Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. (Matthew 1:18-19)
Not much attention is given to Joseph, who was espoused (engaged to be married) to Mary and became her husband. I believe Joseph was as carefully selected by the Lord, as was Mary. Plenty of men in Israel would have had Mary publicly stoned to death. God knows a lot about making trees and He knows a lot about fulfilling His promises and prophecies. I have leaned heavily on Clarke and Barnes to give the best comment on Joseph in the short space we have.
“Though Joseph was a righteous man, and knew that the law required that such persons as he supposed his wife to be should be put to death, yet, as righteousness is ever directed by mercy, he determined to put her away or divorce her privately, i.e. without assigning any cause, that her life might be saved; and, as the offense was against himself, he had a right to pass it by if he chose. (Clarke-Abbreviated)
“Her husband - The word in the original does not imply that they were married. It means here the man to whom she was espoused.
“A just man - The meaning is that he was kind, tender, merciful; that he was so attached to Mary that he was not willing that she should be exposed to public shame. He sought, therefore, secretly to dissolve the connection, and to restore her to her friends without the punishment commonly inflicted on adultery. The word just often has this meaning of mildness, or mercy. See 1John 1:9.
“A public example - To expose her to public shame or infamy. Adultery has always been considered a crime of a very heinous nature. In Egypt, it was punished by cutting off the nose of the adulteress; in Persia, the nose and ears were cut off; in Judea, the punishment was death by stoning, Leviticus 20:10; Ezekiel 16:38, Ezekiel 16:40; John 8:5. This punishment was also inflicted where the person was not married, but betrothed, Deuteronomy 21:23-24. In this case, therefore, the regular punishment would have been death in this painful and ignominious manner. Yet Joseph was a religious man - mild and tender; and he was not willing to complain of her to the magistrate, and expose her to death, but sought to avoid the shame, and to put her away privately.
“Put her away privily - The law of Moses gave the husband the power of divorce, Deuteronomy. 24:1. It was customary in a bill of divorce to specify the causes for which the divorce was made, and witnesses were also present to testify to the divorce. But in this case, it seems, Joseph resolved to put her away without specifying the cause; for he was not willing to make her a public example. This is the meaning here of “privily.” Both to Joseph and Mary this must have been a great trial.
“Joseph was ardently attached to her, but her character was likely to be ruined, and he deemed it proper to separate her from him. Mary was innocent, but Joseph was not yet satisfied of her innocence. We may learn from this to put our trust in God. He will defend the innocent. Mary was in danger of being exposed to shame. Had she been connected with a cruel, passionate, and violent man, she would have died in disgrace. But God had so ordered it that she was betrothed to a man mild, amiable, and tender: and in due time Joseph was apprised of the truth in the case, and took his faithful and beloved wife to his bosom.
“Thus, our only aim should be to preserve a conscience void of offence, and God will guard our reputation. We may be assailed by slander; circumstances may be against us; but in due time God will take care to vindicate our character and save us from ruin. See Psalm 37:5-6. (Barnes-Abbrev.) Ω
Bible Reading and Memorizing. There is no substitute for reading our Bible, like daily food and water. We can read through the Bible in a year by reading four chapters per day. Sometimes, instead of reading your Bible through in a year with speed reading, you may want to read a book through and run the references in the center column. And then go to another book the same way. Barbara and I are are currently reading passages pertaining to Advent. Prior to that, we were slow-reading Isaiah at the rate of one chapter a day. We have gone through Genesis to Isaiah the same way. Our private reading is additional. Many Christians observe the Advent: the four-week period leading up to Christmas, beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, and following a plan.
●Today’s article was edited and reprinted from Good Morning, December 16, 2007.
Read Through the Bible in a Year
DECEMBER 11, 2017 - MONDAY
A.M. Hosea 9-11 P.M. Revelation 2
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 1:18)
Song for Today:
Joy to the World (3:07) (Choir & Orchestra – Gaither Christmas 2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRIYrQFwqyU&index=2&list=PLFnkxTsXGTjUasNkVw1lNWSxrSy9aRTWb