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Monday, December 19, 2016

Would Joseph’s Family Shun Mary?

Would Joseph’s relatives still have accepted him, or more importantly Mary, into their homes, because they would have thought that Mary was pregnant out of wedlock?

Since the Bible does not tell us Joseph’s family’s response to Mary’s pregnancy, we cannot make any definitive claims. Scripture does, however, give some background details, and we know some things about their culture, so we can speculate. Of course, they may have faced quite a bit of rejection and persecution from friends and family, as is commonly assumed, but is it possible that this wasn’t the case?

Let’s first take a look at Joseph’s reaction to the news that Mary was pregnant. At the time, the couple was betrothed, which was as legally binding as marriage is today. They were regarded as husband and wife, and a certificate of divorce would be required to dissolve that union. These truths are referenced in Matthew 2:19:

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
Based on the Old Testament, Joseph had a couple of options. He could have charged her with adultery so that she would be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:23–24). However, he was an upright man who wanted to show mercy to her. He wanted to put her away secretly, which means he was planning to obtain a legal divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1; cf. Matthew 19:8–9). His difficult decision may also have been influenced by the fact that Mary was obviously a godly young woman with a desire to serve the Lord (Luke 1:38). Yet due to the angelic visit, Joseph chose a different option: he did not press any charges and kept her as his wife.

Thinking about the families of Mary and Joseph can be an interesting topic. Since Joseph was upright and Mary was chosen by God to give birth to the Messiah, they probably both came from devout homes. Mary’s relative, Elizabeth, was the godly wife of a righteous priest (Luke 1:6), and she rejoiced with Mary about the good news (Luke 1:39–45). Also, when she gave birth to John the Baptist, the one who would prepare the way of the Lord (John 1:23), her relatives “heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her [and] they rejoiced with her” (Luke 1:58). So, Mary’s and Joseph’s families may have offered their support rather than mistreating the young couple.more here


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