The conception of Jesus (Mt 1:18-1:18)

“Here is how the birth

Of Jesus,

The Messiah Christ,

Took place.

Mary,

His mother,

Had been engaged

To Joseph.

However,

Before they lived together communally,

She was found

To be pregnant with a child

From the Holy Spirit.”

 

Τοῦ δὲ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἡ γένεσις οὕτως ἦν. μνηστευθείσης τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ Μαρίας τῷ Ἰωσήφ, πρὶν ἢ συνελθεῖν αὐτοὺς εὑρέθη ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου.

 

Matthew was going to explain how the birth (ἡ γένεσις) of Jesus Christ (δὲ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ), the anointed Messiah, took place. His mother (τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ), Mary (Μαρίας), was engaged or betrothed (μνηστευθείσης) to Joseph (τῷ Ἰωσήφ). In this arranged marriage, these were two engaged people. Perhaps the father of Mary had agreed to the marriage of his young daughter to Joseph, the son of Jacob. There was no mention of Mary’s father or mother here. This was the common engagement process where the girl stayed with her parents for as long as a year. However, before they came to live together in marriage (πρὶν ἢ συνελθεῖν αὐτοὺς), Mary was found to be pregnant. Literally, there was a child in the womb (εὑρέθη ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα). However, this pregnancy was from the Holy Spirit (ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου), not from Joseph or another man. Right from the beginning, Jesus was in the womb of Mary because of the Holy Spirit. This divine presence was different in many ways,

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The vision of the attack against Babylon (Isa 21:2-21:5)

“A stern vision

Is told to me.

The betrayer betrays.

The destroyer destroys.

Go up!

O Elam!

Lay siege!

O Media!

All the sighing

She has caused

I bring to an end.

Therefore my loins are

Filled with anguish.

Pangs have seized me,

Like the pangs of a woman in labor.

I am bowed down,

So that I cannot hear.

I am dismayed

So that I cannot see.

My mind reels.

Horror has appalled me.

The twilight I longed for

Has been turned for me

Into trembling.

They prepare the table.

They spread the rugs.

They eat.

They drink.

Rise up!

Commanders!

Oil the shield!”

Isaiah has this stern vision from Yahweh. The betrayer and the destroyer act out together. Elam and Medes, the Persians and the Medes were about to attack Babylon. Since the Israelites were in Babylon, they were afraid but hopeful, like a woman experiencing labor before the birth of a child. Isaiah, in the first person singular, was not quite able to hear or see what was going on. He knew that horror was about to happen. Instead of a happy twilight there was trembling. However, they continued as normal, eating and drinking at tables with rugs. Nevertheless, the cry came to the commanders to rise up and get ready. They had to oil the straps on their shields as they prepared to do battle.

Isaiah and the sign of Immanuel (Isa 7:13-7:16)

“Then Isaiah said.

‘Hear then!

O house of David!

Is it too little for you to weary mortals?

Do you weary my God also?

Therefore Yahweh himself

Will give you a sign.

Look!

The virgin young woman

Is with child.

She shall bear a son.

You shall name him Immanuel.

God is with us.

He shall eat curds.

He shall eat honey,

By the time

He knows how to refuse the evil

And choose the good.

Before the child knows

How to refuse the evil,

Before the child knows

How to choose the good,

The land before whose two kings

You are in dread

Will be deserted.”

This time it is Isaiah who is speaking to King Ahaz and the whole house of David, not Yahweh. They should not weary each other or God. Yahweh was going to give them a sign. The young woman, who is presumed to be a virgin, will have a child. He will be called Immanuel that means God is with us. Quite often Christians have used this passage as a prophecy about the birth of Jesus. However, the context seems to indicate that King Ahaz will have a son to carry on his royal name. That son of Ahaz will be the great holy King Hezekiah who ruled Judah from 716-687 BCE. This young child would do good and refuse evil by the time he was able to eat the basic foods of curds and honey. Even before he learns how to choose good over evil, the 2 invading countries of these 2 kings will lay desolate and deserted.