It is clear that the name “Asaph” is the earliest form of text preserved in the manuscripts, for the agreement of Alexandrian (ℵ B) and other witnesses (f1 f13 700 1071) with Eastern versions (cop arm eth geo) and representatives of the Western text (Old Latin mss and D in Luke [ D is lacking for this part of Matthew]) makes a strong combination. Furthermore, the tendency of scribes, observing that the name of the psalmist Asaph (cf. the titles of Pss 50 and 73 to 83) was confused with that of Asa the king of Judah (1 Kgs 15:9 ff.), would have been to correct the error, thus accounting for the prevalence of Ἀσά in the later Ecclesiastical text and its inclusion in the Textus Receptus. , though ms. 60 reads Ἀσάβ. In Antiq. viii.xi.3–xii.6 Josephus uses Ἄσανος, though in the Latin translation Asaph appears.
Although most scholars are impressed by the overwhelming weight of textual evidence supporting Ἀσάφ, Lagrange demurs and in his commentary prints Ἀσά as the text of Matthew. He declares (p. 5) that “literary criticism is not able to admit that the author, who could not have drawn up this list without consulting the Old Testament, would have taken the name of a psalmist in place of a king of Judah. It is necessary, therefore, to suppose that Ἀσάφ is a very ancient [scribal] error.” Since, however, the evangelist may have derived material for the genealogy, not from the Old Testament directly, but from subsequent genealogical lists, in which the erroneous spelling occurred, the Committee saw no reason to adopt what appears to be a scribal emendation in the text of Matthew.
The textual evidence for the reading “Amos,” an error for “Amon,” the name of the king of Judah, is nearly the same as that which reads Ἀσάφ in verses 7 and 8.
In 1 Chr 3:14 most manuscripts present the correct Ἀμών (or its near equivalent Ἀμμών), but Ἀμώς is read by A Bc (B * and one minuscule read Ἀμνών). In the narrative account concerning King Amon in 2 Kgs 21:18–19, 23–25; 2 Chr 33:20–25 several Greek witnesses erroneously read Ἀμώς.
Despite Lagrange’s preference for Ἀμών (see his argument quoted above on verses 7–8), the Committee was impressed by the weight of the external evidence that attests Ἀμώς.
In order to bring the text of Matthew into harmony with the genealogy in 1 Chr 3:15–16, several of the later uncial manuscripts (M U Θ Σ), as well as a variety of other witnesses (including f1 33 209 258 478 661 954 1354 1604 syr h with *, pal geo), have added τὸν Ἰωακίμ, Ἰωακὶμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν. Although it is possible to argue that the clause had accidentally fallen out during transcription, the external evidence in its favor is not as weighty as that which supports the shorter text (ℵ B C E K L S V W Γ Δ Π most minuscules it vg syrc, s, p copsa, bo arm eth). It should be noted also that when the clause is present there are fifteen generations in the second tesseradecade (compare ver. 17).
There are three principal variant readings: (1) “and Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ,” is supported by a wide representation of textual families in early Greek and versional witnesses, including 1 ℵ B C W vg syrp, h, pal copsa, ( bo ) geo.
(2) “and Jacob begot Joseph, to whom being betrothed the virgin Mary bore Jesus, who is called Christ,” is supported by several Greek and Old Latin witnesses (Θ f13 l 547 ita, ( b ), c, ( d ), g1, ( k ), q). Similar to this are the readings of the Curetonian Syriac manuscript, “Jacob begot Joseph, him to whom was betrothed Mary the virgin, she who bore Jesus the Christ,” and of the Armenian version, “Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, to whom was betrothed Mary the virgin, from whom was born Jesus who was called Christ.“In the more complete form of the Liber generationis incorporated by Hippolytus in his Chronicle (completed about a.d.234), the genealogy from Adam to Christ closes with the words Ioseph, cui disponsata fuit uirgo Maria, quae genuit Iesum Christum ex spiritu sancto (ed. by Rudolf Helm, 1955, p. 126; “Joseph, to whom was betrothed the virgin Mary, who [fem.] bore Jesus Christ from the Holy Spirit”).
(3) “Jacob begot Joseph; Joseph, to whom was betrothed Mary the virgin, begot Jesus who is called the Christ,” is attested by the Sinaitic Syriac manuscript.
Other witnesses have sometimes been supposed to support reading (3). Thus, in the Dialogue of Timothy and Aquila, an anonymous treatise (dating perhaps from the fifth century) (Oxford, 1898), pp. 65–104, and E. J. Goodspeed, Journal of Biblical Literature, xxv (1905), pp. 58–78. A. Lukyn Williams (Adversus Judaeos [Cambridge, 1935], pp. 67–78) thinks that the main section of the treatise dates from about a.d. 200. that presents a debate between a Christian and a Jew, Mt 1:16 is referred to three times. The third of these is a loose quotation of the commonly received text, Ἰακὼβ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσὴφ τὸν μνηστευσάμενον Μαριάμ, ἐξ ἧς ἐγεννήθη ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ (“And Jacob begot Joseph, who was betrothed to Mary, from whom was born the Christ the Son of God”) , p. 88.. The second quotation, which stands at the close of a rapid recapitulation of the genealogy, is Ἰακὼβ δὲ τὸν Ἰωσήφ, ᾧ μνηστευθεῖσα Μαρία· ἐξ ἧς ἐγεννήθη Ἰησοῦς ὁ λεγόμενος Χριστός (“And Jacob [begot] Joseph, to whom was betrothed Mary, from whom was born Jesus who is called Christ”) , p. 76.. The first time that Mt 1:16 occurs in the Dialogue, the Jew quotes it in exactly the form given in (1) above and then follows it with his own inference, namely καὶ Ἰωσὴφ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον Χριστόν, περὶ οὗ νῦν ὁ λόγος, φησίν, ἐγέννησεν ἐκ τῆς Μαρίας (“And [so] Joseph begot Jesus who is called Christ, about whom we are talking, it says, he begot [him] from Mary”) , p. 76.. Despite the protestations of Conybeare to the contrary, , i (1902–03), pp. 96–102. it seems clear that these words are not a second citation added to the first, but are a Jewish interpretation of the commonly received text of Mt 1:16 , ii (Cambridge, 1904), p. 265, and Theodor Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, ii (Edinburgh, 1909), p. 565, who agree in taking the words as a Jewish interpretation, and not as a Greek witness supporting the text of the Sinaitic Syriac..
Another witness that is sometimes thought to support the reading of the Sinaitic Syriac is a twelfth century Jacobite Syrian writer, Dionysius Barsalibi, bishop of Amida. Hermann von Soden, for example, cites in his apparatus for Mt 1:16 the name of Barsalibi as patristic attestation entirely parallel with that of syrs. The evidence, however, is far from being so clear-cut, as the following account of the principal points will make obvious.