Matthew1:24

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Translation

And when JOSEPH

woke from his dream, he did as the angel

of the LORD had commanded

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him;

he took

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his wife,

Paraphrase

When THE ONE WHO IS INCREASING woke up from his dream he did as the messenger from THE SUPREME RULER had commanded him; he took his wife and brought her close to him,

Footnotes

1: “commanded”

The angel did not give Joseph a command, rather he assuaged his fears. However, Joseph took it with the force of a command. If God was doing something special, to choose to be selfish would have been to go against God. So he joined God in His divine plan, even though it would shred his reputation to tiny bits.

2: “he took his wife”

The verb used here comes from two words, the preposition “close,” and the verb “take or receive.” The author could have used the simple form of the verb that does not have the preposition added on, but this one was chosen in order to show the idea of closeness. Joseph took her from her parent’s house and brought her close, he brought her to his own house.

They had a simple wedding ceremony and she went home with him. This ceremony would not have included the presence of a rabbi or priest, nor the typical rituals, adornments and feasting. It would have been the simplest of formulas—possibly as simple as the following pronouncement by Joseph in the presence of two witnesses, “you are my wife, I am your husband.” That was all that was required, although tradition had added many other components to the ritual.  All this would have looked very suspect to the people of the small town; it was discovered that Mary was pregnant, and Joseph married her quietly without any of the special traditions. What were they to think other than Joseph must have gotten her pregnant? On the other hand, imagine the relief and joy in Mary’s heart when, after at least 3 months of inner tension, her story about the angel was believed by Joseph and she was accepted by him. Imagine the bond this created between the two of them, since no one else believed her, not even her parents.

Joseph Obeyed

After hearing from the angel, Joseph married the young lady, and by so doing took the blame for having done the inappropriate deed himself. This would free the father of some of the shame and would make him as the husband the object of much distrust in the community. Telling people that it was the Holy Spirit that had gotten her pregnant would not go over well; they would just laugh at him all the more. We can also safely assume that he incurred additional debt beyond the bride price even though he married Mary. Her father saw Joseph as the guilty man and probably made him pay for it.