Day 2
December 19

December 19, 2022 • Week Four

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.
Luke 1:26b-27

Day 2

First century Jewish marriages were most often arranged by parents when girls were between 12-14 years old and young men between 18-20 years old. When a custom is common to a culture, the Bible often omits the detail, so we can assume that Mary and Joseph were in the traditional age range since it does not include their ages in the story. Mary’s and Joseph’s parents likely arranged their marriage without consulting them following Jewish customs of the time. When the parents settled the details of the marriage agreement, they signed a binding contract. In many cultures, the bride’s father pays a dowry but in the Jewish culture, the groom’s father makes a payment of money, property, and/or services to purchase the bride, called a mohar.

Often, fathers shared some or all of the mohar with their daughter, so that she would have an emergency fund in case something unforeseen happened to her husband. With negotiations complete and the mohar given, the bride and groom were betrothed, considered married. Although they may not have even met yet, a change of plans would require a divorce at this stage.

The wedding ceremony would take place a year or more later. By tradition, the bride and groom would have little to no contact during that year, as the groom built a bridal chamber in his father’s house where they would live after the wedding ceremony. When completed and after his father gave permission, the groom would come for his bride.

The wedding day would be a surprise and usually came with the blowing of a trumpet for a short warning to the bride her groom was coming. A wedding ceremony with family and a wedding feast with friends would traditionally follow. The celebration could last up to a week and was one of the most joyous occasions in Jewish life, especially for a small community like Nazareth.


  • God’s plans for Mary and Joseph are quite different than were their parents’ plans for them. How do you deal with unfulfilled desires when God gives you something other than what you had hoped for and expected?
  • What is God teaching you about how to deal with these unfulfilled desires? Are there any next steps he is prompting you to take?