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Chapter 1 The Childhood of Jesus

Joseph Takes Mary Into His House

1. JOSEPH was building a house in the country between Nazareth and Jerusalem.

2. A distinguished citizen of Jerusalem was having this house built there to serve as an inn, for the Nazarenes had no shelter all the way to Jerusalem.

3. AND MARY, who was brought up in the temple, had matured, and the Law of Moses required that she be given from the temple.

4. Messengers were therefore sent into all of Judea with these tidings to summon the fathers - that if one were found worthy, he was to take the maiden into his house.

5. When these tidings reached Joseph, he quickly laid his axe aside and hastened to Jerusalem and there to the designated meeting and council chamber in the temple.

6. Three days later the applicants again met in the same chamber, and each candidate for Mary handed a fresh lily stalk to the priest as previously determined upon. The priest then went into the sanctuary of the temple with the stalks and there prayed.

7. When he had completed his prayer, he came out with the stalks and returned to each his stalk.

8. All of the stalks thereupon became spotted - only the one last given to Joseph remained fresh and unblemished.

9. But a few began to Find fault at this and said that this test favored Joseph, was therefore not binding and requested another test which would be above reproach.

10. The priest, somewhat provoked at this, immediately had Mary sent for, handed her a dove and told her to walk into the center of the candidates, there to let the dove fly free.

11. And before ordering the dove freed, he said to the candidates, 'Behold, you false interpreters of the sign of Jehovah! This dove is a pure, innocent creature and has no ear for our discussion,

12. for it lives only in the will of the Lord and understands only the almighty language of God.

13. Hold high your stalks! - Upon whose stalk this dove settles, once it has been freed by this maiden, and upon whose head it will sit, he shall take Mary!'

14. With this the candidates were satisfied and agreed, 'Even so, this shall be a sure sign!'

15. And when Mary freed the dove at the word of the priest, it promptly flew over to Joseph, settled on his stalk and thereupon on Joseph's head.

16. Here the priest declared, 'Thus has the Lord willed it! Upon you, oh worthy craftsman, is fallen the unerring lot for the maiden of the Lord! Take her in the name of the Lord into your unblemished house for future care. Amen.'

17. When Joseph heard this, he appealed to the priest, saying, 'Hear me, oh anointed servant of the Lord according to the Law of Moses, the faithful servant of the Lord God Zebaoth - I am already an old man with grown-up sons at home and have been a widower for a long time. I shall become an object of ridicule before the sons of Israel if I take this little maiden into my house.

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