Matthew 1:19

19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[a] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

Matthew 1:19 in Other Translations

KJV
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
ESV
19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
NLT
19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
MSG
19 Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
CSB
19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

Matthew 1:19 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 1:19

Then Joseph her husband
To whom she had been betrothed, and who was her husband, and she his wife according to the Jewish law, ( Deuteronomy 22:23 Deuteronomy 22:24 ) though not yet come together,

being a just man,
observant of the law of God, particularly that which respected adultery, being wholly good and chaste, like the Patriarch of the same name; a character just the reverse of that which the Jews give him, in their scandalous F2 book of the life of Jesus; where, in the most malicious manner, they represent him as an unchaste and an unrighteous person:

and not willing to make her a public example,
or to deliver her, i.e. to the civil magistrate, according to Munster's Hebrew edition. The Greek word signifies to punish by way of example to others, to deter them from sinning; and with the ancients it F3 denoted the greatest and severest punishment. Here it means either bringing her before the civil magistrate, in order to her being punished according to the law in ( Deuteronomy 22:23 Deuteronomy 22:24 ) which requires the person to be brought out to the gate of the city and stoned with stones, which was making a public example indeed; or divorcing her in a very public manner, and thereby expose her to open shame and disgrace. To prevent which, he being tender and compassionate, though strictly just and good,

was minded to put her away privily:
he deliberately consulted and determined within himself to dismiss her, or put her away by giving her a bill of divorce, in a very private manner; which was sometimes done by putting it into the woman's hand or bosom, see ( Deuteronomy 24:1 ) . In Munster's Hebrew Gospel it is rendered, "it was in his heart to forsake her privately."


FOOTNOTES:

F2 Teldos Jesu, p. 3.
F3 A. Gellii Noct. Attic. l. 6. c. 14.

Matthew 1:19 In-Context

17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about : His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Cross References 1

  • 1. Deuteronomy 24:1

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "was a righteous man and"