Who is…
Joseph, the legal father of Jesus Christ by adoption

Meaning: remover or increaser; may he add

Joseph, the legal father of Jesus the Christ primarily lived at Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:4) and is called a “just man” and his actions indicate he followed and obeyed God. He was by trade a carpenter (Matthew 13:55).

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.

But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the One who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

…And Joseph got up from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. —Matthew 1:18-25 LSB excerpt

Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23

1st dream of what was to happen

Joseph was visited in 3 noted dreams by an angel of God (Matthew 1:20, etc.).

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.” —Matt. 1:18-19 NASB

“…behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’” —Matthew 1:20-21 NASB excerpt

Faithful and honorable man of God

Joseph kept Mary a virgin until after she gave birth to the child, and he named him “Jesus” as God commanded (Matt. 1:25). Joseph named him on the 9th day after His birth, prior to His circumcision (Luke 2:21).

2nd and 3rd dreams

Years later, an angel of the Lord again appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take quick action to protect his wife and Child.

“Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” —Matt. 2:13b

Jospeh immediately did as God commanded, quietly fleeing with Mary and Jesus by night. They remained in Egypt until an angel again appeared in a dream.

“Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.” —Matt. 2:20 NASB

Nazareth

Joseph then moved his family to the city of Nazareth in the region of Galilee, where he lived and worked.

Death

Joseph is last mentioned in connection with the family’s journey to Jerusalem to the temple, when Jesus was 12 years old (Luke 2:41-52). It is probable that he died before Jesus entered on his public ministry. This is concluded from the fact that only Mary was present at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee (John 2). His name does not appear in connection with the scenes of the crucifixion along with that of Mary (John 19:25).

Joseph’s ancestry

Joseph was in the line of King David and therefore held a legal right to the throne. However, because he descended from Jechonias (Matthew 1:11-12) (also called Jeconiah and Jehoiachin, he would have been disqualified by God from taking the throne. However, Mary’s son would not (see: Mary).

Lineage—Adam to King David to Joseph

AdamSethEnosCainanMahalaleelJaredEnochMethuselahLamechNoahShemArpachshad (Arphaxad)CainanShelahEberPelegReuSerug (Saruch)NahorTerahAbrahamIsaacJacobJudahPerezHezronRamAmminadabNahshonSalmonBoazObedJesseKING DAVIDKing SolomonKing RehoboamKing Abijah (Abijam) → King AsaKing JehoshaphatKing Jehoram (Joram) → King Ahaziah (Uzziah) → King JothamKing AhazKing HezekiahKing ManassehKing AmonKing Josiah → Jeconiah (Jechonias, Jehoiachin, Jekonjah, Coniah, Neri) → Prince ShealtielPrince Zerubbabel (Zorobabel) → Prince Abiud (Abihud) → Governor Eliakim → Azor → Zadok → Achim → Eliud → EleazarMatthanJacobJOSEPH, the adoptive, legal father of of Jesus Christ

Note that the point of divergence between the royal lineage of Mary and Joseph is that they descended from two different sons of King David—Joseph from King Solomon and Mary from Prince Nathan.

Also see

Article Version: July 12, 2021