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Why did St. Joseph move away from his childhood home?

SAINT JOSEPH

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Philip Kosloski - published on 03/18/24

The Gospels tell us that St. Joseph had to go back to Bethlehem for the census, meaning that he moved away from the place he was born and raised.

While we may not know much about St. Joseph, we do know that he was likely born and raised in Bethlehem.

The Gospel of Luke gives us this information by explaining how he had to return to Bethlehem for the census.

And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David.

Luke 2:3-4

With this in mind, it is believed by many scholars that St. Joseph originally came from Bethlehem.

If St. Joseph was born in Bethlehem, why did he leave the city of his birth?

The Bible does not give us any information about the cause of St. Joseph’s move from Bethlehem to Nazareth.

One explanation could be the need to find a city that could support his trade.

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains, “Why and when he forsook his home-place to betake himself to Galilee is not ascertained; some suppose — and the supposition is by no means improbable — that the then-moderate circumstances of the family and the necessity of earning a living may have brought about the change.

St. Joseph was a “tekton,” which likely meant he would travel throughout the village, doing odd jobs for whoever needed it.

He was a “handyman,” and maybe Nazareth was a better village to be employed in at the time.

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