Joseph The Betrothed 

When Mary was fourteen years old, it had been decided that she should be married. However, she had told Zechariah that she wanted to stay a virgin. 

This was a really unusual request, but Zechariah accepted it. 

He announced that an elderly man had to be found, a widower, who would give her protection and whose house she successively would lookout of. 

He then cast lots to ascertain from which tribe the person should be chosen who would look after Mary.  

There were twelve tribes, and therefore the lot fell on the tribe of Judah. 

So it had been announced by criers who went through the land that each widower of the tribe of Judah should come to the Temple, bringing his rod with him.

Joseph of Nazareth was eighty years old, and was of the tribe of Judah and of the royalty of David.  

He had become a widower the year before. He had been married for forty years to Salome, who had given him seven children: James, the primary bishop of Jerusalem, Jude, one among the twelve apostles, Simon, the second bishop of Jerusalem, Joses, Salome, the mother of the Apostles James and John, Esther and another girl. James was the youngest, and was still within the house.

Several Church Fathers – for instance , SS. Epiphanius of Cyprus, Cyril of Alexandria and Hilary of Poitiers – believed that Joseph had been married and become a widower which he had several children from his first wife who are called “the brothers of the Lord” within the Gospel.

In the East it's the custom to ask cousins as “brothers” or “sisters”. therefore the brothers and sisters of Christ mentioned within the New Testament were actually the youngsters of Joseph and not blood-siblings of Christ. Christ was the first-born and only Child of Mary .

Joseph obeyed the order of the High Priest and went together with his rod to the Temple. Zechariah was told by an angel to place all the rods of the eligible men on the altar within the Holy of Holies, where they might remain until subsequent day.

He was told that one among the rods would blossom, thereby indicating God’s choice of the person who was to seem after Mary . it had been Joseph’s rod that blossomed.

His request was granted. subsequent day, one among the staffs had put forth leaves. So when the lads appear to gather their staffs, the High Priest delayed the staff that budded and asked to whom it belonged. it had been Joseph’s. God’s choice had Fallen on the elderly Joseph. 

The budding of Aaron’s rod (Numbers 17.8) is seen as a prophetic sort of the blossoming of Joseph’s rod. it's also the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah 11.1-2: “There shall come forth a rod out of the basis of Jesse, and a blossom shall come up from his root; and therefore the Spirit of God shall rest upon Him…”

Joseph was embarrassed, since Mary was so young – the people would ridicule him. However, he was told by the High Priest that Mary had chosen to stay a virgin and dedicate her life totally to God. She would take care of Joseph and his sons and do the housework, but wouldn't become his wife within the full sense. Joseph accepted these conditions.

There followed a betrothal service within the Temple. There are some lovely old icons that depict this service: a lass next to an old white-haired man. Joseph is brief and stooped.

Joseph was chosen to be Mary’s husband within the eyes of the planet so as to guard her from slander and so as to deceive Satan, who knew about the prophecy of Isaiah 7.14 that a virgin would conceive a toddler Whose name would be Emmanuel. St. Ignatius of Antioch declared that Satan was kept in ignorance of the virginal conception. St. Ambrose of Milan agrees with him. Commenting on the devout Joseph, he says that Joseph understood that the aim of the wedding was to guard Mary’s good name. St. Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, said that her betrothal was aimed toward protecting her from the serpent, in order that he wouldn't attack her, but pass her by, thinking she wasn't Mary of the prophecy.

God commits Mary to Joseph’s safe keeping, even as on the Cross Christ committed His Mother to John’s safe keeping. For it had been the Jewish custom that when a lady was left a widow, her son should take care of her. If the primary son died, then subsequent child, whether son or daughter, was to seem after her. But Christ was the sole Child of Mary, then Christ chose John His disciple to seem after her, while He Himself was on the Cross. To Mary He said: “Behold thy son” (John), and to John He said: “Behold thy mother”. If there had been brothers of sisters of Christ, as many Protestants incorrectly believe, then they might are offended that their mother should are given into the care of somebody outside the family.

Again, Joseph within the Old Testament saved his family from famine; he taken care of their bodies. within the same way Joseph the Betrothed within the New Testament took care of Mary and therefore the Child Jesus; he taken care of their bodies. As for Joseph of Arimathea, he taken care of the Body of Christ and put it in his own tomb in fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah (53.9).

On the icons of the Nativity Joseph is seen pondering on all the prophecies concerning Mary within the Scriptures. Opposite him may be a man dressed sort of a prophet with a staff. Joseph was a devout man from the tribe of Judah who knew the Scriptures and therefore the prophecy of Isaiah 7.14: “A Virgin shall conceive a toddler , and shall call His name Emmanuel”, which suggests “God with us”. Joseph, a devout widower, realized that Mary was the Ark in whom the person of the Trinity dwelt. If Uzzah died because he touched the Ark of the Covenant, then Joseph, a person of God, wouldn't have dared to the touch Mary. She was the new Ark, the throne of God and therefore the fulfilment of Ezekiel’s prophecy that no man besides the Prince would enter her.