about the virgin birth:
GA: This virgin birth thing has to stop. Whether the word means young woman or not, they still claim that Joseph isn't the biological father right? Den ano infedility in some shape and form?
"they claim", is the right word, my brotha.
But I ask you... who told this story? And when was it told?
The real circumstances of his birth require honesty from a lot of people. I can't tell you the story of my own birth. I can only tell you what my parents told me. Problem... I don't remember them telling me anything about it. So where are Jesus's followers getting the story from? Joseph's father appears to be dead before Jesus died and perhaps even before his ministry began. This leaves his mother as a source of information as well as other family members.
We tend to forget about the ancient journalism that should have taken place here and assume that these accounts are being written or recorded like a journal with contemporaneous notes. But does that really makes sense? Does a seemingly 3rd person omniscient POV make sense?
Jesus sounds like one of those Maury Povich babies and there was no DNA testing back then. The story doesn't say whose baby it was, only that Joseph didn't believe it was his. All we do know is that it was an arranged marriage and that he didn't want her secret to come out because he was afraid of what would happen to her. Is this true? If it is true then why put the whole story on blast as part of the legend?
Because you can use it to claim God is literally the father?
It seems clearer to me that Joseph was getting advice from someone who basically told him that this was simply "God's will" and therefore "of the holy spirit" and perhaps he didn't want to penalize the unborn child who would also effectively be aborted (because Christians hate abortion but don't seem to realize that a woman caught in adultery could also be pregnant).
Miriam (Mary) could have had a whole love story we know nothing about because this isn't a documentary about her and Joseph. Joseph is who she was promised to. But perhaps she was in love with another man; possibly even a young man closer to her age. The fact that Joseph dies early in Jesus's life is not only due to the life expectancy of that time period but also the fact that arranged marriages often featured older men marrying young women (or even girls we would consider under age).
Imagine a girl in love, marrying some old dude out of family obligation because he paid her dowry. And perhaps, and this is speculation that shouldn't be taken as more than that, but perhaps he simply has second thoughts about paying the dowry for her because she wasn't "as advertised". Because she wasn't a virgin even though she was a "young woman".
Not to go too deep in the weeds but they had cultural measures in place to protect intended husbands; where a woman would literally check the girl to see if she was still a virgin. But if she was pregnant she probably wasn't showing at the marriage feast. So this is something he likely discovered later. Matthew says, that during their engagement period she was found to be pregnant. It doesn't say who found her to be pregnant. So there's some potentially interesting things just right there.
If the family knew prior to the engagement... if Mary had already had sex they could have simply forced her lover to pay the dowry. Maybe they knew and he didn't have the money and so they deceived Joseph, telling her about this pretty young girl, enticing him to pay because they knew he already had the money while this young man would have had to work for it; possibly for years, judging by the story of Jacob. The other thing is that the dowry for a virgin would have been more expensive than the dowry for a non-virgin. Jacob got cheated over a similar situation. Why not Joseph? Especially if this was money her family was counting on.
But as usual, there's a lot of deceit in the bible that isn't necessarily called out. What we see in Matthew is the Joseph suffering from the deception and being told to go along with it so that the girl didn't suffer. And maybe Joseph already knew her and part of the reason why the family chose him was because they believed he would protect her.
But I think the most likely scenario was that this was some other dude's baby. And that may not have been the story that Jesus was raised on. He may have used his father's lineage as claim to the throne because he honestly believed Joseph to be his real father. After all... Joseph had to keep this secret which meant lying and keeping up appearances. At what age would he have told his son and why would he? And there's no reason to believe that Jesus knew who his real father was, because no other man is included in the gospel lineage. And there's no evidence that Jesus went to find his biological father. That story isn't told because people don't care. So when people were told "the holy spirit" is his true father, they went with it because at that point they already bought into him as a mythical creature who could even bring people back to life. It simply fit the narrative; too well.
And its not simply that they didn't care. His lineage was a problem they couldn't deal with.
When you start with an story like this, involving deception, and then you spin it into "God himself was the father" that's a bit too convenient; at least for my taste. We're willing to overlook Joseph getting deceived as he COULD... COULD have been visited by an angels YEARS in advance of him paying the dowry and before he's even confronted with the possibility of getting engaged to Miriam. But no... This leads me to believe that Joseph was used in the same way women take guys on Maury only for Maury to tell them "you are NOT the father" after the guy has been financially supporting the child, possibly for years.
Joseph was forced to make a choice to protect a girl from something that would not have even existed as an issue if it wasn't for him getting engaged to her, because engagement had the same strength as marriage. Cheating during engagement was adultery. Surely, God, didn't need Joseph or his money to take care of his son, or even his chosen messiah. But the family, on the other hand... likely would see that need for deception.
And so again, who is the source of this story? And what's the purpose of it? Was it intended to be a fair and accurate journalistic depiction of Jesus's origins? Or were they paid to create propaganda?
If we were just talking about a random guy from Nazereth, no one would have written this story or cared about his birth. They cared about his story because they wanted a messiah; not the Christian version who is a savior from sin, but a messiah according to Israelite tradition... the next king of Israel.
This is why they cared. They wanted to use his influence. That's why you see Judas embedding himself with his disciples. That's why you see Barabbas. They had zealots willing to fight but without a king... without someone who could be a true heir to the throne, they could never hope to raise an army to fight Rome. It is only because they failed in their efforts to make him a king, that this other story of the son of God, is being told.
Jesus believed he was going to be king and spoke about "his kingdom". He was speaking about an earthly kingdom in which he and his disciples would rule. They saw his following and believed this was possible. But did they know his true lineage? Or did they find out only after becoming loyal followers/retainers? And did they find out too much and had to cover up the rest by crafting this story about an angel appearing to Joseph? Or did Miriam or her family make up that part of the story to cover their own deception? Certainly, she knew what she had done. Did she tell?
What's certain is that Jesus had to fit into a certain narrative in order to be king and attempts were made in order to turn him into the next king of Israel. Ultimately, these attempts failed and Jesus went on to be a savior from sin. On the other hand H.I.M also had to fit into a certain Judeo-Christian narrative, and actually and successfully became king and defended his people against the European powers. And he did so while also being about harmony, love, and peace.