Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 3 March 2018
Page 16

Questions and Answers

Send your religious questions to editor@gospelgazette.com

Was Joseph a Widower before
Marrying the Mother of Jesus?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Louis Rushmore“Was Joseph a widower before marrying the mother of Jesus?” someone asked. The biblical record says very little regarding Joseph.

Joseph, the carpenter (Matt 13:55), was a “just man” (Matt 1:19 the King James Version), who belonged to Nazareth (Luke 2:4). He was of Davidic descent (Matt 1:20; Luke 2:4), the son of Heli (Luke 3:23) or Jacob (Matt 1:16), the husband of Mary (Matt 1:16), and the supposed father of Jesus (Matt 13:55; Luke 3:23; 4:22; John 1:45; 6:42). (ISBE)

However, some uninspired, extra-biblical historical documents portray Joseph as an aged widower at the time of his engagement and marriage to Marry, the mother of Jesus. According to McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, the Apocryphal Gospels record that Joseph was an 80-year-old widower at the time he wed Marry.

Works Cited

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (ISBE). CD-ROM. Seattle:  Biblesoft, 2006.

McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Seattle:  Biblesoft, 2006.

Did Jesus Have Siblings?

Someone posed the question, “Did Mary bear additional children after the birth of Jesus?” Some people want to make the brothers of Jesus His cousins instead of His half-brothers. Most Bible students, though, take the words in the Gospel records and New Testament epistles at face value, recognizing that Jesus had brothers and sisters. “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?…” (Mark 6:3 NKJV; cf., Matthew 13:55-56; 1 Corinthians 9:5; Galatians 1:19).

When Did Joseph, the
Father of Jesus, Die?

“When did Joseph, the father of Jesus, die?” someone asked. Scripture does not indicate when Joseph the father of Jesus died. Yet, Scripture implies the death of Joseph through his absence in the life, the ministry and at the time of our Lord’s death. “It is not easy to determine when Joseph died. That event may have taken place before Jesus entered on his public ministry. This has been argued from the fact that his mother only appeared at the feast at Cana in Galilee” (McClintock and Strong). The final reference to Joseph alive was when Jesus was 12-years-old as He accompanied His parents to Jerusalem for worship (Luke 2:41-51). Joseph may have died during the interim between that event and the commencement of Jesus’ public ministry, a period compressed into a single verse of Scripture (Luke 2:52). The absence of Joseph at the crucifixion of our Lord and Jesus’ assignment of His mother’s care to His disciple John (John 19:25-27) strongly implies that at least by then Joseph was no longer available to assume that care, and that he most likely had passed away previously. Unlike today when other scenarios might commonly absent a father from his family, first century Jewish culture and customs would have obligated the husband to provide for his wife if he were alive. If Joseph were much older than Mary, as often was the case among peoples anciently, it would not be unusual for the mother of Jesus to be a widow during the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Works Cited

McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Seattle:  Biblesoft, 2006.

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