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- PRE FACE
GOSPEL OF MATTHEW.
The information concerning Matthew, in the New Testament, is brief. In the ninth chapter of his Gospel, it is related that Jesus, on one of his excursions to Capernaum, saw Matthew “sitting at the receipt of custom;" that is, in the house where he attended as taxgatherer, or collector of the revenue. Being bidden by Jesus to follow him, he immediately obeyed. The account which Mark (2: 14) and Luke (5: 27, 28) give, is the same, excepting that the person is designated by another name; that is, Levi. It was, however, common among the Jews for the same person to have more names than one, and to be called by either of them. Thus Peter is also named Simon ; Lebbeus (compare Matthew 10:3, and Luke 6: 16) is also named Thaddeus and Judas.
That the person named Levi, by Mark and Luke, is the same as Matthew, is evident from the perfect agreement in the circumstances related by the three evangelists, and from the fact, that, in the list of the twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:3), Matthew is called the publican. It was on account of his being a publican, that he was sitting at the receipt of custom;" that is, at the custom-house, or tax-gatherer's office.
There is an additional agreement in the accounts of the three writers, and it is one which reflects much credit on Matthew. In Matthew's Gospel, after the calling of him by Jesus is mentioned, the account proceeds to state, that Jesus and many others were sitting at meat in the house. Now, from Mark (2: 15), we learn, that this en tertainment took place in Levi's (that is, Matthew's) own house ; and from Luke (5: 29), we learn more distinctly, that Levi (that is.
PREFACE TO THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW.
Matthew) furnished this entertainment. Matthew's design, doubtless, was, besides paying respect to Jesus, to give his former friends an opportunity for familiar acquaintance with Jesus, and to give Jesus a favorable opportunity for free and unrestrained conversation on religion and the Messiah's dispensation.
We cannot fail to notice the modesty of Matthew in his narrative. He gives himself no commendation: but while he wished to communicate the important conversation to which this interview gave rise, he has furnished no hint by which it could be known that the conversation occurred in connection with an entertainment given by himself. He wished to do honor to his Master, and to preserve the important sentiments which his Master had expressed. To others he left it, if they chose so to do, to make known the important part which he had in this matter.
Matthew's Gospel is believed, from the tradition of the earliest ages of Christianity, to have been written first of all the Gospels, in the order of time. The precise time cannot be fixed. It was probably not later than the year 50 or 60 of the Christian era; that is, somewhere within twenty or thirty years after the death of Christ. It has, however, by some writers, been assigned to as early a date as eight years after the death of Christ. A principal object with Matthew seems to have been, to excite and cherish confidence in Jesus, as the expected Messiah. His work is, therefore, distinguished by a careful pointing out of resemblances in the history of Jesus to events and declarations stated in the Old Testament.
GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW.
5 And Salmon begat Booz THE book of the generation of Rachab; and Booz begat
of Jesus Christ, the son of Obed of Ruth; and Obed beDavid, the son of Abraham.
gat Jesse; 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and 6 And Jesse begat David the Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob king; and David the king begat begat Judas and his brethren; Solomon of her that had been
3 And Judas begat Phares the wife of Urias; and Zara of Thamar; and Pha- 7 And Solomon begat Robores begat Esrom; and Esrom am; and Roboam begat Abia; begat Aram;
and Abia begat Asa; 4 And Aram begat Amina- 8 And Asa begat Josaphat; dab; and Aminadab begat Naas- and Josaphat begat Joram; and son; and Naasson begat Sal- Joram begat Ozias; mon;
9 And Ozias begat Joa
among them; and if one, professing to CHAPTER I.
be the Messiah, could not trace his 1. The book of the generation. This descent to David and to Abraham, he expression corresponds to our word would fail in a particular, respecting genealogy, or family record; so that which the prophets had distinctly spothe whole phrase, The book of the gen- ken. Hence Jesus Christ is expressly eration of Jesus Christ, means, the called “the son of David.” That the genealogy, or family record, of Jesus Messiah was to descend from the royal Christ. That record follows, and ex- line of David, was firmly believed by hibits the names of the principal an- the Jews. See Is. 9:7. 11:1. (Jesse cestors of Jesus. The word genera- was father of David.) See also Jer. tions is used in the Old Testament in 23: 5. And David's descent from a similar manner; and is employed Abraham was unquestionable. with reference to descendants as well 2. Judas; the Greek method of ex as to ancestors. See Gen.5:1. 10:1. pressing the word Judah. In several 11: 10. From being used to desig names of the genealogy there are slight nate family record, it came to signify departures from the sounds of the same family history, as in Gen. 37:2; and names in the Old Testament, on achistorical account in general, as in count of the different powers of the Gen. 2:4.
Hebrew language, and of the Greek. It was customary among the Jews, Thus Esrom, in the 3d verse, is the and still is among the Arabians, to pre- same as Hezron in the Old Testaserve such lists of names as Matthew ment; Aram, v. 4, is the same as has recorded in this chapter. In the Ram in 1 Chron. 2: 10; Naasson, the case of the Jews, it was important, be- same as Nahshon. Booz, in v. 5, is cause the Messiah, the great object of the same as Boaz, Ruth 4:21. Ozias, their expectation, was to arise from in v. 8, is the same as Uzziah.
tham ; and Joatham begat 13 And Zorobabel begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ez- Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliaekias;
kim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 10 And Ezekias begat Ma- 14 And Azor begat Sadoc; nasses; and Manasses begat and Sadoc begat Achim; and Amon; and Amon begat Jo-Achim begat Eliud;
15 And Eliud begat Elea11 And Josias begat Jecho-zar; and Eleazar begat Matnias and his brethren, about the than; and Matthan begat Jatime they were carried away to cob; Babylon;
16 And Jacob begat Joseph 12 And after they were the husband of Mary, of whom þrought to Babylon, Jechonias was born Jesus, who is called begat Salathiel; and Salathiel Christ. begat Zorobabel;
17 So all the generations
17. So all the generations, &c. The ed; and, for a similar instance in relist of all the names from Abraham to spect to the word beget, see Deut. 4: Jesus being very long, it was desirable 25 ; Isa. 39 : 7; in which last verse, to abridge it. Hence several names the scriptural history shows that it was that occur in the Old Testament his- the comparatively remote descendants tory are omitted by Matthew. Thus, of Hezekiah, not his immediate chilin the 8th verse, Joram [Jehoram, 2 dren, who were to be carried captives Kings 8: 16) is said to have been the to Babylon. father of Ozias (Uzziah, 2 Chron. 26 : After the list of names was thus 1]. But by examining the history, as abridged, it was desirable, in order to given in the books of Kings and of aid the memory, to make a division of Chronicles, it will be seen that there the names recorded. For this purpose, were three kings between Joram and Matthew selected three principal eras Uzziah. There are, also, other omis- in the history of the Hebrews, and insions. In order to abbreviate a long cluded fourteen names in each class. list of names, omissions like these were The three eras are, the reign of Da common, as they are at the present vid, the commencement of the Babyday among the Arabians, who trace lonian captivity (here called the cartheir descent from Abraham. Such rying away to Babylon ; see 2 Kings, omissions do not, of course, impair the 24th and 25th chapters), and the birth genealogy, as a whole; for the prin- of the Messiah. By this means the cipal point to be obtained is secured, whole length of time from Abraham to that is, the tracing of the genealogy to the coming of the Messiah, is divided a particular individual, and doing this into three parts, as stated in the verse in a way that cannot lead to mistake. under consideration. By numbering It is here, however, necessary to ob- the names, there will be found fourserve that the words son and daughter, teen from Abraham to David; thence and the word beget, are used in the onward to the captivity that is, the Scriptures with a much broader appli- carrying away to Babylon), fourteen cation than among us. They are em- more; and then commencing anew ployed in reference to a person's remote with Jechonias (as the 12th verse seems descendants, as well as to his imme- to require), and including Jesus, there diate descendants. For an instance of is another set of fourteen names. this in the use of the word son, the first The evangelist Luke has also preverse of this chapter may be consult- | served a genealogical list of the names