Matthew 1:18-25

Matthew 1:18-25
Fourth Sunday of Advent A
Narrative Lectionary 116
Fourth Sunday of Advent – A Women’s Lectionary


18 Now the birthA of JesusB the MessiahC took placeD in this way.

Notes on verse 18a

A “birth” = genesis. 5x in NT. From ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is origin, lineage, birth, genealogy, or life. It can be figurative for nature. This is where the word “genesis” comes from.
B “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
C “messiah” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
D “took place” = eimi. This is to be or exist.

When his mother MaryE had been engagedF to Joseph,G but before they lived together,H

Notes on verse 18b

E “Mary” = Maria. From Hebrew Miryam (Aaron and Moses’s sister); from marah (to be contentious, rebellious, bitter, provoking, disobedient; to be or make bitter or unpleasant; figuratively, to rebel or resist; causatively to provoke). This is Miriam or Mary.
F “engaged” = mnesteuo. 3x in NT– all in reference to Mary and Joseph. From mnaomai (to remember; by implication give reward or consequence); perhaps from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure). OR from massaomai (to chew, gnaw); from masso (to knead, squeeze). This is to betroth, be engaged.
G “Joseph” = Ioseph. From Hebrew Yoseph (he increases; Joseph); from yasaph (to add, increase, continue, exceed). This is Joseph, meaning “he increases.”
H “lived together” = sunerchomai. From sun (with, together with) + erchomai (to come, go). This is to go with, assemble, leave together with, cohabit.

she was foundI to be with childJ from the HolyK Spirit.L 

Notes on verse 18c

I “found” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.
J “be with child” = en + gaster + echo. Literally, “in womb having.” Gaster is 9x in NT. This is belly or womb. It can be used specifically to mean pregnant. This is one of the roots of the word “gastronomy.” Echo is to have, hold, or possess.
K “Holy” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
L “Spirit” = Pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.

19 Her husbandM Joseph, being a righteous manN and unwillingO

Notes on verse 19a

M “husband” = aner. This is man, male, husband, or fellow. It can also refer to an individual.
N “righteous man” = dikaios. From dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is correct, righteous, just, or a righteous person. It implies innocent or conforming to God’s standard of justice.
O “unwilling” = me + thelo. Literally, “not willing.” Thelo is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.

to expose her to public disgrace,P plannedQ to dismissR her quietly.S 

Notes on verse 19b

P “to expose…to public disgrace” = deigmatizo. Perhaps related to “righteous man” in v19. 2x in NT. From deigma (); from deiknumi (see note N above). This is to expose or make a show of. To hold someone or something up as an example. By implication, it can mean to disgrace someone.
Q “planned” = boulomai. This is to wish, desire, intend. Also, to plan with great determination.
R “dismiss” = apoluo. From apo (from, away from) + luo (to loose, release, untie; figuratively, to break, destroy, or annul; releasing what had been withheld). This is letting go, setting free, or releasing. So, it can be to discharge, dismiss, divorce, pardon, or set at liberty.
S “quietly” = lathra. 4x in NT. From lanthano (concealed, hidden, unnoticed; to shut one’s eyes to, unwittingly, unawares). This is secretly or privately.

20 But just when he had resolved to doT this,U an angelV of the LordW appearedX to him in a dreamY

Notes on verse 20a

T “resolved to do” = enthumeomai. 3x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + thumos (passion, wrath; passion that drives action; so, behavior that comes from strong impulses or feelings and is expressed; e.g. rage, fierceness, indignation); {from the same as thuella (whirlwind, storm); from thuo (breathe violently, rage, seethe; also used for offering sacrifice, particularly animal sacrifice since there is a rush of smoke and fire to immolate it)}. This word refers to passionate thoughts that agitate or move the mind that are then reflected on and weighed.
U {untranslated} = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
V “angel” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
W “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
X “appeared” = phaino. This is to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear. This is show in a literal or figurative sense.
Y “dream” = onar. 6x in NT– 4x of Joseph, father of Jesus, dreaming; 1x of the Wise Men dreaming, and 1x of Pilate’s wife. This is a dream as part of sleep and not a daydream.

and said, “Joseph, sonZ of David,AA do not be afraidBB

Notes on verse 20b

Z “son” = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
AA “David” = Dauid. From Hebrew David (David); from the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”
BB “be afraid” = phobeo. From phobos (panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect); from phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is also to put to flight, terrify, frighten, dread, reverence, to withdraw or avoid. It is sometimes used in a positive sense to mean the fear of the Lord, echoing Old Testament language. More commonly, it is fear of following God’s path. This is where the word phobia comes from.

to takeCC Mary as your wife,DD for the child conceivedEE in her is from the Holy Spirit. 

Notes on verse 20c

CC “take” = paralambano. From para (beside, by, in the presence of) + lambano (active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered; emphasizes the choice and action of the individual). This is to receive, take, acknowledge, associate with. It can also mean to take on an office or to learn.
DD “wife” = gune. Related to “birth” in v18. Perhaps from ginomai (see note A above). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
EE “conceived” = gennao. Related to “birth” in v18 & “wife” in v20. From genna (descent, birth); from genos (family, offspring, kin – in a literal or figurative sense); from ginomai (see note A above). This is to beget, give birth to, or bring forth. Properly, it refers to procreation by the father, but was used of the mother by extension. Figuratively, this can mean to regenerate.

21 She will bearFF a son, and you are to nameGG him Jesus, for he will saveHH his peopleII from their sins.”JJ 

Notes on verse 21

FF “bear” = tikto. 18x in NT. This is used of creating new life whether as a mother or a plant or the earth as a whole. It can be rendered bright forth, bear, give birth, labor, produce, or yield. It can also refers to the pains of childbirth.
GG “name” = kaleo + ho + onoma + autos. Literally, “you will call his name.” Kaleo is related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on). This is to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud. Onoma may be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.
HH “save” = sozo. From sos (safe, rescued, well). This is to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. Properly, this is taking someone from danger to safety. It can be delivering or protecting literally or figuratively. This is the root that “savior” and “salvation” come from in Greek.
II “people” = laos. This is the people or crowd – often used for the chosen people. This is where the word “laity” comes from.
JJ “sins” = hamartia. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.

22 AllKK this took placeLL to fulfillMM what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:NN

Notes on verse 22

KK “all” = holos. This is whole, complete, or entire. It is a state where every member is present and functioning in concert. This is the root of the word “whole.”
LL “took place” = ginomai. Related to “birth” in v18 & perhaps “wife” in v19 & “conceived” in v20. See note A above.
MM “fulfill” = pleroo. From pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is to fill, make full or complete. Properly, this is filling something up to the maximum extent that it can be filled – an appropriate amount for its individual capacity. So, this is used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill.
NN “prophet” = prophetes. Related to “appeared” in v20. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (see note X above)}. This is a prophet or poet – one who speaks with inspiration from God.

23 “Look,OO the virginPP shall conceiveQQ and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”RR

which means,SS “GodTT is with us.” 

Notes on verse 23

OO “look” = idou. Same as {untranslated} in v20. See note U above.
PP “virgin” = parthenos. 15x in NT. This is virgin, chaste, unmarried. It can also refer to a woman past puberty who is not yet married, since she was presumed to be a virgin.
QQ “conceive” = en + gaster + echo. Same as “with child” in v18. See note J above.
RR “Emmanuel” = Emmanouel. 1x in NT. From Hebrew immanu-el. 2x in OT. From im (with, among, near, together) + nu (a prefix for first person plural i.e. us) + el (God, also used for gods generally). This is literally “with us God.”
SS “means” = methermeneuo. From meta (with, among, beyond) + hermeneuo (to interpret, translate, explain the meaning of); {perhaps from Hermes, the god of language and a proper name}. This is to explain beyond i.e. to translate or interpret.
TT “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

24 When Joseph awokeUU from sleep, he didVV as the angel of the Lord commandedWW him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relationsXX with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Notes on verses 24-25

UU “awoke” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
VV “did” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
WW “commanded” = prostasso. 7x in NT. From pros (at, to, toward, with) + tasso (to arrange, appoint, determine). This is to allot, place, appoint, or instruct. This is allotting with a focus on the one who is making the allotment decisions. Figuratively, this can also mean to enjoin.
XX “had…marital relations” = ginosko. Related to “name” in v21. See note GG above.

Image credit: “The Dream of Joseph” at the cloister of the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña in Spain. Photo by Jl FilpoC, 2018.

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