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Sometime Between Aug & Dec of 5 BC

Angel Appears to Joseph







But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  Matthew 1:20


  1. Dream:  Angel appears in a dream

  2. Trust:  Don't be afraid

  3. Conceived:  In her by the Holy Ghost


Quotes & Notes on:    Matthew 1:20
  • John Wesley's Notes:
    (No comment on this verse)

  • Treasury of Scripture Knowledge:
    * while. Ps 25:8; 94:19; 119:125; 143:8; Pr 3:5; 12:5; Isa 26:3; 30:21
    * the angel. Jg 13:3,8,9; Lu 1:10-13,19,26-38; 2:8-14
    * in. Mt 2:13,19,22; Ge 31:11; Nu 12:6; Job 4:13-16; 33:15-17; Joe 2:28
    * Joseph. Isa 7:2,13; Jer 33:26; Lu 2:4
    * fear not. Mt 28:5; Ge 46:3; 1Ki 17:13; Isa 51:7; Jer 40:9; Lu 1:30
    * that. Mt 1:18; Jer 31:22
    * conceived. Gr. begotten.
  • Adam Clarke's Commentary:
     It appears that the human nature of Jesus Christ was a real creation in the womb of the virgin, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The angel of the Lord mentioned here was probably the angel Gabriel, who, six months before, had been sent to Zacharias and Elisabeth, to announce the birth of Christ's forerunner, John the Baptist. See Lu 1:36.
  • Family Bible Notes:
    Son; descendant of David. Kindness, conscientiousness, and a disposition to do right, with a calm, attentive consideration of the whole subject, in a case of difficulty, are a good preparation for learning the will of God concerning it
  • 1599 Geneva Bible Notes:
    While he pondered on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, fear not to (f) take to thee Mary, thy (g) wife, for that which is (h) begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit. (f) Receive her from her parents and kinsfolks hands. (g) Who was promised, and made sure to you to be your wife. (h) Of the mother's substance by the Holy Spirit.
  • People's New Testament Commentary:
     While he thought. Reflected, still in doubt, perplexed.

    An angel. Gabriel appeared to Mary (Lu 1:26); the name of the angel is not here given. Angels are messengers; an angel of the Lord is the Lord's messenger. These messengers are usually superhuman, but not always.

    In a dream. Often messages were conveyed by impressions made in sleep. Three times revelations were thus made to Joseph [Mt 1:20; 2:13,19].

    Thou son of David. It was fitting that he should now be reminded that he belonged to the family from whence the Messiah was to come.

    Fear not. His betrothed was pure.
  • Robertson's Word Pictures:
       An angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream (aggelos kuriou kat' onar ephanę autôi). This expression (aggelos kuriou) is without the article in the New Testament except when, as in Mt 1:24, there is reference to the angel previously mentioned. Sometimes in the Old Testament Jehovah Himself is represented by this phrase. Surely Joseph needed God's help if ever man did. If Jesus was really God's Son, Joseph was entitled to know this supreme fact that he might be just to both Mary and her Child. It was in a dream, but the message was distinct and decisive for Joseph. He is called "Son of David" as had been shown by Matthew in Mt 1:16. Mary is called his "wife" (tęn gunaika sou). He is told "not to become afraid" (ingressive first aorist passive subjunctive in prohibition, (mę phobęthęis), "to take to his side" (paralabein, ingressive aorist active infinitive) her whom he had planned (enthumęthentos, genitive absolute again, from en and thumos) to send away with a writ of divorce. He had pondered and had planned as best he knew, but now God had called a halt and he had to decide whether he was willing to shelter Mary by marrying her and, if necessary, take upon himself whatever stigma might attach to her. Joseph was told that the child was begotten of the Holy Spirit and thus that Mary was innocent of any sin. But who would believe it now if he told it of her? Mary knew the truth and had not told him because she could not expect him to believe it.
  • Albert Barnes' Commentary:
      He thought on these things. He did not act hastily. He did not take the course which the law would have permitted him to do, if he had been hasty, violent, or unjust. It was a case deeply affecting his happiness, his character, and the reputation and character of his chosen companion. God will guide the thoughtful and the anxious. And when we have looked patiently at a perplexed subject, and know not what to do, then God, as in the case of Joseph, will interpose to lead us, and direct our way, Ps 25:9.

    The angel of the Lord. The word angel literally means a messenger. It is applied chiefly in the Scriptures to those invisible holy beings who have not fallen into sin; who live in heaven, (1Ti 5:21, comp. Jude 1:6) and who are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, Heb 1:13; 13:25; Da 9:21. The word is sometimes applied to men, as messengers, (Lu 7:24; 9:52; Jas 2:25) to the winds, (Ps 104:4); to the pestilence, (Ps 78:49); or to whatever is appointed to make known, or to execute the will of God. It is commonly applied, however, to the unfallen, happy spirits that are in heaven, whose only dignity and pleasure it is to do the will of God. Various ways were employed by them in making known the will of God, by dreams, visions, assuming a human appearance, etc.

    In a dream. This was a common way of making known the will of God to the ancient prophets and people of God, Ge 20:3; 31:10,11; 37:5; Ge 41:1; 1Ki 3:5; Da 7:1; Job 4:13-16. In what way it was ascertained that these dreams were from God, cannot now be told. It is sufficient for us to know that in this way many of the prophecies were communicated; and to remark, that now there is no evidence that we are to put reliance on our dreams. Dreams are wild, irregular movements of the mind, when it is unshackled by reason, and it is mere superstition to suppose that God now makes known his will in this way. See Barnes for Isa 37:1.

    Son of David. Descendant of David. See Mt 1:1. The angel put him in mind of his relation to David, perhaps, to prepare him for the intelligence that Mary was to be the mother of the Messiah--the promised heir of David.

    Fear not. Do not hesitate, or have fears about her virtue and purity. Do not fear that she will be unworthy of you, or will disgrace you.

    {w} "in a dream" Mt 1:16
    {1} "conceived" or, "begotten"
  • Jamieson-Faussett Brown:
     Who would not feel for him after receiving such intelligence, and before receiving any light from above? As he brooded over the matter alone, in the stillness of the night, his domestic prospects darkened and his happiness blasted for life, his mind slowly making itself up to the painful step, yet planning how to do it in the way least offensive--at the last extremity the Lord Himself interposes.

    behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph thou son of David--This style of address was doubtless advisedly chosen to remind him of what all the families of David's line so early coveted, and thus it would prepare him for the marvellous announcement which was to follow.

    fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost--Though a dark cloud now overhangs this relationship, it is unsullied still.
  • Spurgeon Commentary:
    He could not but feel very anxious, and no doubt he prayed about these things both day and night. God would not leave the honor of the chosen virgin-mother without protection. Soon Joseph had the best of guidance.  From heaven he had the assurance that Mary had not sinned, but had been favored of the Lord. Joseph is reminded of his royal rank, “thou son of David”, and is bidden to cast away his fear. How he must have been comforted by the Lord’s “fear not”! He was to take Mary under his tender care, and be a foster-father to the son who would be born of her.  Mary must have been in great anxiety herself as to whether her story of angelic visitation would be believed; for it looked improbable enough. We doubt not that faith sustained her; but she needed much of it. Every great favor brings a great trial with it as its shadow, and becomes thus a new test
    of faith. The Lord very graciously removed all suspicion from Joseph’s mind, and thus provided for the honor of the mother, and for the comfort of the holy child. If Jesus is born in our hearts, we shall have trouble; but the Lord will witness that Christ is ours, and he will surely bear us through.
  • William Burkitt's Notes:
    Two things here are observable; namely, the care that Almighty God takes; 1. For Joseph's satisfaction.

    2. For vindicating the virgin's reputation. For Joseph's satisfaction, an angel is dispatched to give him assurance that the virgin was not defiled by a man, but overshadowed by the Holy Ghost.

    Whence note, that Almighty God will certainly find out ways and means for his peoples' satisfaction, when they are willing and desirous above all things to come to the knowledge and right understanding of their duty.

    Observe, 2. How the angel clears the virgin's innocency, as well as satisfies Joseph's doubtings, by assuring, that what was conceived in her, was by the Holy Ghost.

    Learn hence, that God will, in his own time, clear the innocency of such as suffer in their name and reputation for the sake of Christ, through for the present they may lie under the burden of disgrace and shame.
  • Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary:
    (No comment on this verse)
  • The Fourfold Gospel:
    But when he thought on these things. God guides the thoughtful, not the unthinking.

    An angel of the Lord appeared unto him. The Lord looks after the good name of those who honor his name, and he serves those who serve him (1Sa 2:30; Joh 12:26). The sufferings of both Mary and Joseph must have been very extreme at this time--one being forced to suspect the chief object of his affections, and the other being compelled to rest under the unjust suspicions of loved ones, because of a condition which God alone could explain. But God does explain where we can not understand without his revelation, and where we absolutely need to know.

    In a dream. A mode of communication frequently used by God (Ge 20:3; 31:11; 37:5; 41:1; 1Ki 3:5; Da 7:1; Job 4:13-15). It is difficult to say how men determined between ordinary and divine dreams, but doubtless the latter came with a glory and vividness which gave assurance of their supernatural nature. Matthew mentions four divine dreams, namely, this one; the second one given to Joseph (Mt 2:13); the dream of the Magi (Mt 2:12); the dream of Pilate's wife (Mt 27:19).

    Saying, Joseph. We are known to angels, and they address us by name (Ac 10:3; 27:24). Much more does the Lord know our names (Joh 10:3; Lu 19:5).

    Thou son of David. The name of David was calculated to waken the memories of God's promises, and helped to prepare Joseph to receive the wonderful news that Messiah was about to be born, for Messiah was the promised heir of David.

    Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife. Have no fear as to Mary's virtue and purity. Fear no disgrace in taking her. Joseph feared as a son of David that this marriage would sully his genealogy. But it was that which gave point and purpose to an otherwise barren and uninteresting record. He feared as a man lest he should share Mary's apparent disgrace; but he had infinitely more reason to fear his unworthiness to share with her the exalted responsibilities of parentage to our Lord. Also see TFG for Lu 1:30.

    (TFG 24-25)



Updated:   Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 03:51 AM



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