10 September 2007

The two Josephs

For my bible study, we were asked the similarities or parallels between Joseph (Old Testament) and St. Joseph (New Testament), spouse of Our Lady. I had never really thought about it before. I had heard of the connections between Joseph and Jesus, but here are my similarities between the two Josephs.

1. They both had father's named Jacob. This is easy to know about Joseph from OT history, but it wasn't until I read the Gospel of Matthew, that had comments by Scott Hahn, where this was pointed out. In Luke's Gospel, however, St. Joseph's father is named Heli. We are supposed to come up with some reasons for the difference...still working on that.

2. They were royalty. The Joseph of the OT was a patriarch, following the great line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He was the last and perhaps the greatest of the Old Testament patriarchs. St. Joseph also was royalty since he was a descendant of King David. Some Scripture scholars speculate that if Rome had not occupied Palestine at the time, and if the Davidic line was still intact, St. Joseph would have been eligible for the throne. (This is something I found online).

3. They both endured suffering and daily trials without complaint. Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own brothers, was put in charge of Pharoah's house, in part, because of his attitude and trustworthiness. St. Joseph kept Our Lady as his wife, even though he thought he should divorce her quietly. He also did what was asked of him in taking Mary to Bethlehem and giving his life over to what God wanted of him as the step-father of Jesus. Quite a big job.

4. They both interpreted dreams. Joseph interpreted dreams for Pharoah (seven fat cows and seven skinny cows) and St. Joseph knew his own dreams were messages from God about what he should do (not to divorce Mary, flee to Egypt, and then return).

5. Both rulers of the King's house. Joseph was put in charge of Pharoah's kingdom and St. Joseph was in charge of the upbringing of Jesus.

6. Both were righteous men, pure and chaste.

7. They both experienced poverty. Joseph had his inheritance stolen from him, he was sold into slavery and imprisoned. St. Joseph knew poverty as well. We are told in the gospels that he was a carpenter, a member of the working class. When he uprooted his family and went to Bethlehem and then to Egypt, he probably took his tools with him so he could continue earning a living, but that is about all he had in terms of material goods. We also know that the Holy Family was poor because at the Presentation they gave two turtle doves, the offering of the poor. (Found this online too).

8. Both left their homes and went to Egypt. Joseph was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt. St. Joseph fled to Egypt with his family to escape Herod's wrath.


Entropy said...

That is really interesting! This sounds like a great Bible study.

:o) said...

I haven't even STARTED my homework yet. (Yes, I am wailing and whining.)

Christine said...

This is so cool, thanks for sharing.