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Matthew 1:2

2. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren.

AUGUSTINE. (De Cons. Evan. ii. 1.) Matthew, by beginning with Christ’s genealogy, shews that he has undertaken to relate Christ’s birth according to the flesh. But Luke, as rather describing Him as a Priest for the atonement of sin, gives Christ’s genealogy not in the beginning of his Gospel, but at His baptism, when John bare that testimony, Lo, He that taketh away the sins of the world. (John 1:29.) In the genealogy of Matthew is figured to us the taking on Him of our sins by the Lord Christ; in the genealogy of Luke, the taking away of our sins by the same; hence Matthew gives them in a descending, Luke in an ascending, series. But Matthew, describing Christ’s human generation in descending order, begins his enumeration with Abraham.

AMBROSE. (in Luc. cap. 3. lib. iii. n. 7, 8.) For Abraham was the first who deserved the witness of faith; He believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. It behoved therefore that he should be set forth as the first in the line of descent, who was the first to deserve the promise of the restoration of the Church, In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. And it is again brought to a period in David, for that Jesus should be called his Son; hence to him is preserved the privilege, that from him should come the beginning of the Lord’s genealogy.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. iii.) Matthew then, desiring to preserve in memory the lineage of the Lord’s humanity through the succession of His parents, begins with Abraham, saying, Abraham begat Isaac. Why does he not mention lsmael, his first-born? And again, Isaac begat Jacob; why does he not speak of Esau his first-born? Because through them he could not have come down to David.

GLOSS. Yet he names all the brethren of Judah with him in the lineage. lsmael and Esau had not remained in the worship of the true God; but the brethren of Judah were reckoned in God’s people.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. iii.) Or, he names all the twelve Patriarchs that he may lower that pride which is drawn from a line of noble ancestry. For many of these were born of maidservants, and yet were Patriarchs and heads of tribes.

GLOSS. But Judah is the only one mentioned by name, and that because the Lord was descended from him only. But in each of the Patriarchs we must note not their history only, but the allegorical and moral meaning to be drawn from them; allegory, in seeing whom each of the Fathers foreshewed; moral instruction in that through each one of the Fathers some virtue may be edified in us either through the signification of his name, or through his exampleg. Abraham is in many respects a figure of Christ, and chiefly in his name, which is interpreted the Father of many nations, and Christ is Father of many believers. Abraham moreover went out from his own kindred, and abode in a strange land; in like manner Christ, leaving the Jewish nation, went by His preachers throughout the Gentiles.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Isaac is interpreted ‘laughter,’ but the laughter of the saints is not the foolish convulsion of the lips, but the rational joy of the heart, which was the mystery of Christ. For as he was granted to his parents in their extreme age to their great joy, that it might be known that he was not the child of nature, but of grace, thus Christ also in this last time came of a Jewish mother to be the joy of the whole earth; the one of a virgin, the other of a woman past the age, both contrary to the expectation of nature.

REMIGIUS. Jacob is interpreted ‘supplanter,’ and it is said of Christ, Thou hast cast down beneath Me them that rose up against Me. (Ps. 18:43.)

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Our Jacob in like manner begot the twelve Apostles in the Spirit, not in the flesh; in word, not in blood. Judah is interpreted ‘confessor,’ for he was a type of Christ who was to be the confessor of His Father, as He spake, I confess to Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.

GLOSS. Morally; Abraham signifies to us the virtue of faith in Christ, as an example himself, as it is said of him, Abraham believed God, and it was accounted unto Him for righteousness. Isaac may represent hope; for Isaac is interpreted ‘laughter,’ as he was the joy of his parents; and hope is our joy, making ns to hope for eternal blessings and to joy in them. Abraham begat Isaac, and faith begets hope. Jacob signifies ‘love,’ for love embraces two lives; active in the love of our neighbour, contemplative in the love of God; the active is signified by Leah, the contemplative by Rachel. For Leah is interpreted. ‘labouringh,’ for she is active in labour; Racheli ‘having seen the beginning,’ because by the contemplative, the beginning, that is God, is seen. Jacob is born of two parents, as love is born of faith and hope; for what we believe, we both hope for and love.

Matt 1:2

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