It seems that both parents of Jesus were quite radical. The society that Mary and Joseph lived was completely legislated. There were rules and laws for everything. The atmosphere of judgement was so thick that most Jews of the time were outcasts in their own society. It seems to me that the biggest taboos revolved around worshipping in the temple and marriage.
The fact that Joseph marries Mary even though she is obviously pregnant is covered in the Bible. What of the other incidents that are just plain bazaar?
Once the angel tells Mary that she is to give birth to the messiah, she leaves to go see her cousin Elizabeth. This is very strange!!!!
The custom of the time was that once the couple was legally engaged the bridegroom would leave to build the new family home. This could take anywhere from 6 months to a year. The bride’s job was to prepare for the wedding. She was expected to be home and be ready for the groom’s anticipated return. Yet, it is Mary that leaves for 3 to 6 months. Joseph is the one who then accepts her and brings her into his home after her unique departure. Mary is the bridegroom???? Odd!
Why did she go? What was so important that she needed to see Elizabeth? The Bible tells us that Mary wanted to confirm the prophecy. The angel told her Elizabeth was pregnant and Mary wanted to confirm this. Mary also needed to be educated in the ways of childbirth. But I think there is another reason for visiting Elizabeth. Elizabeth is married to Zachariah. Zachariah is a temple priest who is fully educated in the Jewish law. Only Zachariah would know of a legal loophole that would keep Mary from being stoned to death for adultery. The designation of Shetukhi or Silent One was given to Jesus. He would be classified as a foundling or Child of God.
It’s one thing to have a vision. I believe she did have an official call from God. It’s a whole nother ballgame for legalistic people to be understanding or believe a pregnant “unmarried” girl.
Now to Joseph.
We all know that it was a big no no for the men of ancient Israel to touch blood. In the Bible it tells us that only Joseph was present during the birth of Jesus. Joseph is the midwife! How taboo is that!
Midwifery was exclusively practiced by women. It is a bloody job. Men were traditionally excluded from the birthing chamber until the 20th century. Joseph is obviously not trained for this duty. So, it is up to Mary to give instructions as the birthing process progresses. He is not just the midwife taking over the situation. He is the flunkey taking orders and doing what he is told in a highly emotional situation. Not a manly man position by any means. At least he did not have to worry about the purity laws. By the time he got back from Egypt the time span of penance would have elapsed.
This pair was not traditional in any way. They violate or circumvent the law at every turn.
Thank God they did!