Joseph (son of David)

Referenced in the Bible:

Matthew 1:16-2:23

Luke 1:22-2:52

Key Verse: 

Matthew 1:19-20
Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

Luke 2:39-40
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. (NIV)

1.0 JOSEPH – EARTHLY FATHER OF JESUS:[1] (By Mary Fairchild).

Why Joseph Was Chosen to Be the Earthly Father of Jesus

God chose Joseph to be the earthly father of Jesus. The Bible tells us in the Gospel of Matthew, that Joseph was a righteous man. His actions toward Mary, his fiance, revealed he was a kind and sensitive man. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, he had every right to feel disgraced. He knew the child was not his own, and Mary’s apparent unfaithfulness carried a grave social stigma. Joseph not only had the right to divorce Mary, under Jewish law she could be put to death by stoning.

Although Joseph’s initial reaction was to break the engagement, the appropriate thing for a righteous man to do, he treated Mary with extreme kindness. He did not want to cause her further shame, so he decided to act quietly. But God sent an angel to Joseph to verify Mary’s story and reassure him that his marriage to her was God’s will. Joseph willingly obeyed God, in spite of the public humiliation he would face.

Perhaps this noble quality made him God’s choice for the Messiah’s earthly father.

The Bible does not reveal much detail about Joseph’s role as father to Jesus Christ, but we know from Matthew, chapter one, that he was an excellent earthly example of integrity and righteousness. Joseph is last mentioned in Scripture when Jesus was 12 years old. We know that he passed on the carpentry trade to his son and raised him in the Jewish traditions and spiritual observances.


Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus, the man entrusted to raise the Son of God. Joseph was also a carpenter, or skilled craftsman. He obeyed God in the face of severe humiliation. He did the right thing before God, in the right manner.


Joseph was a man of strong conviction who lived out his beliefs in his actions. He was described in the Bible as a righteous man. Even when personally wronged, he had the quality of being sensitive to someone else’s shame. He responded to God in obedience and he practiced self-control. Joseph is a wonderful biblical examples of integrity and godly character.

Life Lessons:

God honored Joseph’s integrity by entrusting him with a great responsibility. It is not easy to entrust your children to someone else. Imagine God looking down to choose a man to raise his own son? Joseph had God’s trust.

Mercy always triumphs. Joseph could have acted severely toward Mary’s apparent indiscretion, but he chose to offer love and mercy, even when he thought he had been wronged.

Walking in obedience to God may result in humiliation and disgrace before men. When we obey God, even in the face of adversity and public shame, he leads and guides us.


Nothing listed.


Nazareth in Galilee.


Carpenter, Craftsman.


There are some facts that we know about Jesus’ earthly family. His parents were named Joseph and Mary.


Joseph was the husband of Mary but not the biological father of Jesus. The New Testament makes this quite clear.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18).

The Bible also says.

But he [Joseph] had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus (Matthew 1:25).

There are not many fact recorded about Joseph in the four gospels. He is mentioned only with respect to the events surrounding Jesus’ birth, flight to Egypt, return to Galilee. We find Joseph obeyed the Lord without question during this time.

The Episode In The Temple

The only other reference to him is the episode regarding Jesus teaching at the temple at age twelve.

Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:47-50).

It is interesting to note that Joseph is not mentioned by name in this account neither is there any record of him saying anything to Jesus. The account speaks of Jesus’ parents. Mary calls Joseph “Jesus’ father” however Jesus corrects her when He emphasizes who His real Father is. This is the last we hear of Joseph.

Joseph Was Not Around For Jesus’ Public Ministry

Joseph is not mentioned as being around when Jesus began His public ministry. He is conspicuous by His absence. Almost everyone agrees that he had died before the time Jesus revealed Himself to the world. We know nothing of the circumstances surrounding his death.

Is His Death Indicated?

There may be an indication in Scripture that Joseph would never live to see Jesus’ public ministry. When the elderly man Simeon spoke to Joseph and Mary about their newborn son we find the following said.

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:33-35).

He predicted that a sword would pierce Mary’s soul concerning Jesus but Simeon said nothing about Joseph. This may be an indication that Joseph would not be around to see Jesus rejected and crucified by the people whom He came to save.

The Announcement To Mary

Mary was the wife of Joseph and the biological mother of Jesus. While a virgin, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced the coming birth of Jesus.

v.26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, v.27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. v.28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” v.29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. v.30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. v.31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. v.32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, v.33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

v.34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

v.35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. v.36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. v.37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”  v.38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:26-38

The Song Of Mary

There is the song of Mary recorded in Luke’s gospel (Luke 1:46-55) in which Mary praises God for His faithfulness.

And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior (Luke 1:46,47).

She correctly predicted that she would be called blessed from that time on.

For he has had regard for the humble state of his bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed (Luke 1:48).

Mary Was Present At Jesus’ First Miracle

At the site of Jesus’ first miracle, Mary is present.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you (John 2:1-5).

Mary Was With Jesus’ Brothers And Sisters On One Occasion

There is an account of Mary being with Jesus brothers and sisters.

When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind” (Mark 3:21).

It is possible that it was Jesus family, and not the crowd, that thought that Jesus was deluded. We find His family attempting to speak to Him.

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:31-34).

Mary Was Present At The Crucifixion

She was present at Jesus’ crucifixion.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home (John 20:25-27).

She Was In The Upper Room After Jesus’ Ascension

The last we hear of Mary is with Jesus’ disciples in the Upper Room

They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers (Acts 1:14).

Here she is called the mother of Jesus. After this there is no mention of Mary in the New Testament. We know nothing with respect to the circumstances of her death.

Many Fanciful Stories About Mary Arose

After the New Testament era, many fanciful stories were written about Joseph and Mary. The only facts about their lives of which we can be certain are those that are recorded in the New Testament.


We know some details about Jesus’ family. His mothers’ name was Mary. She was married to Joseph. Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus but adopted Him upon His birth. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Joseph was prominent only in the accounts surrounding Jesus’ birth, flight to Egypt, and return. He is mentioned in the story of Jesus and the Temple. We know nothing of the circumstances of Joseph’s death. There may be a hint of his death before the public ministry of Jesus in the words of Simeon. He was not around when Jesus entered His public ministry. Mary is mentioned on certain occasions during Jesus’ ministry.

Mary was a virgin when the angel announced to her that she would give birth to the Messiah. She figures prominently into the birth narrative of Jesus. There are only a few other occasions where she is mentioned. She is at the wedding of Cana of Galilee when Jesus turns the water into wine. Mary is also with Jesus’ brothers and sisters when they wish to speak with Him apart from the crowd. She was there at His first miracle, attempted to take Him aside at one point, and was there at His crucifixion. She was taken into the home of the Apostle John after the death of Jesus. The last mention of her in the New Testament is before Pentecost where she is together with the other disciples.

3.0 JOSEPH: THE FATHER OF JESUS[3]Jonathan Petersen

Father’s Day is an annual occasion to help us take stock of what it means to be a father (or, in its broader context, a man in some kind of leadership role with another). We have several previous blogposts we encourage you to read:

Read Joseph’s story: Matthew 1:16-2:23 and Luke 1:26-2:52.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:20-21)

What was the most difficult part about being Jesus’ earthly father?

There were times when I felt very common and not at all up to the task. Occasionally the weight and seriousness of the responsibility would fall on me, and I felt completely inadequate. I was inadequate. Who is worthy to raise the Son of God? I asked God daily for strength and wisdom.

After Jesus was born and you had to flee to Egypt, were you afraid?

Initially, yes, I was very afraid. After the alarming vision, there was this urgency in me. I felt as though Herod’s guards were on their way, and if I didn’t move quickly, then … well, you know. But on our way to Egypt, I realized that God was directing the events here, not Herod or I. I said to myself, ‘Wait a second. God knows the future. If something bad were going to happen, he would help us.’ I thought about the Israelites on their way out of Egypt, and if ever things started closing in around us to that degree, I knew we could be confident of a miracle.

How was your faith changed by that whole string of events surrounding the birth of Jesus?

It wasn’t just my faith. This child upended my whole life. I was talking about this with Zechariah one time, about how we had our whole lives planned until God showed up. Everything about our lives changed. But what a joy!

You mentioned joy. Explain what you mean.

Most people, when they think of Jesus, think about his strong teachings or his miracles or maybe even his death. But when I think of him, my mind goes back to this time, right after he was born. He had just awakened, I was holding him and he was looking around. Very alert. And he looked up at me and with his little fingers grabbed my finger. They say babies that young don’t smile, but he smiled, as if to say, “I’m glad to be here.” You know, Mary witnessed his death, and Peter felt his forgiveness on the beach after the denial. Thomas touched the scars in his hands, and John even saw a vision of him coming back as King. But I held that baby before all that. And that’s something I’ll never forget.

Back to the Future

• The course of Joseph’s life was entirely redirected by God, and yet he reacted with grace and obedience. How difficult would it be for you to make massive life changes like Joseph? Why?

• God entrusted the care of his Son Jesus to a man without much in the way of monetary resources. What does this show about God’s view of wealth? Of parenting?

• Joseph was a man of faith. What have you learned from Joseph’s life that has strengthened your own faith?


[A] References in New Testament:

(For etymology, etc., of Joseph, see JOSEPH):

  Joseph, the carpenter:

Matthew 13:55

  Was a “just man”:

Matthew 1:19 kjv

  Who belonged to Nazareth:

Luke 2:4

  He was of Davidic descent:

Matthew 1:20

Luke 2:4

  The son of Heli:

Luke 3:23

  Or Jacob:

Matthew 1:16

  The husband of Mary:

Matthew 1:16

  And the supposed father of Jesus:

Matthew 13:55

Luke 3:23

Luke 4:22

John 1:45

John 6:42

[B] Before the Nativity:

The Gospels of Matthew and Mark alone give any detailed reference to Joseph and the birth of Jesus, and their accounts vary in part.

Luke begins with the Annunciation to Mary at Nazareth (Luke 1:26-38). Overwhelmed with the tidings, Mary departed “with haste” “into the hill country, …. into a city of Judah,” to seek communion with Elisabeth, with whom she had been coupled in the Annunciation by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:39-55).

After abiding with her about three months she returned “unto her own house” (Luke 1:56 the King James Version). The events recorded in Matthew 1:18-24 probably took place in the interval between this return and the birth of Jesus. During Mary’s visit to Elisabeth, Joseph had likely remained in Nazareth.

The abrupt and probably unexplained departure of his espoused wife for Judah (compare the phrase “with haste”), and her condition on her return, had caused him great mental distress (Matthew 1:18-20). Though his indignation was tempered with mercy, he was minded to put her away “privily,” but the visitation of the angel in his sleep relieved him from his dilemma, and he was reconciled to his wife (Matthew 1:24).

The narrative is then continued by Luke. While Joseph and Mary still abode in Nazareth, “there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled” (Luke 2:1). “And all went to enroll themselves, every one to his own city” (Luke 2:3).

Being of the house and lineage of David, Joseph went up with Mary, who was “great with child,” from Galilee, “out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem” (Luke 2:4,5), and there Jesus was born (Luke 2:7; compare Matthew 2:1).

[C] After the Nativity.

(i) Luke’s Account:

The two accounts now diverge considerably. According to Luke, the Holy Family remained for a time at Bethlehem and were there visited by the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20). After a sojourn of 40 days for the purification (compare Luke 2:21,22; Leviticus 12), Joseph departed with his wife for Jerusalem “to present” the infant Jesus “to the Lord” and to offer up sacrifice according to the ancient law (Luke 2:24).

There he was present at the prophesying of Simeon and Anna concerning Jesus, and received the blessing of the former (Luke 2:34). After “they had accomplished all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth” (Luke 2:39).

Every year, at the Passover, they made this journey to Jerusalem (Luke 2:41).

The care and solicitude of Joseph and Mary for the boy Jesus and their grief at His temporary loss aye also recorded (Luke 2:45,48,51).

There is evidence that, though Mary “kept all these things in her heart,” Joseph at least had no understanding then of the Divine nature of the charge committed to his care (Luke 2:50).

(ii) Matthew’s Account:

But according to Matthew it was from the Wise Men of the East that Jesus received homage at Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-11).

There is no further mention of the dedicatory journey to Jerusalem, or of the return to Nazareth. Instead, it is stated that on the departure of the Wise Men from Bethlehem, Joseph was warned in a dream of the impending wrath of Herod, and escaped with his wife and the infant Jesus into Egypt (Matthew 2:13,14).

Upon the death of Herod, an angel appeared to Joseph, and he returned to the land of Israel (Matthew 2:19-21).

His original intention was to settle once more in Judea, but on learning that Archelaus, the son of Herod, was ruler there, “he withdrew into the parts of Galilee, and came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth” (Matthew 2:22,23).

(iii) The Proper Sequence of the Two Narratives:

The narrative of Mt would thus imply that the Holy Family had no connection with Nazareth previous to their return from Egypt. It has, however, been suggested by Ramsay that Mt merely reports what was common knowledge, and that Luke, while quite cognizant of this, supplemented it in his own Gospel with details known only to the Holy Family, and in part to the mother alone (compare Sir W. Ramsay, Was Christ Born at Bethlehem? 78-79).

A comparison of the two Gospel narratives makes it clear that the visitation of the Wise Men fell on a later date than that of the shepherds. The latter took place immediately after the Nativity (compare Luke 2:11,15,16, “is born …. this day,” “let us now go,” “and they came with haste”).

On the other hand, when the Wise Men came to Jerusalem, Christ was already born (compare Matthew 2:1).

Time was required for this journey to Jerusalem and the consultation of Herod with the chief priests (Matthew 2:4); and during this interval the events recorded in Luke 2:8-39 had taken place. That there was sufficient time for this is attested also by the fact that Herod’s decree was directed against children up to two years of age (Matthew 2:16).

Thus it was after the return of the Holy Family to Nazareth, and on a further visit to Bethlehem, implied by Mt but not recorded by Lk, that the infant Jesus received the adoration of the Wise Men.

Jesus being born in 6 BC, this took place in 5 BC, and as Herod died in 4 BC, Joseph may have missed only one of the Passovers (compare Luke 2:41) by his flight into Egypt. (For a full discussion, compare Ramsay, op. cit.)

As no mention is made of Joseph in the later parts of the Gospels where the Holy Family is referred to (compare Matthew 12:46; Luke 8:19), it is commonly supposed that he died before the commencement of the public ministry of Christ.

[D] Character:

If a type is to be sought in the character of Joseph, it is that of a simple, honest, hard-working, God-fearing man, who was possessed of large sympathies and a warm heart.

Strict in the observance of Jewish law and custom, he was yet ready when occasion arose to make these subservient to the greater law of the Spirit.

Too practical to possess any deep insight into the Divine mysteries or eternal significance of events which came within his knowledge (compare Luke 2:50), he was quick to make answer to what he perceived to be the direct call of God (compare Matthew 1:24).

Originally a “just man” (the King James Version), the natural clemency within his heart prevailed over mere justice, and by the promptings of the Holy Spirit that clemency was transferred into a strong and enduring love (compare Matthew 1:24).

Joseph is known to us only as a dim figure in the background of the Gospel narratives, yet his whole-hearted reconciliation to Mary, even in the face of possible slandering by his neighbors, his complete self-sacrifice, when he left all and fled into Egypt to save the infant Jesus, are indicative that he was not unworthy to fulfill the great trust which was imposed upon him by the Eternal Father.

[E] References in Apocryphal Literature:

The Gospel of the Infancy according to James, a work composed originally in the 2nd century, but with later additions (compare Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, 47-63), gives a detailed account of the marriage of the aged Joseph with Mary, of their journey to Bethlehem, and of the birth of Jesus.

A similar gospel, reputed to be by Thomas the philosopher, of later origin and Gnostic tendency (compare Hennecke, 63-73), narrates several fantastic, miraculous happenings in the domestic life of the Holy Family, and the dealings of Joseph with the teachers of the youthful Jesus.

Other legends, from Syriac or Egyptian sources, also dealing with the Infancy, in which Joseph figures, are extant. The chief is The History of Joseph the Carpenter (compare Hennecke, Handbuch der neutestamentlichen Apokryphen, 95-105).

This contains an account of the death and burial of Joseph at the age of 110, and of the entreaties of Mary to Christ to save him. Its aim was to show forth Christ as the Saviour, even at the last hour, and the rightful manner of Christian death. Joseph has received a high place in the Calendar of the Roman Catholic Saints, his feast being celebrated on March 19.


ChildrenJesus, James, Joses, Judas, Simon and daughters
The ancestors of Joseph are listed in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-37.


1.0) Source:

2.0) Source:

3.0) Source: Jonathan Petersen

4.0) Source:

5.0) Source: | Tittle: “A Guide to Key Events, Characters and Themes of the Bible”

Related: Biblical Overviews List of Key Old Testament Characters


1 (By Mary Fairchild).
3 Jonathan Petersen
4 C. M. Kerr

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