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The Great Commentary Of Cornelius À Lapide Volumes 1 To 8

 

Who was of Heli. The “who” may refer to Joseph, thus—Joseph was the son, i.e., son-in-law of Heli (or Joachim), because he married his daughter, the Blessed Virgin, and therefore Luke does not use the verb “begat” as S. Matthew does, but the verb “was” (fuit). And again the pronoun “who” may in the Greek clearly be taken with “Jesus”—Jesus was the son, i.e., the grandson of Heli, or Joachim, because He was his offspring, as from a grandfather, through the Blessed Virgin. For having premised that Joseph was not the real, but only the supposed, father of Christ, there was no reason why S. Luke should immediately subjoin the genealogy of Joseph. But rather S. Luke, as well as S. Matthew, means to describe the descent of the Blessed Virgin and Christ according to the flesh, and this is the end and aim of each genealogy—so says S. Augustine (or whoever is the author of the Quæst. veteris et novi Testamenti, bk. i. q. lvi., and bk. ii. q. vi).

Ver. 24.—Which was the son of Janna—Janneus, the second Hyrcanus, if we are to believe Annius and Philo, who was the last leader of the Jews of the line of David, and was of the stock of the Asmonsei, or Maccabees; Josephus mentions him in bk. xii. ch. iv. and v., and Eusebius in his Chronicle. For Christ was descended both from high priests, such as Judas, Jonathas, and Simon Maccabæus, and from kings, He being King and High Priest, as S. Thomas, and Bonaventure teach, and among the fathers, Nazianzen and Augustine, whom Suarez (loc. cit.) quotes and follows. The Kings of Judah used to take as their wives the daughters of the high priests.

Ver. 27.—Which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the Son of Salathiel. These two are quite distinct from the Zorobabel and Salathiel mentioned by S. Matthew (ch. 1.), and described by him as descended from David through Solomon; for these mentioned by S. Luke descend from David through Nathan. So think Pereira, Toletus, Francis Lucas, and others. Perhaps these two descendants of Nathan, being raised to the princely dignity, borrowed the names of those of Solomon’s family who were illustrious in that state.

Ver. 31.—Which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David. Some think that this Nathan was the prophet who reprehended David for his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Kings 12:1.) So think Origen, N. de Lyra, Burgensis, Albertus Magnus, and also S. Augustine (bk. lxxxviii. q. lxi). But S. Augustine (Retract. bk. i. ch. xxvi.) rightly withdraws this theory, for this Nathan was born of David and Bathsheba when they were joined in lawful marriage, as appears from 2 Sam. 5:14 and 1 Chron. 3:5.

Ver. 38.—Which was the son of God—as handiwork, not as son; for God, even as a potter, formed and fashioned Adam the first man out of the earth. And hence the Arabic version renders “who was from God,” whereas, in other cases, it renders, for “who was,” “son,” S. Luke, then, brings the genealogy of Christ up to Adam, but S. Matthew only to Abraham—the father of the faithful, and founder of the Synagogue.

Why does S. Luke make this addition?

1. S. Athanasius (Discourse on “All things are given unto Me by My Father”) says. “Luke, beginning with the Son of God, went back up to Adam, to show that the body which Jesus assumed had its origin from Adam, who was formed by God.”

2. S. Irenæus (book iii. ch. xxxiii.) says, “So was Christ made the beginning of the living, since Adam was made the beginning of the dead; for this cause also S. Luke, beginning the commencement of the generation with the Lord, brings it back to Adam, signifying that they did not regenerate Him, but He them, into the Gospel of life.”

3. S. Leo (Serm. x. De Nativitate Domini) says, “The evangelist Luke traced the genealogy of the Lord’s race from His birth, to show that even those ages which came before the deluge were joined to this mystery and that all the steps of the succession tended to Him in whom alone was the salvation of all.”

4. Francis Lucas says that it was in order that S. Luke might signify that through Jesus men are led back to God, having been through Adam led away from God.

Symbolically, Euthymius says, “Luke, beginning from the humanity of Christ, leads back to His Divinity, showing that Christ indeed began as man, but that as God He was without beginning.

5. S. Ambrose gives another reason, “Now, what could be more fair and fitting with respect to Adam who, according to the Apostle, received the figure of Christ, than that the sacred generation should begin with the Son of God and end with the Son of God; and that he that was created should precede in figure, that He that was born might follow in truth; and that he who was made in the image of God should go before, for whose sake the likeness of God came down.”

6. S. Augustine (de Consens. Evang. book ii. ch. iv.) recounts the seventy-seven generations here given, by which, he says, is signified the remission and abolition of all sins whatever, to be made by the Saviour Jesus, according to the words of Christ, “I say not unto thee unto seven times but unto seventy times seven.”

Lastly, notice here the noble pedigree of Christ which S. Luke and S. Matthew trace from Jesus Himself through so many kings, prophets, and patriarchs to Adam, the first made—nay, to God Himself, through four thousand years, in one unbroken line. For there is no prince or king in all the world who can trace his descent in a straight line for a thousand years. As to why Christ deferred His coming and incarnation for so long, Barradi gives ten moral reasons in vol. i., book v., ch. xxxi.

This generation of Christ was prefigured by Jacob’s ladder. So says Rupertus (on Matt. 1), “This generation is Jacob’s ladder; and the sides of the ladder are the princes and fathers of the generation, Abraham and David, to whom the promise was made. The last step, on which the Lord leaned, is the Blessed Joseph, He leaned on him as a pupil on his master.”

Tropologically, “who was” is significant of the vanity of this world, the life of man passes away, generation by generation, and is straightway turned from the present into the past, from “is” to “was.”—So the poet sings:

Adieu to Ilium (fuit Ilium) and the high renown of Teucer’s race.








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