The Adultery of Mary

Mary was an adulterous woman:

By definition of the law, that is.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child…

The meaning of the Hebrew naaph was “a woman who breaks wedlock.  For Mary to show pregnant after her betrothal [where she vowed to be wedded to Joseph] but prior to cohabitating with him and consummating the vow would have been unequivocally adulterous.   Open and shut case.

If she was in wedlock to Joseph and pregnant without having had relations with him – then could be no doubt that the wedlock was broken – making her an adulterous woman.

Having the spirit of prophecy and revelation:

To someone without the eye of faith, adultery would have been the only possible explanation for Mary turning up pregnant.

While [Joseph] thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying,

“Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Joseph was a righteous man who received visions and angelic visitations.  He was able to work with the spirit of prophecy and revelation.  Because of that fact alone, Mary was saved from what would have been the just demands of the law executed on her for being found with child outside of the wedlock.

Members of their community in Nazareth who lacked the spirit of prophecy and revelation would have no doubt mocked Joseph.  Speaking without the spirit of prophecy and revelation, the matter was easily settled.  Surely we all know how women get pregnant – right?  Surely Joseph’s “vision” of an angel was really just the result of his frenzied mind trying to come up with an excuse for that which he was unwilling to accept.  I’d bet those gossipy busybodies of Nazareth thought they knew better.

Joseph expressed compassionate empathy:

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.


and [so he] took unto him [Mary, to be] his wife:  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

God’s “Justice” is typically characterized as His “meanness” – as opposed to His “Mercy”, which is His “niceness”.  However, “just” in the scriptural sense means nothing of gavel-banging and hellfire-scorching.  What is just is what is:

  • reasonable
  • equitable
  • proper
  • as it ought to be

We should hope that God is just and deals with us according to the principle of justice – that He gives us what is reasonable, proper, and best-suited for our particular circumstances.  I wouldn’t want what is unreasonable, improper, and ill-suited for me.  I trust fully in His justice.

Joseph is described as a “just man”, yet we see that he did not “demand justice” be executed.  In fact, he demonstrated what would later characterize the method by which the atonement of his son operates – i.e. compassionate empathy.

Even before his angelic vision that informed him that Mary’s child was not of another man, but was of the Holy Ghost – Joseph felt in his heart that it was best to not put Mary into open shame, making her a public example by bringing an accusation against her.  The demands of the law are always just.  If he would have decided to “press charges”, then it would have been reasonable, equitable, and proper for the community to stone her.  Those where the demands of the law that God had given, and they were just.

However, he likely had doubts — being a “just man”, he wanted to render what was proper and appropriate given the circumstances.  He didn’t want to make a public accusation against her, but he wanted to render that which was just also.  This is why God sent the angel to him in a vision — because once enlightened by the spirit of prophecy and revelation, Joseph chose to receive Mary as his wife – not bringing an accusation against her.  He received information that would have been impossible to know by any means other than faith, i.e. that Mary’s child was of the Holy Ghost, not the result of her having sex with anyone.  Because of Joseph’s compassionate empathy for Mary [knowing the unique and difficult circumstance she was placed in by being pregnant], the demands of justice were satisfied and Mary was “encircled in the arms of safety.”

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  1. […] and receive? Then there’s the question of whether to tell your kids about Santa. Or about Mary’s virginity. Some people shared recipes, memories, and profound reflections while many others posted […]

  2. These observations were very good in explaining te feelings & thoughts of those involved in a seemingly Catch 22 situation. I’ve never heard an explination of this situation that more clearly defined being caught between a Rock & Hard Spot.

    You have a tendency to think that just because the Angel appeared to Jospeh, the case was resolved & no worries. It only gave Joseph the understanding that it was God who approved this, yet he would STILL have to contend with worldly perceptions.

    And so goes our standing up for ANY truth that goes contested by the world. The understanding of that truth only belongs to the individual & God & STILL requires the test of ENDURANCE.

  3. I like this post. But I have received and strong whispering that says: ‘ If you see Mary you immediately get highly boosted as you are a just human’.

    Gabriel got boosted -Salve, Gratia Plena, Dominus Tecum (Lc 1:28)-, Joseph surely got boosted -scripture is very discreet about Joseph-, Isabel got boosted -Lc 1:41-45-, mere sheppherds –Lc 2:20-, Simeon -Lc 2:29-32-, a prophetess, Anna -Lc 2:38- and, indeed, Jesus in Cana -Jn 2:4-.

    Nowadays, every time an apparition of Mary happens the seers fall on their knees and get their soul, heart and mind highly boosted. How can we believe she was a deceiver when by Her Gratia Plena everybody gets so sweetest drops from the Holy Ghost before Her Presence? No other has received Gratia Plena ever but Her, for that She is the Holy Shekinah of the Trinity, to bring through Her to the Only King, Jesus, the Redeemer.

    I tell about this issue in my blog

  4. How can we believe she was a deceiver

    Who said she was a deceiver?

    The point made in the post is that she was pregnant with a child that was not fathered by her betrothed husband — there’s no way around the fact that [legally-speaking] she was adulterous.

    If it wasn’t for Joseph having the spirit of prophecy and revelation — then there would have been no other conclusion to make, since she was no doubt with child that was not her husband’s [the very definition of adultery:” to have sexual relations with someone who is not your husband“].

    Legally-speaking — there was no clause to deal with a case where a woman was found impregnated with a child who had God the Father and the Holy Ghost as his Parents — such a thing was unknown to them. To everyone observing, Mary’s entire case exactly met the criteria for death by stoning.

    It required Joseph act with compassionate empathy — and withhold any acquisitions and make no demands for justice — for Mary to have been shielded from the just demands of the law.

    That’s why it was imperative that he receive that angelic vision, so that he would know the full circumstance behind her impregnation — and know that she had not been unfaithful to him.

  5. Yeah, Justin, you are right. You are developing the adultery in the level of legal system, legality and so on. You have not meant in anyway something like ‘deceit’. All right.

    What I mean is in another level, how to say: psycho-mystic. The Joseph drama was in this level, then I ask myself, how could Joseph believe or even think that Mary was deceiving him? Can you imagine the inner drama of this just man? He indeed needed the ‘help’ from an Angel to escape this raving experience.

    Angels nearly never takes part until you have used up all your resources. They must ensure the success commanded to them by God. They need to guarantee that you will believe, without the slightest doubt, that their messages really come from God. Because in contrary, if you did not believe then you will be certainly grounded.

    Here, in my Carmel’s personal mount, I usually listen ‘breezes’ from Sea at any moment. My previous comment was that, a sweet sough from Above.

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