Questions about Joseph and Matt. 1


#1

A couple of questions on Matt. 1.

(1) If we are supposed to honor God’s laws, why did Joseph not turn Mary over to the authorities to be stoned after discovering she was pregnant, as should have been her punishment according to Deuteronomy? Can we too selectively pick which of God’s laws to honor?

(2) Although I realize we are no longer under these laws, how was it ever ok for God to have condoned the stoning of women as he did in the Old Testament?

Thank You! :slight_smile:


#2

The answer is right before your eyes:

Matthew 1:20

20 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit;

As to your second question, it is God’s prerogative to choose the method by which He administers His promised justice. What we think of His actions does not matter, as He is the Creator of all, and all of creation belongs to Him.


#3

Welcome to the boards.:wave:

(1) If we are supposed to honor God’s laws, why did Joseph not turn Mary over to the authorities to be stoned after discovering she was pregnant, as should have been her punishment according to Deuteronomy?

For the same reason that Jesus healed on the Sabbath…To show that love and mercy is greater than blind obedience to a law.

Can we too selectively pick which of God’s laws to honor?

No…but that simple word is not the end of the matter. In Mt 22:36-40 we see Jesus reduce all of the law and prophets down to just two commands. Love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself.
In John’s Gospel we see Jesus leave us with a single commandment…To Love one another (John 13:34-35).
Paul reinforces this point in Romans where he states…
Romans 13:8-10
8Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10*Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
So when one speaks of the rules of the Church that we are to live by and how to understand and live by those rules, one must always measure and weigh their understanding and their judgement by this overriding command…Love one another…

(2) Although I realize we are no longer under these laws, how was it ever ok for God to have condoned the stoning of women as he did in the Old Testament?

This we cannot really know. Being removed by 2000+ years as well as by huge social, intellectual, and cultural differences we cannot really say why God permitted such things.

We can only trust that God did what was right at that time and in that place for those people. Then we need to simply move on and do our best to deal with what we have to deal with today…which is to Love God and neighbor.
I don’t know about you, but trying to get just that right keeps me plenty busy…:smiley:

Thank You! :slight_smile:

You are welcome.

Peace
James


#4

Because she didn’t commit adultery? :shrug:


#5

Yes - but Joseph did not know that at the time he determined not to turn her in. All he knew was that she was pregnant and the child was not his.

Peace
James


#6

Hi Alfred,

Welcome.

As for the second question, it was not just women, but other serious crimes against God called for stoning. Because the punishment was so severe there were not too many people willing to break the law. This is not like today were immorality is rampant. Is our culture better off today ?

We have to make the a distinction here. Just because the guilty received capital punishment that does not mean they went to hell. It just means their life on earth ended at that point. We all die someday, somehow. The real important question is whether we go to Heaven or Hell. And, for now, only God knows how to judge that.

God begins with what we would call a primitive way of judging things and gradually over the centuries brings out what we call a more civilized way of administering justice.


#7

As for the first question, you are assuming what is called the “suspicion theory” is what was going on. This is how our modern bibles today translate the Greek.

However, there is another theory, also compatible with the Greek text, called the Pious Theory :

St. Thomas Aquinas commentary on Matthew’s Gospel
But according to Jerome and Origen, he (Joseph) had no suspicion of adultery. For Joseph knew Mary’s purity and had read in the Scripture that a virgin would conceive (Is 7:14) and in 11:1): “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” He had also known that Mary had descended from David. Hence, it was easier for him to believe that this had been fulfilled in her than that she had fornicated. And so, considering himself unworthy to live together with such holiness, he wanted to put her away secretly; just as Peter said: “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8). Hence, he was unwilling to put her away, i.e., bring her to him and take her in marriage, for he thought himself unworthy.

Read more here

defendingthebride.com/sn/toseph.html

.


#8

This is simply beautiful! Think I’ll head over to NewAdvent to read a little more Aquinas. Thanks for the quote :thumbsup:

Gert


#9

It would be interesting to go back in time and see just how strict the Jews (and others) were with such laws.


#10

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