomon’s son heeded the counsel of his companions rather than the advice of his father’s counselors. This was from the Lord as Proverbs 21:1 reminds us: The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. The Ten Northern Tribes were known as Israel. The Southern Kingdom was known as Judah. The first King of the Northern tribes of Israel was Jeroboam. He feared that if he did not establish an alternate center for worship the Israelites would move to Judah where the Temple was located in Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:25 33). He trusted in common sense and worldly reasoning rather than the Lord. The result was that there were no good kings in Israel.
Many prophets were sent to Israel to call her back to God. Elijah and Elisha, Hosea and others. Their disobedience led to their captivity and dispersal in 722 B.C. Many of those who were from the Northern tribes moved to southern kingdom of Judah as a result of Jeroboam’s apostasy in building Temples to Golden Calves. This is significant because there was a remnant from all the tribes of Israel in Judah and thus were not lost. For example, in Luke 2:36 Anna was from the Tribe of Asher which was one of the Northern 10 tribes that became Israel. There were many good kings in Judah and some bad ones. Idolatry eventually brought the same judgment that fell on Israel to Judah and she was brought into captivity beginning in 606 B.C. and in 589 BC Jerusalem was destroyed.
Not all of the kings of Israel who are in the genealogical line of the Messiah are listed here. Jehoahaz and Zedekiah, were not part of Jesus’ ancestry. Both of them, along with Jehoiakim were brothers and sons of Josiah. Queen Athaliah is not listed because she was not part of the David’s line and was a usurper of the throne. Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, and Jehoiakim, were part of the bloodline of Joseph, the husband of Mary, but for some reason are excluded. There are two likely reasons to explain their absence. First, the Greek word (gennao), which is translated as begat in some translations, allows the writer to skip over one or more generations if they want. Why would Matthew skip over four individuals in the genealogy? Verse 17 tells us why. Matthew had the freedom to skip generations and separated the genealogy of Yeshua into three periods of Jewish history: 1) Abraham, the father of the Jewish people 2) David, the great king of Israel, who’s descendent would be the Messiah; and 3) the Babylonian Exile, the great disaster of the Jewish people.
Matthew 1:8 Abijah the son of Rehoboam succeeded him on the throne of Judah. He is also called Abijam. He began his three years’ reign with an unsuccessful effort to bring back the ten tribes. His call to “Jeroboam and all Israel,” before battle is noteworthy (2 Chr 13:5 12). 500,000 of the army of Israel perished in the confrontation. He is described as having walked “in all the sins of his father” (1 Kings 15; 2 Chron. 15:3; 2 Chron. 11:20 -22).
Asaph is an alternate spelling for Asa the son of Abijah his grandmother, was the daughter of Absalom (1 Ki 15:1 ff). The first ten years were prosperous and peaceful (2 Ch 14:1). He introduced many reforms, such as putting away the sodomites or male prostitutes, removing idols, breaking down their altars, and deposing his mother as “queen mother” because of her idolatry (1 Ki 15:12 ff; 2 Ch 14:3). He was regarded in Scripture as one of the good kings of Israel.
Jehoshaphat was the son and next king of Judah. He cleansed Judah of idolatry (1 Kings 22 2 Chr 22:43). In his third year he sent out priests and Levites over the land to instruct God’s people in the law (2 Chr 17:7 9). He was blessed with great peace and prosperity. Sadly, he entered into an alliance with Ahab, the king of Israel which brought disaster on Judah (1 Kings 22:133). The prophet Jehu (2 Chr 19:1 3) rebuked him and in response he repented and renewed his opposition to idolatry, calling the nation to worship God (2 Chron. 19:4 11). Later he entered into an alliance with Ahaziah, the king of Israel, for trade and shipping with Ophir. But the fleet at Ezion-geber (Eliat) was destroyed by the Lord. (2 Chron. 20:35 -37; 1 Kings 22:48-49). He later joined Jehoram, king of Israel, in a war against the Moabites. The battle was won but the act of Mesha in offering his own son as a sacrifice in the sight of the armies of Israel horrified him, and he withdrew and returned to his own land (2 Kings 3:4-27).
Matthew 1:9 Joram son of Jehoshaphat walked in the ways of Ahab Scripture tells us, which should serve as a reminder that while Jehoshaphat is thought of as a good and righteous king, his temporary falling from obedience by aligning with Ahab influenced his son when he married the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Joram is listed as an evil in king in Judah (2 Ki. 8:18-19).
Uzziah was one of Amaziah’s sons, whom the people made king to replace his father (2 Kings 14; 2 Chron. 26:1). His reign of fifty-two years was second only to Jehoshaphat since Solomon and he brought Israel into blessing and prosperity. In the early part of his reign, under the influence of Zechariah, he was faithful, and “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 15:3; 2 Chron. 26:4-5); but toward the end of his long life “his heart was lifted,” and he attempted to assume the role of the priests (2 Chron. 26:16) by entering the sanctuary to offer incense on the altar in the holy place. Uzziah was struck with leprosy while offering the incense (2 Chron. 26:17-21), and was driven from the temple and compelled to reside in a separate house until his death (2 Kings 15; 2 Chron. 26:3).
Jotham was the son of Uzziah and at age 25 oversaw the kingdom in his father’s stead because of his leprosy (2 Chron. 26:21-23). After his father’s death he became king in his place and reigned for sixteen years (B.C. 759-743). He was appraised in Scripture as a good king and God blessed his reign. He was a contemporary of the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah, who counseled him in his rule. His death was greatly mourned by the people (2Kings 15:38; 2 Chron. 27:7 9).
Ahaz was the son of Jotham who lived a life of evil and idolatry (2 Kings 16; Isa. 7-9; 2 Chron. 28). He ignored the calls to repentance by Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah. He sought for help from Tiglath-pileser, the king of Assyria against Rezin, king of Damascus, and Pekah, king of Israel, who threatened Jerusalem which led to Judah becoming servants to the Assyrians (2 Kings 16 1 Chron. 16:7 9; 1 Chron. 16:7). He introduced idolatry (Isa 8:19; 38:8 2 Kings 23 Isa 23:12). He died at the age 35, after reigning sixteen years (B.C. 740-724), and was succeeded by Hezekiah.
Matthew 1:10 Hezekiah obeyed God, but his son was the worst king who reigned over Judah. “He did more evil than even the nations the Lord destroyed when Israel came into the land (2 Chronicles 33:9). However at the end of his life, Manasseh repented of his sins (2 Chronicles 33:13). Sadly, his son Amon was like his father and also “did evil in the eyes of the Lord”, as his father had done. Amon offered sacrifices to the idols Manasseh had made. But unlike his father, Amon did not repent (2 Chron. 33:22–23). God raised up his son Josiah who had a heart for God. He is described as one who turned to the Lord with all his heart, soul and strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses (2 Kings 23:25).
Matthew 1:11 Jeconiah, also called “Jehoiachin” (1 Chronicles 3:16) and “Coniah” (Jeremiah 22:24), was a king of Judah who was deported as part of the Babylonian captivity. The evil of Jeconiah (2 Kings 24:8–9) was so great that his line was cursed (Jer. 22:30). Therefore, a natural, biological son could not inherit the throne, the legal claim could still come through Jeconiah’s line. This is one reason why Joseph was not the real father of Jesus. Both Joseph and Miriam were descended from King David. Joseph was descended from the kingly line that was cursed which is in Matthew’s genealogy. Miriam’s genealogy is chronicled in Luke 3:31.
Ezekiel, Jeremiah and others prophesied the Exile. In Jer. 25:11 the number of years is decreed as well as in 2 Chronicles 36:21, Jeremiah 29:10, Daniel 9:2. Daniel also was given the timing for the coming of the Messiah. Daniel 9:24 27. Each day was understood to be a year 69 weeks = 483 years. The decree spoken of in Dan. 9:25 was fulfilled in Ezra 7:11 25. These events occurred in 458 B.C. 483 years later Jesus began his ministry to Israel.
The Babylonian captivity was a time of pruning for Israel. It was in Babylon and later Persia, that the Jewish people were cured of worshiping idols. The return to captivity is chronicled in the Books of Ezra & Nehemiah. In Ezra we see the rebuilding of the Temple under the leadership of Ezra and Zerubbabel. The glory of this Temple paled in comparison to the first Temple (Ezra 3:8 13, 6:13 15, Hag. 2:1 9). Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi were prophets who encouraged the people during this time of sad return. The land was devastated with the people under foreign domination, and there appeared to be little manifestation of God working among them. These men along with Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah exhorted God’s people to be faithful and holy despite their circumstances.
Matthew 1:12 Jeconiah (also called Jehoiachin) is listed as the father of Shealtiel, this corresponds with 1 Chron. 3:17. In listing Shealtiel as father of Zerubbabel, Matthew departs from the genealogy in 1 Chron 3:19 which lists Pedaiah as Zerubbabel’s father. However, Matthew agrees with several other Scriptures that list Shealtiel as Zerubbabel’s father (Ezra 3:2; 5:2; Nehemiah 12:1; Haggai 1:1; 2:2, 23). Why are there differences in these genealogies? Scholars have various opinions, but probably the most likely was a “levirate” marriage. Which is the marriage of a widow to the brother of deceased husband. This was a provision in God’s Law to carry on the dead man’s name and inheritance as well as land. If a widow married someone outside the family, her first husband’s line would end. Shealtiel may have died childless, and his brother Pedaiah may have married his widow. Pedaiah would have been truly Zerubbabel’s father (as noted in 1 Chron. 3:19), but Zerubbabel’s birth, according to the law of levirate marriage, carried on Shealtiel’s name. When Judah returned from their captivity in Babylon, Zerubbabel was appointed governor (Haggai 1:1) and oversaw the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 5:2). God blessed Zerubbabel, reaffirming the promise of the Messiah through David’s line, through the prophet Haggai (Haggai 2:23).
Matthew 1:13-15 Nothing is known from Scripture about any of these men because they lived during the time between the end of the Older Covenant writings and the New. Matthew likely got their names from Jewish genealogical records that were kept in the Temple.
Matthew 1:16 Luke 3:23 records that, Joseph the adoptive father of Yeshua was the son of Heli. The royal line continued through Joseph, who, though not the actual father of Jesus, was the husband of Miriam (Mary). Yeshua’s birth will be clarified in 1:18–25. Matthew completed his genealogy showing, that Jesus was a descendant of David, and so fulfilling God’s promises.
Matthew 1:17 Matthew breaks Israel’s history into three sets of fourteen generations. Genealogies often compress history, so not every generation is listed.
Some believe Matthew used the “perfect number” (seven) and made three groups of twice seven. Seven also denotes completeness as in the seven days of creation. Others suggest that the three groups represent three significant points in Jewish history: the generations leading to King David, the loss of David’s throne to the Babylonian exile, and the restoration of the throne and promises in the birth of the Messiah. One other suggestion is that David’s name in Hebrew numerical values is fourteen. The numeric values come from Hebrew consonants in David’s name (DVD = 4+6+4=14).
Matthew 1:18 – The Virgin Birth is one of the most difficult concepts for many in accepting the truth of Scripture, especially for Jewish people. First, we need to understand God’s reasons for a virgin birth. The first is to fulfill Prophecy. In Is. 7:14 we have the word in the Hebrew for Virgin “Almah”. The context for this passage in Isaiah dates back to 735 BC when Assyria threatened Syria & Israel who were allies, they wanted to force the Southern kingdom of Judah to align with them against Assyria. Ahaz, Judah’s king wanted to make a pact with Assyria. Syria and Israel attacked Judah and began a siege against Jerusalem. Isaiah comes before Ahaz and calls him to trust in the Lord (Is. 7:3 9). Ahaz has trouble believing the message and promise by God to protect him and the nation. So Isaiah appears again offering Ahaz to ask the Lord for a sign. Ahaz does not want to ask for a sign and so the Lord gives Isaiah a sign Himself in 7:14.
The Hebrew word Almah occurs 7 times in the OT. Gen. 24:43, Ex. 2:8, Prov. 30:19, Song 1:3, 6:8, Ps. 68:25, Is. 7:14. Almah never meant a young married woman, the presumption in common Jewish law was that every Almah is a virgin and virtuous until she is proven not to be. Therefore, we have the right to assume that Rebecca in Gen. 24:43 and the Alma of Is. 7:14 were virgins and all other “Alamot”, were virgins until it was proven otherwise.
There are two virgins in mind in this passage there was a fulfillment in Isaiah’s day and there is an application to the fulfillment in Matthew 1. Is. 8:1 4 describes a marriage ceremony and its consummation with the birth of a son. In Is. 7:14 there is a definite article before Almah “The”, thus singling out a specific virgin, who would give birth to a son who would be a sign 7:15 16. This was likely a second wife for the widowed Isaiah. Theologically this is known as “The law of double reference” The idea of a dual fulfillment is not without precedent. Consider the “Abomination of Desolation” in Dan. 9:27, which refers first to Antiochus, and then later in Matt. 24:15 we also see this in Hosea 11:1 & Matt. 2:15 which speaks of both Israel and Yeshua as God’s son.
Theological reasons for the virgin birth:
1. The Redeemer had to be a man with a sinless nature. The difficulty seems to be that one precludes the other. If you are a man, you sin. It is impossible to be sinless. But if a man was born of woman (thus making him a man), and his father was God (thus making him sinless), you would have the perfect nature.
2. The right to the throne of David was promised to a descendant of David. However, Satan corrupted the royal line that God pronounced a curse on it and cut those rights to the throne (Jeremiah 22:30). Joseph, the husband of Mary, was of that line and the curse was on his natural born sons. But Mary was also of the line of David through David’s son, Nathan, and that line wasn’t cursed. So, by the virgin birth, the curse was by passed while the bloodline of David was preserved. By the marriage of Joseph to Mary, the legal rights were also maintained.
3. The rabbis applied Jeremiah 31:22 to the Messiah. Bereshit Rabba deals with the fact that God heals with that with which He wounded, and says that as He punished Israel and the nations in a virgin (Eve), so He would also heal with a virgin. This text speaks of something that had never taken place before.
Concerning the possibility of something as miraculous and unlikely once should consider how the Jewish people began? They began in a miraculous way! God caused Abraham, at 99, and Sarah, at 89, to conceive a son, Isaac. Adam was made from the dust of the earth. Eve was fashioned from Adam’s rib. The question is not “Is a virgin birth possible?” The question is “Is God powerful enough to do miracles?”
Matt. 1:18 In Jewish custom of betrothal was equal to Marriage. This is why Joseph when he learned that Mary was with child but not by him considered divorce. John 14:1 3 helps us understand the significance of betrothal in the light of the Jewish wedding ceremony. In both Biblical and even recent times the Ultra Orthodox tradition reveals traditional customs with regard to marriage.
The first event was entering into a Marriage Covenant (Ketubah) and was equal to betrothal or espousal. The groom would leave his home and negotiate two things with the bride’s father. First he would ask for her hand, and then negotiate the price of the dowery for marriage. If a price was agreed, the groom would pay it and the covenant of marriage was established. Then the bride and groom would partake of a cup of wine together. They were now considered betrothed, which was as binding as marriage. Even though this Betrothal state was similar to marriage, the betrothed couple did not begin living together. The groom would then leave and return to his father’s house, where he would begin preparing an apartment or living accommodations for his bride. This period of separation generally lasted about a year.
At the end of that year on an unannounced night (the bride never knew exactly when) the groom would call his best man and another male escort. They would leave his father’s house and begin a torch light procession to the home of the brides. The bride would quickly call her bridesmaids who would help her get ready for her groom. The grooms party would wait outside until she was ready. When she came out the entire party returned to the home of the groom’s father. When they arrived the wedding guests were all assembled and waiting. The bride and groom would greet the guests briefly and depart to another room in the house called the bridal chamber or Chuppah (Psalms 19:5) Chuppah comes from the Hebrew word Chaphah “to cover” the root of the words veil, to encase, to protect. With the bridal party outside the bride and groom would enter into physical union for the first time, consummating the covenant initiated 1 year earlier. The groom would come out and announce the news to the wedding party, who would then relay the word to the guests. The guests and the wedding party would rejoice for 7 days in the father’s house. During those 7 days the groom kept his bride hidden. This was known as the days of hiding or the day of the bridal chamber. At the end of the 7 days the groom would bring his bride out with wedding veil removed and all those present beheld the bride. This is backdrop of what is partially described in Matthew 25:1-13.
These events help us understand how in the new covenant the church (ecclesia) or corporate body of believers are portrayed as the Bride of the Messiah Yeshua (Ephesians 5:25 27, John 3:29, 2 Cor. 11:2, Rev. 19:7, Rev. 21:2, Rev. 21:9, Rev. 22:17). This is how Israel was described in the Older Covenant as the wife of Jehovah. The wedding was at Mt. Sinai as Jeremiah alludes in the context of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-33.
Just as the groom began the marriage proceedings by leaving his father’s house and travelling to the home of his bride to establish his marriage covenant. So Yeshua left his Father’s house (heaven) and came to the home of his bride and obtained her by purchasing her with His blood. This is the basis of the New Covenant. The night Yeshua celebrated the Passover he took the 3rd cup, what Jewish people know as the “cup of redemption and said, this cup is the New Covenant in my blood given for you. This cup in the Passover points to the blood of the Passover Lamb which effected Israel’s redemption from bondage and slavery. Similarly, this cup also pictures the cup of wine that the bridal couple drank at the signing of the Ketubah or marriage covenant. Just as the Bride and the Groom after the marriage covenant was signed drank together from a cup to seal their covenant, so too do we partake of a cup symbolizing our betrothal to our Messiah.
Just as the groom had to pay a purchase price to establish the covenant to obtain his bride. So too Yeshua had to pay a purchase price to establish the covenant (1 Cor. 6:20) Just as the groom would leave the bride so too did our Groom the Messiah Yeshua leave us to return to his Father’s house for a period of time. As the Jewish groom would prepare living accommodations to bring his bride to. So too is our Messiah Yeshua is preparing a place for us in heaven. the groom came at an unannounced time to take his bride with him so too is Yeshuah. (Matt. 24:36) His return is imminent. As the Jewish groom came with a male escort Paul tells us in 1 Thess. 4:16 17 that when Jesus comes, He will have an escort, the archangel. As the Jewish bridegroom’s coming will be heralded with a shout of “Behold the bridegroom comes”. So too when Yeshua comes there will be a shout!
The Jewish groom when he came to the bride’s home would not enter but would wait outside until she came to him. So too in 1 Thess. 4 Yeshua will not come all the way to the earth but instead will wait up in the clouds and the church (His Bride) will be caught up from the earth to meet Yeshua in the air. As the groom kept his bride hidden for seven days, so too shall Yeshua keep His bride, the church, hidden for a period of 7. The 7-year period of the Tribulation. At the end of the seven-day period the bride would be brought out of the bridal chamber. So too will our groom the Messiah at the end of the 7-year tribulation at His 2nd coming and bring his bride, the church out of heaven on His way to earth. Then everyone will be able to see who the true bride really is.
Matthew 1:19 – Joseph was a just man; meaning that he was kind, tender and merciful, he was so attached to Mary that he was not willing that she should be exposed to public humiliation. He sought to dissolve their betrothal without the punishment of adultery, which would be death by stoning, (Lev. 20:10; Ezek. 16:38, 40; John 8:5). Torah gives the husband the power of divorce, (Deut. 24:1). It was customary to specify the causes, and witnesses would also be present to testify to the divorce. But Joseph determined to put her away without specifying the cause. This must have been a great trial to Joseph and Mary. Joseph was not yet aware of her innocence. We may learn from this to put our trust in God when falsely accused as Mary did. He will defend the innocent. God had arranged her marriage to the right man and at the right time Joseph was told the truth and took his faithful wife to himself trusting God to protect them both. This too is a reminder that God will guard our reputation. We may experience slander and at times circumstances may be against us; but in due time God will vindicate our character and save us (Ps. 37:5-6).
Matthew 1:20 – Joseph thought on these things and did not act hastily. He faced a situation deeply affecting his happiness, and their character. The angel of the Lord – the word “angel” literally means a messenger. They are holy beings who have not fallen into sin: who live in heaven (1 Tim. 5:21; Jude 1:6); and who are sent to minister to the heirs of salvation. We see them spoken of in Heb. 1:13-14; Dan. 9:21. The word is sometimes applied to men, as messengers Luke 7:24; 9:52; James 2:25; to the winds Ps. 104:4; to the pestilence Ps. 78:49; or to whatever is appointed to execute the will of God. Angels appear in various ways making known the will of God, by dreams, visions, assuming a human appearance, and so on. In this case the appearance is in a dream. This was a common way of making known the will of God, Gen. 20:3; 30:1, 11, 24; 37:5; 41:1; 1 Kings 3:5; Dan. 7:1; Job 4:13-15. We don’t really know how they were certain that these dreams were from God. We need to be very careful to assume that God is communicating to us in dreams. We now have a sure word in Scripture as Heb. 1 tells us to determine God’s Will for us. The angel addresses him as a Son of David, which is the context for the announcement that his wife was the mother of the Promised Messiah. Joseph is told not to be afraid or hesitate to marry her because of her unusual pregnancy. The angel begins the process of calming his fear of shame and disgrace in marrying her. He tells her that her conception is from the Spirit of God. This was God’s way of preparing a body that would not be tainted with Adam’s sin (Gen 3:15; Heb. 10:5).
Matthew 1:21 – His name will be Yeshua the name Yeshua means literally “salvation” from the Hebrew root יָשַׁע yasha to save, In Hebrew it is the same root as Joshua. He will bring salvation through His death paying the ransom or bride price and serve as our kinsmen redeemer. Then He will return to ultimately save Israel from her enemies. His first coming purchased His bride to be and at His second coming He will wed His wife which is the church made up of Jew and Gentile. Israel will have a leading role on earth among the nations (Isa. 2:3). He came to unite two peoples, Jew and Gentile into one. This salvation was from sin to deliver them that they might be free to serve and love Him only. We do not become part of His Bride or His children until we are freed from the power and dominion of sin. Just professing to be His people is not enough as was apparent in His dealings with Israel. If we say we are saved and yet live as though we are not, we deceive ourselves 1 John 3:7-8.
Matthew 1:22 – The prophecy here quoted is recorded in Isa. 7:14 was spoken about 740 years before Jesus, in the reign of Ahaz, king of Judah. The land of Judea was threatened with an invasion by the united armies of Syria and Israel, under the command of Rezin and Pekah. Ahaz was afraid and was about to call for aid from Assyria to defend him. Isaiah was directed, to go to Ahaz, and tell him to ask a sign from God (Isa. 7:10-11). The purpose of the sign was to give King Ahaz assurance that God would protect and defend Judah. That Ahaz and the people should look to God rather than to Assyria for help and deliverance. Ahaz was unwilling to ask for a sign because he had no confidence in God but feared the armies of Syria. Isaiah responded that the Lord himself would give a sign that the land would be delivered. The sign was that a virgin would have a son, and that before that son would be old enough to know right from wrong, the land would be forsaken by these kings. This was literally fulfilled when Isaiah marries the virgin he was referring to. We see this in Isaiah 8:1-4. The context of Isaiah 7:14 speaks of an immediate fulfillment of this sign that would take place within a few years, the time between this child’s conception and his knowing right from wrong (7:15-16), traditionally this was the age of 12. The Hebrew word translated virgin “almah” could mean a young woman of marriageable age and often had the implication of virginity. The woman immediately referred to is identified in 8:3 as “a prophetess”. However the ultimate fulfillment is found in Mt 1:23 where it defines this woman using a more specific Greek word “parthenos”, which means “virgin.” This Greek translation is found in the Septuagint (The Jewish translation of the Old Testament translated into Greek around 250 BC).
Matthew 1:23 Immanuel means “God is with us” and indicates that the immediate fulfillment of this sign would demonstrate that God would protect His people. The name Immanuel also implies Jesus’ deity. Mary’s virgin-born Son would be God Himself living among His people. The more majestic and greater fulfillment is found in this verse when Matthew declares that this birth refers to Mary’s child Yeshua and his miraculous virgin conception and birth.
Matthew 1:24-25 Joseph took Mary as his wife. Betrothal in Jewish custom was equivalent to marriage as we explained in Matthew 1:18-19. The name “Jesus” specifies what He will do (“God saves”). The messianic title “Immanuel” specifies who he is (“God with us”). Matthew concludes his writing with the same theme: “I am with you always” (28:20).