Matthew 1:1

ספֶר תּוֹלְדוֹת יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ בֶּן־דָּוִד בֶּן־אַבְרָהָם׃

“A record of the genealogy of Yeshua the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

The opening verse in Matthew illustrates Yeshua’s genealogy back to Abraham, but contains allusions to Adam HaRishon, the First Man. The opening words “sefer toldot” (book of genealogy) echoes Genesis 5:1, where Adam’s genealogy begins.

“This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, he made him in God’s likeness.”
Genesis 5:1

Using roshei teivot in reverse, in the words Abraham, David and Messiah, we have an acrostic for ADaM.

Matthew 1:2

אַבְרָהָם הוֹלִיד אֶת־יִצְחָק וְיִצְחָק הוֹלִיד אֶת־יַעֲקֹב וְיַעֲקֹב הוֹלִיד אֶת־יְהוּדָה וְאֶת־אֶחָיו׃

“Abraham became the father of Isaac. Isaac became the father of Jacob. Jacob became the father of Judah and his brothers.”

Matthew 1:3

וִיהוּדָה הוֹלִיד אֶת־פֶּרֶץ וְאֶת־זֶרַח מִתָּמָר וּפֶרֶץ הוֹלִיד אֶת־חֶצְרוֹן וְחֶצְרוֹן הוֹלִיד אֶת־רָם׃

“Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron. Hezron became the father of Ram.”

Matthew 1:4

וְרָם הוֹלִיד אֶת־עַמִּינָדָב וְעַמִּינָדָב הוֹלִיד אֶת־נַחְשׁוֹן וְנַחְשׁוֹן הוֹלִיד אֶת־שַׂלְמוֹן׃

“Ram became the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon. Nahshon became the father of Salmon.”

Matthew 1:5

וְשַׂלְמוֹן הוֹלִיד אֶת־בֹּעַז מֵרָחָב וְבֹעַז הוֹלִיד אֶת־עוֹבֵד מֵרוּת וְעוֹבֵד הוֹלִיד אֶת־יִשָׁי׃

“Salmon became the father of Boaz by Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed by Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse.”

Matthew 1:6

וְיִשַׁי הוֹלִיד אֶת־דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ וְדָוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ הוֹלִיד אֶת־שְׁלֹמֹה מֵאֵשֶׁת אוּרִיָּה׃

“Jesse became the father of King David. David became the father of Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.”

Matthew 1:7

וּשְׁלֹמֹה הוֹלִיד אֶת־רְחַבְעָם וּרְחַבְעָם הוֹלִיד אֶת־אֲבִיָּה וַאֲבִיָּה הוֹלִיד אֶת־אָסָא׃

“Solomon became the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam became the father of Abijah. Abijah became the father of Asa.”

Matthew 1:8

וְאָסָא הוֹלִיד אֶת־יְהוֹשָׁפָט וִיהוֹשָׁפָט הוֹלִיד אֶת־יוֹרָם וְיוֹרָם הוֹלִיד אֶת עֻזִּיָּהוּ׃

“Asa became the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat became the father of Joram. Joram became the father of Uzziah.”

Matthew 1:9

 וְעֻזִּיָּהוּ הוֹלִיד אֶת־יוֹתָם וְיוֹתָם הוֹלִיד אֶת־אָחָז וְאָחָז הוֹלִיד אֶת־יְחִזְקִיָּהוּ׃

“Uzziah became the father of Jotham. Jotham became the father of Ahaz. Ahaz became the father of Hezekiah.”

Matthew 1:10

 וִיחִזְקִיָּהוּ הוֹלִיד אֶת־מְנַשֶׁה וּמְנַשֶׁה הוֹלִיד אֶת־אָמוֹן וְאָמוֹן הוֹלִיד אֶת־יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ׃

“Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh. Manasseh became the father of Amon. Amon became the father of Josiah.”

Matthew 1:11

וְיֹאשִׁיָּהוּ הוֹלִיד אֶת־יְכָנְיָהוּ וְאֶת־אֶחָיו לְעֵת גָּלוּת בָּבֶל׃

“Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the exile to Babylon.”

Matthew 1:12

 וְאַחֲרֵי גְּלוֹתָם בָּבֶלָה הוֹלִיד יְכָנְיָהוּ אֵת שְׁאַלְתִּיאֵל וּשְׁאַלְתִּיאֵל הוֹלִיד אֶת־זְרֻבָּבֶל׃

“After the exile to Babylon, Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel became the father of Zerubbabel.”

The Talmud says,

“R. Johanan said: Exile atones for everything, for it is written, Thus saith the L-rd, write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days, for no man of his seed shall prosper sitting upon the throne of David and ruling any more in Judah. (Jer. XXII, 30). Whereas after he [the king] was exiled, it is written, And the sons of Jechoniah, — the same is Assir — Shealtiel his son etc. (1 Chr. III, 17)33. [He was called] Assir, (imprisoned) because his mother conceived him in prison. Shealtiel, because God did not plant him in the way that others are planted. We know by tradition that a woman cannot conceive in a standing position. [yet she did conceive standing. Another interpretation: Shealtiel, because God obtained [of the Heavenly court] absolution from His oath.4 Zerubbabel [was so called] because he was sown in Babylon. But [his real name was] Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.”
Sanhedrin 37b – 38a, Soncino Press Edition

Midrash Rabbah comments,

“. . . they made the Calf and deserved to be exterminated, and I would have thought that He would curse and destroy them, yet, no sooner had they repented, than the danger was averted, And the L-rd repented of the evil (ib. XXXII, 14).And so in many places. For example, He said about Jeconiah: For no man of his seed shall prosper (Jer. XXII, 30) and it says, I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations… In that day, saith the L-rd of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, My servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the L-rd, and will make thee as a signet (Hag. II, 22 f.). Thus was annulled that which He had said to his forefather, viz. As I live, saith the L-rd, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim King of Judah were the signet upon My right hand, yet I would pluck thee thence (Jer. XXII, 24).”
Numbers Rabbah 20:20, Soncino Press Edition

Pesikta Rabbati continues,

“R. Joshua ben Levi, however, argued as follows: Repentance sets aside the entire decree, and prayer half the decree. You find that it was so with Jeconiah, king of Judah. For the Holy One, blessed be He, swore in His anger, As I live, saith the L-rd, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakhim king of Judah were the signet on a hand, yet by My right – note, as R. Meir said, that is was by His right hand that God swore – I would pluck thee hence (Jer. 22:24). And what was decreed against Jeconiah? That he die childless. As is said Write ye this man childless (Jer. 22:40). But as soon as he avowed penitence, the Holy One, blessed be He, set aside the decree, as is shown by Scripture’s reference to The sons of Jeconiah – the same is Assir – Shealtiel his son, etc. (1 Chron 3:17). And Scripture says further: In that day . . . will I take thee, O Zerubbabel . . . the son of Shealtiel . . . and will make thee as a signet (Haggai 2:23). Behold, then, how penitence can set aside the entire decree!
Pesikta Rabbati, Piska 47, translated by William G. Braude, Yale University Press, pg. 797-798

Regarding Zerubavel, Zechariah says,

In the book of Zechariah it says, “Who are you, great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you are a plain; and he will bring out the capstone with shouts of Grace, grace, to it!”
Zechariah 4:7

Midrash Tanchuma, as the Jewish Encyclopedia cites above, says the following on this passage,

“What does it mean, Who art thou O great mountain? This is King Messiah. And why does he call him great mountain? Because he is greater than the Fathers…loftier than Abraham…more elevated than Moses…and higher than the ministering angels…and from whom will he issue? From Zerubbabel…”
Midrash Tanchuma, Toledot 14, ed. Buber 1:139, cited in the Messiah Texts by Raphael Patai, pg. 41 [2]


Matthew 1:13

 וּזְרֻבָּבֶל הוֹלִיד אֶת־אֲבִיהוּד וַאֲבִיהוּד הוֹלִיד אֶת־אֶלְיָקִים וְאֶלְיָקִים הוֹלִיד אֶת עַזּוּר׃

“Zerubbabel became the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim. Eliakim became the father of Azor.”

Matthew 1:14

וְעַזּוּר הוֹלִיד אֶת־צָדוֹק וְצָדוֹק הוֹלִיד אֶת־יָכִין וְיָכִין הוֹלִיד אֶת־אֱלִיהוּד׃

“Azor became the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim. Achim became the father of Eliud.”

Matthew 1:15

 וֶאֱלִיהוּד הוֹלִיד אֶת־אֶלְעָזָר וְאֶלְעָזָר הוֹלִיד אֶת־מַתָּן וּמַתָּן הוֹלִיד אֶת־יַעֲקֹב׃

“Eliud became the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan. Matthan became the father of Jacob.”

Matthew 1:16

וְיַעֲקֹב הוֹלִיד אֶת־יוֹסֵף בַּעַל מִרְיָם אֲשֶׁר מִמֶּנָּה נוֹלַד יֵשׁוּעַ הַנִקְרָא מָשִׁיחַ׃

“Jacob became the father of Joseph, the husband of Miriam, from whom was born Yeshua, who is called Messiah.”

Matthew 1:17

וְהִנֵּה כָּל־הַדֹּרוֹת מִן־אַבְרָהָם עַד־דָּוִד אַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר דֹּרוֹת וּמִן־דָּוִד עַד־גָּלוּת בָּבֶל אַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר דֹּרוֹת וּמִגָּלוּת בָּבֶל עַד־הַמָּשִׁיחַ אַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר דֹּרוֹת׃

“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the exile to Babylon fourteen generations; and from the carrying away to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.”

Matthew 1:18

וְזֶה דְבַר הֻלֶּדֶת יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ מִרְיָם אִמּוֹ הָיְתָה מְאֹרָשָׂה לְיוֹסֵף וּבְטֶרֶם יָבֹא אֵלֶיהָ נִמְצֵאת הָרָה מֵרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ׃

“Now the birth of Yeshua the Messiah was like this; for after his mother, Miriam, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit.”

For more information, see our article on The Erusin of Yosef and Miriam.

Matthew 1:19

 וְיוֹסֵף בַּעְלָהּ אִישׁ צַדִּיק וְלֹא אָבָה לְתִתָּהּ לְחֶרְפָּה וַיֹּאמֶר אֲשַׁלְּחֶנָּה בַּסָּתֶר׃

“Joseph, her husband, being an ish tzaddik, and not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly.”

Matthew 1:20

הוּא חשֵׁב כָּזֹאת וְהִנֵּה מַלְאַךְ יְהוָֹה נִרְאָה אֵלָיו בַּחֲלוֹם וַיֹּאמַר יוֹסֵף בֶּן־דָּוִד אַל־תִּירָא מִקַּחַת אֵת מִרְיָם אִשְׁתֶּךָ כִּי הַנּוֹצָר בְּקִרְבָּה מֵרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ הוּא׃

“But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, dont be afraid to take to yourself Miriam, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew 1:21

וְהִיא יֹלֶדֶת בֵּן וְקָרָאתָ אֶת־שְׁמוֹ יֵשׁוּעַ כִּי הוּא יוֹשִׁיעַ אֶת־עַמּוֹ מֵחַטֹּאתֵיהֶם׃

“She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Yeshua, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:22

וְכָל־זֹאת הָיְתָה לְמַלֹאת אֶת־דְּבַר יְהוָֹה אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּר בְּיַד הַנָּבִיא לֵאמֹר׃

“Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,”

Matthew 1:23

הִנֵּה הָעַלְמָה הָרָה וְיֹלֶדֶת בֵּן וְקָרְאוּ שְׁמוֹ עִמָּנוּאֵל אֲשֶׁר פֵּרוּשׁוֹ הָאֵל עִמָּנוּ׃

“Behold, the almah shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son. They shall call his name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us.” (Isaiah 7:14)

Matthew 1:24

 וַיִּיקַץ יוֹסֵף מִשְׁנָתוֹ וַיַּעַשׂ כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּהוּ מַלְאַךְ יְהוָֹה וַיֶּאֱסֹף אֶת־אִשְׁתּוֹ אֶל בֵּיתוֹ׃

“Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife to himself;”

Matthew 1:25

וְלֹא יְדָעָהּ עַד כִּי־יָלְדָה בֵּן (אֶת־בְּכוֹרָהּ) וַיִּקְרָא אֶת־שְׁמוֹ יֵשׁוּעַ׃

“and did not know her until she had brought forth her firstborn son. He named him Yeshua.”