Inspirations

270px-St_Denis_transept_south

Now I mentioned yesterday that Matthew wrote to the Jews for the purpose of showing that Jesus Christ was the Anointed King of the Jews. Matthew introduces this leitmotif in Matthew 1:1, by stating: The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  Three important points are being made here for the benefit of the Jews.

1)      Generation is the Greek word, γενεσις or genesis, and is referring here to the roots or lineage of Jesus Christ. Actually, the book of Genesis was composed on clay tablets[1] by the various patriarchs and later compiled by Moses[2]. Appended at the end of the clay text would be a colophon, identifying the author, contents, and sometimes a purpose much like the page number and title is listed at the top of the page in a modern book. We can identify the colophons in the book of Genesis by the Hebrew word, תולדת or toledah. Likewise, Matthew, a tax scribe, used this same Hebrew word in the beginning of his gospel and thereby was identifying the true authorship of this gospel as Jesus Christ besides introducing the ancestry of Jesus.

2)      Jesus Christ was a descendant of David. In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, the prophet Nathan gives the word of the Lord to King David that God would set up a Seed coming from David’s lineage and that his Kingdom would be established for eternity.

3)      Jesus Christ was a descendant of Abraham, by whom all the families would be blessed (Gen. 12:3). Although Gen. 15:5 reads that Abraham’s seed or offspring would be numerous like the stars, yet a prophetic word is being foretold here about a future Seed[3]. In context with Gen. 15:1-3, the Lord God is telling Abraham, a skilled astronomer[4], that if he could recount or record the stars, so shall his Seed be. What message is to be recounted in the stars, except the story of redemption pictured in the Mazzaroth, the twelve constellations?

Although the purpose of the colophon used on clay tablets had been lost to history, the Jews would have understand that the word תולדת or toledah signaled ancestors. They would have understand the point being made that Jesus Christ was the son of David and the son of Abraham, both important qualifiers of a Messiah.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2013. All rights reserved.


[1] Clay was the medium for writing in Babylon and early Canaan, while papyrus was the medium in Egypt.

[2] If I compiled the recipes of all my past relatives and published them as a book, the author would be me. Likewise, in compiling the patriarchal tablets, Moses is deemed the author of Genesis.

[3] Although the word seed, זרע or zehrah, is a collective noun, only the context can give us a clue if the noun is to be understood as a singular or plural entity. In this case, the context doesn’t differentiate between the number.

[4] Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, 1.7.2

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: