Matthew 1:18-21

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a] : 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[b] 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,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:18 in Other Translations

KJV
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
ESV
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
NLT
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.
MSG
18 The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn't know that.)
CSB
18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 1:18-21 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO MATTHEW

The subject of this book, and indeed of all the writings of the New Testament, is the Gospel. The Greek word euaggelion signifies a joyful message, good news, glad tidings of good things; such as Christ was anointed to preach, the Angels brought to the shepherds, and the Evangelists, Apostles, and Ministers of Christ published to the world. \Isa 61:1, 52:7 Lu 2:10\. And such is the account given by this inspired writer, of the incarnation, life, actions, ministry, miracles, sufferings, and death of Jesus Christ; whereby peace and reconciliation, pardon and righteousness, atonement and redemption, life and salvation, are obtained for lost, perishing sinners. The Jews, to whom the message of grace was first sent, and among whom the Gospel was first preached, having despised and rejected it; they and their posterity, in allusion to the word "Evangelion", most wickedly and blasphemously call the whole New Testament, Nwylg Nwa or Nwylg Nwe "Aven Gilion" {a}, a "revelation", or "volume of iniquity and vanity"; but "blessed are the people that know the joyful sound", see Ps 89:15. The writer of this Gospel, Matthew, who also was called Levi in Lu 5:27 was by occupation a publican, or tax-gatherer, and was in his employ when Christ called him by his grace. He was one of the twelve Apostles sent forth by Christ to preach the Gospel of the kingdom, Mt 10:3 and was honoured to be the first of the writers of the New Testament, and to be the first publisher therein of the good news of the incarnate Saviour; and was a wonderful instance of the rich and sovereign grace of God. Though he was employed in collecting the Roman tax, yet he was of Jewish extract; as appears from his being called the son of Alphaeus, Mr 2:14 and from his name Matthew Levi; for as the latter, so the former is an Hebrew name. The Jews say {b} one of the disciples of Jesus was called yatm, Matthai or Matthew: his name signifies a "gift" or "given"; he was one of those the Father had given to Christ, and was kept by him, when the son of perdition was lost, Joh 17:6,9,11,12. It may not be improper to inquire in what language this Gospel was written. The ancient Christian writers were generally of opinion, that Matthew wrote it in Hebrew; Papias and {c} Pantaenus were of this mind, as also Irenaeus {d}, Origen {e} Eusebius {f}, Athanasius {g}, Epiphanius {h}, and Jerom {i}; and it is asserted in the titles of the Arabic and Persic versions, and at the end of the Syriac version of this Gospel, that it was written in that language; and this opinion is espoused by Grotius and Hammond, though justly exploded by others; for what has been published by Munster, Mercer, Hutter, and Robertson, are translations, made by themselves or others, and of no antiquity: and since Hebrew and Syriac words are interpreted in this Gospel, see Mt 1:23, 27:33,46 which would not have been done, had it been written in either language; and since Matthew generally follows the Septuagint version in the passages cited by him out of the Old Testament; and since the Hebrew language was not generally known at that time to the common people, only to the learned; for the law and the prophets, when read in the synagogues in that language, required an interpreter; and since the Greek tongue was the language more commonly spoken, and the rest of the Evangelists wrote in Greek, and the Gospel was designed for the Gentiles as well as the Jews; it is most reasonable to conclude that this Gospel also was wrote in Greek; whereby that ancient prophecy was fulfilled, at least in part, "God shall enlarge" or "persuade Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem", Ge 9:27 the Gospel being published in the language of Japheth, the Greek language, which the Jews, the posterity of Shem, now understood; agreeably to which the Palmudic writers interpret the prophecy; says {k} Bar Kaphra, mentioning the above words,

``They shall speak tpy lv wnwvlb in the language of Japheth, in the tents of Shem;''

or,

``the words of the law shall be spoken in the language of Japheth, in the midst of the tents of Shem {l}.''

R. Jochanan {m} explains them thus:

``tpy lv wyrbr "the words of Japheth" shall be in the tents of Shem; and says R. Chiya ben Aba, the sense of it is, The beauty of Japheth shall be in the tents of Shem.''

Which the gloss interprets thus:

``The beauty of Japheth is the language of Javan, or the Greek language, which language is more beautiful than that of any other of the sons of Japheth.''

The time when this Gospel was written is said {n} by some to be in the eighth or ninth, by others, in the fifteenth year after the ascension of Christ, when the Evangelist had received the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, among which was the gift of tongues; and when the promise of Christ had been made good to him, Joh 14:26.

{a} T. Bab. Sabbat. fol. 116. 1. Vet. Nizzachou. p. 15, 39, 87, 94, 137, 186. Ed. Wagenseil. {b} T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 43. 1. {c} Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 39. p. 113. Vid. ib. l. 5. c. 8. p. 172. c 10. p. 175. & l. 6. c. 25. p. 226. {d} Adv. Haeres. l. 3. c 1. {e} In Matt. Tom. l. p. 203. Ed. Huet. {f} Eccl. Hist. l. 3. cap. 24. p. 95. {g} Synops. sacr. Script. p. 134. Vol. 2. {h} Contra Haeres. l. 1. Haer. 29. & 30. {i} Catalog. Script. Eccles fol. 90. Tom. 1. ad Hedib. fol. 46. Tom. 3. {k} T. Hieros. Megilla, fol. 71. 2. {l} Bereshit. Rabba, sect. 36. fol. 32. 1. {m} T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 9. 2. {n} Vid. Fabricii Biblioth. Graec. l. 4. c. 5. sect. 2. p. 197. & Vales. not. in Euseb. Eccl. Hist. p. 52.

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Matthew 1:18-21 In-Context

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
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.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Cross References 6

  • 1. Luke 1:35
  • 2. Deuteronomy 24:1
  • 3. S Acts 5:19
  • 4. S Matthew 27:19
  • 5. S Luke 1:31
  • 6. Psalms 130:8; S Luke 2:11; S John 3:17; Acts 5:31; Acts 13:23,28; S Romans 11:14; Titus 2:14

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or "The origin of Jesus the Messiah was like this"
  • [b]. Or "was a righteous man and"
  • [c]. "Jesus" is the Greek form of "Joshua," which means "the " Lord"saves."
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