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A book by Rich Van Winkle

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An Amazing Life: Jesus and the Nozerim

Appendix III – Joseph

Joseph’s story is one of the oddest in the New Testament. We are told very little about him and what we are told hardly makes sense. He is the father (or adopted father) of Jesus, but he is almost entirely absent in the accounts of Jesus’ life. We are told that he’s a “son of David” (descendant of the Jewish Royal Family) and yet he seems to be a “nobody”. We are told that he didn’t contribute his “seed” to the birth of Jesus and yet we are given his bloodline to show that Jesus qualified to be considered the Messiah. We are told that he discovered that Mary became pregnant after their betrothal (but before marriage) and that his first reaction was to protect her from scorn. But when he was told by an Angel (in a dream) that her pregnancy was from “the Holy Spirit”, he accepted this and treated the child as his own.

 

In any era, such behavior would be remarkable. For a Jew in his time, such behavior would have been astounding or unthinkable. What is confusing then is that Joseph believed the angel in regard to Mary’s pregnancy and followed the angel’s instructions, but didn’t seem to treat Jesus as “special” (teaching him his trade, scolding him for lagging behind at the Temple, etc.). One would think that anyone who believes an angel in a dream about anything important would believe everything the angel tells them. In this case, the angel was pretty clear: “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said: ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife for the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit’”. (Matt. 1:20). Since Joseph went ahead (against his prior judgment) and took Mary as his wife and then named the baby as the angel had suggested, he obviously believed the angel. So how does one treat a son who was conceived by God?

 

Those concerns and issues are for others. The purpose here is to ascertain what can be known about this man from both the historical record and reasonable inferences from that record. That discussion must begin with his lineage. It is both the first thing the gospels tell us about him and where we have the most information. Beyond the debate about the legal questions arising from Jesus’ unique birth story (did Jesus inherit whatever patralineal rights Joseph might have held) and the religious questions about the structure and inconsistencies in the genealogy (or genealogies) given in scripture, we have plenty of  facts and evidence to analyze. To begin with, we should start with Joseph’s lineage and its relationship to the Davidic royal lineage. This same subject is also dealt with in Appendix II (focusing upon Mary’s lineage) and in Appendix VIII (dealing with Davidic Royalty in general). The matter is somewhat complex and requires that we start at point in history almost 900 years before Joseph’s life. (Skip this detail if you want).

 

Under King David (around 1000 BCE) the Jews had united and prospered – which to them meant that God had found favor with them. But David grew arrogant and less righteous as he aged and when death approached he decided to usurp the law and name Solomon his successor instead of his lawful heir, Adonijah. Solomon ruled with sagacity, but the unlawful action of his father wouldn’t be forgotten and when Solomon died, ten of the twelve tribes of Israel refused to honor his successor, Rehoboam. Israel ceased to exist as one independent nation and the Jews would suffer for many generations.

 

Just for reference, the line of succession from David until the Babylonian exile was:

 

David (1085-1015 BCE)

   Solomon (1033-975)

      Rehoboam (975- 958)

         Abijah (958-955)

                Asa ( 955-914)

                   Jehoshaphat (914-889)

                      Jehoram ( 889-885)

                         Ahaziah (884)

                                Joash (884-839)

                                    Amaziah (839-810)

                                       Uzziah (810-758)

                                          Jotham (758-742)

                                                Ahaz (742- 726)

                                                   Hezekiah (726-698)

                                                       Manasseh (698- 643)

                                                          Amon (643-641)

                                                             Josiah (641-609)

                                                                    Jehoahaz (609-608)[1]

                                                                    Jehoakim (608-597)

                                                                        Jeconiah (reigned for 70 days in 597 BCE, retained title in exile)

                                                                            Zedekiah (ruled Judea for Nebuchadnezzar II from 597-578)

 

Jeconiah reigned for three months and ten days until the Babylonians successfully  laid siege to Jerusalem  in 597 BCE. At that time, Nebuchadnezzar II took Jeconiah and virtually every significant Jew in Judea into exile in Babylon. Zedekiah, Jeconiah’s uncle, was appointed “Petah” (governor) of Judea and the Davidic lineage became even more confused. The descendants of Adonijah hadn’t forgotten their rightful position, the lineage of Jeconiah became known as the exilarchs, and the descendants of Zedekiah thought they were the rightful rulers. They were supported in their claim by the prophet Jeremiah who said:

 

Thus says the LORD: 'Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.'" (Jer. 22:28-30).

 

Ezra the Scribe, who as the 8th Governor of Judea during the years 458-457 BCE had his own favorites and ruled that anyone not born of a Jewish mother wasn’t Jewish and therefore couldn’t serve as king of the Jews. This rule was not made retroactive so that prior lineages and titles were disrupted, but for almost two hundred years afterwards, this rule would determine who became the “legal” “king”[2] (actually, governor under the Persian king). Obviously, some disagreed with Ezra, but the rule prevailed in what were known as the “exilarch” governors until Alexander the Great conquered Persia in 331 BCE and the Jewish governors were appointed by the Alexandrians (during which time the High Priest was considered the Jewish ruler by most Jews). The revolt of the Macabbees (167 BCE) changed the picture again and the Hasmoneans (a non-royal Jewish family) ruled by force until the Romans arrived around 40 BCE.

 

From Matthew, we have this truncated genealogy of Joseph:

 

Shealtiel

   Zerubbabel (Sheshbazzar)

      Abiud  (Matt. 1:13, "Abiud"); called also Juda (Luke 3:26), and Obadiah (1 Chr. 3:21).

         Eliakim 

                Azor 

                    Zadok   

                      Akim

                         Eliud

                            Eleazar 

                                  Matthan 

                                     Jacob 

                                         Joseph

 

There is plenty of speculation regarding the reasons for the truncated genealogy and even more about its character and application. There is a different and more complete genealogy offered in Luke, but I agree with most scholars that it was intended as Mary’s genealogy. Matthew’s interests were different and aside from wanting to make a point by having the “correct” number of generations (a prophetic/midrashic issue) he wanted to show the key ancestors. It is highly unlikely that this genealogy was simply made up since Matthew included Jechoniah (the cursed king, above) and placed Joseph in the line of Abiud (which was not the main line of descendancy from David). If one wanted to simply fabricate an ideal genealogy for a proposed Messianic candidate, this wouldn’t be a well-considered result.

 

The Abiudite line of the House of David was one of five royal lineages. A complete explanation of their source and positions is available in Appendix VIII. In summary (or review), here’s what the deal is: Zerubabbel  (aka Zorobabel) was the 23rd primary heir of King David. His parental circumstance circumvented the Jechonian curse (since the bloodline shifted through a leverite marriage (Shealtiel to Pediah per 1Chron. 3:19) and he was generally accepted as the proper primary heir to the Davidic throne. He was appointed as the Exilarch Governor of Judea in 537 BCE, but was subsequently designated as Prince of Judah before being recalled and executed in Assyria/Babylon in 510 BCE.

 

Zerubabbel had three wives: Amytis (a Babylonian Princess), Rhodah (a Persian princess), and Esthra, (a Jewish princess). Each of these wives bore a son who was a prince. However, because only Esthra was Jewish, her son held the primary Davidic lineage. Joseph’s line came from the oldest son of Zerubabbel’s first wife…

 

Hacaliah ben Shazrezzar (via Amytis)  

   Nehemiah ben Hacaliah, chief aide of Shah Artaxerses (Biblical ”King Artaxerses”) and prophet.

        Son, of unknown name

                Hananiah (Hanani – named after a different son of Zerubabbel))

                     Ohel  

                           Hachiyah (Achiya)

                                Nuri ben Hachiyah

                                     Yehezquiyah  (Androtimus)

                                            Neariah (Nearchus)

                                                     Several sons of unknown names

                                                          Abiud - Governor of Judea ~250 BCE (married Barsine, a “foreign” Princess)

 

It is from this Davidic descendant that this line gets its name. It should be remembered that designation of the primary heir is complex and involves intermarriages between the lines and other factors. That Prince Abiud was appointed Governor by the Alexandrians reflects his high stature. However, during that time, Onias II was high priest and the High Priest was the real Jewish ruler.

 

We have insufficient information to fill in the gaps from Abiud to Matthan, but we have the essential information. And, as we approach Joseph’s generation, we have more complete details derived by patching together a variety of sources and making some logical suppositions. Here is the result:

 

Matthan ben Eliezar (from above)

         Jacob, Hizkiah*and Judas*

                  Jacob was a Nasi or “Prince of Israel” as the Abiudite Patriarch of Jerusalem

                                Miriam

                                Joseph, who succeeded his father as the Abiudite Patriarch of Jerusalem

                                                  Ptolas

                                                  Cleopas

                                                  Yehoshua (Jesus)

 

* We will return to these uncles of Joseph later.

Matthan ben Eliezar was married to a Jewess named Hazibah. We know little about either of them, but their sons reflect their stature:

                Jacob the Patriarch – an emissary to and for King Herod from around 32-23 BCE.

                Hezekiah the Zealot – father of Judas (captured and executed during the revolt in 4 BCE).

                Menahem, grandfather of Eleazar, a Jewish general in the revolt of 66 BCE.

When Joseph was born around 29 BCE (the eighth year of the reign of Herod “the Great”), his father was part of Herod’s court while his uncles were part of the armed resistance. Herod had been shrewdly trying to consolidate his stature and the legal right of royal title for his sons by marrying the princesses with primary royal blood and killing or “holding” all the competing Davidic royals. (While the “massacre of the innocents” may not be supported historically, it clearly reflected the historical circumstance). Herod’s pogrom became harder when the Jewish High Court (Sanhedrin) negated the “rule of Ezra” and infused the secondary bloodlines with new status.

Again, in summary, the situation evolved along these lines (the lines are listed in order of precedence):

The primary Davidic line (Meshullamite Line) had bifurcated around 225 BCE:

The Oniadite line held the High Priesthood until it was usurped and then lost by the Tobiads[3]. One sub-line (via Onias IV) went to Egypt and established an alternate (“opposition”) Temple and High Priesthood. Another line remained in Judea and eventually regained prestige under Queen Salome (below) but was not returned to the High priesthood[4].

The Tobaite line was represented by Shammai bar Shemaya who had no children. Thus, Prince Simon V of Perea was the senior Davidic heir (after his father was killed by Herod in 35 BCE) and, therefore, Herod had him imprisoned[5]. His great-great-aunt, Queen Salome, was the only woman regnant of Judea (she held both the Davidic and Hasmonean bloodlines). Simon’s aunt was married to Herod’s brother.

The Pelatiahite Line (aka “anti-princes”) had been newly qualified and was led by the exiled Athronges.

The Yeshaiahite Line (a convergence of sub-lines) became the lineage of the Exilarchs that remained in Babylon. It was led by Ptolemy bar Mennius who was deposed and forced to flee to Parthia in 13 BCE (along with the Davidic heiress Alexandra II bat Mattathias ben Levi), leaving no clear Davidic heir.

The newly qualified Abiudite line (descended from Princess Amytis) was represented by Jacob and his sons. The Abiudite prominence and prestige was due as much to their Persian royal blood as their Jewish royal blood.

The newly qualified Rhesaite line (from Zerubabbel’s 2nd “foreign wife”, Rhodogune) was represented only by the daughters of Alexander III Helios (through his wife Hannah, daughter of the High Priest Yahshua III). The line could only continue by merger with another line.

The “Princes of David” were not just royalty; they were revered as the ultimate hope of all Jews. Prophecy told the Jews that a Davidic prince would give seed to the Messiah of Israel (Maschiach Yisra’el).  Herod wasn’t the only one seeking to identify the Davidic heirs – others sought to find and protect them as the potential father of their ultimate (divinely anointed) king and priest.

Luckily, early in Herod’s reign, Joseph’s father (Jacob) was recognized as an unlikely Davidic heir, so Herod didn’t see the need to kill, imprison, or exile him. Instead, he kept him at hand and made good use of him as an emissary (appointed in 32 BCE). In fact, Jacob was entrusted with one of the most important missions of Herod’s reign (30 BCE), to establish ties to Octavian, the person Herod predicted would become the next ruler of the Roman world (Octavian later became Caesar Augustus)[6].   

Jacob’s success was rewarded by the gift of a wife: the posthumous daughter of Queen Cleopatra VII and Julius Caesar (supposed, but if not, then of Mark Antony). She was Cleopatra VIII (aka, Cleopatra of Jerusalem) and quite the prize. The powerful couple lived in the Upper City of Jerusalem, between the years of 30 to 23 BCE. But, during the seventh Shmittah year (24 BCE) when the land of Israel was to remain fallow, famine swept through the Middle East. Such great famine during a Sabbatical year clearly expressed the extreme displeasure of God and the people were restless. To his credit, Herod made substantial sacrifices in an effort to provide food and this helped to endear him to the people. That helped Herod feel more secure in his position and led to another purge of possible opponents, including Jacob.

 

Jacob and Cleopatra) were married only five years and had three children[7]: Joseph (~29 BCE), and the twins Ptolas and Clopas (~26 BCE).  In 25 BCE, Herod accused Jacob of sedition and had him executed. That same year, Herod decided to marry (his second wife named Mariamne) the daughter of Simon Boethus, an Egyptian priest. In turn, he appointed Simon as High Priest (to give his new wife sufficient status to justify marriage to the king) and gave Cleopatra[8] to Simon as a wife[9]. We don’t know the story, but it would seem that somebody was wise enough to steal away Jacob’s children to Galilee – and with that, we should take a look at the Galilean side of the family.

 

Simon V Boethus had replaced the High Priest Yeshua (III) in what seemed to many to be final confirmation that Herod would stop at nothing to keep power for himself and his successors. (The position of High Priest was supposed to be life-long). But then, many had held that view since Herod first took control of Judea. As the potential heirs of the Davidic throne dwindled, those interested in preserving Israel’s future knew they had to take action. Some took militaristic action, but most of what we call “zealots” were merely devout Jews trying to honor the will of God. They gathered in Galilee because of history, remoteness, and political borders.

 

Can anything good come out of Galilee? (See John 1:46 and 7:41). This was a question easily asked during this time – and for years to come. Galilee would be the center for revolt and revolutionaries (“the Zealots”) until 66 CE when Second Temple Judaism would come to an end. Indeed, no prophet had come from there, but more than a few great generals had. And, although it was central to the Middle East and on the main roads from Damascus, it was considered “remote” and somewhat barbaric. It was separated from Judea by Samaria and was bordered on the east by non-Jewish territories. And, it was the traditional home of a group known as the Nazoreans.

 

The Nazoreans are not “people from Nazareth” and there is simply NO historical reference to such a place name until much later. When somebody was referred to as “a Nazorean” or as “the Nazorean”, they were referring to their affiliation to a sect or group, much as if they had used the word “Essene”. Because they were so important to the time and to the life of Jesus, there is a separate appendix just about the Nazoreans (Appendix I). Thus, only a short summary about the Nazoreans is provided here.

 

The word Nazorean has the same root as Nazarite (as in a Nazarite vow[10] : Numbers 6:1-27) meaning “separate one”.  But Nazoreans were not Nazarites[11] (although it seems that some practiced Nazirite like devotions[12]). It is not surprising that the most devout Jews would favor such devotions and be those most opposed to both the Herodians and the Romans (i.e. “the Zealots”). The overlap is indicated in the New Testament by interchanging the words[13] and the clear ties of Jesus to the Zealots (see Appendix XVI).

 

As previously mentioned, Jacob’s brothers had fled to Galilee and were deemed “zealots”.  The older brother, Hezekiah ben Matthan, had been killed and therefore, the younger brother, Menahem, was the family head.  We know almost nothing about Menahem, but tradition would have placed Jospeh and his siblings with their closest male relative. Given the events that followed, it is logical to suppose that Menahem was a leader in the Nazorean sect.

 

The children of Jacob weren’t the only ones to end up in Galilee – other not so distant relations were also removed from Jerusalem for their safety. Those relations were created by intermarriages along two family lines. We begin with another logical supposition – that the historic Mattathias (aka Mattathiah) was the same person as the biblical Mattat ben Levi.

 

Mattat/ Mattathias had three famous wives: Hasmonean Princess Alexandra (II) (aka Elizabeth of Jerusalem), Rachel of Arimathea, and Salome of Jerusalem (aka “The Proselyte”). From these wives, we have the following offspring:

 

     Princess Alexandra II > Aristobulus III (the High Priest for three months) and Alexander III Helios[14]

     Rachel of Arimathea > Joseph of Arimathea (the biblical character)

     Salome of Jerusalem > Prince Gjor (father of Simon V Bar Gjora[15])

 

Yehoshua III, the High Priest from 35-23 BCE fathered three daughters: JoAnna, Elizabeth, and Hannah…

 

     JoAnna married Joachim, the son of Alamyos, the Governor of Judea from 50-47 BCE (an Onaidite),

     Elizabeth married Zechariah, a Priest of the Abijah Order, and

     Hannah (aka Anne) married Alexander III Helios, the Hasmonean Prince (as his second wife). 

 

Alamyos, the Governor of Judea from 50-47 BCE (an Onaidite) also had three daughters:

 

 

     Escha married Ptolas, one of the twins who were the brothers of Joseph (Abiudite Line),

     Salome married Zebedee (brother of Joseph of Arimathea), whose sons were; James and John

     Mary Salome, the first wife of Clopas (aka Cloepas), the other twin.

 

From these marriages, we have the following offspring:

 

     Escha  & Ptolas > unknown (Ptolas was killed in 6 CE).

     Salome & Zebedee > James and John (the Apostles, born in Galilee)

     Mary Salome & Clopas > Simeon (succeeded James as the Bishop of Jerusalem)

 

While complex, these relationships show how closely tied many of the characters in the New Testament are. The next two generations become our primary focus as we bring together Joseph and Mary.

 

Next in the series of events that move our story was the birth of a son to Zechariah and Elizabeth (John) followed by the birth of a daughter to Alexander III and Hanna (Miriam/Mary) – around 20 BCE. In what appeared to be part of another purging of potential rivals or opponents by Herod, Zechariah and Alexander III Helios were executed around 17 BCE. The sisters Elizabeth and Hanna were taken in by their “uncle” Joseph of Arimathea[16] and he became their temporary paranymphos (or guardian). Joseph’s wealth and position apparently provided some protection for the sisters and their children. However, their ultimate safety would have required relocation and so they ended up in Galilee (traditionally in Sepphoris – the home of Joachim).

 

The “camp” of the Nazoreans was located a few miles south of Sepphoris[17] (which was the governmental and trade center of Galilee) in a place which was later named “Nazareth”. Joseph, Ptolas, and Clopas lived there and worked as builders[18] in Sepphoris. Escha and Mary Salome – the sister-in-laws of JoAnna (sister of Hannah) - would have lived there with their husbands, the twin brothers of Joseph. While this relationship is a bit distant, it would have been quite unexpected for these nearby sister-in-laws of her sister to have not known Hanna.

 

A strong tradition holds that Mary was taken back to Jerusalem (by her new father, Joachim) when she became old enough to serve in the Temple and that she stayed there until she reached puberty. We assume that she returned to Sepphoris upon leaving Temple service.

 

Of course, from here the story is better known: Joseph decides to marry Mary. He carries the Davidic bloodline and she carries both the priestly bloodlines (Levite and Aaronite) as well as the Hasmonean royal bloodline. In their offspring there would be lineage from King David, Zerubabbel, the prophet Nehamiah, Onias, Queen Alexandra, Queen Cleopatra, either Julius Caesar or Mark Antony, the Persian kings, and the Exilarchs. Their friends and relatives would include a host of High Priests, one of the richest men in Judea (Joseph of Arimathea), members of Herod’s Court, members of the Sanhedrin, and many others. From the close family would come the best known “prophet” of the time – John the Baptist, the most popular “opposition” priest of the time and the first Bishop of Jerusalem, James, several of the most famous “zealots”, and (obviously) the most famous person in human history, Jesus.

 

“Is this not the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:22). "Joseph…was registered with Mary" and "she brought forth her first born son." (Protoevangelium 8:13). “When he had finished these parables Jesus left that place, and came to his home town, where he taught the people in their synagogue…Is he not the carpenter’s[19] son?  Is not his mother called Mary, his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters here with us?” (Matthew 13:55). "Is this not the [scholar], the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon?” (Mark 6:3).

We simply can’t know detailed circumstances surrounding either the betrothal of Joseph and Mary or the conception of Jesus. A few things are clear:

  • Mary was Joseph’s wife, but not his first (or only) wife.
  • Joseph probably had children by earlier marriage.
  • Jesus was Mary’s first child, but not her only child.
  • The circumstances of Jesus’ birth were unusual and he was considered a “mamzer”[20].

While some may choose to believe in the miracle of “virgin birth” or even the perpetual virginity of Mary, both detract from a clear understanding of Jesus’ life. Indeed, one can argue that the creation of such misunderstanding and distraction from the truth was the very intent of the New Testament editors. We have no reason to think that the gospels would include a story which would create doubt about the legal/parental status of Jesus unless such was so well known and established that it couldn’t be ignored.

Traditional stories say that Mary was raped by a Roman soldier (named Panthera) after being betrothed to Joseph (while he was away). Others suggest that this was a prior legend wrongly carried over. Regardless, if we accept that Jesus was not born of the seed of Joseph, then there are many implications. Similarly, we might accept the possibility that all the legends are wrong and that Joseph was Jesus’ biological father.

The best historical indication comes from the second child of Joseph and Mary – James (Yacob). He ends up in the priesthood and is recorded as being a Nazirite from birth. Under the normal practice of the Nazoreans, that would have been the choice and life of the firstborn son – unless he was a mamzer (a child whose parentage is doubtful). James is the undoubted successor to Jesus in the movement which arose after Jesus’ death. There should be little doubt that James was the second son of Mary and that his life shows that Jesus’ father was doubted.

Conversely, the same works that point so clearly to this doubt also create confusion by offering Joseph’s genealogy (applying it to Jesus) and by suggesting that Jesus could be the Messiah. Since there’s no way that that a mamzer could have been the Messiah, something’s wrong with the stories. And, although are many clever legal arguments for making Jesus the “legal” heir of Joseph – making Joseph’s lineage relevant and applicable – there is no justification for offering a “bloodline” for an adopted son (even if he has become the legal heir, he simply can’t inherit the lineage).

Lastly, on this subject, it may be useful to address those who suggest that the marriage of Joseph and Mary was a levirate marriage and that such passed along to Jesus the inheritance (along with bloodline titles) from Joseph. Since the biblical account clearly states that there was a betrothal that Joseph could “release” between Mary to Joseph, this could not have been a levirate marriage[21] (see Matthew 1:18-19).

We know little else about Joseph. He probably had no ties to Bethlehem and since the people in the Temple were very impressed with Jesus’ knowledge and wisdom when he was in the Temple at age twelve, we can guess that Joseph was the source of much of that scholarly wisdom. Joseph was supposedly much older than Mary and died when Jesus was young or in his early teens. Jesus never mentions him in the gospels and the information offered in the pseudographica and non-canonical gospels is limited and largely mythical. Whatever can be known about him lies largely “between the lines” in the gospel stories and that would indicate that he was prosperous, connected, and kind.

There is additional discussion of Joseph in Appendix IX.

 

 

Side Notes:

According to one theory/legend, Joseph’s paternal grandmother, Estha, married Mathan, a descendant of David, through Salomon, and gave him a son; Jacob, whereupon Mathan died. Estha married Mathat, another descendent of David, through Nathan (a less known son of King David). According to the tradition she gave her second husband a son, namely Heli.

So, according to the tradition, Jacob and Heli, who both have been named fathers of Joseph, are half-brothers, having the same mother.

Heli married, but died, having had no children. Following Jewish custom, Jacob married Heli’s widow, in order to give posterity to his brother, which he also did. One of these children was Joseph.

This ancient tradition, if it be true, would render both Matthew’s and Luke’s genealogies of Jesus absolutely spot on correct, even though they differ dramatically since one might describe the family line with the biological father (Jacob), while the other makes the description with the father according to the law (Heli).

 

In 46 BCE, Cleopatra gave birth to a boy who was named Ptolemy Caesar and called Caesarion. He was said to be Julius Caesar's child. In 40 BCE, Mark Anthony and Cleopatra's had twins, a boy named Alexander Helios and a girl named Cleopatra Selene.

 

 



[1] Pharaoh Necho II deposed Jehoiakim’s younger brother Jehoahaz after a reign of only three months in 608 BCE.

[2] Ezra’s rule was enforced by only recording his chosen lineages in the Book of Chronicles.

[3] In 175 BCE, when Onias III was High Priest, his brother Jason bribed his way into the position and then lost it to a higher bidder, Menelaus (brother of Simon the Benjamite). Onias was forced into exile and upon his execution, his son, Onias IV, fled to Egypt.

[4] Honaseh bar Shem was the Onaidite Dynastic Governor of Judea from 60 to 55 BCE. He was the father of Alamyos (Governor of Judea from 50-47 BCE).  His son Joachim married JoAnna , the daughter of the High Priest Yehoshua III and had no sons. However, his daughter Escha married Ptolas, the brother of Joseph. Thus, the Onaidite and Abiudite Lines were merged.

[5] When Herod died in 4 BCE, both Prince Simon V and Athronges launched bids for the throne in opposition to Herod’s son, Archelaus. Both were unsuccessful and were killed.

[6] Herod trusted Jacob to take 3,000 soldiers and a fortune (as a tribute to Octavian) with him on this mission to Alexandria because Jacob’s ancestors had strong Roman ties, both royal and Oniadite blood, and relations in Egypt.

[7] Jacob was previously married to Eucharia, a young Jewish princess and they had a daughter named Miriam.

[8] Just two years afterwards, Herod "took" Cleopatra of Jerusalem as his 5th wife.

[9] This is clear evidence that the “rule of Ezra” was viewed as void - the High Priest of Israel was married to a foreign wife. Simon and Cleopatra had a daughter who also married Herod.

[10] A Nazirite was one who desired to separate themselves in devotion to God as all his days “are holy unto the God” (v.8). Nazirites accepted three holy restrictions: consume nothing made of or from grapes, cut none of your hair, and avoid ritual uncleanliness (even avoiding a deceased parent).

[11] The translators of the New Testament wrongly converted Ναζωραος (Nazorean) to Ναζαρέτ (Nazareth). Ναζωραος clearly meant a group or sect (as in Acts 24:5)."

[12] Eusebius ("Hist. Eccl." ii. 23) quotes Hegesippus to describe James the Just (brother of Jesus) as a Nazarite.

[13] Not surprisingly, New Testament authors were desperate to make the place name “Nazareth work and even added a “prophecy” to support this as Jesus’ home: “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets - He shall be called a Nazarene (Ναζαρέτ)”. (Matthew 2:23). No such prophecy is recorded in scripture and Christian apologists generally hold that this is a reference from Isaiah (11:1) where the Messiah is supposed to arise as "a netzer (וְנֵ֖צֶר or 'rod') out of the stem of Jesse." Not only does this have nothing to do with a place name, the transliteration isn’t even correct.

[14] Mattathias and Alexandra II also had a daughter named Alexandra III who married Ptolemy Bar Mennius, the  Exilarch who was deposed 13 BCE and fled to Parthia.

[15] Simon V Bar Gjora became the last king of the Jews in Judah during the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 66 CE.

[16] According to Roman secular history (per Gildas Badonicus), Joseph of Arimathea had been appointed as “noblis Decurio”, a Roman “Decurion”. It has been speculated that he was involved in the trade of metals and this appointment was due to the importance of such metals to the Romans.

[17] Now called Tzippori.

[18] The copiers of the New Testament mistranslated the Aramaic word “nagger” as “τέκτονος“ (tekton), which in English became “carpenter”. Actually, the Greek “ tekton” means “artificer” which best translates from its source as either a learned man of a skill (or trade) or scholar. Joseph was much more than a carpenter.

[19] See note 18, above.

[20] A child of doubtful or illegitimate birth under Jewish law (“מַמְזֵר” from Deut. 23:2-3). Wrongly translated as “bastard” as it involves complex interpretations and application under halachic law. See Appendix V.

[21] See: “Levirate Marriage and the Family in Ancient Judaism” by Dvora E. Weisberg (2009) and “Halacha Overview - Levirate Marriage and Chalitzah” at http://torahsearch.com/page.cfm/3254. In a levirate marriage, there is no need for traditional betrothal since the woman is automatically his “wife”.

 


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