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Kenneth Neighoff | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Dec 16 2016 5:21 AM

in the Faithlife Study Bible notes for the section Matthew 1:18-25   There is a link to "The birth of Jesus" (Matthew AYBC).  I think this links to Albright's commentary .  Has this volume ever been available in Logos?  

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Kenneth Neighoff | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 16 2016 9:17 AM

Thanks Graham,  the link is several year old.  I think Albright has been removed from AYBC.  I have all 88 volumes, but Matthew is missing. 

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 16 2016 10:04 AM

Matthew had to be pulled within a year of the Anchor release. It is a great commentary and I am glad to have it....

Here is the relevant comments:

2. The Birth of Jesus


1 18 The birth of Jesus-Messiah happened like this: When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, and before they came together, she was found to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph her husband, being a man of character, and unwilling to shame her, wished to divorce her secretly. 20 But as he agonized about this, a divine messenger appeared to him in a dream, and said: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for what is conceived in her is through the Holy Spirit 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”22 All this happened so as to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

23 See, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall call his name Emmanuel

(which means, God is with us). 24 When Joseph had awakened from sleep he did the messenger’s bidding and took his wife. 25 However, he had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son. He named him Jesus.


1:18. Some late manuscripts and patristic sources omit Jesus before the Messiah. All early manuscripts and church fathers keep it.

betrothed to Joseph. In the Law (Deut 22:13 ff.) betrothal was a far more binding step than is our custom of engagement before marriage, and the penalty for fornication with one person while betrothed to another was death for both guilty parties. Cf. vs. 19, where Joseph is described as her husband, and vs. 20, where the Greek can be translated “Do not be afraid to take Mary your wife”—i.e., into your home.

(the) Holy Spirit (cf. also vs. 20). In Aramaic at this time there was no differentiation between the definite and the indefinite article. The absence of the definite article in Greek at this point is therefore not significant. The Spirit as the agent of God’s creative act is the explanation which Matthew gives here of Mary’s pregnancy (cf. Gen 1:2; Psalm 104:30), and which Joseph understands in his dream (vs. 20).

19. Joseph’s dedication to the Law is indicated in his description as dikaios. Contemporary usage in Josephus shows that the Greek means “one obedient to the commands of God, an upright man, a man of character.” He decides to divorce Mary secretly—i.e., in the presence of chosen witnesses, without public scandal. Deigmatisai (to shame, or disgrace) occurs in the NT only here and at Col 2:15.

20. Only direct revelation, here in a dream, will indicate what is hidden in the purpose of God. Cf. 11:27, 16:7. For further examples of acts of revelation through dreams in Matthew, cf. 2:12, 13, 19, 22, 27:19.

divine messenger. Unless there is plain and inescapable evidence of a visitation by a heavenly being, an “angel,” we have translated the Gr. angelos by “messenger,” which is of course the actual meaning of the Greek. It is worth bearing in mind that in the majority of the cases in which “angels” have appeared to men in the Bible, they have been assumed by the beholders to be human beings.

do not be afraid.… According to Jewish law, the betrothal and the taking of the bride to the bridegroom’s house were the two parts, the beginning and the ending, of the legal process of marriage.

the Holy Spirit. See Note on vs. 18.

Jesus, … from their sins. See Note on vs. 1.

22.… so as to fulfill. This is the first instance of Matthew’s fulfillment formula, hina plērōthē. On its importance, see Part IV of the Introduction. The formula, in varying words, occurs nine times in Matthew: 2:15, 17, 23, 4:14, 8:17, 12:17, 13:35, 21:4 (cf. 26:56), 27:9.

23. the virgin. The quotation is from Isa 7:14 and is given in the Greek of the LXX, with the substitution of they shall call for you (singular) shall call. The Greek is (uniquely) parthenos, “virgin,” for the Hebrew ʿalmah, “girl.” It is possible on some views that Isaiah was using mythological terms current in his own time to demonstrate an expected deliverer’s birth. The LXX translators would appear to have so understood the passage, and only later did Greek translations of the Hebrew appear with the word one would expect, neanis, “young maiden” instead of parthenos.

Emmanuel … God is with us. The sense is of God’s active vindication of his people (cf. Ps 46:7, 11). The theme of “recapitulation” in Matthew (see Part IV of the Introduction) finds its proper commentary on this verse at Matt 28:20.

24. awakened from sleep (Gk. egertheis, literally “raised up”). On this word, as a Semitic usage, see Dalman, Words, pp. 23, 36.

25. However, he had no marital relations with her. The Greek imperfect eginōsken (literally “did not know her”) would appear to militate against the tradition of Mary’s perpetual virginity. The verse is commonly cited by Protestants to indicate that Mary had other children, by Joseph. It has been common tradition in both Eastern and Western Christendom since at least the fourth century that Mary was virgin both before and after the birth of Jesus.

One factor is worth mentioning here. One of the men named as a brother of Jesus (Matt 13:56) is called Joseph. While it was certainly not unknown for sons to be named after their fathers, it was at the same time uncommon. There may thus be some grounds for the view that those described as “brothers and sisters” of Jesus were near relatives (cousins, according to Jerome) and not the children of Joseph and Mary.


The author, from his genealogy linking Abraham and David with the Messiah, has led his readers to expect an unusual birth narrative, and this he proceeds to give. The evangelist’s tradition had two elements in it: (a) Jesus was the Messiah, and so he was son of David; (b) Jesus was conceived and born in a wholly miraculous manner, being conceived and born of a virgin without human intervention. Matthew gives expression to the facts as he found them in his tradition, and makes no attempt to reconcile them.

The first part, (a), has been briefly examined already. The second is not open to historical investigation, and we are not called upon to enter realms of faith or theology in a commentary of this nature. Some comment is, however, inescapable.

(a) All through the genealogy, egennēsen denotes legal inheritance and descent, not physical. The evangelist could only deal with his material by assuming that Mary’s husband was the legal father of Jesus.

(b) The tradition of the virgin birth was known to Luke, and also—on one legitimate reading of the Greek—to John (John 1:13). It was well known as a polemical battleground in the time of Origen, ca. a.d. 185?–?254 (Contra Celsum ii 28, 32, 33, 39), and was also so known to Justin Martyr (106?–?165). Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 112) took the tradition for granted, as did Aristides, (ca. 140). Rendel Harris, in his edition of the Apology of Aristides, remarks that “… at that period the virginity of Mary was a part of formulated Christian belief.” Additional evidence is also to be found in the Didache but there is considerable dispute as to the date and importance of this document; we ourselves can only say that we are convinced the work is almost certainly to be dated in the second half of the first century.

(c) The genealogy is certainly no proof that there is an attempt being made by the evangelist to exalt to quasi-divine status the naturally born son of Joseph and Mary. There is not the slightest indication that the genealogy was ever a separate document apart from the gospel; indeed, that genealogy paves the way for vss. 18–25 by informing us that Mary was betrothed to the Joseph of vs. 16.

(d) A Jewish Christian such as Matthew could only deal faithfully with his traditions and set them down as he knew them. If this procedure tells us nothing of the validity of the traditions, it at least tells us something significant about the honesty of an evangelist dealing with what he knew would cause speculation and scandal.

(e) The description of Jesus as “Son of Mary” in Mark 6:3 is possible evidence for a custom known to rabbinic sources of a man being named as “of his mother” when the father was unknown (cf. TB Yebamoth iv 13, which speaks of this custom as applied to “the natural son of a wedded wife”).

There is a good short discussion of the whole question of the place of the virgin birth in Christian tradition in Reginald H. Fuller’s “The Virgin Birth: Historical Fact or Kerygmatic Truth?” Biblical Research 1 (1957), 1–8. The reader is warned, however, that the literature on the subject is legion and covers every possible angle. The search on the part of some NT scholars for real or supposed Hellenistic parallels to the tradition of a supernatural birth can be set alongside the sobriety of David Daube’s investigation of a similar Jewish legend about Moses (cf. his New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism, pp. 5 ff.).

Matt 1:18–25 || Luke 2:1–7.

NT New Testament

Gr. Greek

LXX The Septuagint

LXX The Septuagint

Gk. Greek

TB Talmud Babli

NT New Testament

 W. F. Albright and C. S. Mann, Matthew: Introduction, Translation, and Notes, vol. 26, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven;  London: Yale University Press, 2008), 7–10.


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