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Matthew 1:18-25

Context
The Birth of Jesus Christ

1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way. While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together, 1  she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 1:19 Because Joseph, her husband to be, 2  was a righteous man, and because he did not want to disgrace her, he intended to divorce her 3  privately. 1:20 When he had contemplated this, an 4  angel of the Lord 5  appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 1:21 She will give birth to a son and you will name him 6  Jesus, 7  because he will save his people from their sins.” 1:22 This all happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: 1:23Look! The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him 8  Emmanuel,” 9  which means 10 God with us.” 11  1:24 When Joseph awoke from sleep he did what the angel of the Lord 12  told him. He took his wife, 1:25 but did not have marital relations 13  with her until she gave birth to a son, whom he named 14  Jesus.

1 tn The connotation of the Greek is “before they came together in marital and domestic union” (so BDAG 970 s.v. συνέρχομαι 3).

2 tn Grk “husband.” See following note for discussion.

3 tn Or “send her away.”

sn In the Jewish context, “full betrothal was so binding that its breaking required a certificate of divorce, and the death of one party made the other a widow or widower (m. Ketub. 1:2; m. Sota 1:5; m. Git. passim…)” (R. H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art, 21).

4 tn Grk “behold, an angel.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).

5 tn Or “the angel of the Lord.” Linguistically, “angel of the Lord” is the same in both testaments (and thus, he is either “an angel of the Lord” or “the angel of the Lord” in both testaments). For arguments and implications, see ExSyn 252; M. J. Davidson, “Angels,” DJG, 9; W. G. MacDonald argues for “an angel” in both testaments: “Christology and ‘The Angel of the Lord’,” Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation, 324-35.

6 tn Grk “you will call his name.”

7 sn The Greek form of the name Ihsous, which was translated into Latin as Jesus, is the same as the Hebrew Yeshua (Joshua), which means “Yahweh saves” (Yahweh is typically rendered as “Lord” in the OT). It was a fairly common name among Jews in 1st century Palestine, as references to a number of people by this name in the LXX and Josephus indicate.

8 tn Grk “they will call his name.”

9 sn A quotation from Isa 7:14.

10 tn Grk “is translated.”

11 sn An allusion to Isa 8:8, 10 (LXX).

12 tn See the note on the word “Lord” in 1:20. Here the translation “the angel of the Lord” is used because the Greek article (, Jo) which precedes ἄγγελος (angelos) is taken as an anaphoric article (ExSyn 217-19) referring back to the angel mentioned in v. 20.

13 tn Or “did not have sexual relations”; Grk “was not knowing her.” The verb “know” (in both Hebrew and Greek) is a frequent biblical euphemism for sexual relations. However, a translation like “did not have sexual relations with her” is too graphic in light of the popularity and wide use of Matthew’s infancy narrative. Thus the somewhat more subdued but still clear “did not have marital relations” was selected.

14 tn Grk “and he called his name Jesus.” The coordinate clause has been translated as a relative clause in English for stylistic reasons.



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