1. The parentage of Mary. 7. Joachim her father, and Anna her mother, go to Jerusalem to the feast of dedication. 9. Issachar the high priest reproaches Joachim for being childless.

1. The blessed and ever glorious Virgin Mary, descended from the royal race and family of David, was born in the city of Nazareth and educated at Jerusalem in the temple of the Lord.

From the earliest Church times this Gospel (or one bearing this name) was attributed to St. Matthew and received as authentic by some but not all of the ancient Christian communities. A few clearly corrupted copies were in circulation, for the sect of the Collyridians imagined that Mary herself was born of a virgin, and they established the worship and offering of manchet bread and cracknels, or fine wafers, as sacrifices to her. (The relatively recent Roman Catholic dogma in 1952 of the Immaculate Conception affirms only that Mary was conceived without Original Sin by a special grace of God, not that she herself was born of a virgin. The Eastern Orthodox Church never believed in this doctrine as stated, but only that Mary lived without actual sin. However, the whole Church has always believed emphatically in the Virgin Birth of Christ.)

This translation is made from a copy in the works of Jerome, a Church Father in the fourth century. His contemporary, Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, also mentions a gospel under this title.

From a corrupted copy, a native of Britain named Faustus who became Bishop of Riez in Provence, endeavored to prove that Christ was not the Son of God until after his baptism, and that he was not of the house of David and the tribe of Judah, because, according to the version of this gospel he cited, the Virgin herself was not of this tribe, but of the tribe of Levi; her father being priest of the name of Joachim.

Jerome's copy is considered the most accurate; thus it begins with the synopsis, "The blessed and ever glorious Virgin Mary, descended from the royal race and family of David, was born in the city of Nazareth and educated at Jerusalem in the temple of the Lord."

2. Her father's name was Joachim, and her mother's name was Anna. The family of her father was of Galilee and the city of Nazareth. The family of her mother was of Bethlehem.

Because Jesus is the Son of God (God the Son), the Church considers it theologically proper to call Mary "the Mother of God." The Eastern Orthodox Church venerates her as "the Theotokos, the Birth-Giver of God." In the same vein, its Liturgy of Preparation commemorates "the holy and righteous Ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna."

3. Their lives were plain and right in the sight of the Lord, pious and faultless before men. For they divided all their substance into three parts:

This does not necessarily mean three equal parts.

4. One of which they devoted to the temple and officers of the temple; another they distributed among strangers and persons in poor circumstances; and the third they reserved for themselves and the uses of their own family.
5. In this manner they lived for about twenty years chastely, in the favor of God and the esteem of men, without any children.

"...they lived for about twenty years chastely." That is, devoutly and in marital fidelity. If it meant without sexual relations, their vow "that if God should favor them with any offspring" (verse 6) would be an unreasonable expectation.

6. But they vowed that if God should favor them with any offspring, they would devote it to the service of the Lord; on which account they went at every feast in the year to the temple of the Lord.
7. [New paragraph in the oldest extant manuscripts] And it came to pass that when the feast of the dedication drew near, Joachim, with others of his tribe, went up to Jerusalem, and at that time Issachar was high priest;

The Old Testament festivals of the Jewish calendar are: the Feast of Passover, held on the fourteenth of the first month, Abib (April) and commemorates the Exodus from Egypt; it is mentioned in Leviticus 23:6, Numbers 9:5, Joshua 5:10, 2 Kings 23:22, 2 Chronicles 35:1, Matthew 26:17, Luke 2:41 and 22:15, and Hebrews 11:28.

The Feast of Pentecost, held at the end of the wheat harvest, the sixth of the third month, Sivan (June), commemorates the giving of the Law; it is mentioned in Exodus 23:16 and 34:22, Leviticus 23:16, Numbers 28:26, Deuteronomy 16:10, and Acts 2:1.

The Feast of Trumpets, held the first of the seventh month, Ethanim (October), is mentioned in Leviticus 23:24, Numbers 29:1,, and Nehemiah 8:2.

The Feast of Tabernacles, held from the fifteenth to the twenty-second of the seventh month, Ethanim (October), when the people dwelt in booths to commemorate life in the wilderness and thanksgiving for the harvest; it is mentioned in Leviticus 23:34,39, Numbers 29:12, Deuteronomy 16:13, 2 Chronicles 8:13, Ezra 3:4, Nehemiah 8:14, Zechariah 14:16, and John 7:2.

The Feast of Purim, held the fourteenth and fifteenth of the twelfth month, Adar (March), commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from Haman; it is mentioned in Esther 9:17,22 and 26.

However, the Feast of Dedication mentioned here in the Gospel of the Birth of Mary, held the twenty-fifth of the ninth month, Chisien (December), commemorates an event found only in the Apocrypha -- the reconsecration of the Temple at Jerusalem after its pollution by the Syrians. It is mentioned in the Bible only in John 10:22.

8. Who, when he saw Joachim along with the rest of his neighbors, bringing his offering, despised both him and his offerings, and asked him,
9. Why he, who had no children, would presume to appear among those who had? Adding, that his offerings could never be acceptable to God, who had judged him unworthy to have children; for the Scripture said, Cursed is every one who shall not beget a male in Israel.
10. He further said that he ought first to be free from that curse by begetting some offspring and then come with his offerings into the presence of God.
11. But Joachim, being much confounded with the shame of such reproach, retired to the shepherds, who wee with the cattle in their pastures;
12. For he was not inclined to return home, for fear that his neighbors, who were present and heard all this from the high-priest, should publicly reproach him in the same manner.

It is difficult for us to imagine how infertility should cause such shame, but among the Jews it was considered a curse, as attested to by the following references: "But Sarai (Sarah, wife of Abraham) was barren; she had no child" (Genesis 11:30); "And Abram (Abraham) said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless... Behold, to me thou hast given no seed..." (Genesis 15:2,3); "And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manosah; and his wife was barren, and bare not" (Judges 13:2); "And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hanna had no children" (1 Samuel 1:2); "Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death" (2 Samuel 6:23); "And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old" (2 Kings 4:14); "And they (Elizabeth and Zacharias, parents of John the Baptist) had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years" (Luke 1:7).

This Old Testament curse is the rationale behind the taunt made to Jesus in Luke 20:27-33: "Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she?"

1. An angel appears to Joachim 9. and informs him that Anna shall conceive and bring forth a daughter, who shall be called Mary, 11. be brought up in the temple, 12. and while yet a virgin, in a way unparalleled, bring forth the Son of God: 13. gives him a sign, 14. and departs.

1. But when he had been there for some time, on a certain day when he was alone, the angel of the Lord stood by him in a prodigious light.
2. To whom, being troubled at the appearance, the angel who had appeared to him endeavored to compose him by saying:
3. Be not afraid, Joachim, nor troubled at the sight of me, for I am an angel of the Lord sent by him to you, that I might inform you that your prayers are heard and your alms have ascended to the sight of God.

The existence and nature of angels, their appearances, missions, and works will be discussed at appropriate places in this study, but this single verse summarizes numerous others throughout canonical and non-canonical Jewish and Christian documents. The person seeing the angel is usually frightened initially before being reassured.

The experience of Josachim has an exact parallel to Cornelius the centurion in Acts 10:3,4: "he saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming into him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God." (Revelation 8:3 depicts an angel in heaven holding a golden censor with incense "that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.")

4. For he hath surely seen your shame and heard you unjustly reproached for not having children: for God is the avenger of sin and not of nature;

"God is the avenger of sin and not of nature: primarily applies here to miraculous births recorded in Scripture, but secondarily removes shame from those with natural afflictions.

5. And so when he shuts the womb of any person, he does it for this reason, that he may in a more wonderful manner again open it, and that which is born appear to be not the product of lust, but the gift of God.
6. For the first mother of your nation Sarah, was she not barren even till her eightieth year? Yet even in the end of her old age she brought forth Isaac, in whom the promise was made a blessing to all nations.

Sarah's story is found in Genesis 16:2ff., and Genesis 18:10.

7. Rachael also, so much in favor with God, and beloved so much by holy Jacob, continued barren for a long time, yet afterwards was the mother of Joseph, who was not only governor of Egypt, but delivered many nations from perishing with hunger.

Rachael's story is found in Genesis 30:1-23 and Genesis 41.

8. Who among the judges was more valiant than Samson, or more holy than Samuel? And yet both their mothers were barren.

Samson's birth is found in Judges 13:2, and Samuel's in 1 Samuel 6.

9. But if reason will not convince you of the truth of my words that there are frequent conceptions in advanced years, and that those who were barren have brought forth to their great surprise, therefore Anna your wife shall bring you a daughter, and you shall call her name Mary;
10. She shall, according to your vow, be devoted to the Lord from her infancy, and she will be filled with the Holy Spirit from her mother's womb.

Compare the statement to Joachim about Mary with that to Zachariah about his son John the Baptist: "For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb" (Luke 1:15).

11. She shall neither eat nor drink anything unclean, nor shall her conversation be outside among the common people, but in the temple of the Lord, so that she may not fall under any slander or suspicion of what is bad.
12. So in the process of her years, as she shall be in a miraculous manner born of one that was barren, so she shall, while yet a virgin, in a way unparalleled, bring forth the Son of the most High God, who shall be called Jesus, and according to the significance of his name, be the Savior of all nations.

Compare "who shall be called Jesus, and according to the significance of his name, be the Savior of all nations" with "thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).

13. And this shall be a sign to you of the things which I declare, namely, when you come to the golden gate of Jerusalem, you will there meet your wife Anna, who being very much troubled that you returned no sooner, will then rejoice to see you.
14. When the angel had said this, he departed from him.

1. The angel appears to Anna; 2. tells her a daughter shall be born to her, 3. devoted to the service of the Lord in the temple, 5. who, being a virgin and not knowing man, shall bring forth the Lord, 6. and gives her a sign, therefore, 8. Joachim and Anna meet and rejoice, 10. and praise the Lord. 11. Anna conceives, and brings forth a daughter called Mary.

1. Afterwards the angel appeared to Anna his wife saying: Fear not, neither think that which you see is a spirit.

Miraculous appearances are first naturally assumed to be an apparition: "And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear" (Matthew 14:26). Christ had to deal with this supposition when he appeared to the disciples after his resurrection: "But they were terrified and afrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your heart? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. (Luke 24:37-40). See this challenge also in John 20:27 with the doubting Thomas.

2. For I am that angel who has offered up your prayers and alms before God, and am now sent to you that I may inform you that a daughter will be born unto you, who shall be called Mary, and shall be blessed above all women.

Compare the angel's word to Anna that Mary would be blessed above all women ("a daughter will be born unto you, who shall be called Mary, and shall be blessed above all women") with the angel's word to Mary, "Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women" (Luke 1:28). An Eastern Orthodox service called "The Nativity of the Most Holy birth-giver of God" contains the following hymn: "Joachim and Anna wre delivered from the reproach of childlessness, and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death, in thy holy Nativity, O all-pure One. This do thy people celebrate, being redeemed from the guilt of transgressions, when they cry unto thee: The barren giveth birth to the birth-giver of God and the Nourisher of our Life."

3. Immediately upon her birth, she will be full of the grace of the Lord and will continue in her father's house during the three years of her weaning, and afterwards, being devoted to the service of the Lord, will not depart from the temple till she arrives to years of discretion.

Mary's "three years of weaning" may seem excessive to modern women, but it was not uncommon in the ancient world. The practice is still followed in many cultures today and is not unheard of in our own.

4. In a word, she will there serve the Lord night and day in fasting and prayer, and abstain from every unclean thing, and never know any man;

Mary would "never know any man" is an example of the euphemism "know in the Biblical sense," meaning to have sexual relations.

5. But, being an unparalleled instance without any pollution or defilement, and a virgin not knowing any man, will bring forth a son, and a maid shall bring forth the Lord, who both by his grace and name and works, shall be the Savior of the world.
6. Arise therefore, and go up to Jerusalem, and when you shall come to that which is called the golden gate (because it is gilt with gold), as a sign of what I have told you, you will meet your husband, for whose safety you have been so much concerned.
7. When therefore you find these things thus accomplished, believe that all the rest which I have told you shall also undoubtedly be accomplished.
8. [New paragraph in the oldest extant manuscripts] According therefore to the command of the angel, both of them left the places where they were, and when they came to the place specified in the angel's prediction, they met each other.
9. Then, rejoicing at each other's vision and being fully satisfied in the promise of a child, they gave due thanks to the Lord, who exalts the humble.
10. And having praised the Lord, they returned home and lived in a cheerful and assured expectation of the promise of God.
11. [New paragraph in the oldest extant manuscripts] So Anna conceived and brought forth a daughter, and, according to the angel's command, the parents called her name Mary.

1. Mary brought to the temple at three years old, 6. Ascends the stairs of the temple by miracle. 8. Her parents sacrificed and returned home.

1. And when the three years were expired and the time of her weaning complete, they brought the Virgin to the temple of the Lord with their offerings.
2. And there were about the temple, according to the fifteen Psalms of degrees, fifteen stairs to ascend.

The "fifteen Psalms of degrees" refer to Psalms 120-134.

3. For the temple was built in a mountain, and the altar of burnt-offering outside and could not be come near but by stairs;
4. The parents of the blessed Virgin and infant Mary put her upon one of these stairs;
5. But while they were putting off their clothes in which they had traveled, according to the custom putting on some that were more neat and clean,
6. In the meantime, without the help of any to lead or lift her, the Virgin of the Lord went up all the stairs one after another in such a manner that anyone would have judged that she was of perfect age.
7. Thus the Lord did, in the infancy of his virgin, work this extraordinary work, and evidence by this miracle how great she was to be hereafter.
8. but, having offered up their sacrifice according to the custom of the law and having perfected their vow, the parents returned home after leaving the Virgin with other virgins who were to be brought up in the apartments of the temple.

2. Mary ministered to by angels. 4. The high-priest orders all virgins of fourteen yers old to leave the temple and endeavor to be married. 5. Mary refuses, 6. having vowed her virginit to the Lord. 7. Thehigh-priest commands a meeting of the chief persons of Jerusalem, 11. who sought the counsel of the Lord in the matter. 13. A voice from the mercy-seat. 15. The high-priest obeys it by ordering all the unmarried men of the house of David to bring their rods to the altar, 17. that his rod which should flower, and on which the Spirit of God should sit, should betroth the virgin.

1. But the Virgin of the Lord, as she advanced in years, increased also in perfections, and according to the saying of the Psalmist, her father and mother forsook her, but the Lord took care of her.

"When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up" (Psalm 27:10); the Septuagint reads: "For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the Lord has taken me to himself."

2. For she every day had the conversation of angels, and every day received visitors from God, which preserved her from all sorts of evil and caused her to abound with all good things;

The word "conversation" in the Bible sometimes means "manner of life," but here is meant in the ordinary sense.

3. So that when at length she arrived to her fourteenth year, as the wicked could not lay anything to her charge worthy of reproof, so all good persons acquainted with her admired her life and conversation.
4. At that time the high-priest made a public order that all the virgins who had public settlements in the temple and were come to this age should return home, and as they were now of a proper maturity, should endeavor to be married according to the custom of their country,
5. Though all the other virgins readily yielded obedience to the command, Mary the Virgin of the Lord alone answered that she cold not comply with it.
6. Assigning these reasons, that both she and her parents had devoted her to the service of the Lord; and besides, that she had vowed virginity to the Lord, which vow she was resolved never to break by lying with a man.
7. The high priest hereby being brought into a difficulty,
8. Seeing he dared neither on the one hand dissolve the vow and disobey the Scripture, which says, Vow and pay.

The reference is to Psalm 76:11 and Ecclesiastes 5:4-6. The latter reads: Better it is that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay."

9. Nor on the other hand introduce a custom to which the people were strangers, commanded,
10. That at the approaching feast all the principal persons both of Jerusalem and the neighboring places should meet together that he might have their advice, how he had best proceed in so difficult a case.
11. When they were accordingly met, they unanimously agreed to seek the lord and ask counsel from him on this matter.
12. And when they were all engaged in prayer, the high-priest, according to the usual way, went to consult God.

"According to the usual way" refers to a bizarre Old Testament practice instituted by Moses. The Urim and Thummim were two objects in the high priest's breastplate that gave an oracular response. (In Hebrew, Urim means lights and Thummim means perfection.) "And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: And Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually" (Exodus 28:30). The Septuagint translates Urim and Thummim, but in verse 26, as "the Manifestation and the Truth on the oracle of judgment..." The use of these strange objects is also mentioned in Numbers 27:21, Deuteronomy 33:8, Ezra 2:63, and in the exact same words in Nehemiah 7:65.

13. And immediately there was a voice from the ark and the mercy-seat, which all present heard, that it must be inquired or sought out by a prophecy of Isaiah to whom the Virgin should be given and be betrothed;

The "ark and the mercy-seat" were two items of furniture in the inner sanctum of the temple, the Holy of Holies, and are described in Exodus 25:10-22.

14. For Isaiah says, there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a flower shall spring out of its root,
15. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and the Spirit of the fear of the Lord shall fill him.

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:1,2). The Septuagint reads "a blossom shall come up from his root."

16. Then, according to this prophecy, he appointed that all the men of the house and family of David who were marriageable and not married, should each bring their rods to the altar,
17. And out of whatsoever person's rod after it was brought, a flower should bud forth and on the top of it the Spirit of the Lord should sit in the appearance of a dove, he should be the man to whom the Virgin should be given and be betrothed.

"Rod" refers to the long wood staff men carried. A rod was a measure of distance equaling nine feet (ten and a half in Ezekiel).

1. Joseph draws back his rod. 5. The dove perches on it. He betroths Mary and returns to Bethlehem. 7. Mary returns to her parents' house at Galilee.

1. Among the rest there was a man named Joseph, of the house and family of David, and a person very far advanced in years, who drew back his rod when everyone else presented his.

The complete genealogy of Joseph, proving he was "of the house and family of David," is recorded in Matthew 1. He is depicted as "a person very far advanced in years" here and in the Protevangelion.

2. So that when nothing appeared agreeable to the heavenly voice, the high-priest judged it proper to consult God again,
3. Who answered that he to whom the Virgin was to be betrothed was the only person of those who were brought together, who had not brought his rod.
4. Joseph was therefore betrayed.
5. For, when he did bring his rod, and a dove came from Heaven and perched upon the top of it, everyone plainly saw that the Virgin was to be betrothed to him:

A dove is frequently a symbol of the Holy Spirit throughout the Bible and in early Church literature and art.

6. Accordingly, the usual ceremonies of betrothing being over, he returned to his own city of Bethlehem to set his house in order and make the needful provisions for the marriage.
7. But when the Virgin of the Lord, Mary, with seven other virgins of the same age who had been weaned at the same time and who had been appointed by the priest to attend her, returned to her parents' house in Galilee.

7. The salutation of the virgin by Gabriel, who explains to her that she shall conceive without lying with a man, while a virgin, 19. by the Holy Spirit coming upon her without the heats of lust. 21. She submits.

1. Now at this time of her first coming into Galilee, the angel Gabriel was sent to her from God to declare to her the conception of our Savior and the manner and way of her conceiving him.

The Bible teaching about angels is that they are incorporeal beings created long before the material world. When medieval theologians debated how many angels could stand on the head of a pin, it was a serious metaphysical inquiry about whether spirits occupied space. Although evidently angels are sexless, they are always referred to as male in the Bible. Two in the canonical Scriptures are named: Gabriel (Daniel 8:16 and Luke 1:19,26) and Michael the archangel (Daniel 10:13,21 and 12:1; Jude 9 and Revelation 12:7). One is named Raphael in the book of Tobit in the Apocrypha.

2. Accordingly going to her, he filled the chamber where she was with a prodigious light, and in a most courteous manner saluting her, he said,
3. Hail, Mary! Virgin of the Lord most acceptable! O Virgin full of Grace! The Lord is with you, you are blessed above all women, you are blessed above all men, that have been born until this time.

This agrees with Luke 1:28.

4. But the Virgin, who had before been well acquainted with the countenances of angels, and to whom such light from heaven was no uncommon thing,
5. Was neither terrified with the vision of the angel, nor astonished at the greatness of the light, but only troubled about the angel's words:
6. And began to consider what so extraordinary a salutation should mean, what it did portend, or what sort of end it would have.

This agrees with Luke 1:29.

7. To this thought the angel, divinely inspired, replied:

Not that angels cannot read human thoughts without divine inspiration. Biblical angels and demons ("fallen angels") are superhuman, not supernatural.

8. Fear not, Mary, as though I intended anything inconsistent with your chastity in this salutation:
9. For you have found favor with the Lord, because you made virginity your choice.
10. Therefore while you are a Virgin, you shall conceive without sin and bring forth a son.
11. He shall be great, because he shall reign from sea to sea, and from the rivers to the ends of the earth.

This adds something to Luke 1:31ff.

12. And he shall be called the Son of the Highest; for he who is born in a humble state on earth reigns in an exalted one in heaven.

Note the present tense of "reigns." It is an intimation of the doctrine of the pre-existence or eternal sonship of Christ.

13. And the Lord shall give him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
14. For he is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and his throne is forever and ever.

"King of kings and Lord of lords" agrees with John's vision of the post-resurrection Christ in heaven: "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation 19:16).

15. To this discourse of the angel the Virgin replied not as though she were unbelieving, but willing to know the manner of it.
16. She said, How can that be? For seeing, according to my vow, I have never known any man, how can I bear a child without the addition of a man's seed?
17. To this the angel replied and said, Think not, Mary, that you shall conceive in the ordinary way.
18. For, without lying with a man, while yet a Virgin, you shall conceive; while a Virgin, you shall bring forth; and while a Virgin shall be able to nurse your baby.
19. For the Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you, without any of the heats of lust.
20. So that which shall be born of you shall be only holy, because it only is conceived without sin, and when born, shall be called the Son of God.
21. Then Mary, stretching forth her hands and lifting her eyes to heaven, said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.

This agrees with Luke 1:38, except Luke adds "And the angel departed from her."

1. Joseph returns to Galilee to marry the Virgin he had betrothed. 4. He perceives she is with child, 5. is uneasy, 7. purposes to put her away privately, 8. is told by the angel of the Lord it is not the work of man but the Holy spirit. 12. He marries her, but keeps chaste, 13. leaves with her to Bethlehem, 15. where she brings forth Christ.

1. Joseph therefore went from Judaea to Galilee, with intention to marry the Virgin who was betrothed to him:
2. For it was now nearly three months since she was betrothed to him.
3. At length it plainly appeared she was with child, and it could not be hid from Joseph:
4. For going to the Virgin in a free manner, as one espoused, and talking familiarly with her, he perceived her to be with child.
5. And thereupon he began to be uneasy and doubtful, not knowing what course it would be best to take;
6. For being a just man, he was not willing to expose her, nor defame her by the suspicion of being a whore, since he was a pious man.
7. He purposed therefore privately to put an end to their agreement and privately to put her away.
8. But while he was meditating on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, and said, Joseph, son of David, fear not;

The Bible cites many examples of angels appearing to people both in a waking or dreaming state. This verse agrees with Matthew 1:20.

9. Do not be willing to entertain any suspicion of the Virgin's being guilty of fornication, or to think anything amiss of her, neither be afraid to take her as your wife;
10. For that which is begotten in her and now distresses your mind, is not the work of man, but the Holy Spirit.
11. For she of all women is that only Virgin who shall bring forth the Son of God, and you shall call his name Jesus, that is, Savior: for he will save his people from their sins.
12. Joseph thereupon, according to the command of the angel, married the Virgin and did not know her, but kept her in chastity.
13. And now the ninth month from her conception drew near, when Joseph took his wife and what other things were necessary to Bethlehem, the city from whence he came.
14. And it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled for her bringing forth.
15. And she brought forth her first-born son, as the holy Evangelists have taught, even our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lives and reigns to everlasting ages.

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