Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study #4
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
1901 ASV Translation:
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David;
5 to enrol himself with Mary, who was betrothed to him, being great with child.
There are no textual differences between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26 in verse 4, but verse 5 has 2 differences. The Nestle/Aland 26 records the dative form of the perfect, passive, participle of the verb "espoused" while the Textus Receptus uses the accusative form; and, the Nestle/Aland 26 omits the word "wife".
January 9, 2005
- I. Luke clearly has a focus upon Joseph's obedience to the Augustan decree.
- A. Caesar Augustus made the decree.
- B. It was not the decree associated with Quirinius.
- C. Everyone began to implement the decree.
- D. Joseph was the particular individual upon whom Luke was focused in his obedience.
- II. Luke also pulls a lot of information together in a bundled package.
- A. Galilee -- the ridiculed region "of the Gentiles"
- B. Nazareth -- the ridiculed town where "no good thing could arise"
- C. Judaea -- the territory of Judah
- D. David -- the greatest king of Israel
- E. Bethlehem -- "House of Bread"
- F. Joseph's "Davidic" connection
- G. The enrollment issue
- H. Mary's condition -- his wife and very late in her pregnancy
- I. Luke's Focus Upon Joseph.
- A. Luke has an affinity for mentioning Joseph by name.
- 1. When "Mary" was first introduced, it was as a "virgin espoused to Joseph" (1:27).
- 2. In the later narrative, Joseph is mentioned twice by name in the phrase "Joseph and his mother" in references to Jesus and Mary is called "his mother" with her name omitted.
- 3. Also, in the later identifications of Jesus in respect to his parentage, it is always as "the son of Joseph".
- 4. The name means "Added" and its history began with Rachel's use of it in Genesis 30 when "God took away her reproach" and she used her new-born to insist that "God would add to me another son".
- B. It was a well-known fact that the Messianic dogmas that were floating around in those days included a "Messiah ben Joseph" concept that focused upon the Suffering Servant who had His initial meaning-type established by the sufferings of Joseph, the son of Jacob, the ruler of his people in Egypt. And, just like that meaning pattern which included a period after his beneficent impact in which the people of Israel were to be enslaved, so also did the same thing happen to Israel after the first coming of Jesus. The Joseph "type" involved the deliverance of the people from famine and the reconciliation of the brothers to himself. Jesus became the fulfillment of this meaning type by becoming the Bread of Life and providing for the Reconciliation.
- 1. The question is this: was this what was guiding Luke's focus upon Joseph?
- 2. The answer is this: Luke clearly wanted Jesus to be known as Messiah, and he clearly wanted Jesus to be tied to Joseph (note the deliberate geneological record in Luke 4 -- it could not have been that of Joseph, but Luke deliberately put Joseph in it as "of Heli" -- an attempt to compel us to think of Jesus as Messiah ben Joseph??).
- C. The connection Luke establishes is that Joseph conformed to the decree of Caesar just like everyone else.
- 1. The oddity is that the decree was Roman, but the enrollment was Jewish. Rome wasn't primarily concerned with who was from what city (that was an intensely Jewish concern), but, apparently, Rome wasn't particularly interested in stirring up the Jews by forcing a Roman-type of conformity to its decree.
- 2. The fact is that Herod was Rome's "man on the scene" and Rome was apparently content to let him oversee the decree with the latitude of his own judgment on how it was to be carried out. That the enrollment would be "Jewish" was also a very good thing for Herod (Rome wasn't the only one who was interested in the data that such an enrollment would provide -- Herod was on his last legs and he may well have been interested in the status of his tetrarchy in light of his intent to make sure he was followed by the one of his choice -- Archaelaus).
- 3. In any case, Luke's focus is upon Joseph's ready compliance.
- II. Apo...Exodus..Eis...Eis...Dia To...
- A. There is a deliberate choice by Luke to say that Joseph came "from" Galilee, but "out of" Nazareth.
- B. Luke addresses both the districts (from Galilee into Judaea) as well as the cities (out of Nazareth into Bethlehem).
- C. He also deliberately brings the "David" issues to the fore by introducing Bethlehem as "a city of David" before he records its name. And, he also deliberately repeated the earlier fact that Joseph was in the geneological lineage of David (1:27). Zacharias and Elizabeth were both from Levi and Joseph and Mary were both of Judah through David. Thus, it can hardly be denied that Luke has the Davidic Covenant of 2 Samuel 7 in mind -- compelling his reader(s) to face the claim that Jesus was to be the fulfillment of that significant promise of durational security ("...thine house...shall be established forever...My mercy shall not depart away from...") in light of the earlier exultation of Zacharias in regard to being delivered "from the hand of all who hate us".
- 1. Since Jerusalem was the notable "city of David", it is interesting that Bethlehem had long been known as the place from whence the Branch of David would spring (Micah 5:2).
- 2. It is one of Luke's emphases that Messiah's origins are not rooted in the things this world considers notable or powerful. It is a notorious setback for those who despise servanthood that God is a Servant and His Son cared nothing for the "glory of the kingdoms of this world". While men scratch and claw in order to be served, the Son of the Most High cared nothing for that (Matthew 20:28).
- III. Luke's Reference to Mary.
- A. It seems odd that Mary would be referred to as "espoused" to Joseph when we know that he had already taken her to be his wife as the angel of the Lord had commanded him in Matthew's record.
- 1. The verb is a perfect participle, indicating that the "espousal" had occurred some time previously.
- 2. The most likely explanation is that Luke had, in 1:27, first introduced her as one "espoused", and wanted to remind us of the remarkable reality of a un-manned conception. Almost everything in these two verses deliberately harken back to 1:27 and following.
- B. The addition -- that she was "great with child" -- is simply the forerunner to the fact that she was ready to give birth shortly after they got to Bethlehem.
- 1. The story has been taken to imply they had just gotten into town when she went into labor...giving the impression of "nick of time" stuff.
- 2. Though, frankly, the text doesn't tell us that it was "nick of time" stuff; we draw that from the fact that they were in a stable. It is more than possible that they retained that "lodging" for an unspecified number of days after their arrival.