Monday, March 28, 2011

Joseph's Relationship to Mary

Alice C. Linsley

The tools of kinship analysis have rendered value information about the marriage pattern of Joseph and Mary’s ruler-priest ancestors.  Here are the pertinent facts:

  • The Horite ruler-priests were a caste.  One trait of castes is strict endogamy.  The Horites exclusively intermarried.  These are the men who are listed in the Genesis genealogies.

  • The marriages were arranged between the sons and daughters of 2 main priestly lines.

  • Each ruler had 2 wives at the time of his ascent: one was a half-sister and the other was a patrilineal cousin wife. There are numerous examples of exactly this pattern in Genesis and Exodus.

  • The priestly lines are traced from brother patriarchs: Cain and Seth; Ham and Shem; Peleg and Joktan, and Nahor and Abraham.

  • It is by the cousin bride that the ruler-priest lines are identified. The cousin wife names her firstborn son after her father. So Namaah’s firstborn son Lamech is named after her father Lamech the Elder.

Now, we may ask if this pattern explains the relationship of Joseph and Mary, who are said to be cousins.  Here is the pertinent information:

  • Joseph and Mary are descendants of Abraham. As such they have Horite blood.

  • Both are of priestly lines. Matthew 1:15 tells us that Joseph is of the priestly line of Mattai (Matthan/Matthew). Further, Luke 2 tells us that Joseph has to register in Bethlehem which was originally a Horite settlement.

  • Luke’s genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:23-38) lists the names of Horite ruler-priests like Mattai, Joseph, Er, Levi, David’s son Nathan, Jesse, Aram, Terah, Nahor, Eber, Arphachsad, and Lamech and Enoch. Tradition tells us that Mary’s father, Joachim, was a shepherd priest, like Jesse. The Chronicler calls David's sons "priests" and the Er listed here is the maternal grandfather of Tamar's husband Er, whose offense of onanism cost him his life.

  • Joseph is said to have had another wife. If Mary is his cousin wife, then his first wife, by whom he had sons and daughters, was his half-sister.

  • Mary would have been Joseph’s cousin wife, as Tradition claims.

  • It is by the cousin wife that the ruler-priest line is identified.
The alignment of the data indicates that Jesus was born to the very people to whom God made the original promise in Eden (Gen. 3:15).  Mary’s only Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, is the fulfillment of the Edenic Promise, according to both Matthew and Luke.

Related reading:  Who Were the Horites?The Genesis King Lists; Mary's Priestly Line; The Lines of Ham and Shem Intermarried


  1. But, wasn't Sarai/Sarah Abraham's 'sister-wife'?

    1. In my opinion there seems to be very strong indications that you are correct! God bless you for speaking the truth. Keep studying. :*)

  2. Yes, Sarah was Abraham's half sister. They had the same father but different mothers.

  3. This is awesome, I know this post is a year old, this seems to verify stories I have heard in my life that Joseph was older, a widow, had grown children. So in light of what you are saying concerning the Horite culture, was Jesus the youngest male in the combined family of Joseph and Mary; he was her son, but she did have others ie James. This could explain the underlying tension of the siblings pertaining to the conversation of one brother with Jesus, urging him to show himself, before the allotted time of his showing.

  4. Ramona,

    Mary had only one child - Jesus. The others were Joseph's children by his first wife and therefore Jesus' half-siblings.

  5. So it's not a sin to have a family with let's say your 2nd cousin?

    1. In most countries it is not illegal to marry your first cousin.

  6. Mary and Joseph were of the Horite ruler-priest lineage. The Horite rulers were the only people in the Bible who had two wives according to this exact pattern. This is Jesus' lineage. Abraham, Jacob, Moses and Elkanah (Samuels' father) were Horites with two wives. Do you wish to portray these men as great sinners because they observed the marriage and ascendancy pattern by which God brought Jesus into the world?

  7. Did Mary and Joseph have biological children or where they all Joseph's children from a previous marriage? I am asking because I was told by the husband in Oregon that Mary and Joseph had several children together. If marriage to a 1st cousin was acceptable in biblical times why would it be illegal now?

  8. Mary and Joseph did not have children together. The sisters and brothers mentioned in the Bible were Joseph's by his other wife. This is what the Church has always known to be the case.

    The pattern of marriage to half-sisters and patrilineal cousins pertains in the Bible to rulers only and cannot be taken as the pattern for people who are not rulers. It has always been true that royalty marries royalty and the necessity of an heir to ascend to the throne is very important for rulers such as those named in the Bible in Genesis 4, 5, 10 and 11. See these articles:


Your comments are welcome. Please stay on topic and provide examples to support your point.