The generation of Christ
1:1 Liber generationis Iesu Christi, filii David, filii Abraham. [n. 12]
1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham: [n. 12]
11. Inter evangelistas Matthaeus praecipue versatur circa humanitatem Christi: unde secundum Gregorium per hominem significatur in figura quatuor animalium. Per humanitatem autem Christus in mundum introivit, progressus est, et exivit.
11. Among the evangelists, Matthew is especially concerned with the humanity of Christ; hence according to Gregory he is signified by a man in the figure of the four animals. Now, it is through his humanity that Christ entered, advanced in, and left the world.
Et ideo dividitur totum Evangelium in tres partes.
And for this reason the whole Gospel is divided into three parts.
Primo enim agit Evangelista de Christi humanitatis in mundum ingressu;
For the Evangelist treats first of Christ’s entrance into the world through his humanity;
secundo de eius processu;
second, of his advance;
tertio de eius egressu.
third, of his departure.
Secunda pars incipit cap. III, 1, ibi in diebus autem illis venit Ioannes Baptista praedicans in deserto Iudaeae. Tertia, capite XXI, 1 et cum appropinquassent Ierosolymis et venissent Bethphage ad Montem Oliveti.
The second part begins at and in those days came John the Baptist preaching in the desert of Judea (Matt 3:1). The third part begins at and when they drew near to Jerusalem, and had come to Bethphage, unto Mount Olivet (Matt 21:1).
In prima parte duo facit:
In the first part he does two things:
primo describitur Christi generatio;
first, he describes the generation of Christ;
secundo ipsius generationis subditur manifestatio, cap. II, ibi cum natus esset Iesus in Bethlehem Iudae in diebus Herodis regis.
second, he adds a manifestation of that generation, at when Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Judah, in the days of King Herod (Matt 2:1).
In prima parte tria facit:
In the first part, he does three things:
primo enim quasi titulus totius libri praeponitur, cum dicitur liber generationis Iesu Christi;
first, he prefaces a title as it were of the whole book, when he says, the book of the generation of Jesus Christ;
secundo patrum series texitur, Abraham genuit Isaac;
second, the series of fathers is put together, Abraham begot Isaac (Matt 1:2);
tertio cum dicitur Christi autem generatio sic erat, generatio Christi in speciali describitur.
third, when it says but the generation of Christ was thus, the generation of Christ is described in particular.
12. Titulus autem qui praemittitur, est iste liber generationis Iesu Christi.
12. Now the title prefaced is this: the book of the generation of Jesus Christ.
Et videtur esse oratio imperfecta. Ponitur enim ibi nominativus sine verbo; sed non est. Matthaeus enim Evangelium Hebraeis conscripsit, et ideo in scribendo morem Iudaeorum servavit. Consuetum est autem apud Hebraeos sic loqui, sicut cum dicitur: visio Isaiae filii Amos, subauditur, haec est nec oportet apponere. Ita hic cum dicitur liber generationis, subauditur, hic est.
It seems to be an imperfect sentence, since a nominative is set down there without a verb, but it is not. For Matthew wrote his Gospel for the Hebrews, and so in his writing he followed the custom of the Jews. Now it is customary among the Hebrews to speak this way; for example, when it is said: the vision of Isaiah the son of Amos (Isa 1:1), the phrase this is is understood, and does not need to be added. So here when it says, the book of the generation, this is is understood.
Et hic etiam modus loquendi consuetus est apud nos: si enim velimus aliquem librum intitulare, dicitur Priscianus Maior vel Minor; nec oportet apponere hic est vel incipit.
And this way of speaking is also customary among us. For if we wish to give a title to some book, it is called Priscianus the Greater or Lesser, nor is it necessary to add this is or here begins.
13. Item quaeritur, cum parva particula istius libri sit de generatione Christi, quare intitulavit librum suum sic.
13. It is also asked, why did he title his book this way, when a very small portion of this book is about the generation of Christ?
Et dicendum, quod Matthaeus, qui scripsit Hebraeis, in scribendo modum Hebraeorum servavit. Consuetum est autem apud Hebraeos libros suos a principio intitulare, sicut dicitur Genesis, quia ibi agitur de generatione; unde Gen. V, 1: hic est liber generationis Adam. Et liber Exodi, quia in prima parte agitur de exitu filiorum Israel de Aegypto.
And one should say that Matthew, who wrote to the Hebrews, followed the style of the Hebrews in his writing. Now, the Hebrews customarily title books from their beginnings, as Genesis is called Genesis because it treats there of generation; hence we find, this is the book of the generation of Adam (Gen 5:1). And so also the book of Exodus, which in the first part treats of the exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt.
14. Sed quaeritur quare additur Iesu Christi.
14. But it is asked why of Jesus Christ is added.
Et dicendum quod secundum Apostolum, I Corinth. XV, 22, sicut in Adam omnes moriuntur, ita in Christo omnes vivificabuntur. Viderat autem Matthaeus librum primum Veteris Testamenti, in quo agitur de generatione, in quo dictum est cap. V, 1, hic est liber generationis Adam. Ut ergo Novum Testamentum, in quo agitur de regeneratione et restauratione, ei responderet per oppositum, dicit liber generationis Iesu Christi, ut ostenderet quod idem est auctor utriusque.
One should say that according to the Apostle: as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive (1 Cor 15:22). Now, Matthew had seen that in the first book of the Old Testament, which treats of generation, it says: this is the book of the generation of Adam (Gen 5:1). In order therefore that the New Testament, which treats of regeneration and repair, might correspond to the Old Testament by contrast, he says, the book of the generation of Jesus Christ; and to show that the same one is author of both Testaments.
15. Hic autem quaeritur de hoc quod hic dicitur liber generationis Iesu Christi. Contrarium enim habetur Isa. LIII, 8, ubi dicitur, generationem eius quis enarrabit?
15. But here a question is asked about the fact that it says, the book of the generation of Jesus Christ. For this is contrary to Isaiah: who will declare his generation? (Isa 53:8).
Sed sensus est, secundum Hieronymum, quod in Christo est duplex generatio. Scilicet divina, quae enarrari non potest: quia etsi aliquo modo dicimus Filium genitum, modum tamen quo gignitur, nec homo, nec angelus potest comprehendere. Alia autem est humana, de qua agit, sed tamen in hac etiam generatione sunt multa difficilia. Et ideo, secundum Remigium, perpauci sunt qui possint eam enarrare.
According to Jerome, the sense of this quotation is that there is a twofold generation in Christ. There is the divine generation, of course, which cannot be recounted; even if in some way we call the Son begotten, neither man nor angel can comprehend the manner in which he is begotten. The other is the human generation, which Matthew considers, yet there are many difficulties in this generation as well. And this is why, according to Remigius, there are very few who could recount it.
16. Item quaeritur de hoc quod dicit generationis, cum hic plures texantur generationes.
16. Again, a question is asked about the fact that he says of the generation, when multiple generations are put together here.
Sed dicendum, quod licet multae enumerentur generationes, omnes tamen introducuntur propter unam, scilicet propter generationem Christi, de qua inferius: Christi autem generatio sic erat.
One should say that, although many generations are enumerated, still all are included for the sake of one, namely for the sake of the generation of Christ, concerning which it says below, but the generation of Christ was thus.
17. Describitur autem ille cuius generatio texitur primo a nomine, cum dicitur Iesu; secundo ab officio, cum dicitur Christi; tertio ab origine, cum dicitur filii David, filii Abraham.
17. Now, he whose generation is put together is described first by name, when it says Jesus; second by office, when it says Christ; third by origin, when it says, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
18. Quamvis autem fuerint et alii, qui vocati sunt Iesus, sicut Iesus filius Nave, de quo Eccli. XLVI, 1: fortis in bello Iesus Nave successor Moysi in prophetis, et alius circa aedificationem templi, de quo in Zach. III, 1, isti tamen fuerunt Iesus nominales et figurales, inquantum scilicet figurabant istum.
18. There have been others who were also called Jesus, like Jesus the son of Nave, of whom it is said: valiant in war was Jesus the son of Nave, who was successor of Moses among the prophets (Sir 46:1); there was also another around the time of the building of the temple (Zech 3:1). But those men were Jesus in name and figure, namely insofar as they prefigured him.
Ille Iesus introduxit populum Israel in terram promissionis; sed iste Iesus, idest salvator noster, non in terram carnalem, sed introducit nos in caelestem; Hebr. XII, 2: ipsum enim habemus auctorem, et consummatorem in sanguine eius et cetera.
That Jesus led the people of Israel into the land of the promise; but this Jesus, i.e., our Savior, led us not into a fleshly land, but into a heavenly land. For we have him as the author and finisher in his blood (Heb 12:2).
Et recte dicitur Iesu, quod nomen convenit ei secundum utramque naturam, scilicet divinam et humanam. Secundum quidem humanam in carne sua passus est, et explevit mysterium nostrae redemptionis: et cum passio illa non haberet efficaciam nisi ex virtute divinitatis adiunctae, propter hoc dicitur infra: vocabitur nomen eius Iesus: ipse enim salvum faciet populum suum a peccatis eorum.
And he is rightly called Jesus. This name befits him according to either nature, whether the divine or the human. Through the human he suffered in his flesh and completed the mystery of our redemption; but since that suffering would have had no efficacy except by the power of the divinity joined to it, it says below: you will call his name Jesus. For he will save his people from their sins (Matt 1:21).
Sed quaeritur quare dicit Christi. Nonne suffecisset Iesu? Respondeo, hoc ideo factum esse, quia, ut dictum est, et alii vocati sunt Iesus.
But it is asked why he says, Christ. Would not Jesus have been enough? I respond that he said this because others were also called Jesus.
19. Ab officio autem describit eum, cum dicit Christi, idest uncti.
19. Moreover he describes him by office when he says, Christ, i.e., the anointed.
Nota autem tres unctiones in veteri lege. Unctus enim est Aaron in sacerdotem, Levit. VIII, 11. Unctus est Saul a Samuele in regem, I Reg. X, 1, et David, I Reg. XVI, 13. Unctus est et Eliseus in prophetam, III Reg. c. XIX, 16. Quia ergo Christus fuit verus sacerdos in Psal. CIX, 4: tu es sacerdos in aeternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech etc., et rex et propheta, ideo dicitur recte Christus, propter tria officia quae ipse exercuit.
Note that there were three anointings in the old law. For Aaron was anointed as a priest (Lev 8:11–12). Saul was anointed by Samuel as a king (1 Sam 10:1), and then David (1 Sam 16:13). Eliseus was also anointed as a prophet: Eliseus the son of Saphat, of Abelmeula, you will anoint to be prophet (1 Kgs 19:16). Since therefore Christ was a true priest, according to the Psalm: you are a priest for ever (Ps 109:4), and a king and a prophet, he is rightly called Christ, on account of the three offices which he exercised.