Question from Angela on 2/6/2008:
Who are the parents of St Joseph? My first grade student and I would like to know.
Answer by Matthew Bunson on 2/15/2008:
Unfortunately, we know very little about the parents of St. Joseph. In the genealogy of Matthew 1, his father is named Jacob, but in Luke 3:23 he is called the son of Heli.
Characterized as a just man (Mt. 1:19), he was described as a tekton (a “workman”; Mt. 13:55; Mk. 6:3), denoting a carpenter, a craft that included making of plows, yokes, doors, furniture and similar items. The origins of Joseph pose problems as a result of the genealogies listed in Scripture. Similar questions are present in tracing the origins of Joseph. Matthew does not mention Joseph’s hometown, but Luke writes (2:4), “Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.” While Matthew notes that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Joseph chose to reside in Nazareth out of fear of returning to Judea because of the presence of Archelaus (and having been warned in a dream). It is thus not impossible that Joseph was from Bethlehem.