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Matthew 1:3-6

3–6. And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; and Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king.

GLOSS. Passing over the other sons of Jacob, the Evangelist follows the family of Judah, saying, But Judah begat Phares and Zara of Thamar.

AUGUSTINE. (de Civ. Dei, xv. 15.) Neither was Judah himself a first-born, nor of these two sons was either his first-born; he had already had three before them. So that he keeps in that line of descent, by which he shall arrive at David, and from him whither he purposed.

JEROME. It should be noted, that none of the holy women are taken into the Saviour’s genealogy, but rather such as Scripture has condemned, that He who came for sinners being born of sinners might so put away the sins of all; thus Ruth the Moabitess follows among the rest.

AMBROSE. (in Luc. c. 3.) But Luke has avoided the mention of these, that he might set forth the series of the priestly race immaculate. But the plan of St. Matthew did not exclude the righteousness of natural reason; for when he wrote in his Gospel, that He who should take on Him the sins of all, was born in the flesh, was subject to wrongs and pain, he did not think it any detraction from His holiness that He did not refuse the further humiliation of a sinful parentage. Nor, again, would it shame the Church to be gathered from among sinners, when the Lord Himself was born of sinners; and, lastly, that the benefits of redemption might have their beginning with His own forefathers: and that none might imagine that a stain in their blood was any hindrance to virtue, nor again any pride themselves insolently on nobility of birth.

CHRYSOSTOM. Besides this, it shews that all are equally liable to sin; for here is Thamar accusing Judah of incest, and David begat Solomon with a woman with whom he had committed adultery. But if the Law was not fulfilled by these great ones, neither could it be by their less great posterity, and so all have sinned, and the presence of Christ is become necessary.

AMBROSE. (ubi sup.) Observe that Matthew does not name both without a meaning; for though the object of his writing only required the mention of Phares, yet in the twins a mystery is signified; namely, the double life of the nations, one by the Law, the other by Faith.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. By Zarah is denoted the people of the Jews, which first appeared in the light of faith, coming out of the dark womb of the world, and was therefore marked with the scarlet thread of the circumciser, for all supposed that they were to be God’s people; but the Law was set before their face as it had been a wall or hedge. Thus the Jews were hindered by the Law, but in the times of Christ’s coming the hedge of the Law was broken down that was between Jews and Gentiles, as the Apostle speaks, Breaking down the middle wall of partition; (Eph. 2:14.) and thus it fell out that the Gentiles, who were signified by Phares, as soon as the Law was broken through by Christ’s commandments, first entered into the faith, and after followed the Jews.

GLOSS. Judah begat Phares and Zarah before he went into Egypt, whither they both accompanied their father. In Egypt, Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; Aram begat Aminadab; Aminadab begat Naasson; and then Moses led them out of Egypt. Naasson was head of the tribe of Judah under Moses in the desert, where he begat Salmon; and this Salmon it was who, as prince of the tribe of Judah, entered the land of promise with Joshua.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. But as we believe that the names of these Fathers were given for some special reason under the providence of God, it follows, but Naasson begat Salmon. This Salmon after his father’s death entered the promised land with Joshua as prince of the tribe of Judah. He took a wife of the name of Rahab. This Rahab is said to have been that Rahab the harlot of Jericho who entertained the spies of the children of Israel, and hid them safely. For Salmon being noble among the children of Israel, inasmuch as he was of the tribe of Judah, and son of the prince thereof, beheld Rahab so ennobled through her great faith, that she was worthy whom he should take to wife. Salmon is interpreted ‘receive a vesselk,’ perhaps as if invited in God’s providence by his very name to receive Rahab a vessel of election.

GLOSS. This Salmon in the promised land begat Booz of this Rahab. Booz begat Obeth of Ruth.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. How Booz took to wife a Moabitess whose name was Ruth, I thought it needless to tell, seeing the Scripture concerning them is open to all. We need but say thus much, that Ruth married Booz for the reward of her faith, for that she had cast off the gods of her forefathers, and had chosen the living God. And Booz received her to wife for reward of his faith, that from such sanctified wedlock might be descended a kingly race.

AMBROSE. (ubi sup.) But how did Ruth who was an alien marry a man that was a Jew? and wherefore in Christ’s genealogy did His Evangelist so much as mention a union, which in the eye of the law was bastard? Thus the Saviour’s birth of a parentage not admitted by the law appears to us monstrous, until we attend to that declaration of the Apostle, The Law was not given for the righteous, but for the unrighteous. (1 Tim. 1:9.) For this woman who was an alien, a Moabitess, a nation with whom the Mosaic Law forbad all intermarriage, and shut them totally out of the Church, how did she enter into the Church, unless that she were holy and unstained in her life above the Law? Therefore she was exempt from this restriction of the Law, and deserved to be numbered in the Lord’s lineage, chosen from the kindred of her mind, not of her body. To us she is a great example, for that in her was prefigured the entrance into the Lord’s Church of all of us who are gathered out of the Gentiles.

JEROME. Ruth the Moabitess fulfils the prophecy of Isaiah, Send forth, O Lord, the Lamb that shall rule over the earth, out of the rock of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion. (Is. 16:1.)

GLOSS. Jesse, the father of David, has two names, being more frequently called Isai. But the Prophet says, There shall come a rod from the stem of Jesse; (Is. 11:1.) therefore to shew that this prophecy was fulfilled in Mary and Christ, the Evangelist puts Jesse.

REMIGIUS. It is asked, why this epithet King is thus given by the holy Evangelist to David alone? Because he was the first king in the tribe of Judah. Christ Himself is Phares ‘the divider,’ as it is written, Thou shalt divide the sheep from the goats; (Mat. 25:33.) He is Zaraml, ‘the east,’ Lo the man, the east is His name; (Zech. 6:12.) He is Esromm, ‘an arrow,’ He hath set me as a polished shaft. (Is. 49:2.)

RABANUS. Or following another interpretation, according to the abundance of grace, and the width of love. He isn Aram the chosen, according to that, Behold my Servant whom I have chosen. (Is. 42:1.) He is Aminadab, that is ‘willingo,’ in that He says, I will freely sacrifice to Thee. (Is. 54:6.) Also He is Naassonp, i. e. ‘augury,’ as He knows the past, the present, and the future; or, ‘like a serpent,’ according to that, Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness. (John 3:14.) He isq Salmon, i. e. ‘that feeleth,’as He said, I feel that power is gone forth out of me. (Luke 8:46.)

GLOSS. Christ Himself espouses Rahab, i. e. the Gentile Church; for Rahabr is interpreted either ‘hunger,’ or ‘breadth,’ or ‘might;’ for the Church of the Gentiles hungers and thirsts after righteousness, and converts philosophers and kings by the might of her doctrine. Ruth is interpreted either ‘seeing’ or ‘hastenings’ and denotes the Church which in purity of heart sees God, and hastens to the prize of the heavenly call.

REMIGIUS. Christ is also Boozt, because He is strength, for, When I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me. (John 12:32.) He is Obeth. ‘a servantu,’ for, the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. (Mat. 20:28.) He is Jesse, or ‘burntx,’ for, I am come to send fire on earth. (Luke 12:49.) He is Davidy, ‘mighty in arm,’ for, the Lord is great and powerful; (Ps. 24:8.) ‘desirable,’ for, He shall come, the Desire of all nations; (Hag. 2:7.) ‘beautiful to behold,’ according to that, Beautiful in form before the sons of men. (Ps. 45:3.)

GLOSS. Let us now see what virtues they be which these fathers edify in us; for faith, hope, and charity are the foundation of all virtues; those that follow are like additions over and above them. Judah is interpreted ‘confession,’ of which there are two kinds, confession of faith, and of sin. If then, after we be endowed with the three forementioned virtues, we sin, confession not of faith only but of sin is needful for us. Phares is interpreted ‘division,’ Zamar ‘the east,’ and Thamar ‘bitternessz.’ Thus confession begets separation from vice, the rise of virtue, and the bitterness of repentance. After Phares follows Esron, ‘an arrow,’ for when one is separated from vice and secular pursuits, he should become a dart wherewith to slay by preaching the vices of others. Aram is interpreted ‘elect’ or ‘loftya,’ for as soon as one is detached from this world, and profiteth for another, he must needs be held to be elect of God, famous amongst men, high in virtue. Naasson is ‘augury,’ but this augury is of heaven, not of earth. It is that of which Joseph boasted when he said, Ye have taken away the cup of my Lord, where with He is wont to divine. (Gen. 44:5.) The cup is the divine Scripture wherein is the draught of wisdom; by this the wise man divines, since in it he sees things future, that is, heavenly things. Next is Salomonb, ‘that perceiveth,’ for he who studies divine Scripture becomes perceiving, that is, he discerns by the taste of reason, good from bad, sweet from bitter. Next is Booz, that is ‘brave,’ for who is well taught in Scripture becomes brave to endure all adversity.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. This brave one is the son of Rahab, that is, of the Church; for Rahab signifies ‘breadth’ or ‘spread out,’ for because the Church of the Gentiles was called from all quarters of the earth, it is called ‘breadth.’

GLOSS. Then follows Obeth, i. e. ‘servitude,’ for which none is fit but he who is strong; and this servitude is begotten of Ruth, that is ‘haste,’ for it behoves a slave to be quick, not slow.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. They who look to wealth and not temper, to beauty and not faith, and require in a wife such endowments as are required in harlots, will not beget sons obedient to their parents or to God, but rebellious to both; that their children may be punishment of their ungodly wedlock. Obeth begat Jesse, that is ‘refreshment,’ for whoever is subject to God and his parents, begets such children as prove his ‘refreshment.’

GLOSS. Or Jesse may be interpreted ‘incensec.’ For it we serve God in love and fear, there will be a devotion in the heart, which in the heat and desire of the heart offers the sweetest incense to God. But when one is become a fit servant, and a sacrifice of incense to God, it follows that he becomes David, (i. e. ‘of a strong hand,’) who fought mightily against his enemies, and made the Idumeans tributary. In like manner ought he to subdue carnal men to God by teaching and example.

Matt 1:3-6

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