What does Matthew 1:25 mean?
ESV: but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
NIV: But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
NASB: but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he named Him Jesus.
CSB: but did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. And he named him Jesus.
NLT: But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
KJV: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
NKJV: and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
Verse Commentary:
This verse completes a statement begun in the previous verse, which highlights Joseph's remarkable faith (Matthew 1:24). While Luke's telling of the birth of Jesus focuses on Mary's experience, Matthew considers the events from Joseph's perspective.

An honorable and God-fearing man in that culture could have quietly ended this betrothal with a clear conscience. He was not obligated to follow through on his commitment to marry a woman found to be pregnant by another man. Joseph, though, decided he was obligated after being told the real story of what was going on by an angel of the Lord in a dream (Matthew 1:19–21). Mary, still a virgin, carried "God with us," the Savior (Matthew 1:22–23).

Joseph obeyed God, likely at the cost of his own reputation—rumors about Jesus' birth seem to have persisted during His ministry (John 8:19; 8:41–42). He also waived his legal rights to avoid responsibility for Mary or her child. Instead of divorcing her or even waiting for the time of betrothal to end, Joseph immediately took Mary home to live with him. Not only would this minimize any scandal, it allowed Joseph to begin his work of providing for his pregnant wife and the child Messiah.

Matthew makes clear in this verse, though, that Joseph did not have sex with Mary until after Jesus was born. The text uses the biblical euphemism for sex "know." Joseph "knew her not." Matthew also does not suggest that Joseph never had sex with Mary, as some traditions teach. They experienced regular marital relations after the birth of Jesus and had several children together in the natural way (Matthew 13:55–57; Mark 3:31–32).

Joseph also showed that he heard and understood God's command through the angel in his dream by naming the baby Jesus. Jesus is derived from the same Hebrew name from which we get "Joshua," and means "Yahweh saves." Yahweh is a Hebrew name for God.
Verse Context:
Matthew 1:18–25 tells the story of the birth of Christ from the perspective of Joseph. This man is betrothed to be married to Mary, but finds out she is pregnant. He does not realize, yet, that this child is Christ, and that she is pregnant by a miracle of the Holy Spirit. God interrupts Joseph's honorable plans to divorce Mary, and tells him through an angel in a dream not to fear taking her as a wife and that the child is from God. Jesus will fulfill Isaiah's prophecy that Immanuel, ''God with us,'' will be born to a virgin. Joseph obeys, demonstrating his faith in God.
Chapter Summary:
The apostle Matthew begins his telling of Jesus' life with a genealogy. This is meant to show that Jesus is directly descended from both Abraham and King David, making Him a legal heir to the throne of Israel. He then tells the story of Jesus' birth from the perspective of Joseph, Mary's husband. Joseph had planned to divorce the woman he was betrothed to marry, once he found out she was carrying a child that wasn't his. God interrupts this plan. An angel tells Joseph in a dream that the child is from the Holy Spirit and commands Joseph to name Him Jesus, since He will save His people from their sins. Joseph obeys.
Chapter Context:
One of the original twelve disciples, Matthew begins his telling of Jesus' life with a genealogy and Jesus' birth. The listing of Jesus' ancestors shows how Jesus is directly descended from both Abraham and King David, but it also includes then-unlikely inclusions, such as women, blatant sinners, and evil kings. Instead of divorcing Mary, Joseph obeys God and takes her home. Isaiah's prophecy of the virgin birth of Immanuel, a term meaning ''God with us,'' is fulfilled. This sets the stage for pivotal events in Jesus' infancy, such as the arrival of wise men and the family's escape into Egypt.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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