Posts tagged ‘Joseph’


474px-'Joseph's_Dream',_painting_by_Gaetano_Gandolfi,_c._1790Mt 1:20-21. But while he pondered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, the son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife: for he who is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and she shall call his name JESUS (YESHUA), for he shall save (yawshah) his people from their sins.”

What was Joseph to do? As his weary mind was overwhelmed with his predicament, he fell asleep while seeking God’s help. Surely, you have had life situations that left you tossing and turning during the night, too. Lo and behold, an angel appeared in his dream! The angelic message served two purposes, one of which is to help Joseph understand his immediate circumstances, and the other will be captured in my next story.

Whenever the word, behold, is used in Scripture, it is a signal for the reader to pay attention. Recognizing the word behold is not just some kind of archaic introductory word, but rather the word is alerting the reader that an angel of the Lord has appeared to Joseph. Angels are very important to Jewish culture, because they are sent from God to deliver a special message. Interestingly, Matthew records four angelic appearances. Three times an angel appeared to Joseph concerning the Christ child, and the fourth time an angel appeared to the women who came to the tomb of Jesus. However, the focus isn’t upon the angel, but the message.

First, the angel addresses Joseph by his name, and then by his ancestry since Joseph is the son of David. Now that the angel has Joseph’s full attention, he addresses Joseph’s problem. Fear! Although I think this was a cautious fear on Joseph’s part, he needed to be assured that God was involved in his and Mary’s lives in a unique way. The reason he was not to fear is that the conception was the work of the Holy Spirit.

Then, the angel foretells that Mary will have a son and that she is to name him Jesus (Yeshua)[1]. Depending on the community, Jewish naming of the firstborn could be done by either the father or the mother. However, the angel Gabriel had already told Mary that she was to call the baby’s name, Jesus[2]. The reason his name is to be called Jesus (Yeshua) is that He shall save (yawshah) his people from their sins. Notice the Hebrew word play between Jesus (Yeshua) and save (yawshah).

Another reason the angel is specifically saying that Mary is to call the name of the baby Jesus (Yeshua) has to do with her significant role. Besides needing a personal Savior, she is the woman chosen by God to bear the Seed of salvation promised after the fall of mankind[3]. As Eve birthed sin into the world by her act of disobedience, Mary has to be responsible to speak out the name of the child as Jesus (Yeshua), a savior for mankind. As Adam had supported Eve in their disobedience, Joseph is to support Mary in their obedience to God. Also, Mary, the Elect Lady (2 John), symbolizes those who would recognize their own necessity for a personal savior and become future members of the universal Church, the body of Christ[4].

For Joseph to understand his role as protector of Mary and Jesus, he needed to seek the Lord. However, what God had planted in Mary, the promise to Adam and Eve for the redemption of mankind, was so much greater than Joseph could have imagined.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2013. All rights reserved.

[1] Since the Gospel of Matthew was written in the Aramaic Hebrew, I reference the oldest Aramaic Peshitta copies. Older Greek and Latin variants are divided as to the use of the pronoun, she or you, because of the ambiguity in the Aramaic. The only clues to what is correct is context.

[2] Luke 1:31

[3] Gen 3

[4] As a Protestant, my research using ancient Christian writings broadens my understanding of the Orthodox.


14 x 3 = 41 or 42 by Beth Piepenburg


One problem of fourteen generations thrice should give forty-two names, and yet traditional translations give us forty-one names. However, the Aramaic states: “Jacob fathered Joseph, the kinsman of Mariam, from whom was born Yeshua who is called the Messiah.” The proper translation now gives us forty-two names with Mary listed as part of the lineage of Christ.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2013. All rights reserved.

JOSEPH’S & MARY’S LINEAGE by Beth Piepenburg

Because the Gospel of Matthew was written to the Jewish people, Matthew traces the lineage of Jesus through his mother Mary by her kinsman Joseph. In fact, Matthew’s Gospel story of the nativity of Christ was the one in circulation for at least a decade before Luke wrote his Gospel. In 1 Sam. 7:12-13 the Lord had promised David that after his death the Lord would set up David’s seed after him and establish his kingdom, which was fulfilled as Peter explained in Acts 2:30. The seed had also been promised through Abraham. Because the seed would come through a woman, Gen. 3:15, Matthew traces the lineage through Mary as prophesied and recorded in history.

The ancestry given by Matthew is divided into three periods of Jewish history from Abraham unto David, from David unto the exile, and from the exile to Christ. The importance of the ancestry given is not to prove that the kingly line is through David’s son, Solomon, but that Mary’s ancestry can be traced back to King David. Whereas Solomon’s kingdom lasted a few centuries, Christ’s kingdom is eternal. While Solomon and Jeconiah had their moral failures with consequences, we see God’s forgiveness and restoration of this lineage by his promise to Zorobabel[1].

Since the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Aramaic, I consulted an interlinear Peshitta version[2].  Words and concepts can be lost in translating from one language to another, which proved to be true when Matthew 1:16 was translated from Aramaic to Greek. In the Aramaic translation: “Jacob fathers Joseph, the kinsman of Mary, from whom was born Yeshua who is called the Messiah.”  Although the Greek uses the word husband, aner (ανηρ), in both Mt. 1:16 and Mt. 1:19, the Aramaic distinguishes the difference of kinsman, gawra (kinsman) in Mt. 1:16, from husband, ba’la (her husband) in Mt. 1:19. Matthew is making the point that Jesus’ genealogy is through Mary, by whom Joseph is her kinsman.

To shed further light on the subject, I began researching what the writings of the earlier centuries had to say concerning the genealogy of Mary and Joseph. How I wish I could just walk down to the Temple in Jerusalem, and check out the records. However, they either were destroyed or lost to history since the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Recognizing that I may be dealing with lost facts, “historical fiction”, or opinions in some of the early writings, could I find a mutual bit of truth concerning the family of Jesus? Yet, I did find much agreement with the lineage and purpose given of the promised seed of King David.  Since our lack of information concerns the third period, let’s begin with Jeconiah.

Solomon to Eliud

1)      Jeconiah, after being released from prison fathered Salathiel, who fathered Zerubbabel.

2)      Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, who fathered Eliakim.

3)      Eliakim fathered Azor, who fathered Sadok.

4)      Sadok fathered Achim, who fathered Eliud.

Mattan to Jesus

5)      Eliud fathered Eleazar, who fathered Matthan.

6)      Matthan married Estha and fathered twins, Jacob and Joachim[3], and then died. Estha then married Melchi, a descendant of David’s son Nathan, who then fathers Heli. Possibly, Jacob and Joachim are half-brothers to Heli, though there could be two generations between Melchi and Heli.[4]

7)      Heli married, but died childless. Both Jacob and Joachim are near kin. Jacob, married Heli’s wife to produce seed for him. In Luke’s gospel, Joseph is the legal son of Heli; in Matthew’s gospel, Jacob fathered Joseph.

8)      Joachim, Jacob’s twin, had married Anna, a descendant of Aaron. They had a daughter in their old age, whom they name Mariam or Mary. So, Mary is both descended from kings and priests.

9)      Mary is a much younger cousin to Joseph.

Concerning tribal inheritance, Mary will inherit any land owned by her father Joachim, as long as she marries within the tribe of Judah. More than likely, her marriage has been pre-arranged to Joseph, a much older man, by her father Joachim. Because she is able to inherit directly as a female, Matthew lists her along with Joseph, her kinsman rather than husband. This inheritance right also will necessitate her being enrolled personally in the census, which is why she had to make the arduous journey to Bethlehem during her pregnancy.

While Joseph’s genealogy is also traced by Luke, Matthew is giving both the biological lineage of Joseph and Mary, and their kinsman relationship. Can you see why the lineage of Jesus is traced directly from Mary through her kinsman Joseph and her grandfather Jacob to King David? She is the one who is the seed carrier.  Remember, Matthew is presenting the lineage from a Jewish perspective.

Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2013. All rights reserved.


[1] Haggai 2:23

[3] Also known as Yonachir or Zadok. Actually, Zadok might be a religious title.  Cave of Treasures (

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