There are 146 contradictions in the SAB associated with Matthew – more than in any other book of the bible; so this oughtta be good. Since we have already read Mark, we’ll begin to spot them right away.
The first 17 verses of chapter 1 are nothing but a boring genealogy of Jesus; that already distinguishes it from Mark, which includes no genealogy. One can only suppose that Matthew’s purpose is to link Jesus up with David (see Isaiah 11); however, that relationship is moot if Jesus was the son of god, not Joseph. Can’t have it both ways, sorry! The prophesy referenced in v 23 is from Isaiah 7:14. If you have read Isaiah, you will know that this is hokum – it did not refer to Jesus. Furthermore, Jesus is not called Emmanuel anywhere in the bible (except as claimed in this particular verse).
Here we go… Jesus was born during the reign of Herod (who died in 4 BCE). Remember that; it’ll be contradicted later. Wise men/magi/astrologers arrive, asking for the king of the Jews. These magi will not appear in any other gospel. Note that they came from the east – and what was east of Judea? Why, Persia/Babylon – so it’s pretty obvious that story of the ‘wise men’ represents a melding of Zoroastrianism with Judaism…
Herod gets upset. He learns that the baby was born in Bethlehem, to fulfill prophesy (Micah 5:2) – more hokum. The ‘star’ that the wise men supposedly followed in v 9 is an astronomical impossibility – more evidence that this book was written in a pre-scientific era. And when they find the baby, he is in a house (v 11), not a manger. Next the family flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath, and Matthew claims that this fulfills prophesy in Hosea 11:1. More hokum. Next up, Herod kills all the baby boys (an event not documented anywhere outside the bible by historians at the time – wouldn’t such a brutal act would have been worth a mention?), in fulfillment of prophesy in Jeremiah 31:15 (you guessed it, more hokum). And one last prophesy – Joseph is warned that when he returns to Israel, it’s not safe to resettle in Bethlehem, so he moves his family to Nazareth. This fulfills the OT prophesy that Jesus shall be called a Nazarene. More hokum – there is no such prophesy in the entire OT. Perhaps Matthew was referring to the passage in Judges 13:5, regarding Samson, and got a little mixed up. Samson was a Nazarite, not a Nazarene – completely different meaning – but in Hebrew there is only one letter difference in the spelling of the two words… Epic prophetic failures, all of them, and we’re only 2 chapters in!
An end-times preacher named John the Baptist appears on the scene and begins his baptisms. Many Christians believe that prophesy in Isaiah 40:3 refers to him, but there’s no evidence for that; it was ambiguous enough to apply to anyone. From the description of his behavior and ranting, he sounds like a bit of a reclusive nutcase to me. But finally, Jesus shows up asking to be baptized – the first event that occurs in both Mark and Matthew. And why would Jesus need to be baptized, anyway?
This begins with Jesus’ temptation in the desert – a rehash of Mark 1:12 – but with embellishments. That’s how most of Matthew and Luke carry on – they add to Mark, and Matthew frequently corrects Mark’s ‘mistakes’. I note that some commentaries mock v 2 by saying that Jesus could not have survived for 40 days without food or water. But the Mirriam Webster dictionary defines ‘fast’ as eating no food; it does not specify that it must also include abstaining from water.
In v 4, Jesus quotes Deut 8:3. It’s actually impressive how well Matthew knew the scriptures; Satan and Jesus literally toss verses at each other. In v 6, Satan accurately quotes Psalm 91:11-12; Jesus responds with Deut 6:16. Satan makes another offer, and Jesus responds by misquoting Deut 6:13 (he adds the word ‘only’, which changes the intent). My money is on this whole episode with Satan being a hallucination – try spending a few days out in the desert with no food or shelter; heatstroke and starvation would make anyone hallucinate. In v 12-17, Jesus begins his ministry in the Galilee area, to fulfill the words of Isaiah 9:1-2 – or not, depending on if you believe that. Next up, he recruits his first disciples; Matthew 4 parallels Mark 1 here.