Here is a quick follow up as to who else has already seen what I see in Mt 1:17, namely the implication that the exile did not really end until the time of the Messiah begins...
This interpretation was already offered by Craig Evans:
The Matthean genealogy may have been intended to suggest that the exile did not really come to an end until the appearance of Jesus, the Davidic Messiah. ["Aspects of Exile and Restoration in the Proclamation of Jesus" in Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Conceptions edited by James M. Scott (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 326]Evan's is hesitant but at least he makes the point in relation to verse 17 (other people have made the same point but not in relation to Mt 1:17), namely:
The word 'exile' (μετοικεσία) appears twice in Mat 1:11-12 + 17 as a pivotal point in the 'messianic genealogy'. Fourteen generations lead up to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations follow it leading up to the birth of the Messiah.
The point is then made (more strongly) by Mervyn Eloff in his "From the Exile to the Christ: Exile, Restoration and The Interpretation of Matthew's Gospel," (unpublished thesis, Stellenbosch University, 2002):
But Matthew’s term ἕως τοῦ χριστοῦ [from the Messiah] shows that with the advent of Jesus all of this is about to change - the time of waiting is over, the time of fulfilment has come. If this is indeed correct, then the final epoch is a progression from exile to restoration, first for the Royal line of David, and then for all who in submission to the Son of David, will come to share in the blessing and rest of His rule (cf. Matthew 11:27–30; 28:18–20).
I'm currently still reading Eloff's thesis, which is a refreshing read. Eloff acknowledges that Matthew is aware that there was already a time 'after exile':
Although it is clear from the phrase ἀπὸ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος [after the Babylonian exile] that Matthew is aware of a historic return from Babylon, the final epoch in I:17 has its focus not on that historic return, but rather on the coming of the Christ (ἕως τοῦ χριστοῦ) as the time of completion and fulfilment.
I'm not yet a fan of using the term 'epoch' (or three 'epochs') to designate each of the 'segments' in Mt 1:17. Namely because each segment covers several different 'periods'.
So the first segment, that is, from 'the time of Abraham' and before 'the time of David' includes:
- the time of the patriarchs;
- time in Egypt/slavery;
- time of exodus and wilderness;
- time of land conquests;
- time of the judges;
If an epoch is defined only as an 'origin of an era' then this probably fits with my view that Matthew is indeed seeing the 'origin of Abrahamic time' culminating (partially) in the time of David. The first segment would still deal with a beginning 'time period' (Abraham) that is different to, whilst connected to, an ending 'time period' (David).
Similarly we could say that segment two sees kingship ending in exile (as 'directional' or consequential progression of times).
Finally the third segment sees 'after exile time' ultimately ending in Messiah time.
(Next thing I need to do is to track down a few narrative analyses of Matthew that hopefully include chapter 1 in their analyses...)