The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
All Commentaries on Matthew 1:1 Go To Matthew 1
Theophylact of Ochrid
Why did he not say "vision" or "word" as did the prophets who prefaced their writing in this manner: "The vision which Isaiah saw (Is 1:1)," and "The word which came to Isaiah (Is 2:1)." Do you wish to know why? Because the prophets were speaking to hard-hearted and disobedient people, and therefore they would say, "This is a divine vision," or "This is the word of God," so that the people would be frightened and not disdain what was said. But Matthew was addressing believers who were obedient and of a good disposition, and for this reason he did not begin in the manner of the prophets. I will also add that what the prophets saw, they saw noetically, that is, with their minds, envisioning these things by the Holy Spirit; and this is why they called them "visions." But Matthew did not see Christ noetically, nor did he envision Him in his mind, but he was with Him tangibly and listened to Him with his senses and saw Him in the flesh. Therefore he did not say, "The vision which I saw," but "The book of generation."
The name "Jesus" is not Greek but Hebrew, meaning "Saviour," for Iao is the Hebrew word for "salvation."
The Hebrew kings and priests were called "christs" [i.e. "anointed ones"], because they were anointed with the holy oil poured out from a horn held over the head. The Lord, therefore, is called Christ, both as King because He ruled over sin, and as Priest because He offered Himself as a sacrifice for us. He Himself was pre-eminently anointed with the true oil, the Holy Spirit; for who else possessed the Spirit as did the Lord? In the saints, the grace of the Holy Spirit was at work, but in Christ it was not the grace of the Spirit at work, but rather Christ being of one essence with the Spirit worked the miracles.
Since Matthew had said "Jesus," he added "the Son of David," so that you would not think he was speaking of the other Jesus [i.e. Joshua]; for there was another renowned Jesus, who became commander after Moses, but he was called "son of Nave," and not "son of David." For he preceded David by many generations and was not of the tribe of Judah, from which David was descended, but of another.
Why did he place David before Abraham? He did so because to the Jews David had greater renown, both because he was more recent than Abraham and because he was more illustrious on account of his kingdom. For of the kings, David was the first to please God, and he received the promise from God that the Christ would arise from his seed. For this reason all men called Christ "the Son of David." And indeed David was also a symbolic type of Christ; for just as David ruled after Saul, that outcast from God who was rejected, so too Christ came in the flesh to reign over us after Adam had been deprived of the kingship and the dominion which he had over all things, both animals and demons.