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".
I. Luke records Joseph's obedient response to the decree.
II. He deliberately pulls up all of the themes regarding the contrasts between Galilee and Judaea and between Nazareth and Bethlehem.
III. He is also deliberately intentional in the focus upon David -- mentioning him twice in one verse.
I. The Issues that Stand Out.
A. That Joseph is linked to David.
1. This was clearly revealed in 1:27, so that this repetition is not to reveal, but to remind.
2. David has already been mentioned three times prior to this; and his "house" has been referred to twice.
a. It would be remarkable indeed if these references did not cause the biblically literate to immediately jump to 2 Samuel 7:11 where Yahweh promises that He will build David a "house" as a response to David's interest in building Yahweh a "house of cedar".
b. In the prior references, two of the three have to do with the "throne" and "horn of salvation" that are inherent in the "house of David" concept.
1) Can there be any doubt that Luke is bringing the sovereignty and power of kingly rule into our minds?
2) To make "Joseph" an heir of these theses on the heels of his identity as "Joseph" (whom Matthew deliberately makes "a son of Jacob" so that the mention of "Joseph, son of Jacob" immediately brings the Genesis record of "Joseph, son of Jacob" to mind) is to link "Jesus" to the inheritance of Joseph -- so that the thesis of 1:32 (that Jesus will be the son of David) is established [up to this point, we had not been told that Mary was also of the house of David -- though not of the Solomonic line].
c. The odd thing about these links to the Old Testament is that "Joseph" and "Judah" were brothers in that Old Testament record.
1) David, as so also this Joseph of our Lukan record, was a "son of Judah".
2) But the "Joseph" of the Old Testament record was a progenitor of the tribe of Joseph, which became the orgins of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
a) There was no remarkable prophecy about a "throne of Joseph", nor was there any promise to Joseph that Yahweh would build him a house.
b) But, there is no doubt that Joseph rose to the "under-throne" of the house of Egypt and exercised most of the sovereignty and power of rule that Pharoah possessed.
d. This leads us to this conclusion: because the twelve tribes of Israel were twelve particularized expressions of all that was in Jacob ("Israel"), Jesus was going to highlight two of those particularized expressions -- the ones associated with Judah and Joseph.
1) Judah was the fourth born son of Jacob. As such, he was the first of the second set of three from Leah.
a) The first set of three were all about "getting my husband to love me".
b) The second set of three began with "praise" and ended with a return to the old competition ("now will my husband dwell with me for I have borne him six sons").
2) Joseph was the first-born of Rachel and was named because he was not seen as "enough", but as a harbinger of "another son to come" -- who turned out to be the "son of the right hand". The suggestions swirl around our heads like smoke -- Jesus was to be the Son of the Right Hand, but He was also the harbinger of another coming (rather than of another son). Joseph was the son of reconciliation, and a harginger of the son who would exercise the purifying power of the Right Hand of God. Jesus is both by means of two distinct comings into the world. Thus, Jesus is "Israel" and the ultimate expression of the underlying significance of each of the twelve sons...which significance shows up spectacularly in the future when the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem are laid.
3. This text inserts the "lineage/family of David" -- an issue assumed, but not stated in the earlier texts.
a. In 1:27, 33, and 69 the mention is of "the house of 'David', 'Jacob', and 'His servant, David' with nothing said of "lineage".
b. In this text, the word "lineage/family" is used (one of only three uses in the entire New Testament). The word carries the automatic association of a person with his "father", and the word signifies a family unit that is produced and headed by a "father".
c. The question is "why?" -- what is Luke's point in pulling a more precise identity term into Joseph's identification?
1) Bethlehem is said to be the "city of David", though it is never called that in the Old Testament (Jerusalem/Zion was consistently called the city of David -- in 1 Samuel 20:6, David calls Bethlehem "his city").
a) The reason Bethlehem was "the city of David" was that it was where he was born and grew up, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the husband of Ruth.
b) The point is that, of the cities of the tribe of Judah, Bethlehem was particularly the city where the family of David had its roots.
2) Clearly, Luke wanted to tie Joseph to David in a way that was a bit different than "house" did.
a) "House" is generally the most specific as it represents the smallest group in a "tribe", which, in turn was a smaller unit than "nation".
b) "Family" is a deliberate tie to the "father", not a comment on size.
c) To say that someone is of the "family" of David is to say more than "house" -- a wife and a daughter-in-law are of the "house", but only those procreated with the genetic roots of the father are of the "lineage".
d) So, the inclusion of "lineage/family" by Luke is a deliberate "sperm-connection" of Joseph to David -- a connection deliberately broken by the virgin conception of Jesus.
B. That Mary carries the distinction of "having been espoused" to Joseph.
1. The verb is in the perfect tense: this removes the legitimacy of the translations which tend to make her not the "wife". The verb simply hearkens us back to 1:27 when Mary was merely espoused, not "married".
2. Luke's point is not to contradict Matthew who told us that Joseph took Mary for a "wife" shortly after her pregnancy was disclosed -- so she had been his "wife" probably from some time shortly after her return from Elizabeth's home at which time she was three months into her own pregnancy. So she was the "wife" for, perhaps, five or six months.
3. Rather, his point is to remind us that she was pregnant, not by Joseph, as the word of Gabriel had said in 1:27ff. She became the virgin who conceived while she was "espoused" to the heir of the Davidic promises of sovereignty and power.
4. This point is the natural contrast to the deliberate connnection of Joseph to the "lineage" of David. It breaks "Jesus" out of the Old Testament theme of competition in the family for the position of the one loved the most.