Joseph was the son of Heli (although one lineage in the New Testament gives his parentage as being through Jacob. He became espoused to Mary, daughter of his uncle. However, he learned that she was pregnant and, not wanting her harmed or humiliated, decided to put her away privately. Having made the decision to treat her humanely, an angel then appeared to him, explaining that she had not violated their covenant, but that her pregnancy was a miracle, with God as the Father. He was instructed to name the baby Jesus because He would save the people from their sins.
Joseph, having great faith, accepted this revelation and married Mary. She remained a virgin until the baby’s birth. When the time for the birth approached, they traveled to Bethlehem to fulfill a requirement to be taxed. While there, Mary’s labor began and Joseph sought a room for the baby’s birth. Because the town had so many visitors in it, they were unable to find one, but were offered the use of a stable or cave. The baby was born there and placed in a manger. An angel sent shepherds to be the first witnesses that the Savior had come.
Joseph carefully observed Mosaic law and had Jesus circumcised at eight days.He and Mary also went to the temple forty days after Jesus’ birth to meet the requirement of the law, where Mary presented a turtledove as an offering for Jesus. The use of a turtledove instead of a lamb is an indicator that God had not chosen a wealthy man of high status to serve as a guardian for His Son.
Every year Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. They presented the baby to the Lord. Simeon, who had been promised he would not die until he’d seen the Lord Jesus, took the baby into his arms and proclaimed Him the Christ.
Joseph had a dream in which an angel warned him to take his family to Egypt because Herod wanted to kill the child. He obeyed and they stayed until an angel again appeared to him in a dream telling him to return to Israel because Herod was dead. However, since Joseph was worried about Herod’s son, he took the family to Nazareth instead of Judea.
Joseph and Mary, continuing their pattern of going to Jerusalem for Passover each year, went there with Joseph when He was twelve. When they left, not seeing him, they presumed he had chosen to walk home with other family members. However, when they couldn’t find him, they returned to Jerusalem and searched for three days before finding him teaching in the temple. He was puzzled that they hadn’t known he would be doing His Father’s work in the temple.
Joseph was a carpenter who taught Jesus the same occupation . He is not shown after Jesus’ childhood, and since Jesus placed his mother in an apostle’s care, it is clear he died before this, sometime between the incident when Jesus was twelve and the start of Jesus’ ministry.