The Birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:18-25 (Part 3)

In the previous post, we looked at the chiastic structure of the first half of Matt. 1:18-25. In this post, I want to suggest a possible structural analysis for the second half—that is from verses 21b –25. We actually divided up the passage into four sections, so in this post, we will be looking at sections 3 and 4 considered together.

Here is the entire passage—vs. 18-25.


And here is the “large scale” suggested structural analysis:


Here is the suggested analysis:




1)             There is a “cross-relation between AC` and CA`: C and A` are connected since they are both about the naming Jesus, and A and C` are connected since they are both the respective interpretations or meanings of the name. It seems a bit odd that A, which occurs first, is about the “interpretation” and A`, which comes later, concerns the actual giving of the name—perhaps this is to do with the fact that we are in the lower half of the “big” chiasm (i. e. vs. 18-25) and so some aspects work “in reverse”.

2)             Our Saviour was given the name Jesus by Joseph. But in v. 23 we are told that “‘they’ will call the name of Him Emmanuel—translated God with us” The commentaries explain this, and I found a particularly helpful explanation in Joseph and the Birth of Isaac in Matthew 1 by Richard J Erickson (Bulletin for Biblical Research, 2000). This article can be freely downloaded from the Internet. In it, the author draws attention to Ps. 130-132 and in particular to Ps. 130:7-8. In these verses, we have the connecting link between the naming of the Messiah, the Son of David (c.f. Ps. 132:17), as Emmanuel -“God with us” – the prophecy from Is. 7:14—and Jesus—the name given Him by Joseph —”for He shall save his people from their sins”:

Let Israel hope to Yahweh, for with Yahweh is mercy and with Him is   abundant redemption and He shall redeem Israel from all his sins”   (Ps.130:7-8)

(to be continued)




Categories: Chiastic and Other Structures, Matthew's Genealogy of Christ

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