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INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPELS AND ACTS.
dear power and
fot. 18. 9), and the entrance of Porcius Festus upon the procuratorship (ch. 34. 97)- with the intervals specified between
me occurrences in the apostle's life and others (such asch, 20. 31; 94. 27; 28.30; and Galatians, 1. and 2.)--that we can thread ir pay through the difficulties that surround the chronology of the apostle's life, and approximate to certainty. Immense research has been brought to bear upon the subject, but the learned, as might be expected, are greatly divided. Every year has been fixed upon as the probable date of the apostle's conversion, from A.D. 31 (Bengel] to A.D. 42 [Eusebius). But the weight of authority is in favour of dates ranging between 35 and 40, a difference of not more than five years; and the largest sumber of authorities is in favour of the year 37 or 3& Taking the former of these, to which opinion largely inclines, the following Table will be useful to the student of apostolic History:
AD. 37, ... PAUL'S CONVERSION
. . . Acts, 9.1. ... First Visit to Jerusalem,
9. 26; Gal. 1. 18. ** 49-44, .. Fir First Residence at Antioch, .
11. 26-30. " 44, ... Second Visit to Jerusalem, . .
11. 30; 12. 25. FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY,
13, 2; 14. 26. 47-51, . . Second Residence at Antioch,
14. 28. Third Visit to Jerusalem, .
15. 2-30; Gal. 2. 1-10.
(on which see Notes.) * 51, 53, or 54, SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY,
15. 36, 40; 18. 22. 53 or 54. . Fourth Visit to Jerusalem, .
18. 21, 22. Third Residence at Antioch,
" 18, 22, 23. 54-58, .. THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY, .
18. 23; 21. 15. S Fifth Visit to Jerusalem, .
*" 21. 15; 23. 35. Arrest and Imprisonment at Cesarea. . 60 (Ant) - Voyage to and Arrival in Rome, . . * 61 Spring), S
“ 27. 1; 28. 16. * 63. ... Release from Imprisonment. .
At Crete, Colosse, Macedonia, Corinth, Nicopolis, Dal-
. 1 & 2 Timotby and Titus " 6-65, or 66, or possibly so late as
66-68, .. Martyrdom at Rome.
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF THE MIRACLES OF CHRIST. On the order of some of our Lord's Miracles and Parables, the data being scanty, considerable
The two debtors,
(Capernaum,] Galilee, Galilee. Sea-shore of Galilee, Sea-shore of Galilee, Sea-shore of Galilee, Sea-shore of Galilee, Sea-shore of Galilee, Sea-shore of Galilee, Sea-shore of Galilee, Sea shore of Galilee, Capernaum, Near Jerusalem, Near Jerusalem, Galilee, Galilee, Perea, Perea, Peres, Perea, Jerusalem, Perea, Perea, Perea, Perea, Perea, Perea, Jericho, Jerusalem, Jerusalem Jerusalem, Mount of Olives, Mount of Olives,
Luke, 7. 40-43.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
His father," sinking all the intermediate kings of that Ver. 1-17. GENEALOGY OF CHRIST. (=Luke, 3. line, as having no importance save as links to connect 23-88) 1. The book of the generation-an expression the first and the last king of Israel as father and son. purely Jewish; meaning, Table of the genealogy.' It will be observed that Rachab is here represented L Genesis, 5.1, the same expression occurs in this | as the great-grandmother of David see Ruth, 4. 20-22; SEDUSE. We have here, then, the title, not of this whole and 1 Chronicles, 2. 11-16)-a thing not beyond possiGospel of Matthew, but only of the first seventeen bility indeed, but extremely improbable, there being perses. of Jesus Christ. For the meaning of these about four centuries between them. There can hardly corious words, see on v. 16, 21. "Jesus," the name be a doubt that one or two intermediate links are aren to our Lord at His circumcision (Luke, 2. 21), omitted. 7. And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam was that by which He was familiarly known while begat Abia : and Abia begat Asa; 8. And Asa begat Josaen earth. The word "Christ"-though applied to phat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias Him as a proper name by the angel who announced for Uzziah). Three kings are here omitted-Ahaziah, His birth to the shepherds Luke, 2. 11), and once or Joash, and Amaziah il Chronicles, 3. 11, 12). Some twice used in this sense by our Lord Himself (ch. 23. omissions behoved to be made, to compress the whole
1, Mark, 9. 41-only began to be so used by others into three fourteens (v. 17). The reason why these, about the very close of His earthly career ch. 26.68; rather than other pames, are omitted must be sought 2.17. The full form. "Jesus Christ," though once in religicus considerations--either in the connection tied by Himself in His Intercessory Prayer (John, of those kings with the house of Ahab (as Lightfoot, 17.3, was never used by others till after his ascen Ebrard, and Alford view it; in their slender right to son and the formation of churches in His name. Its be regarded as true links in the theocratic chain (as tse, then, in the opening words of this Gospel (and Lange takes it); or in some similar disqualitication, b. 17, 18) is in the style of the late period when our | 11. And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren. Jecho. Loungelist wrote, rather than of the events he was niah was Josiah's grandson, being the son of Jehoiakim. Ring to record the son of David, the son of Abraham. Josiah's second son (1 Chronicles, 3. 15); but Jehoiakim As Abraham was the first from whose family it was might well be sunk in such a catalogue, being a mere predicted that Messiah should spring (Genesis, 22. 18), puppet in the hands of the king of Egypt 2 Chronicles, 30 David was the last. To a Jewish reader, accord-36. 4). The "brethren" of Jechonias here evidently oly, these beboved to be the two great starting- mean his uncles-the chief of whom, Mattaniah or pointa of any true genealogy of the promised Messiah; Zedekiah, who came to the throne 12 Kings, 24, 17), is. und thus this opening verse, as it stamps the first in 2 Chronicles, 36. 10, called “his brother," as well as opel as one peculiarly Jewish, would at once tend here. about the time they were carried away to Babylon to conciliate the writer's people. From the nearest - lit., of their migration.' for the Jews avoided the of those two fathers came that familiar name of the word 'captivity' as too bitter a recollection, and our promised Messiah, “the son of David” Luke, 20. 41), Evangelist studiously respects the national feeling. which was applied to Jesus, either in devout acknow. 12. And after they were brought to after the migration lodgement of His rightful claim to it (ch. 9. 27; 20. 31), of') Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel. Soi Chronicles, e in the way of insinuating inquiry wbether such 3. 17. Nor does this contradict Jeremiah, 22,30,"Thus Tere the case (see on John, 4. 29; ch. 12. 23). 2. Abrasaith the Lord, Write ye this man (Coniah, or Jechokaum begat Isase: and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat niah) childless;" for what follows explains in what ráas and his brethren. Only the fourth son of Jacob is sense this was meant-" for no man of his seed shall Bere samed, as it was from his loins that Messiah was prosper, sitting upon the throne of David." He was to spring Genesis, 49. 10). 3. And Judas begat Phares to have seed, but no reigning child and Salathiel for eZana of Thamar: and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom Shealtiel) begat Zorobabel. So Ezra, 3. 2; Nehemiah, Degat Arata: 4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab 12. 1; Haggai, 1. 1. But it would appear from i Chrobegat Saason; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5. And Sal- nicles, 3. 19, that Zerubbabel was Salathiel's grandson, te begat Booz of Rachab: and Booz begat Obed of Ruth: being the son of l'edaiah, whose name, for some reason 22.Obed begat Jesse: 6. And Jesse begat David the king: unknown, is omitted. 13-15. And Zorobabel begat
Darid the king begat Solomon of her of Urias. Four Abiud, &c. None of these names are found in the old Fomen are here introduced: two of them Gentiles by Testament; but they were doubtless taken from the
th-Rachab and Ruth; and three of them with a public or family registers, which the Jews carefully at at their names in the Old Testament-Thamar, kept, and their accuracy was never challenged. 16. Each, and Bath-shela. This feature in the present And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Fealogy-herein differing from that given by Luke was born Jesus. From this it is clear that the geneatumes well from him who styles himself in his list logy here given is not that of Mary, but of Joseph; nor
tbe Iwelve, what none of the other lists do, has this ever been questioned. And yet it is here Matthew the publican;" as if thereby to hold forth, studiously proclaimed that Joseph was not the Utbe very outset, the unsearchable riches of that natural, but only the legal father of our Lord. His
ace which could not only fetch in "them that are birth of a virgin was known only to a few; but the War of, but reach down even to "publicans and acknowledged descent of his legal father from David parkta," and raise them to "sit with the princes of secured that the descent of Jesus Himself from David 13 people." David is here twice emphatically styled should never be questioned. See on v. 20. who is Vand the king. * as not only the first of that royal called Christ-signifying 'anointed. It is applied in ne from which Messiah was to descend, but the one the Old Testament to the kings (1 Samuel, 24. 6, 10: Cits of all that line from which the throne that to the prists (Leviticus, 4. 5, 16, &c.;; and to the proMessiah was to occupy took its Dame-"the throne pluts (1 Kings, 19. 16)-these all being anointed with David" The angel Gabriel, in announcing Him oil, the symbol of the needsul spiritual gifts, to con
te throne of David | secrate them to their respectivo offices; and it was
Birth of Christ
Birth of Christ. applied, in its most sublime and comprehensive sense, making itself up to the painful step, yet planning how to the promised Deliverer, inasmuch as He was to be to do it in the way least offensive-at the last exconsecrated to an office embracing all three by the tremity the Lord Himself interposes. behold, the immeasurable anointing of the Holy Ghost Isaiah, angel of the Lord appeared to him in & dream, saying, 61. 1: cf. John, 3. 34) 17. So all the generations from Joseph, son of David. This style of address was doubtAbraham to David are fourteen generations; and from less advisedly chosen to remind him of what all the David until the carrying away (or migration into Baby families of David's line so early coveted, and thus it lon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away would prepare him for the marvellous announcement into the migration of') Babylon unto Christ are four-which was to follow. fear not to take into thee Mary teen generations. That is, the whole may be con- thy wife: q. d., 'Though a dark cloud now overhangs veniently divided into three fourteens, each embracing this relationship, it is unsullied still for that which one marked era, and each ending with a notable is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21. And she event, in the Israelitish annals. Such artificial aids shall bring forth a son Observe, it is not said, she to memory were familiar to the Jews, and much larger shall bear thee a son,' as was said to Zacharias of his gaps than those here are found in some of the old wife Elizabeth (Luke, 1. 13), and thou as his legal Testament genealogies. In Ezra, 7. 1-5, no fewer than father, shalt call his name JESUS-from the Hebrero six generations of the priesthood are omitted, as will meaning Jehovah the Saviour;' in Greek JESUS--to appear by comparing it with 1 Chronicles, 6. 3-15. It the awakened and anxious singer sweetest and most will be observed that the last of the three divisions of fragrant of all names, expressing so melodiously and fourteen appears to contain only thirteen distinct briefly His whole saving office and work! for he shall names, including Jesus as the last. LANGE thinks save. The "He" is here emphatic- He it is that shall that this was meant as a tacit hint that Mary was to save:' He personally, and by personal acts (as Webster be supplied, as the thirteenth link of this last chain, and Wilkinson express it), his people - the lost sheep as it is impossible to conceive that the Evangelist of the house of Israel, in the first instance; for they could have made any mistake in the matter. But | were the only people He then haci. But, on the breakthere is a simpler way of accounting for it. As the ing down of the middle wall of partition, the saved Evangelist himself (v. 17) reckons David twice-as the people embraced the "redeemed unto God by His last of the first fourteen and the first of the second- blood out of every kindred and people and tongue so, if we reckon the second fourteen to end with Josiah, and nation." froin their sins-in the most comprewho was coeval with the "carrying away into cap-hensive sense of salvation from sin (Revelation, 1. 5; tivity" (v. 11), and the third to begin with Jechoniah, it Ephesians, 5. 25-27). 22. Now all this was done, that it will be found that this last division, as well as the might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the proother two, embraces fourteen names, including that phet (Isaiah, 7. 14), saying, 23. Behold, a virgin-it should of our Lord.
be 'the virgin;' meaning that particular virgin degVer. 18-25. BIRTH OF CHRIST. 18. Now the birth tined to this unparalleled distinction. shall be with of Jesus Christ was on this wise, or 'thus:' When as his child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his mother Mary was espoused - rather, betrothed'-to name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with Joseph, before they came together, she was found (or dis.us. Not that He was to have this for a proper name covered to be) with child of the Holy Ghost. It was, of (like "Jesus”), but that He should come to be known course, the fact only that was discovered: the ex- in this character, as God manifested in the flesh, and planation of the fact here given is the Evangelist's the living bond of holy and most intimate fellowship own. That the Holy Ghost is a living conscious Per- between God and men from henceforth and for ever. son is plainly implied here, and is elsewhere clearly | 24. Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, and all his tanght (Acts, 6. 3, 4, &c.); and that, in the unity of difficulties now removed) did as the angel of the Lord the Godhead. He is distinct both from the Father had bidden him, and took unto him his wife. With what and the Son, is taught with equal distinctness Mat- deep and reverential joy would this now be done on thew, 28. 19; 2 Corinthians, 13, 14). On the Miraculous his part; and what balm would this minister to his Conception of our Lord, see on Luke, 1.35. 19. Thenbetrothed one, who had till now lain under suspicions Joseph her husband: cf. v. 20, "Mary, thy wife." Be- of all others the most trying to a chaste and holy trothal was, in Jewish law, valid marriage, In giving woman-suspicions, too, arising from what, though to Mary up, therefore, Joseph had to take legal steps to her an honour unparalleled, was to all around her effect the separation, being a just man, and not willing wholly unknown! 25. And knew her not till she had to make her a public example-or 'to expose her' (see brought forth her first-born son: and he called his name Deuteronomy, 22, 23, 24)-was minded to put her away JESUS. The word "till" does not necessarily imply privily privately)-by giving her the required writ. that they lived on a different footing afterwards (as ing of divorcement (Deuteronomy, 24. 1), in presence will be evident from the use of the same word in only of two or three witnesses, and without cause I Samuel, 15. 35; 2 Samuel, 6. 23; Matthew, 12. 20); nor assigned, instead of having her before a magistrate, does the word "first-born" decide the inuch disputed That some communication had passed between him question, whether Mary had any children to Joseph and his betrothed, directly or indirectly, on the after the birth of Christ: for, as LIGHTFoot says, The subject, after she returned from her three months law, in speaking of the first-born, regarded not visit to Elizabeth, can hardly be doubted. Nor does whether any were born after or no, but only that the purpose to divorce her necessarily imply disbelief. / none were born before.' (See on ch. 13. 65, 66.) on Joseph's part, of the explanation given him. Even
CHAPTER II. supposing him to have yielded to it some reverential Ver. 1-12. VISIT OF TAE MAGI TO JERUSALEM assent-and the Evangelist seems to convey as much, AND BETHLEHEM, The Wise Men reach Jerusalemby ascribing the proposal to screen her to the justice The Sanhedrim, on Herod's demand, pronounce Bethof his character-he might think it altogether unsuit. lehem to be Messiah's predicted Birth-place (v. 1-6). able and incongruous in such circumstances to follow | 1. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea-so out the marriage. 20. But while he thought on these called to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in things. Who wonld not feel for him after receiving the tribe of Zebulun, near the sea of Galilee (Joshua, such intelligence, and before receiving any light from 10.16): called also Beth-chem-judah, as being in that above! As he brooded over the matter alone, in the tribe (Judges, 17. 7): and Ephrath (Genesis, 36. 10); and stillness of the night, his domestic prospects darkened combining both, Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah, 5. 2). and bis happiness blasted for life, his mind slowly It lay about six miles south-west of Jerusalem. But
Pisit of the Magi
to Jerusalem. how came Joseph and Mary to remove thither from these classes, a proportion of the second, and "the Nazareth, the place of their residence? Not of their | elders"-that is, as LIGHTFoor thinks, 'those elders own accord, and certainly not with the view of ful- of the laity that were not of the Levitical tribe,' con. filling the prophecy regarding Messiah's birth-place: stituted the supreme council of the nation, called the day, they stayed at Nazareth till it was almost too Sunhedrim, the members of which, at their full comlate for Mary to travel with safety: nor would they pliment, were seventy-two. That this was the council have stirred from it at all, had not an order which left which Herod now convened is most probable, from them no choice forced them to the appointed place. the solemnity of the occasion; for though the elders A high hand was in all these movements. (See on are not mentioned we find a similar omission where Luke, 9, 1-6.) in the days of Herod the king-styled the | all three were certainly meant (cf. ch. 26. 69 : 27. 1). Great; son of Antipater, an Edomite, made king by As MEYER says, it was all the theologians of the the Romans. Thus was "the sceptre departing from nation whom Herod convened, because it was a theoJudah" (Genesis, 19. 10. a sign that Messiah was now logical response that he wanted, he demanded of them at hand. As Herod is known to have died in the -as the authorized interpreters of Scripture-where year of Rome 750, in the fourth year before the com Christ-the Messiah'-should be born - according to mencement of our Christian era, the birth of Christ prophecy. 5. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of must be dated four years before the date usually as Judea-a prompt and involuntary testimony from the signed to it, even if He was born within the year of highest tribunal, which yet at length condemned Him Herod's death, as it is next to certain that He was. to die. for thus it is written by the prophet (Micah, 6,2), there came wise men-lit.. *Magi' or 'Magians' proba-6. And thou, Bethlehem, (in the land of Juda-the "in" bly of the learned class who cultivated astrology and being familiarly left out, as we say, 'London, Midkindred sciences. Balaam's prophecy Numbers, 24. ' dlesex' - art not the least among the princes of Juda : 17), and perhaps Daniel's ch. 9. 24, &c.), might have for out of thee shall come a Governor, &c. This quotacome down to them by tradition; but nothing definite tion, though differing verbally, agrees substantially is known of them. from the east-but whether from with the Hebrew and LXX. For says the prophet, Arabia, Persia. or Mesopotamia is uncertain to Jeru. "Though thou be little, yet out of thee shall come salen-29 the Jewish metropolis. 2. Saying. Where is the Ruler"- this honour more than compensating for he that is born King of the Jews? From this it would its natural insignificance; while our Evangelist, by a seem they were not themselves Jews. (Cf. the lan lively turn, makes him say, "Thou art not the least : guage of the Roman governor. John, 18. 33, and of the for out of thee shall come a Governor"-this distincRoman soldiers. ch. 27. 29. with the very different tion lifting it from the lowest to the highest rank. language of the Jews themselves, ch. 27. 42, &c.) The The "thousands of Juda," in the prophet, mean the Roman historians, SUETONIUS and Tacitus, bear subordinate divisions of the tribe: our Evangelist, inwitness to an expectation, prevalent in the East, stead of these, merely names the "princes" or heads that out of Judea should arise a sovereign of the of these families, including the districts which they world for we have seen his star in the east. Much has occupied. that shall rule-or feed,' as in the margin been written on the subject of this star; but from all - my people Israel. In the Old Testament, kings are, that is here said it is perhaps safest to regard it as by a beautiful figure, styled "shepherds” (Ezekiel, simply a luminous meteor, which appeared under 31. &c.). The classical writers use the same figure. special laws and for a special purpose. and are come The pastoral rule of Jehovah and Messiah over Hig to worship him- 'to do Him homage,' as the word people is a representation pervading all Scripture, signifies: the nature of that homage depending on and rich in import. (See Psalm 23; Isaiah, 40. 11; the circumstances of the case. That not civil but Ezekiel, 37. 24; John, 10.11: Revelation, 7. 17.) That religious homage is meant here is plain from the this prophecy of Micah referred to the Messiah, whole strain of the narrative, and particularly v. 11. was admitted by the ancient Rabbins. The Wise Men, Doubtless these simple strangers expected all Jeru despatched to Bethlehem by Herod to see the Babe, and salem to be full of its new-born King, and the time, bring him word, make a Religious Offering to the Inplace, and circumstances of His birth to be familiar fant King, but, dirinely warned, return home by an. to every one. Little would they think that the first other way (c. 7-12). 7. Then Herod. when he had privily announcement of His birth would come from them. I called the wise men. Herod has so far succeeded in selves, and still less could they anticipate the start- his murderous design: he has tracked the spot where ling, instead of transporting, effect which it would lies his victim, an unconscious babe. But he has anproduce-else they would probably have sought their other point to fix the date of His birth-without information regarding His birth-place in some other which he might still miss his mark. The one he had quarter. But God overruled it to draw forth a noble got from the Sanhedrim : the other he will have from testimony to the predicted birth-place of Messiah the sages; but secretly, lest his object should be susfrom the highest ecclesiastical authority in the na pected and defeated. So he enquired of them diligently tion. 3. When Herod the king had heard these things -- rather, precisely'-what time the star appeared-prehe was troubled-viewing this as a danger to his own suming that this would be the best clue to the age of throne: perhaps his guilty conscience also suggested the child. The unsuspecting strangers tell him all. other grounds of fear. and all Jerusalem with him And now he thinks he is succeeding to a wish, and from a dread of revolutionary commotions, and per. shall speedily clutch his victim; for at so early an age haps also of Herod's rage. 4. And when he had gather as they indicate, He would not likely have been reed all the chief priests and scribes of the people together. moved from the place of His birth. Yet he is wary. The class of the “chief priests" included the high He sends them as messengers from himself, and bids priest for the time being, together with all who had them come to him, that he may follow their pious previously filled this office; for though the then head example. 8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, of the Aaronic family was the only rightful high priest, Go and search diligently-search out carefully'--for the the Romans removed them at pleasure, to make way young child, and when ye have found him, bring me word for creatures of their own. In this class probably again, that I may come and worship him also. The cunTere included also the heads of the four-and-twenty ning and bloody hypocrite! Yet this royal mandato courses of the priests. The "scribes" were at first would meantime serve as a safe-conduct to the merely transcnbers of the law and synagogue-readers; strangers. 9. When they had heard the king, they deafterwards interpreters of the law, both civil and reli parted. But where were ye, O Jewish ecclesiastics, pova, and so both lawyers and divines. The first of ye chief priests and scribes of the people? Yo could