The book of the generation of Yeshua Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
[The book of the generation of Yeshua Messiah.] Ten stocks came out of Babylon;
4. Common persons; as to the priesthood: such whose fathers, indeed, were sprung from priests, but their mothers unfit to be admitted to the priests' marriage-bed.
6. Liberti; or servants set free.
7. Nothi; such as were born in wedlock; but that which was unlawful.
9. Bastards; such as came of a certain mother, but of an uncertain father.
10. Such as were gathered up out of the streets, whose fathers and mothers were uncertain.
A defiled generation indeed! And, therefore, brought up out of Babylon in this common sink, according to the opinion of the Hebrews, that the whole Jewish seed still remaining there might not be polluted by it. For Ezra went not up out of Babylon, until he had rendered it pure as flour. They are the words of the Babylonian Gemara, which the Gloss explains thus; "He left not any there that were illegitimate in any respect, but the priests and Levites only, and Yisraelites of a pure and undefiled stock. Therefore, he brought up with him these ten kinds of pedigrees, that these might not be mingled with those, when there remained now no more a Sanhedrim there, which might take care of that matter. Therefore he brought them to Jerusalem, where care might be taken by the Sanhedrim fixed there, that the legitimate might not marry with the illegitimate."
Let us think of these things a little while we are upon our entrance into the Good News-history:
I. How great a cloud of obscurity could not but arise to the people concerning the original of Messiah, even from the very return out of Babylon, when they either certainly saw, or certainly believed that they saw, a purer spring of Jewish blood there than in the land of Yisrael itself!
II. How great a care ought there to be in the families of pure blood, to preserve themselves untouched and clean from this impure sink; and to lay up among themselves genealogical scrolls from generation to generation as faithful witnesses and lasting monuments of their legitimate stock and free blood!
Hear a complaint and a story in this case: "R. Yochanan said, By the Temple, it is in our hand to discover who are not of pure blood in the land of Yisrael: but what shall I do, when the chief men of this generation lie hid?" (that is, when they are not of pure blood, and yet we must not declare so much openly concerning them). "He was of the same opinion with R. Isaac, who said, A family (of the polluted blood) that lies hid, let it lie hid. Abai also saith, We have learned this also by tradition, That there was a certain family called the family of Beth-zeripha, beyond Jordan, and a son of Zion removed it away." (The Gloss is, Some eminent man, by a public proclamation, declared it impure.) "But he caused another which was such" [that is, impure] "to come near. And there was another which the wise men would not manifest."
III. When it especially lay upon the Sanhedrim, settled at Jerusalem to preserve pure families, as much as in them lay, pure still; and when they prescribed canons of preserving the legitimation of the people (which you may see in those things that follow at the place alleged), there was some necessity to lay up public records of pedigrees with them: whence it might be known what family was pure, and what defiled. Hence that of Simon Ben Azzai deserves our notice: "I saw (saith he) a genealogical scroll in Jerusalem, in which it was thus written; 'N., a bastard of a strange wife.' " Observe, that even a bastard was written in their public books of genealogy, that he might be known to be a bastard, and that the purer families might take heed of the defilement of his seed.
Let that also be noted: "They found a book of genealogy at Jerusalem, in which it was thus written; 'Hillel was sprung from David. Ben Yatzaph from Asaph. Ben Tsitsith Hacceseth from Abner. Ben Cobisin from Achab,' " etc. And the records of the genealogies smell of those things which are mentioned in the text of the Misna concerning 'wood-carrying': "The priests' and people's times of wood-carrying were nine: on the first day of the month Nisan, for the sons of Erach, the sons of Yehudah: the twentieth day of Tammuz, for the sons of David, the son of Yehudah: the fifth day of Ab, for the sons of Parosh, the son of Yehudah: the seventh of the same month for the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab: the tenth of the same for the sons of Senaah, the son of Benjamin," etc.
It is, therefore, easy to guess whence Matthew took the last fourteen generations of this genealogy, and Luke the first forty names of his; namely, from the genealogical scrolls at that time well enough known, and laid up in the public repositories, and in the private also. And it was necessary, indeed, in so noble and sublime a subject, and a thing that would be so much inquired into by the Jewish people as the lineage of the Messiah would be, that the evangelists should deliver a truth, not only that could not be gainsaid, but also that might be proved and established from certain and undoubted rolls of ancestors.
[Of Yeshua Messiah.] That the name of Yeshua is so often added to the name of Messiah in the Renewed Covenant, is not only that thereby Messiah might be pointed out for the Saviour; which the name Yeshua signifies; but also, that Yeshua might be pointed out for true Messiah; against the unbelief of the Jews, who though they acknowledged a certain Messiah; or Messiah; yet they stiffly denied that Yeshua of Nazareth was he. This observation takes place in numberless places of the Renewed Covenant; Act_2:36; Act_8:35; 1Co_16:22; 1Jo_2:22; 1Jo_4:15, etc.
[The Son of David.] That is, "the true Messias"
And Asa begat Y'hoshafat; Y'hoshafat begat Yoram; and Yoram begat Uziyahu (Azayahu) ;
[And Yoram begat Ozias.] The names of Ahazias, Yoash, and Amazias, are struck out. See the history in the books of the Kings, and 1Ch_3:11-12.
I. The promise that "the throne of David should not be empty," passed over, after a manner, for some time into the family of Yehu, the overthrower of Yoram's family. For when he had razed the house of Ahab, and had slain Ahaziah, sprung, on the mother's side, of the family of Ahab, YHWH promiseth him that his sons should reign unto the fourth generation, 2 Ki_10:30. Therefore however the mean time the throne of David was not empty, and that Yoash and Amazias sat during the space between, yet their names are not unfitly omitted by our evangelist, both because they were sometimes not very unlike Yoram in their manners; and because their kingdom was very much eclipsed by the kingdom of Israel, when Ahazias was slain by Yehu, and his cousin Amazias taken and basely subdued by his cousin Yoash, 2 Chr 25:23.
II. "The seed of the wicked shall be cut off," Tehillim 37:28. Let the studious reader observe that, in the original, in this very place, the letter Ain, which is the last letter of wicked; and of seed; is cut off, and is not expressed; when, by the rule of acrostic verse (according to which this Psalm is composed), that letter ought to begin the next following verse.
III. "Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, etc. For I YHWH thy Elohim am a jealous Elohim; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation," (Shemot 20:5).
Yoram walked in the idolatrous ways of the kings of Israel, according to the manner of the family of Ahab, 2Ki_8:18. Which horrid violation of the second command Elohim visits upon his posterity, according to the threatening of that command; and therefore the names of his sons are dashed out unto the fourth generation.
IV. The Tenakh also stigmatizeth that idolatry of Yoram in a way not unlike this of the New; and shows that family unworthy to be numbered among David's progeny, 2Ch 22:2; Ahazias, the son of two and forty years; that is, not of his age (for he was not above two-and-twenty, 2Ki_8:26), but of the duration of the family of Omri, of which stock Ahazias was, on the mother's side; as will sufficiently appear to him that computes the years. A fatal thing surely! That the years of a king of Yehudah should be reckoned by the account of the house of Omri.
V. Let a genealogical style not much different be observed, 1Ch_4:1; where Shobal, born in the fifth or sixth generation from Yehudah, is reckoned as if he were an immediate son of Yehudah. Compare Mat_2:50.
In the like manner, Ezra_7, in the genealogy of Ezra, five or six generations are erased.
[Please see Genealogies of the Bible: A Neglected Subject (111k) etc. at the Arthur Custance, Doorway Papers Library site regarding these lists and the "missing" names.]
And Yeshua himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Yosef, which was the son of Heli,
[Being (as was supposed) the son of Yosef.] "A parable. There was a certain orphaness brought up by a certain epitropus; or foster-father, an honest good man. At length he would place her in marriage. A scribe is called to write a bill of her dower: saith he to the girl, 'What is thy name?' 'N.' saith she. 'What the name of thy father?' She held her peace. To whom her foster-father, 'Why dost thou not speak?' 'Because,' saith she, 'I know no other father but thee.' He that educateth the child is called a father, not he that begets it." Note that: Yosef, having been taught by the angel, and well satisfied in Miryam, whom he had espoused, had owned Yeshua for his son from his first birth; he had redeemed him as his first-born, had cherished him in his childhood, educated him in his youth: and therefore, no wonder if Yosef be called his father, and he was supposed to be his son.
II. Let us consider what might have been the judgment of the Sanhedrim in this case only from this story: "There came a certain woman to Jerusalem with a child, brought thither upon shoulders. She brought this child up; and he afterward had the carnal knowledge of her. They are brought before the Sanhedrim, and the Sanhedrim judged them to be stoned to death: not because he was undoubtedly her son, but because he had wholly adhered to her."
Now suppose we that the blessed Yeshua had come to the Sanhedrim upon the decease of Yosef, requiring his stock and goods as his heir; had he not, in all equity, obtained them as his son? Not that he was, beyond all doubt and question, his son, but that he had adhered to him wholly from his cradle, was brought up by him as his son, and always so acknowledged.
III. The doctors speak of one Yosef a carpenter: "Abnimus Gardieus asked the Rabbins of blessed memory, whence the earth was first created: they answer him, 'There is no one skilled in these matters; but go thou to Yosef the architect.' He went, and found him standing upon the rafters."
It is equally obscure, who this Yosef the carpenter; and who this Abnimus was; although, as to this last, he is very frequently mentioned in those authors. They say, that "Abnimus and Balaam were two the greatest philosophers in the whole world." Only this we read of him, That there was a very great familiarity betwixt him and R. Meir.
[Which was the son of Heli.] I. There is neither need nor reason, nor indeed any foundation at all, for us to frame I know not what marriages, and the taking of brothers' wives, to remove a scruple in this place, wherein there is really no scruple in the least. For,
1. Yosef is not here called the son of Heli; but Yeshua is so: for the word Yeshua must be understood, and must be always added in the reader's mind to every race in this genealogy, after this manner: "Yeshua (as was supposed) the son of Yosef, and so the son of Heli, and of Matthat, yea and, at length, the son of Adam, and the Son of Elohim." For it was very little the business of the evangelist either to draw Yosef's pedigree from Adam, or, indeed, to shew that Adam was the son of Elohim: which not only sounds something harshly, but in this place very enormously, I may almost add, blasphemously too. For when Loukas, Loukas 3:22; had made a voice from heaven, declaring that Yeshua was the Son of Elohim, do we think the same evangelist would, in the same breath, pronounce Adam 'the son of Elohim' too? So that this very thing teacheth us what the evangelist propounded to himself in the framing of this genealogy; which was to shew that this Yeshua, who had newly received that great testimony from heaven, "This is my Son," was the very same that had been promised to Adam by the seed of the woman. And for this reason hath he drawn his pedigree on the mother's side, who was the daughter of Heli, and this too as high as Adam, to whom this Yeshua was promised. In the close of the genealogy, he teacheth in what sense the former part of it should be taken; viz. that Yeshua, not Yosef, should be called the son of Heli, and consequently, that the same Yeshua, not Adam, should be called the Son of Elohim. Indeed, in every link of this chain this still should be understood, "Yeshua the son of Matthat, Yeshua the son of Levi, Yeshua the son of Melchi"; and so of the rest...
2. Suppose it could be granted that Yosef might be called the son of Heli (which yet ought not to be), yet would not this be any great solecism, that his son-in-law should become the husband of Miryam, his own daughter. He was but his son by law, by the marriage of Yosef's mother, not by nature and generation.
There is a discourse of a certain person who in his sleep saw the punishment of the damned. Amongst the rest which I would render thus, but shall willingly stand corrected if under a mistake; He saw Miryam the daughter of Heli amongst the shades. R. Lazar Ben Josah saith, that she hung by the glandules of her breasts. R. Josah Bar Haninah saith, that the great bar of hell's gate hung at her ear.
If this be the true rendering of the words, which I have reason to believe it is, then thus far, at least, it agrees with our evangelist, that Miryam was the daughter of Heli: and questionless all the rest is added in reproach of the blessed Virgin, the mother of our Adonay: whom they often vilify elsewhere under the name of Sardah.
Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri.
[The son of Rhesa, the son of Zorobabel, the son of Salathiel, the son of Neri.]
II. As to the variation of the names both here and 1 Chronicles_3, this is not unworthy our observation: that Zerubabel and his sons were carried out of Babylon into Judea; and, possibly, they might change their names when they changed the place of their dwelling. It was not very safe for him to be known commonly in Babylon by the name of Zerubabel, when the import of that name was the winnowing of Babel; so that he was there more generally called Sheshbazzar. But he might securely resume the name in Judea, when Cyrus and Darius had now fanned and sifted Babylon. So his two sons, Meshullam and Hananiah, could not properly be called, one of them Avihud, the glory of my father; and the other Rhesa, a prince; while they were in Babylon; but in Judea they were names fit and suitable enough.
III. Of the variation of names here, and in Mattityahu 1:12, I have already spoken in that place: to wit, that Neri was indeed the father of Salathiel; though Matthew saith Yechonyah (who died childless, Yirmeyahu 22:30) begat him: not that he was his son by nature, but was his heir in succession.
Which was the son of Keinan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noach, which was the son of Lamech,
[The son of Keinan.] I will not launch widely out into a controversy that hath been sufficiently bandied already. I shall despatch, as briefly as I may, what may seem most satisfactory in this matter:
I. There is no doubt, and indeed there are none but will grant that St. Luke hath herein followed the Greek version. This, in Gen_11:12-13; relates it in this manner: "Arphaxad lived a hundred and five and thirty years, and begat Keinan; and Keinan lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat Salah: and Keinan lived after he had begot Salah three hundred and thirty years."
Consulting Theophilus about this matter, I cannot but observe of this author, that he partly follows the Greek version, in adding to Arphaxad a hundred years, and partly not, when he omits Keinan: for so he; Arphaxad, when he was a hundred and thirty-five years of age, begat Salah. Nor can I but wonder at him that translates him, that he should of his own head insert, "Arphaxad was a hundred and thirty-five years old, and begat a son named Keinan. Keinan was a hundred and thirty years old, and begat Salah": when there is not one syllable of Keinan in Theophilus. A very faithful interpreter indeed!
1. I cannot be persuaded by any arguments that this passage concerning Keinan was in Moshe' text, or indeed in any Hebrew copies which the Seventy used; but that it was certainly added by the interpreters themselves, partly because no reason can be given how it should ever come to be left out of the Hebrew text, and partly because there may be a probable reason given why it should be added in the Greek; especially when nothing was more usual with them than to add of their own, according to their own will and pleasure.
I might, perhaps, acknowledge this one slip, and be apt to believe that Keinan had once a place in the original, but, by I know not what fate or misfortune, left now out; but that I find a hundred such kind of additions in the Greek version, which the Hebrew text will by no means own, nor any probable reason given to bear with it. Let us take our instances only from proper names, because our business at present is with a proper name.
Gen_10:2; Elisa is added among the sons of Japhet: and, Gen_10:22; another Keinan among the sons of Shem.
Gen_46:20; Five grandchildren added to the sons of Yosef; Mal_4:5; the Tishbite.
Exo_1:11; the city On; is added to Pithom and Raamses.
2Sa_20:18; the city Dan is added to Abel. Not to mention several other names of places in the Book of Yehoshua.
Now can I believe that these names ever were in the Hebrew copy, since some of them are put there without any reason, some of the against all reason (particularly Dan being joined with Abel; and the grandchildren of Yosef), and all of them with no foundation at all?
II. I question not but the interpreters, whoever they were, engaged themselves in this undertaking with something of a partial mind; and as they made no great conscience of imposing upon the Gentiles, so they made it their religion to favour their own side. And according to this ill temperament and disposition of mind, so did they manage their version; either adding or curtailing at pleasure, blindly, lazily, and audaciously enough: sometimes giving a very foreign sense, sometimes a contrary, oftentimes none: and this frequently to patronise their own traditions, or to avoid some offence they think might be in the original, or for the credit and safety of their own nation. The tokens of all which it would not be difficult to instance in very great numbers, would I apply myself to it, but it is the last only that is my business at this time.
III. It is a known story of the thirteen places which the Talmudists tell us were altered by the LXXII elders when they wrote out the law (I would suppose in Hebrew) for Ptolemy. They are reckoned up, and we have the mention of them sprinkled up and down; as also, where it is intimated as if eighteen places had been altered.
Now if we will consult the Glossers upon those places, they will tell us that these alterations were made, some of them, lest the sacred text should be cavilled at; others that the honour and peace of the nation might be secured. It is easy, therefore, to imagine that the same things were done by those that turned the whole Scripture. The thing itself speaks it.
Let us add, for example's sake, those five souls which they add to the family of Yaakov; numbering up five grandchildren of Yosef, who, as yet, were not in being, -- nay, seven, according to their account, Gen_46:27. Children that were born to Yosef in the land of Egypt, even nine souls.
Now, which copy do we think it most reasonable to believe, the Greek or the Hebrew? And as to the question, whether these five added in the Greek were anciently in Moshe' text, but either since lost by the carelessness of the transcribers or rased out by the bold hand of the Jews, let reason and the nature of the thing judge. For if Machir, Gilead, Shuthelah, Tahan, and Eran, were with Yosef when Yaakov with his family went down into Egypt, (and if they were not, why are they numbered amongst those that went down?) then must Manasseh at the age of nine years, or ten at most, be a grandfather; and Ephraim at eight or nine. Can I believe that Moshe would relate such things as these? I rather wonder with what kind of forehead the interpreters could impose such incredible stories upon the Gentiles, as if it were possible they should be believed.
IV. It is plain enough to any one that diligently considers the Greek version throughout, that it was composed by different hands, who greatly varied from one another, both in style and wit. So that this book was more learnedly rendered than that, the Greek reading more elegant in this book than in that, and the version in this book comes nearer the Hebrew than in that; and yet in the whole there is something of the Jewish craft, favouring and patronising the affairs of that nation. There is something of this nature in the matters now in hand, the addition of Keinan, and the five souls to the seventy that went down into Egypt.
How mighty the Jewish nation valued themselves beyond all the rest of mankind, esteeming those seventy souls that went down with Yaakov into Egypt beyond the seventy nations of the world; he that is so great a stranger in the Jewish affairs and writings, that he is yet to learn, let him take these few instances; for it would be needless to add more:
"Seventy souls went down with Yaakov into Egypt, that they might restore the seventy families dispersed by the confusion of tongues. For those seventy souls were equal to all the families of the whole world. And he that would be ruling over them, is as if he would usurp a tyranny over the whole world."
"How good is thy love towards me, O thou congregation of Yisrael! It is more than that of the seventy nations."
"The holy blessed Elohim created seventy nations; but he found no pleasure in any of them, save Yisrael only."
"Saith Abraham to Elohim, 'Didst thou not raise up seventy nations unto Noah?' Elohim saith unto him, 'I will raise up that nation unto thee of whom it is written, How great a nation is it!' " The Gloss is: "That peculiar people, excelling all the seventy nations; that holy nation, as the holy language excels all the seventy languages."
There are numberless passages of that kind. Now when this arrogant doctrine and vainglorying, if familiarly known amongst the Gentiles, could not but stir up a great deal of hatred, and consequently danger to the Jews, I should rather think the interpreters might make such additions as these, through the caution and cunning of avoiding the danger they apprehend, than that ever they were originally in the text of Moshe. To wit, by adding another Keinan, and five souls to those seventy in Yaakov's retinue, they took care that the Gentiles should not, in the Greek Scriptures, find exactly the seventy nations in Genesis 10, but seventy-two (or seventy-three if we reckon Elisa also;) as also not seventy, but seventy-five souls that went down into Egypt.
It was the same kind of craft they used in that version, Dvarim 32:8; whence that comparison between the seventy souls and the seventy nations took its rise. Moshe hath it thus; "When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Yisrael." But they render it thus; He set the bounds of the nations, according to the number of the angels of Elohim. A sense indeed most foreign from that of Moshe, yet which served to obscure his meaning, so far as might avoid any danger that might arise from the knowledge of it. Making the passage itself so unintelligible, that it needs an Oedipus to unriddle it; unless they should allude to the Jewish tradition (which I do a little suspect) concerning the seventy angels, set over the seventy nations of the world.
V. But now if this version be so uncertain, and differs so much from the original, how comes it to pass that the evangelists and Shliach - the sent ones should follow it so exactly, and that even in some places where it does so widely differ from the Hebrew fountain?
Ans. I. It pleased Elohim to allot the censers of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram to sacred use, because they were so ordained and designed by the first owners: so doth it please the Ruach HaKodesh to determine that version to his own use, being so primarily ordained by the first authors. The minds, indeed, of the interpreters were not perhaps very sincere in the version they made, as who designed the defence and support of some odd things: so neither were the hearts of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram sincere at all, but very perverse in offering their incense: but so long as their incense had been dedicated to sacred use, it pleased Elohim to make their censers holy. So the Greek version designed for sacred use, as designed for the Holy Scripture, so it was keept and made use of by the Ruach HaKodesh.
II. Whereas the New Testament was to be wrote in Greek, and come into the hands chiefly of the Gentiles, it was most agreeable, I may say most necessary for them, to follow the Greek copies, as being what the Gentiles were only capable of consulting; that so they, examining the histories and quotations that were brought out of the Old Testament, might find them agreeing with, and not contradicting them. For instance; they, consulting their Greek Scriptures for the names from David backward to Adam, there find "Keinan, the son of Arphaxad." If St. Luke should not also have inserted it, how readily they might have called his veracity in question, as to the other part of the genealogy, which had been extracted out of tables and registers not so familiarly known!
III. If there be any credit to be given to that story of the Greek version, which we meet with in Aristeas and Yosefus, then we may also believe that passage in it which we may find in Aristeas. "When the volumes of the law had been read through, the priests, and interpreters, and elders, and governors of the city, and all the princes of the people standing by, said 'Forasmuch as this interpretation is rightly, religiously, and in every thing so very accurately finished, it is fit that all things should continue as they are, and no alteration should be made.' When all had by acclamations given their approbation to these things, Demetrius commanded that, according to their custom, they should imprecate curses upon any that should, by addition, or alteration, or diminution, ever make any change in it. This they did well in, that all things might be kept entire and inviolate for ever."
If this passage be true, it might be no light matter to the Jew, when quoting any thing in Greek out of the Old Testament, to depart in the least from the Greek version; and indeed it is something a wonder, that after this they should ever dare to undertake any other. But supposing there were any credit to be had to this passage, were the sacred penmen any way concerned in these curses and imprecations? Who saith they were? But, however, who will not say that this was enough for them to stop the mouths of the cavilling Jews, that they, following the Greek version, had often departed from the truth of the original to avoid that anathema; at least, if there were any truth in it.
Object. But the clause that is before us (to omit many others) is absolutely false: for there was neither any Keinan the son of Arphaxad; nor was Jesus the son of any Keinan that was born after the flood.
Ans. I. There could be nothing more false as to the thing itself than that of the Shliach - the sent one, when he calleth the preaching of the Good News foolishness; 1Co_1:21; and yet, according to the common conceptions of foolish men, nothing more true. So neither was this true in itself that is asserted here; but only so in the opinion of those for whose sake the evangelist writes. Nor yet is it the design of the Ruach HaKodesh to indulge them in any thing that was not true; but only would not lay a stumblingblock at present before them: "I am made all things to all men, that I might gain some."
II. There is some parallel with this of St. Luke and that in the Old Testament, 1Ch_1:36; "The sons of Eliphaz, Teman, and Omar, and Zephi, and Gatam, and Timnah, and Amalek." Where it is equally false, that Timnah was the son of Eliphaz, as it is that Keinan was the son of Arphaxad. But far, far be it from me to say, that the Ruach HaKodesh was either deceived himself, or would deceive others. Timnah was not a man, but a woman; not the son of Eliphaz, but his concubine; not Amalek's brother, but his mother, Gen_36:12. Only the Ruach HaKodesh teacheth us by this shortness of speech, to recur to the original story from whence these things are taken, and there consult the determinate explication of the whole matter: which is frequently done by the same Ruach HaKodesh, speaking very briefly in stories well known before.
The Gentiles have no reason to cavil with the evangelist in this mater; for he agrees well enough with their Scriptures. And if the Jews, or we ourselves, should find fault, he may defend himself from the common usage of the Ruach HaKodesh, in whom it is no rare and unusual thing, in the recital of stories and passages well enough known before, to vary from the original and yet without any design of deceiving, or suspicion of being himself deceived; but, according to that majesty and authority that belongs to him, dictating and referring the reader to the primitive story, from whence he may settle and determine the state of the matter, and inquire into the reasons of the variation. St. Stephen imitates this very custom, while he is speaking about the burial of the patriarchs, Act_7:15-16; being well enough understood by his Jewish auditory, though giving but short hints in a story so well known.
III. It is one thing to dictate from himself, and another thing to quote what is dictated from others, as our evangelist in this place doth. And since he did, without all question, write in behalf of the Gentiles, being the companion of him who was the great Shliach - the sent one of the Gentiles, what should hinder his alleging according to what had been dictated in their Scriptures?
When the Shliach - the sent one names the magicians of Egyptt, Jannes and Jambres, 2 Ti_3:9; he doth not deliver it for a certain thing, or upon his credit assure them that these were their very names, but allegeth only what had been delivered by others, what had been the common tradition amongst them, well enough known to Timothy, a thing about which neither he nor any other would start any controversy.
So when the Shliach - the sent one Yehudah speaks of  p;"Michael contending with the devil about the body of Moshe," he doth not deliver it for a certain and authentic thing; and yet is not to be charged with any falsehood, because he doth not dictate of his own, but only appeals to something that had been told by others, using an argument with the Jews fetched from their own books and traditions.
IV. As it is very proper and even necessary towards the understanding some sentences and schemes of speech in the New Testament, to inquire in what manner they were understood by those that heard them from the mouth of him that spoke them, or those to whom they were written; so let us make a little search here as to the matter now in hand. When this Good News first appeared in public amongst the Jews and Gentiles, the Gentiles could not complain that the evangelist had followed their copies: and if the Jews found fault, they had wherewithal to answer and satisfy themselves. And that particularly as to this name of 'Keinan' being inserted, as also the five souls being added to the retinue of Yaakov; the learned amongst them knew from whence he had it; for what reason this addition had been made in the Greek version, and that St. Luke had faithfully transcribed it thence: so that if there were any fault, let them lay the blame upon the first authors, and not upon the transcriber.
V. To conclude: Before the Scripture had been translated for Ptolemy (as it is supposed) into the Greek tongue, there were an infinite number of copies in the Hebrew in Palestine, Babylon, Egypt, even everywhere, in every synagogue: and it is a marvellous thing, that in all antiquity there should not be the least hint or mention of so much as one Hebrew copy amongst all these that agrees with the Greek version. We have various editions of that version which they call the Septuagint, and those pretty much disagreeing among themselves: but who hath ever heard or seen one Hebrew copy that hath in every thing agreed with any one of them? The interpreters have still abounded in their own sense, not very strictly obliging themselves to the Hebrew text.
Adapted from John lightfooted