Why Send Mary Away?

Why did Joseph think to send Mary away while she was with child?

pregnantNow the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 1:18-20 KJV)

Sadly, this passage is so pre-loaded with the Virgin Birth Doctrine it is difficult to see anything other than what we’ve been taught.

The mainstream thought goes something like this:

Mary was espoused to Joseph, but before they came together (either in matrimony or in marital relations), she was found with child of the Holy Ghost (meaning: God made her to be pregnant without Joseph’s seed).

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example (because she was pregnant out of wedlock with a child that did not come from Joseph), and (not wanting her to be accused of adultery) he was minded to put her away (meaning: divorce her) privily.

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife (meaning: go ahead and marry her): for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost (meaning: it’s okay Joseph, the child she’s carrying is the Holy Spirit’s doing, and you’ve been tasked with providing for and protecting a child that’s not your own).

But that involves really outlandish assumptions given the fact that nowhere does it actually say that Joseph wasn’t the father.

On the contrary, it makes it very clear that:

  • Jesus/Yeshua is the son of David by way of Joseph (Matthew 1:16, Luke 3:23),
  • Joseph is of the house of David (Matthew 1:20, Luke 1:27, 2:4), and
  • Those who knew Jesus even remark, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:22, John 1:45; 6:42).

The biggest known variable concerning the anticipated Messiah was that he be of the physical seed of David. And it has always been the case that sons are reckoned by their father in the Old Testament.

But all of this is overlooked in order to maintain this fabricated story.

Instead, it is rationalized that:

  • God formed a second Adam using David’s seed and placed him in Mary’s womb to be born, or
  • God formed a second Adam and placed him in Mary’s womb to be born and Mary must be of the house of David, therefore Jesus is reckoned to be the son of David through her, and
  • Joseph adopted Jesus as his son.

However, there’s nothing in the Bible to corroborate these rationalizations. They are just accepted as true. 

An Alternate Rendition

But what if the story surrounding Yeshua’s conception and birth went something like this:

Mary was espoused to Joseph, but before they came together (to head down to Bethlehem for the enrollment referenced in Luke 2:1-3)…

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. (Luk 2:1-3)

she was found with child of the holy spirit (meaning: she is carrying Joseph’s child of spirit that is holy [see Luke 1:35], similar to Elizabeth carrying Zechariah’s child who was filled with spirit that is holy in her womb [see Luke 1:15 and Luke 1:41]).

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example (because she was pregnant with the greatly anticipated Messiah as foretold would happen ahead of time in Luke 1:31-33, and prophesied by the priest Zachariah in Luke 1:67-75, and the chief priests and scribes expected the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem as seen in Matthew 2:3-5),

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS [YESHUA]. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luk 1:31-33)

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. (Luk 1:67-75)

And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. (Mat 2:4-6)

He secretly minded to put her away (to stay with her family until he returned, similar to how she visited Elizabeth for a few months when Elizabeth was pregnant).

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. (Luk 1:56)

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife (to go down to Bethlehem with you): for that which in her was begotten out of spirit is holy.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS/YESHUA: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife (and she, being with child traveled with him to Bethlehem to be enrolled for the census):

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: ) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. (Luk 2:4-5)

And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS/YESHUA.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS [YESHUA], which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luk 2:6-21)

This seems a whole lot more reasonable, and Biblically sound to me. What do you think?

About Messyanic

Homesteading Wife, Homeschooling Mom and perpetual Bible student, continually taking the road less traveled. (@messyanic)

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4 Responses to Why Send Mary Away?

  1. Julia says:

    We have been studying this for quite a while. It is interesting to note two things: The prophesied Messiah was to fulfill two promises regarding his lineage. One, he was to be the son of a woman (her seed) from the House of David (Kingly Line) and ALSO the son of the Priestly Line (specifically Phineas, the Zadok priestly line). Add into the mix the translation error that has been documented by Michael Rood and Nehemia Gordon which (I think) correctly identifies that the two genealogies of Yeshua are from two parents. According to the Hebrew Matthew, the geneology documented there is Miriam (Mary’s) through her FATHER Joseph ben Jaakov, the Royal Line of David, and fulfills that as long as a son can inherit the Kingly line via his mother. The geneology in Luke is Joseph ben Eli (husband of Mary). What I have been trying to trace is if the lineage of Joseph (Mary’s Husband) is the priestly line that can go back to Phineas. It is my current understanding that the priests could only be sons of sons, not sons of daughters…but, I am not sure.

    Our questions (me and my husband) are: if Joseph (Husband) is not part of Yeshua’s lineage, why include his parentage? Can the ‘adoption’ covenant refer to our Father (YHVH’s) ADOPTION of Yeshua as His Son, rather than the ‘true?’ ‘actual?’ ‘miraculous’ father of Yeshua? He was not declared as ‘My (YHVH’s) son in whom I am well pleased.’ until after his Mikveh (baptism).

    Yeshua was accused of blasphemy when the religious leaders of the day thought he was declaring he was God’s Son…but, he defended himself by assuring them that all Kings of Israel were called ‘Sons of God,’ traced his lineage back to ADAM, and said (in effect) that if they didn’t have a problem with the Kings of Israel being called Son of God, why should they not accept him, even though his kingdom was ‘not of this world?’ In effect, he NEVER claimed to be God. He always claimed to be his ‘son’ and the works he did, the things he taught, were always attributed to the Father and to the authority he was GRANTED/APPOINTED by YHVH. “The Father is greater than I.” “I go to My Father, and your father, MY GOD, and your God.” etc.

    Our other poser: How can any of us ever hope to ‘follow’ in his footsteps if he was a pre-incarnate, God/Man, and part of a Trinity? Bi-inity? and always divine? He couldn’t sin? Why the Mikveh then?

    Another point that only one teacher that I know of is raising is the prophetic account of Zech 3, where ‘Joshua’ is given a commission. It is an If/Then covenant proposed and looks very much like an event from Yeshua’s temptation in the desert following his mikveh and forty day fast. Would be interested to hear comments on any or all of these questions. Shalom.

    • Messyanic says:

      Thank you for commenting, Julia. (Sorry it took me so long to respond to this.)

      I have a hard time believing Matthew’s genealogy is supposed to be Mary’s father’s genealogy because (1) it doesn’t fit the pattern of any other genealogy given in the Old Testament, and (2) the kings on David’s throne always came through the sons of David, never through his daughters. If the author was veering from the norm by presenting the genealogy of his mother, I think he would have given more explanation as to why the deviation from the norm.

      Also note the many women mentioned in the Matthew genealogy…they are simply the mothers of the sons mentioned, they are not the daughters of anyone in the listed genealogy. The genealogy is consistently of men throughout (fathers begetting sons). So, it seems to me that the mention of Mary in this genealogy is to just denote who Yeshua’s mother is, not present his maternal genealogy.

      As for Luke’s genealogy, I think that was either an alternate understanding of Joseph’s lineage or perhaps a type of “spiritual” sonship. It appears that the author of Luke was addressing the fact that Yeshua was just identified as being the “son” of God at his water baptism at the age of nearly 30 years. We don’t hear about Joseph being present throughout Yeshua’s ministry, so I’m thinking folks may have been uncertain of his genealogy, but they understood he was of the house of David.

      RE: Zechariah 3, I definitely see a correlation between that prophecy and Yeshua. I don’t have anything formal to lay out about it yet, but it is something I’m considering.

  2. juliette says:

    Hi Carrie! This is a fascinating discussion. Would you consider something and let me know what you think? I always asumed that Jesus was not Joseph’s son biologically, but that he was his son by legal adoption. Legal adoption sometimes stands firmer than blood in a court of law. Adopted sons have every right to be heirs. Thanks!

    • Messyanic says:

      Hi Juliette! When it comes to questions like these, I turn to the Old Testament. There were laws & statutes put in place in the written Law which those in the 1st century were familiar with, and I think the authors of the NT writings understood them. If there was something new being introduced to one of those statutes, I believe the authors would have specifically addressed it. (I’m not familiar with any adoption laws in the Old Testament regarding men adopting children of wives from a previous relationship. I’d be very interested if anyone can point me to something regarding that in the Old Testament.)

      As for evidence of any king in the line of David reigning on David’s throne after him, history demonstrates the male heir to the throne was always through a male line of physical descent.

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