Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 1:1-17

Ver. 1. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.

Jerome, Ez, i. 5. Hier. Prolog. in Com. in Matt.: ‘The face of a man’ (in Ezekiel’s vision) signifies Matthew, who accordingly opens his Gospel with the human genealogy of Christ.

Rabanus: By this exordium he shews that it is the birth of Christ according to the flesh that he has undertaken to narrate.

Pseudo-Chrys., Hom. in Matt., Hom. i: Matthew wrote for the Jews, and in Hebrew [ed. note: It seems to be the general witness of antiquity that there was a Hebrew copy of St. Matthew’s Gospel, whether written before or after the Greek. This Hebrew copy was interpolated by the Ebionites.]; to them it was unnecessary to explain the divinity which they recognized; but necessary to unfold the mystery of the Incarnation. John wrote in Greek for the Gentiles who knew nothing of a Son of God. They required therefore to be told first, that the Son of God was God, then that this Deity was incarnate.

Rabanus: Though the genealogy occupies only a small part of the volume, he yet begins thus, “The book of the generation.” For it is the manner of the Hebrews to name their books from that with which they open; as Genesis.

Gloss. Ordinaria: The full expression would be “This is the book of the generation;” but this is a usual ellipse; e.g. “The vision of Isaiah,” for, ‘This is the vision.’

“Generation,” he says in the singular number, though there be many here given in succession, as it is for the sake of the one generation of Christ that the rest are here introduced.

Chrys., Hom. in Matt., Hom. ii: Or he therefore entitles it, “The book of the generation,” because this is the sum of the whole dispensation, the root of all its blessings; viz. [p. 10] that God become man; for this once effected, all other things followed of course.

Rabanus: He says, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ,” because he knew it was written, ‘The book of the generation of Adam.’ He begins thus then, that he may oppose book to book, the new Adam to the old Adam, for by the one were all things restored which had been corrupted by the other.

Jerome, Hier. Comm. in Matt., ch. 1: We read in Isaiah, “Who shall declare His generation?” [Isa_53:8] But it does not follow that the Evangelist contradicts the Prophet, or undertakes what he declares impossible; for Isaiah is speaking of the generation of the Divine nature; St. Matthew of the incarnation of the human.

Chrys.: And do not consider this genealogy a small thing to hear: for truly it is a marvellous thing that God should descend to be born of a woman, and to have as His ancestors David and Abraham.

Remigius: Though any affirm that the prophet (Isaiah) does speak of His human generation, we need not answer to his enquiry, “Who shall declare it?” – “No man;” but, “Very few;” because Matthew and Luke have.

Rabanus: By saying, “of Jesus Christ,” he expresses both the kingly and priestly office to be in Him, for Jesus, who first bore this name, was after Moses, the first who was leader of the children of Israel; and Aaron, anointed by the mystical ointment, was the first priest under the Law.

Hilary, Quaest. Nov. et Vet. Test. q. 40: What God conferred on those, who, by the anointing of oil were consecrated as kings or priests, this the Holy Spirit conferred on the Man Christ; adding moreover a purification. The Holy Spirit cleansed that which taken of the Virgin Mary was exalted into the Body of the Saviour, and this is that anointing of the Body of the Saviour’s flesh whence He was called Christ.

[ed. note: This passage is from a work commonly ascribed to Hilary the Deacon. The Fathers bear out its doctrine; e.g. “Since the flesh is not holy in itself, therefore it was sanctified even in Christ, the Word which dwelt in it, through the Holy Ghost, sanctifying His own Temple, and changing it into the energy of His own Nature. For therefore is Christ’s Body understood to be both holy and hallowing, as being made a Temple of the Word united to it bodily, as Paul says.” Cyril Alex. lib. v. in Joann. p. 992.

In like manner, Gregory of Nazianzus speaks of “The Father of the True and really Anointed (Christ), whom He has anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows, anointing the manhood with the Godhead, so as to make both one.” Orat. 5. fin]

Because the impious craft of the Jews denied that Jesus was born of the seed of David, he adds, “The son of David, the son of Abraham.” [p. 11]

Chrys.: But why would it not have been enough to name one of them, David alone, or Abraham alone? Because the promise had been made to both of Christ to be born of their seed. To Abraham, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” [Gen_22:18] To David, “Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy seat.” [Psa_137:11]

He therefore calls Christ the Son of both, to shew that in Him was fulfilled the promise to both. Also because Christ was to have three dignities; King, Prophet, Priest; but Abraham was prophet and priest; priest, as God says to him in Genesis, “Take an heifer;” [Gen_15:9] Prophet, as the Lord said to Abimelech concerning him, “He is a prophet, and shall pray for thee.” [Gen_20:7] David was king and prophet, but not priest.

Thus He is expressly called the son of both, that the threefold dignity of His forefathers might be recognized by hereditary right in Christ.

Ambrose, in Luc. iii: He therefore names specially two authors of His birth – one who received the promise concerning the kindreds of the people, the other who obtained the oracle concerning the generation of Christ; and though he is later in order of succession is yet first named, inasmuch as it is greater to have received the promise concerning Christ than concerning the Church, which is through Christ; for greater is He who saves than that which is saved.

Jerome: The order of the names is inverted, but of necessity; for had he written Abraham first, and David afterwards, he would have to repeat Abraham again to preserve the series of the genealogy.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Another reason is that royal dignity is above natural, though Abraham was first in time, yet David is honour.

Gloss.: But since from this title it appears that the whole book is concerning Jesus Christ, it is necessary first to know what we must think concerning Him; for so shall be better explained what this book relates of Him.

Aug., de Haer, et 10: Cerinthus then and Ebion made Jesus Christ only man; Paul of Samosata, following them, asserted Christ not to have had an existence from eternity, but to have begun to be from His birth of the Virgin Mary; he also thought Him nothing more than man. This heresy was afterwards confirmed by Photinus.

Pseudo-Athan., Vigil. Tapsens. (Athan. Ed. Ben., vol ii, p. 646): The Apostle John, seeing long before by the Holy Spirit this man’s madness, rouses him from his deep sleep of error by the preaching of his voice, saying, “In the beginning was the [p. 12] Word.” [Joh_1:1]

He therefore, who in the beginning was with God, could not in this last time take the beginning of His being from man. He says further, (let Photinus hear his words,) “Father, glorify Me with that glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” [Joh_17:5]

Aug., de Haeres. 19: The error of Nestorius was, that he taught that a man only was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom the Word of God received not into Unity of person and inseparable fellowship; a doctrine which Catholic ears could not endure.

Cyril of Alexandria, Ep. i. ad Monachos Egypti.: Saith the Apostle of the Only-begotten, “Who being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God.” [Phi_2:6]

Who then is this who is in the form of God? or how emptied He Himself, and humbled Himself to the likeness of man? If the abovementioned heretics dividing Christ into two parts, i.e. the Man and the Word, affirm that it was the Man that was emptied of glory, they must first shew what form and equality with the Father are understood to be, and did exist, which might suffer any manner of emptying.

But there is no creature, in its own proper nature, equal with the Father; how then can any creature be said to be emptied? or from what eminence to descend to become man? Or how can he be understood to have taken upon Him, as though He had not at first, the form of a servant?

rBut, they say, the Word being equal with the Father dwelt in Man born of a woman, and this is the emptying. I hear the Son truly saying to the Holy Apostles, “If any man love Me, he will keep My saying, and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.” [Joh_14:23]

Hear how He saith that He and the Father will dwell in them that love Him. Do you then suppose that we shall grant that He is there emptied of His glory, and has taken upon Him the form of a servant, when He makes His abode in the hearts of them that love Him? Or the Holy Spirit, does He fulfil an assumption of human flesh when He dwells in our hearts?

parIsidore, Epist. lib. iv. 166: But not to mention all arguments, let us bring forward that one to which all arguments point, that, for one who was God to assume a lowly guise both has an obvious use, and is an adaptation and in nothing contradicts the course of nature. But for one who is man to speak things divine and supernatural is the highest presumption; for though a king may [p. 13] humble himself a common soldier may not take on him the state of an emperor. So, if He were God made man, all lowly things have place; but if mere man, high things have none.

Aug., de Haeres. 41: Sabellius they say was a disciple of Noctus, who taught that the same Christ was one and the same Father and Holy Spirit.

Pseudo-Athan., Vigil. Tapsens. (ibid. p. 644): The audaciousness of this most insane error I will curb by the authority of the heavenly testimonies, and demonstrate the distinct personality of the proper substance of the Son. I shall not produce things which are liable to be explained away as agreeable to the assumption of human nature; but shall offer such passages as all will allow to be decisive in proof of His divine nature.

In Genesis we find God saying, “Let Us make man in Our own Image.” By this plural number shewing, that there was some other person to whom He spoke. Had He been one, He would have been said to have made Him in His own Image, but there is another; and He is said to have made man in the Image of that other.

Gloss.: Other denied the reality of Christ’s human nature. Valentinus said that Christ sent from the Father, carried about a spiritual or celestial body, and took nothing of the Virgin, but passed through her as through a channel, taking nothing of her flesh. But we do not therefore believe Him to have been born of the Virgin, because by no other means He could have truly lived in the flesh, and appeared among men; but because it is so written in the Scripture, which if we believe not we cannot either be Christians, or be saved.

But even a body taken of spiritual, or ethereal, or clayey substance, had He willed to change into the true and very quality of human flesh, who will deny His power to do this? The Manichaeans said that the Lord Jesus Christ was a phantasm, and could not be born of the womb of a woman. But if the body of Christ was a phantasm, He was a deceiver, and if a deceiver, then He was not the truth. But Christ is the Truth; therefore His Body was not a phantasm.

Gloss.: And as the opening both of this Gospel, and of that according to Luke, manifestly proves Christ’s birth of a woman, and hence His real humanity, they reject the beginning of both these Gospels.

Aug., cont. Faust, ii, 1: Faustus affirms, that “the Gospel both begins, and begins to be so called, from the preaching of [p. 14] Christ, in which He no where affirms Himself to have been born of men. [ed. note: The Ebionites, as well as the Manichees, rejected the beginning of St. Matthew, vid. Epiphan. II arr. xxx. 23. And the Marcionites the beginning of St. Luke. Epiph. Haer. xlii, 11. But what exact portion they rejected is doubtful.]

Nay, so far is this genealogy from being part of the Gospel, that the writer does not venture so to entitle it; beginning, ‘The book of the generation,’ not ‘The book of the Gospel.’ Mark again, who cared not to write of the generation, but only of the preaching of the Son of God, which is properly The Gospel, begins thus accordingly, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.” Thus then, all that we read in Matthew before the words, “Jesus began to preach the Gospel of the kingdom,” [Matt 4:!4] is a part of the genealogy, not of the Gospel. I therefore betook myself to Mark and John, with whose prefaces I had good reason to be satisfied, as they introduce neither David, nor Mary, nor Joseph.”

To which Augustine replies, What will he say then to the Apostle’s words, “Remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ of the seed of David according to my Gospel.” [2Ti_2:8] But the Gospel of the Apostle Paul was likewise that of the other Apostles, and of all the faithful, as he says, “Whether I, or they, thus have we preached the Gospel.”

Aug., de Haer., 49: The Arians will not have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to be of one and the same substance, nature, and existence; but that the Son is a creature of the Father, and Holy Spirit a creature of a creature, i.e. created by the Son; further, they think that Christ took the flesh without a soul.

But John declares the Son to be not only God, but even of the same substance as the Father; [margin note: ref Id. de Trin. i. 6] for when he had said, “The Word was God,” he added, “all things were made by Him;” whence it is clear that He was not made by Whom all things were made; and if not made, then not created; and therefore of one substance with the Father, for all that is not of one substance with the Father is creature.

I know not what benefit the person of the Mediator has conferred upon us, if He redeemed not our better part, but took upon Him our flesh only, which without the soul cannot have consciousness of the benefit. But if Christ came to save that which had perished, [p. 15] the whole man had perished, and therefore needs a Saviour; Christ then in coming saves the whole man, taking on Him both soul and body.

How too do they answer innumerable objections from the Gospel Scriptures, in which the Lord speaks so many things manifestly contrary to them? as is that, “My soul is sorrowful even unto death,” [Mat_26:38] and, “I have power to lay down My life;” [Joh_10:18] and many more things of the like kind.

Should they say that He spoke thus in parables, we have at hand proofs from the Evangelists themselves, who in relating His actions, bear witness as to the reality of His body, so of His soul, by mention of passions which cannot be without a soul; as when they say, “Jesus wondered, was angry,” and others of like kind.

The Apollinarians also as the Arians affirmed that Christ had taken the human flesh without the soul [margin note: Id. de Haeres. 55]. But overthrown on this point by the weight of Scripture proof, they then said that part which is the rational soul of man was wanting to the soul of Christ, and that its place was filled by the Word itself.

But if it be so, then we must believe that the Word of God took on Him the nature of some brute with a human shape and appearance. But even concerning the nature of Christ’s body, there are some who have so far swerved from the right faith, as to say, that the flesh and the Word were of one and the same substance, most perversely insisting on that expression, The Word was made flesh; which they interpret that some portion of the Word was changed into flesh, not that He took to Him flesh of the flesh of the Virgin.

ed. note: Some of the Apollinarians thus hold. vid. Nyssen. vol. ii, p. 694. A.Theodor. Eranist. p. 174. ed. Schulz. The same doctrine was afterwards ascribed to the Eutychians, vid. Vigil. Taps. in Eutych. iv. Theod. Haer. iv. 13]

Cyril, Ep. ad Joan. Antioch. tom. 6, Ep. 107: We account those persons mad who have suspected that so much as the shadow of change could take place in the nature of the Divine Word; it abides what it ever was, neither is nor can be changed.

Leo, Epist. 59, ad Const.: We do not speak of Christ as man in such a sort as to allow that any thing was wanting to Him, which it is certain pertains to human nature, whether soul, or rational mind, or flesh, and flesh such as was taken of the Woman, not gained by a change or conversion of the Word into flesh.

These three several errors, that thrice false heresy of the Apollinarists has brought forward. Eutyches also chose out this third dogma of Apollinaris, which denying [p. 16] the verity of the human body and soul, maintained that our Lord Jesus Christ was wholly and entirely of one nature, as though the Divine Word had changed itself into flesh and soul, and as though the conception, birth, growth, and such like, had been undergone by that Divine Essence, which was incapable of any such changes with the very and true flesh; for such as is the nature of the Only-begotten, such is the nature of the Father, and such is the nature of the Holy Ghost, both impassible and eternal.

But if to avoid being driven to the conclusion that the Godhead could feel suffering and death, he departs from the corruption of Apollinaris, and should still dare to affirm the nature of the incarnate Word, that is of the Word and the flesh, to be the same, he clearly falls into the insane notions of Manichaeus and Marcion, and believes that the Lord Jesus Christ did all His actions with a false appearance, that His body was not a human body, but a phantasm, which imposed on the eyes of the beholders.

But what Eutyches ventured [margin note: Id. Ep. 35 ad Julian] to pronounce as an episcopal decision, that in Christ before His incarnation were two natures, but after His incarnation only one, it behoved that he should have been urgently pressed to give the reason of this his belief.

suppose that in using such language he supposed the soul which the Saviour took, to have had its abode in heaven before it was born of the Virgin Mary [ed. note, e: This opinion, which involves Nestorianism, the opposite error to Eutychianism or Monophysitism, is imputed to Eutyches by Flavian, ap. Leon. Ep. xxii. 3. Ephraem, Antioch, ap Phot. p. 805. Leont. de Sectis 7 init].

This Catholic hearts and ears endure not, for that the Lord when He came down from heaven shewed nothing of the condition of human nature, nor did He take on Him any soul that had existed before, nor any flesh that was not taken of the flesh of His mother. Thus what was justly condemned in Origen [ed. note, f: Vid. Origen in Joan. t. i. n. 37. t. xx. n. 17. Patriarch. ii. 6. n. 4. ix. Cels. i. 32, 33], must needs be rebuked in Eutyches, to wit, that our souls before they were placed in our bodies had actions not only wonderful but various.

Remig: These heresies therefore the Apostles overthrow in the opening of their Gospels, as Matthew in relating how He derived His descent from the kings of the Jews proves Him to have been truly man and to have had true flesh.

Likewise Luke, when he [p. 17] describes the priestly stock and person; Mark when he says, “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God;” and John when he says, “In the beginning was the Word;” both shew Him to have been before all ages God, with God the Father.

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

Aug., de Con. 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.” [Joh_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.

Chrys., Hom. iii, and Aug. City of God, 15, 15: 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 Ismael, his first-born? And again, “Isaac began 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. Ismael and Esau had not remained in the worship of the true God; but the brethren of Judah were reckoned in God’s people.

Chrys., 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 example.

[ed. note: Origen considered that there were three senses of Scripture, the literal or historical, the moral, and the mystical or spiritual, corresponding to the three parts of man, body, and soul, and spirit. Hom. in Lev. ii, 5, de Princio iv, p. 168. By the moral sense is meant, as the name implies, a practical application of the text; by mystical one which interprets it of the invisible and the spiritual world.]

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-Chyrs.: 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.

Remig.: Jacob is interpreted, ‘supplanter,’ and it is said of Christ, “Thou hast cast down beneath Me them that rose up against Me.” [Psa_18:43]

Pseudo-Chrys.: 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 us 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 ‘labouring,’ [ed. note, h: Leah full of labour, Jerom. de nomin. Hebr. from to weary one’s self.] for she is active in labour; Rachel ‘having seen the beginning,’ [ed. note, i: Rachel, in ewe, (as Gen_31:38, &c.) Jerom. ibid. who also gives the interpretation in the text, from  and  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.

Ver 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.

AUG. 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 Savior’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; 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 the blood was any hindrance to virtue, nor again any pride themselves insolently on nobility of birth.

CHRYSOST. Beside this, it shows 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 . 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-CHRYS. 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 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 Jew and Gentiles, as the Apostle speaks, Breaking down the middle wall of partition; and thus it fell out that time Gentiles, who were signified by Phares, as soon as the Law was broken through the 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; amad Esrom begat Aram; Arami begat Aminadab; Aminadab begat Naasson; and then Moses led them out of Egypt. Naasson was head of a tribe of Judah under Moses in the desert, where he began Salmon; and this Salmon it was who, as prince of the tribe of Judah, entered the hand of promise with Joshua.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. 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 vessel ,’ 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-CHRYS. 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 wed-lock might be descended a kingly race.

AMBROSE; 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 Savior’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. For this woman who was an alien, a Moabitess, a nation with whom the Mosaic Law forbade 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 fulfills 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.

GLOSS. Jesse, the father of David, two names, being more frequently called Isaiah, but the Prophet says, There shall come a rod from the stem of Jesse; therefore to show that this prophecy was fulfilled in Mary and Christ, the Evangelist puts Jesse.

REMIG. 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 ‘time divider,’ as it is written, You shall divide the sheep from the goats; He is Zaram, ‘the east,’ Lo the man, the east is His name; He is Esrom, ‘an arrow,’ He has set me as a polished shaft.’

RABAN. Or following another interpretation, according to the abundance of grace, and the width of love. He is ‘Aram the chosen’, according to that, Behold my Servant whom I have chosen. He is Amninadab, that is ‘willing’ in that he says, . I will freely sacrifice to You. Also He is Naasson, 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. He is Salmon, i.e. ‘that feels’, as He said, I feel that power is gone forth out of me.

GLOSS; Christ himself espouses Rahab, i.e. the Gentile Church; for Rehab 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 ‘hastening,’ and denotes the Church which in purity of heart sees God, and hastens to the prize of the heavenly call;

REMIG. Christ is also Booz, because He is strength, for when I am lifted up, I will draw all men to Me. He is Obeth, ‘a servant,’ for, the Son of man came not to be ministered to but to minister. He is Jesse, or ‘burnt,’ for, I am come to send fire on earth. He is David, ‘mighty in arm,’ for, the Lord is great and powerful; ‘desirable,’ for, He shall come, the Desire of all nations; ‘beautiful to behold’; according to that, Beautiful in form before the sons of men.

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 ‘bitterness.’ 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 ‘lofty,’ for as soon as one is detached from this world, and profits for another, he must needs be held to be elect of God, famous among 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, You have taken away the cup of my Lord, where with He is wont to divine. 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 Salomon, ‘that perceives,’ 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-CHRYS. This brave one is the son of Rahab, that is, of the Church; for Rahab signifies ‘breadth’ 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 is necessary for a slave to be quick, not slow.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. 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 ‘ incense .’ For it we serve God in love and fear, there will be a devotion is the heart, which in the heat and desire of the heart offers the sweetest incense to God. But when one has 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.

Ver 6-8. David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; and Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; and Asa begat Josaphat.

The Evangelist has now finished the first fourteen generations, and is come to the second, which consists of royal personages, and therefore beginning with David, who was the first king in the tribe of Judah, he calls him “David the king.”

Aug., de Cons. Evan., ii, 4: Since in Matthew’s genealogy is shewed forth the taking on Him by Christ of our sins, therefore he descends from David to Solomon, in whose mother David had sinned. Luke ascends to David through Nathan, for through Nathan the prophet of God punished David’s sin; because Luke’s genealogy is to shew the putting away of our sins.

Aug., Lib. Retract., ii, 16: That is it, must be said, through a prophet of the same name, for it was not Nathan the son of David who reproved him, but a prophet of the same name.

Remig.: Let us enquire why Matthew does not mention Bathsheba by name as he does the other women. Because the others, though deserving of much blame, were yet commendable for many virtues. But Bathsheba was not only consenting in the adultery, but in the murder of her husband, hence her name is not introduced in the Lord’s genealogy.

Gloss: Besides, he does not name Bathsheba, that, by naming Urias, he may recall to memory that great wickedness which she was guilty of towards him.

Ambrose: But the holy David is the more excellent in this, that he confessed himself to be but man, and neglected not to wash out with the tears of repentance the sin of which he had been guilty, in so taking away Urias’ wife. Herein shewing us that none ought to trust in his own strength, for we have a mighty adversary whom we cannot overcome without God’s aid. And you will commonly observe very heavy sins befalling to the share of illustrious men, that they may not from their other excellent virtues be thought more than men, but that you may see that as men they yield to temptation.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Solomon is interpreted, ‘peace-maker,’ because having subdued all the nations round about, and made them tributary, he had a peaceful reign. Roboam in interpreted, ‘by a multitude of people,’ for multitude is the mother of sedition; for where many are joined in a crime, that is commonly unpunishable. But a limit in numbers is the mistress of good order.

Ver 8-11. And Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; and Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; and Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; and Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon.

JEROME; In the fourth book of Kings we read, that Ochoezias was the son of Joram. On his death, Josabeth, sister of Ochozias and daughter of Joram, took Joash, her brother’s son, and preserved him from the slaughter of the royal seed by Athalias. To Joash succeeded his son Amasias; after him his son Azarias, who is called Ozias; after him his son Joathiam. Thus you see according to historical truth there were three intervening kings, who are omitted by the Evangelist. Joram, moreover, begot not Ozias, but Ochozias, and the rest as we have related. But because it was the purpose of the Evangelist to make each of the three periods consist of fourteen generations, and because Joram had connected himself with Jezebel’s most impious race, therefore his posterity to the third generation is omitted in tracing time lineage of the holy birth.

HILARY. Thus the stain of the Gentile alliance being purged, the royal race is again taken up in the fourth following generation.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. What the Holy Spirit testified through the Prophet, saying, that He would cut off every male from the house of Ahab, and Jezebel, that Jehu the son of Nausi fulfilled, and received the promise that his children to the fourth generation should sit on time throne of Israel. As great a blessing then as was given upon the house of Ahab, so great a curse was given on the house of Joram, because of the wicked daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, that his sons to the fourth generation should be cut out of the number of the Kings. Thus his sin descended on his posterity as it had been written, I will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation. Thus see how dangerous it is to marry with the seed of the ungodly.

AUG. Or, Ochozias, Joash, and Amasias, were excluded from time number, because their wickedness was continuous and without interval. For Solomon was suffered to hold the kingdom for his father’s deserts, Roboam for his son’s. But these three doing evil successively were excluded. This then is an example how a race is cut off when wickedness is shown therein in perpetual succession. And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Ahaz; and Ahaz begat Ezekias.

GLOSS; This Ezekias was he to whom, when he had no children , it was said, Set your house in order, for you shall die. He wept, not from desire of longer life, for he knew that Solomon had thereby pleased God, that he had not asked the length of days; but he wept, for he feared that God’s promise should not be fulfilled, when himself, being in the line of David of whom Christ should come, was without children. And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manassas begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. But the order in the Book of Kings is different, thus namely; Josias begot Eliakim; afterwards called Joakim; Joakim begot Jechonias. But Joakim is not reckoned among the Kings in the genealogy, because God’s people had not set him on the throne, but Pharaoh by his might. For if it were just that only for their intermixture with time race of Ahab, three kings should be shut out of the number in the genealogy, was it not just that Joakim should be likewise shut out, whom Pharaoh had set up as king by hostile force? And thus Jechonias, who is the son of Joakim, and the grandson of Josiah, is reckoned among the kings as the son of Josiah, in place of his father who is omitted.

JEROME. Otherwise, we may consider the first Jeconias to be the same as Joakim, and the second to be the son not the father, the one being spelled with k and m, the second by ch and n. This distinction has been confounded both by Greeks and Latins, by the fault of writers and the lapse of time.

AMBROSE. That there were two kings of the name of Joakim, is clear from the Book of Kings. And Joakim slept with his fathers:, and Joachin his son reigned in his stead. This son is the same whom Jeremiah calls Jeconias. And rightly did St. Matthew purpose to differ from the Prophet, because he sought to show therein the great abundance of the Lord’s mercies. For the Lord did not seek among men nobility of race, but suitably chose to be born of captives and of sinners, as He came to preach remission of sin to the captives. The Evangelist therefore did not conceal either of these; but rather showed them both, inasmuch as both were called Jeconias.

REMIG. But it may be asked, why the Evangelist says they were born in the carrying away, when they were born before the carrying away. He says this because they were born for this Purpose, that they should be led captive, from the dominion of the whole nation, for their own and others’ sins. And because God foreknew that they were to be carried away captive, therefore he says, they were born in the carrying away to Babylon. But of those whom the holy Evangelist places together in the Lord’s genealogy it should be known, that they were alike in good or ill fame. Judas and his brethren were notable for good, in like manner Pimares and Zara, Jechonias andhis brethren, were notable for evil.

GLOSS. Mystically, David is Christ, who overcame Golias, that is, the Devil. Urias, i.e. God is my light, is the Devil who says, I will be like the Highest. To Him the Church was married, when Christ on the Throne of the majesty of His Father loved her, and having made her beautiful, united her to Himself in wedlock. Or Urias is the Jewish nation who through the Law boasted of their light, from them Christ took away the Law, having taught it to speak of Himself. Bersabee is ‘the well of satiety,’ that is, the abundance of spiritual grace.

REMIG. Bersabee is interpreted ‘ the seventh well,’ or ‘the well of the oath;’ by which is signified the grant of baptism, in which is given the gift of the sevenfold Spirit, and the oath against the Devil is made. Christ is also Solomon, i.e. the peaceful, according to that of the Apostle, He is our peace. Roboam is, ‘ the breadth of the people,’ according to that, Many shall come from the East and from the West.

RABAN. Or; ‘the might of the people,’ because he quickly converts the people to the faith.

REMIG. He is also Abias, that is, ‘the Lord Father,’ according to that, One is your Father who is in heaven. And again, You call me Master and Lord. He is also Asa, that is, ‘lifting up’; according to that, Who takes away the sins of the world. He is also Josaphat, that is, ‘judging,’ for, The Father has committed all judgment to the Son. He is also Joram, that is, ‘lofty,’ according to that, No man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven. He is also Ozias, that is, ‘ the Lord’s strength,’ for, The Lord is my strength and my praise. He is also Jotham that is, ‘completed,’ or ‘perfected,’ for Christ is the end of the Law. He is also Ahaz, that is, ‘ turning,’ according to that, Be you turned to Me.

RABAN. Or, ’embracing’ because None knows the Father but the Son.

REMIG. He is also Ezekias, that is, ‘the strong Lord,’ or, ‘the Lord shall comfort;’ according to that, Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. He is also Manasses, that is, ‘forgetful,’ or, ‘ forgotten,’ according to that, I will not remember your sins any more. He is also Aaron , that is, ‘faithful,’ according to that, The Lord is faithful in all His words. He is also Josias, that is, ‘the incense of the Lord ,’ as, And being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly.

RABAN. And that incense signifies prayer, the Psalmist witnesses, saying, Let my prayer come up as incense before You. Or, ‘The salvation of the Lord,’ according to that, My salvation is forever.

REMIG. He is Jechonias, that is, ‘ preparing’, or ‘the Lord’s preparation,’ according to that, If I shall depart, I will also prepare a place for you.

GLOSS. Morally; after David follows Solomon, which is interpreted, ‘peaceful.’ For one then becomes peaceful, when unlawful motions being composed, and being as it were already set in the everlasting rest, he serves God, and turns others to Him. Then follows Roboam, that is ‘the breadth of the people.’ For when there is no longer any thing to overcome within himself, it is necessary for a man to look abroad to others, and to draw with him the people of God to heavenly things. Next is Abias, that is, ‘ the Lord Father’; for these things premised, He may proclaim Himself the Son of God, and then He will be Asa, that is, ‘raising up,’ and will ascend to His Father from virtue to virtue: and He will become Josaphat, that is, ‘judging,’ for He will judge others, and will be judged of none. Thus he becomes Joram, that is, ‘lofty,’ as it were dwelling on high; and is made Oziah, that is, ‘ the strong One of the Lord,’ as attributing all his strength to God, and persevering in his path. Then follows Jotham, that is, ‘perfect,’ for he grows daily to greater perfection. And thus he becomes Ahaz, that is, ’embracing,’ for by obedience knowledge is increased according to that, They have proclaimed the worship of the Lord, and have understood His doings. Then follows Ezekias, that is, ‘the Lord is strong,’ because he understands that God is strong, amid so turning to His love, he becomes Manasses ‘forgetful,’ because he gives up as forgotten all worldly things; and is made thereby Amon, that is ‘ faithful,’ for he who despises all temporal things, defrauds no man of his goods. Thus he is made Josias, that is, ‘in certain hope of the Lord’s salvation;’ for Josias is interpreted ‘ the salvation of the Lord.’

Ver 12-15. And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; and Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; and Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; and Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. After the carrying away, he sets Jeconiah again, as now become a private person.

AMBROSE. Of whom Jeremiah speaks. Write this man dethroned; for there shall not spring of his seed one sitting on the throne of David. How is this said of the Prophet, that none of the seed of Jeconias should reign? For if Christ reigned, and Christ was of the seed of Jeconiah, then the Prophet has spoken falsely. But it is not there declared that there shall be none of the seed of Jeconiah, and so Christ is of his seed; and that Christ did reign, is not in contradiction to the prophecy; for He did not reign with worldly honors, as He said, My kingdom is not of this world.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. Concerning Salathiel, we have read nothing either good or bad, but we suppose him to have been a holy man, and in the captivity to have consistently besought God in behalf of afflicted Israel, and that hence he was named Salathiel, ‘time petition of God’ Salathiel begot Zorobabel, which is interpreted, ‘flowing postponed,’ or, ‘of the confusion,’ or here, ‘the doctor of Babylon.” I have read, but know not whether it be true, that both the priestly line and the royal line were united in Zorobabel; and that it was through him that the children of Israel returned into their own country. For that in a disputation held between three, of which Zorobabel was one, each defending his own opinion, Zorobabel’s sentence that Truth was the strongest thing, prevailed; and that for this Darius granted him that the children of Israel return to their country; and therefore after this providence of God, he was rightly called Zorobabel, ‘time doctor of Babylon.’ For what doctrine is greater than to show that Truth is the mistress of all things?

GLOSS; But this seems to contradict the genealogy which is read in Chronicles. For there it is said, that Jeconias begot Salathiel and Phadaias, and Phadaias begot Zorobabel, and Zorobabel Mosollah, Ananias, and Salomith their sister. But we know that many parts of the Chronicles have been corrupted by time, and error of transcribers. Hence come many and controverted questions of genealogies which the Apostle bids us avoid. Or it may be said, that Salathiel and Phadaias are the same man under two different names. Or that Salathiel anti Phadaias were brothers, and both had sons of the same name, and that the writer of the history followed the genealogy of Zorobabel, the son of Salathiel. From Abiud down to Joseph, no history is found in the Chronicles; but we read that the Hebrews had many other annals, which were called the Words of the Days, of which much was burned by Herod, who was a foreigner, in order to confound the descent of the royal line. And perhaps Joseph had read in them the names of his ancestors, or knew them from some other source. And thus the Evangelist could learn the succession of this genealogy. It should be noted, that the first Jeconiah is called the resurrection of the Lord, the second, the preparation of the Lord. Both are very applicable to the Lord Christ, who declares, I am the resurrection, and the life; and I go to Prepare a place for you. Salathiel, i.e. the Lord is my ‘petition’ is suitable to Him who said, Holy Father, keep them whom You have given Me.

REMIG. He is also Zorobabel, that is, ‘ the master of confusion,’ according to that, Your Master eats with publicans and sinners. He is Abiud that is, ‘He is my Father,’ according to that, I and the Father are One. He is also Eliacin, that is, ‘God the Reviver,’ according to that, I will revive him again in the last day. He is also Azor, that is, ‘aided,’ according to that He who sent Me is with Me. He is also Sadoch, that is; ‘the just,’ or, ‘ the justified,’ according to that, He was delivered, the just for the unjust. He is also Achim, that is ‘ my brother is he,’ according to that, Who so does the will of My Father, he is My brother. He is also Eliud, that is; ‘He is my God,’ according to that, My Lord, and my God.

GLOSS. He is also Eleazar, i.e. ‘God is my helper,’ as in the seventeenth Psalm, My God, my helper. He is also Mathan, that is, ‘giving,’ or, ‘given,’ for, He gave gifts for men; and, God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.

REMIG. He is also Jacob, ‘that supplants,’ for not only has He supplanted the evil, but has given His power to His faithful people; as, Behold I have given you power to tread upon serpents. He is also Joseph , that is, ‘adding,’ according to that, I came that they might have life, and that they might have it abundantly.

RABAN. But let us see what moral signification these names contain. After Jeconias, which means ‘the preparation of the Lord,’ follows Salathiel, i.e. ‘God is my petition for he who is rightly prepared, prays not but of God. Again he becomes Zorobabel, ‘the master of Babylon,’ that is, the men of time earth, whom He makes to know concerning God, that He is their Father, which is signified in Abiud. Then that people rise again from their vices, whence follow Eliacim, ‘the resurrection;’ and thence rise to good work which is Azor, and becomes Sadoch, i.e. ‘righteous;’ and then they are taught the love of their neighbor. He is my brother, which is signified in Achim; and through love to God he says of Him, ‘My God,’ which Eliud signifies. Then follows Eleazar, i.e. ‘God is my helper;’ he recognizes God his helper. But whereto he tends is shown in Matthan, which is interpreted ‘gift,’ or ‘giving;’ for he looks to God as his benefactor; and as he wrestled with and overcame his vice in the beginning, so he does in the end of life, which belongs to Jacob, and thus he reaches Joseph, that is,’ The increase of virtues.

Ver 16. And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Gloss: In the last place, after all the patriarchs, he sets down Joseph the husband of Mary, for whose sake all the rest are introduced, saying, “But Jacob begot Joseph.”

Jerome: This passage is objected to us by the Emperor Julian in his Discrepancy of the Evangelists. Matthew calls Joseph the son of Jacob, Luke makes him the son of Heli. He did not know the Scripture manner, one was his father by nature, the other by law. For we know that God commanded by Moses, that if a brother or near kinsman died without children, another should take his wife, to raise up seed to his brother or kinsman. [Deut 25]

But of this matter Africanus the chronologist [ed. note: In his Epist. ad Aristidem, vid. Reuth Reliqu. vol. ii, p. 114. Africanus], and Eusebius of Caesarea, have disputed more fully.

Euseb., Hist. Eccles. i, 7: For Matthan and Melchi at different periods had each a son by one and the same wife Jesca. Matthan, who traced through Solomon, first had her, and died leaving one son, Jacob by name. As the Law forbade not a widow, either dismissed from her husband, or after the death of her husband, to be married to another, so Melchi, who traced through Matthan, being of the same tribe but of another race, took this widow to his wife, and begat Heli his son.

Thus shall we find Jacob and Heli, though of a different race, yet by the same mother, to have been brethren. One of whom, namely Jacob, after Heli his brother was deceased without issue, married his wife, and begat on her the third, Joseph, by nature indeed and reason his own son. Whereupon also it is written, “And Jacob begat Joseph.” But by the Law, he was the son of Heli; for Jacob, being his brother, raised up seed to him.

Thus the genealogy, both as recited by Matthew, and by Luke, stands right and true; Matthew saying, “And Jacob begot Joseph;” Luke saying, “Which was the son, as it was supposed, (for he adds this withal,) of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, which was the son of Melchi.”

Nor could he have more significantly or properly expressed that way of generation according to the Law, which was made by a certain adoption that had respect to the dead, carefully leaving out the word “begetting” throughout even to the end.

Augustine, de Cons. Evan., ii, 2: He is more properly called his son, by whom he was adopted, than had he been said to have been begotten of him of whose flesh he was not born. Wherefore Matthew, in saying, “Abraham begot Isaac,” and continuing the same phrase throughout down to “Jacob begot Joseph,” sufficiently declares that he gives the father according to the order of nature, so as that we must hold Joseph to have been begotten, not adopted, by Jacob. Though even if Luke had used the word, “begotten,” we need not have thought it any serious objection; for it is not absurd to say of an adopted son that he is begotten, not after the flesh, but by affection.

Euseb.: Neither does this lack good authority; nor has it been suddenly devised by us for this purpose. For the kinsmen of our Saviour according to the flesh, either out of desire to shew forth this their so great nobility of stock, or simply for the truth’s sake, have delivered it unto us.

Aug., de Cons. Evan., ii, 4: And suitably does Luke, who relates Christ’s ancestry not in the opening of his Gospel, but at his baptism, follow the line of adoption, as thus more clearly pointing Him out as the Priest that should make atonement for sin. For by adoption we are made the sons of God, by believing in the Son of God. But by the descent according to the flesh which Matthew follows, we rather see that the Son of God was for us made man.

Luke sufficiently shews that he called Joseph the son of Heli, because he was adopted by Heli, by his calling Adam the son of God, which he was by grace, as he was set in Paradise, though he lost it afterwards by sinning.

Chyrs., Hom. 4: Having gone through all the ancestry, and ended in Joseph, he adds, “The husband of Mary,” thereby declaring that is was for her sake that he was included in the genealogy.

Jerome: When you hear this word, “husband,” do not straight bethink you of wedlock, but remember the Scripture manner, which calls persons only betrothed husband and wife.

Gennadius, de Eccles. Dog., 2: The Son of God was born of human flesh, that is of Mary, and not by man after the way of nature, as Ebion says; and accordingly it is significantly added, “Of her Jesus was born.”

Aug., De Haeres, ii: This is said against Valentinus, who taught that Christ took nothing of the Virgin Mary, but passed through her as through a channel or pipe.

Wherefore it pleased Him to take flesh of the womb of a woman, is known in His own secret counsels; whether that He might confer honour on both sexes alike, by taking the form of a man, and being born of a woman, or from some other reason which I would not hastily pronounce on.

Hilary, Quaest. Nov. et Vet. Test. q. 49: What God conveyed by the anointing of oil to those who were anointed to be kings, this the Holy Spirit conveyed upon the man Christ, adding thereto the expiation; wherefore when born He was called Christ; and thus it proceeds, “who is called Christ.”

Aug., de Cons. Evan., ii, 1: It was not lawful that he should think to separate himself from Mary for this, that she brought forth Christ as yet a Virgin. And herein may the faithful gather, that if they be married, and preserve strict continence on both sides, yet may their wedlock hold with union of love only, without carnal; for here they see that it is possible that a son be born without carnal embrace.

Aug., de Nupt. et Concup., i, 11: In Christ’s parents was accomplished every good benefit of marriage, fidelity, progeny, and a sacrament. The progeny we see in the Lord Himself; fidelity, for there was no adultery; sacrament, for there was no divorce.

Jerome: The attentive reader may ask, Seeing Joseph was not the father of the Lord and Saviour, how does his genealogy traced down to him in order pertain to the Lord? We will answer, first, that it is not the practice of Scripture to follow the female line in its genealogies; secondly, that Joseph and Mary were of the same tribe, and that he was thence compelled to take her to wife as a kinsman, and they were enrolled together at Bethlehem, as being come of one stock.

Augustine: Also, the line of descent ought to be brought down to Joseph, that in wedlock no wrong might be done to the male sex, as the more worthy, providing only nothing was taken away from the truth; because Mary was of the seed of David.

Hence then we believe that Mary was in the line of David; namely, because we believe the Scripture which affirms two things, both that Christ was of the seed of David according to the flesh, and that He should be conceived of Mary not by knowledge of man, but as yet a virgin.

The Council of Ephesus: Herein we must beware of the error of Nestorius, who thus speaks; “When Divine Scripture is to speak either of the birth of Christ which is of the Virgin Mary, or His death, it is never seen to put God, but either, Christ, or Son, or Lord; since these three are significative of the two natures, sometimes of this, sometimes of that, and sometimes of both this and that together. And here is a testimony to this, ‘Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.’ For God the Word needed not a second birth of a woman.”

Pseudo-Aug., Vigil. Cont. Fel. 12. ap. Aug. t. 8. p. 45: But not one was the Son of God, and another the son of a man; but the same Christ was the son of both God and man. And as in one man, the soul is one and the body is another, so in the mediator between God and man, the Son of God was one, and the son of man another; yet of both together was one Christ the Lord. Two in distinction of substance, one in unity of Person.

But the heretic objects; “how can you teach Him to have been born in time whom you say was before coeternal with His Father? For birth is as it were a motion of a thing not in being, before it be born, bringing about this, that by benefit of birth it come into being. Whence it is concluded, that He who was in being cannot be born; if He could be born He was not in being.”

(To this it is replied by Augustine:) Let us imagine, as many will have it, that the universe has a general soul, which by some unspeakable motion gives life to all seeds, so as that itself is not mixed up with the things it produces. When this then passes forth into the womb to form passible matter to its own uses, it makes one with itself the person of that thing which it is clear has not the same substance.

And thus, the soul being active and the matter passive, of two substances is made one man, the soul and the flesh being distinct; thus it is that our confession is, that that soul is born of the womb which in coming to the womb we say conferred life on the thing conceived. He, I say, is said to be born of His mother, who shaped to Himself a body out of her, in which He might be born; not as though before He was born, His mother might, as far as pertained to Him, not have been in being. In like manner, yea in a manner yet more incomprehensible and sublime, the Son of God was born, by taking on Him perfect manhood of his Mother. He who by his singular almighty power is the cause of their being born to all things that are born.

 Ver. 17. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. 

Pseudo-Chrys.: Having enumerated the generations from Abraham to Christ, he divides them into three divisions of fourteen generations, because three times at the end of fourteen generations the state of the people of the Jews was changed. From Abraham to David they were under Judges; from David to the carrying away into Babylon under Kings; from the carrying away to Christ under the High Priests.

What he would shew then is this: like as ever at the end of fourteen generations the state of men has changed, so there being fourteen generations completed from the carrying away to Christ, it must needs be that the state of men be changed by Christ. And so since Christ all the Gentiles have been made under one Christ Judge, King, and Priest. And for that Judges, Kings, and Priests prefigured Christ’s dignity, their beginnings were always in a type of Christ; the first of the Judges was Joshua the son of Nave; the first of the Kings, David; the first of the Priests, Jesus son of Josedech. That this was typical of Christ none doubts.

Chrys.: Or he divided the whole genealogy into three parts to shew that not even by the change of their government were they made better, but under Judges, Kings, High Priests, and Priests, held the same evil course. For which cause also he mentions the captivity in Babylon, shewing that neither by this were they corrected. But the going down into Egypt is not mentioned, because they were not still in terror of the Egyptians as they were of the Assyrians or Parthians; and because that was a remote, but this a recent event; and because they had not been carried thither for sin as they had to Babylon.

Ambrose, in Luc., c. 3: Let us not think this is to be overlooked, that though there were seventeen Kings of Judaea between David and Jeconiah, Matthew only recounts fourteen. We must observe that there [p. 38] might be many more successions to the throne than generations of men; for some may live longer and beget children later; or might be altogether without seed; thence the number of Kings and of generations would not coincide.

Gloss: Or we may say that there are three Kings overlooked, as was said above.

Ambrose: Again, from Jeconiah to Joseph are computed twelve generations; yet he afterwards calls these also fourteen. But if you look attentively, you will be able to discover the method by which fourteen are reckoned here. Twelve are reckoned including Joseph, and Christ is the thirteenth; and history declares that there were two Joakims, that is two Jeconiahs, father and son. The Evangelist has not passed over either of these, but has named them both. Thus, adding the younger Jeconiah, fourteen generations are computed.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or, the same Jeconiah is counted twice in the Gospel, once before the carrying away, and again after the carrying away. For this Jeconiah being one person had two different conditions; before the carrying away he was King, as being made King by the people of God; but he became a private man at the carrying away; hence he is reckoned once among the Kings before the carrying away; and after the carrying away once among private men.   Aug., de Cons. Evan, ii, 4: Or, one of Christ’s forefathers is counted twice, because in him, Jeconiah to wit, there was made a passing off to strange nations since he was carried to Babylon. Wherever a series turns out of the right line to go in any other direction there is an angle made, and that part that is in the angle is reckoned twice. Thus here is a figure of Christ, who passes from the circumcision to the uncircumcision, and is made a cornerstone.

Remig.: He made fourteen generations, because the ten denotes the Decalogue, and the four the four books of the Gospel; whence this shews the agreement of the Law and the Gospel. And he put the fourteen three times over, that he might shew that the perfection of law, prophecy, and grace, consists in the faith of the Holy Trinity.

Gloss: Or in this number is signified the sevenfold grace of the Holy Spirit. The number is made up of seven, doubled, to shew that the grace of the Holy Spirit is needed both for soul and body to salvation.

Also the genealogy is divided into three portions of fourteen thus. The first from Abraham [p. 39] to David, so as that David is included in it; the second from David to the carrying away, in which David is not included, but the carrying away is included; the third is from the carrying away to Christ, in which if we say that Jeconiah is included, then the carrying away is included. In the first are denoted the men before the Law, in which you will find some of the men of the Law of nature, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all as far as Solomon.

In the second are denoted the men under the Law; for all who are included in it were under the Law.

In the third are found the men of grace; for it is finished in Christ, who was the giver of grace; and because in it was the deliverance from Babylon, signifying the deliverance from captivity that was made by Christ.

Aug.: After having divided the whole into three periods of fourteen generations, he does not sum them all up and say, The sum of the whole is forty and two; because one of those fathers, that is Jeconiah, is reckoned twice; so that they do not amount to forty-two, as three times fourteen does, but because one is reckoned twice over, there are only forty-one generations.

Matthew therefore, whose purpose was to draw out Christ’s kingly character, counts forty successions in the genealogy exclusive of Christ. This number denotes the time for which we must be governed by Christ in this world, according to that painful discipline which is signified by the iron rod of which it is written in the Psalms, “Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron.”

That this number should denote this our temporal life, a reason offers at hand, in this, that the seasons of the year are four, and that the world itself is bounded by four sides, the east, the west, the north, and the south. But forty contains ten four times. Moreover, ten itself is made up by a number proceeding from one to four.

Gloss: Or, the ten refers to the decalogue, the four to this life present, which passes through four seasons; or by the ten is meant the Old Testament, by the four the New.

Remig.: But if any, maintaining that it is not the same Jeconiah, but two different persons, make the number forty and two, we then shall say that the Holy Church is signified; for this number is the product of seven, and six; (for six times seven make forty-two;) the six denotes labour, and the seven rest.

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One Response to Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 1:1-17

  1. Pingback: Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Dec 24) | stjoeofoblog

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