Her Pious Parents
Joachim and Hannah, his wife, were both pious from the house of David (Luke 1:27) of the tribe of Judah. Both were regularly worshipping, and well advanced in years with no child. Archangel Gabriel appeared in a dream to Joachim, announcing that his wife will have a child who will please his heart. Hannah believed this vision when she heard it, and this vision was fulfilled by the birth of St. Mary. As a devoted virgin, she entered the temple at the age of three to live the life of ministry, devotion and worship among the other devotees at the women’s court. She lost her parents before leaving the temple at the age of 14 when the Lord chose her to be the mother of the Word incarnate. She was betrothed to St. Joseph, since it was not allowed to stay at the temple after this age.
The Lord blessed them with another daughter afterwards, and they called her Mary, like her sister who became a devotee for the temple. This Mary became the wife of Clopas or Alphaeus (John 19:25). She is also the mother of James, Joses, Judas, Simon and their sisters (Mark 6:1-3) who were called the brothers of Jesus. James and his brother Judas (Judas1:1), whose surname is Labbaeus or Thaddaeus (Luke 6:13-16; Matthew 10:3; Acts 1:13) were among Jesus’ disciples.
Her Betrothal to St. Joseph
The Holy Scriptures declared that the Virgin Mary was betrothed to Joseph the carpenter (Matthew1:18; Luke 1:27, 2:5). Therefore he also must have been from the tribe of Judah. The chief priests consulted together about her betrothal, and immediately the angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias the priest and ordered him to collect the staffs from the elders and the youths of Israel, have their names written on it, and place it inside the temple, so that the Lord would choose from them the suitable person for her. This was the same method used by Moses, when the Lord guided him to choose Aaron to be the high priest (Numbers 17:18-20). So, by fulfilling this divine order, a dove landed on the rod that was for the pious elder Joseph the carpenter, and then it stayed on his head. So the priests betrothed her to Joseph and she lived with him, not aiming for marriage, but to guard her virginity and to support her. And this was very obvious as she said to the annunciation angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). Therefore, she was a virgin before and after giving birth to our Lord Jesus. Here it is worthy to note that betrothal was an ancient law (Deuteronomy 22:23-27) and could be annulled (Exodus 21:8, 9). The betrothed virgin was called a woman which means the betrothed wife of her man, although they didn’t get married (Deuteronomy 22:23, 24; Luke 2:5).
The Bible bore a short but good testimony about Joseph by saying he was a just man (Matthew 1:19). His righteousness was verified when the symptoms of pregnancy appeared on her, and doubts started entering his heart, then he was not wanting to make her a public example, and was minded to put her away secretly (Matthew 1:19). When the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream informing him that which was conceived of her is of the Holy Spirit, then he took Mary to him according to the word of the angel (Matthew 1:24). The presence of St. Joseph with St. Mary was essential for helping her during her pregnancy and delivery, and for protecting her against false accusation because of her pregnancy, so no one will think she is a sinner to be stoned to death. At the same time, he was needed to accompany her during the flight to Egypt. Therefore the church named him “The protector of the mystery of incarnation.” St. Mary stayed at his house in Nazareth of Galilee since her betrothal (Luke 1:26, Mark 1:9).