Biographical Gospel of the Lord

- Chapter 11 -
The Effect Of The Death Sentence

HE HIGH PRIEST considered for a while and said to himself, 'What shall I do? Annas is filled with envy at the choice for the maiden, and one should never follow the advice of the envious.
But if this should really be true with Mary, and I have been indifferent in the matter, what will the sons of Israel say then, and what sort of an accounting will they demand of me?
Therefore I will secretly send attendants to Joseph, and if the evil matter should be true, they shall compel the maiden as well as Joseph to come here without delay!'
Thus it was thought and decided; the high priest secretly called trusted attendants and told them what was said to have happened in Joseph's house, and sent them to Joseph with instructions what to do if this were confirmed.
Hereupon the attendants hastened to Joseph and found everything to be just as the highpriest had told them.
And the oldest of them said to Joseph, 'See, that is why we were sent here from the temple, to see for ourselves how matters stood with the maiden, since ill rumors about her have come to the ears of the high priest.
Now we have unfortunately found the sad suspicion confirmed, so do not make us use force and follow us into the temple with Mary, where you shall hear the just sentence from the mouth of the high priest.'
And Joseph promptly followed with Mary and was led by the attendants before the court in the temple.
When he arrived before the high priest, the astonished high priest thereupon asked Mary, speaking a serious tone,
'Mary! Why did you do this to us and how could you have so enormously degraded your soul?
You have forgotten the Lord, your God, you who were raised in the Holy of Holies and received your daily food from the hand of the angel
and always heard his songs of praise; and gladdened yourself and played and danced before the face of God! - Speak, why did you do this to us?'
Here Mary began to cry bitterly, and said between great sobs and tears, 'As truly as the Lord God of Israel lives, that truly also am I clean and have never known a man! Ask the of God chosen Joseph.'
The high priest thereupon turned to Joseph and asked him, 'Joseph, I adjure you in the name of the eternally living God, tell me openly, how did this happen? Have you done this?'
And Joseph asserted, 'I tell you by all that is holy to you and me, as truly as the Lord my God lives, that truly also am I clean before this maiden, as before you and before God!'
And the high priest retorted, 'Do not bear a false witness, but speak the truth before God! Now I say to you: you have taken your wedding into your own hands, you did not inform the temple and did not first bow your head under the hand of the eternally Almighty, so He might have blessed your seed! Therefore speak the truth!'
Joseph was mute at these words of the high priest and was unable to answer with even one word, for too bitterly unjust was the accusation of the high priest.
And since Joseph stood before the high priest in deep silence and could not speak, the high priest soon opened his mouth and demanded,
'Give us back the maiden as you received her from the temple of the Lord, when she was as pure as the rising sun on a most lovely morning!'
Dissolving in tears Joseph stood there and after heaving a great sigh exclaimed,
'Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, what evil have I, a poor old man, done before You that You now strike me so mightily?
Take me from the earth, for it is too hard as one always just before You and all the world to suffer such shame!
You chastised my father David because he sinned against Uriah.
But I have never sinned against any man nor harmed any man's property nor any creature, and have always followed the Law in everything - o Lord, why then do You strike me?
Oh show me a sin before You, and I will gladly suffer punishment by fire! But if I have sinned before You, then may the day and the hour be cursed when I was born!'
And the high priest became embittered at such speech of Joseph and decreed in great agitation of soul,
'Very well then, since you contest your obvious guilt before God, I will give you both to drink of the accursed water of the Lord God, and your sins shall become known in your eyes and before the eyes of all the people!'
Thereupon the high priest took the accursed water and gave Joseph to drink thereof and then sent him according to the law into the hills set aside for that purpose, close to Jerusalem.
Then he gave Mary to drink of this water and sent her into the hills also.
Three days later both returned unharmed, and all the people were surprised that no sin had been made manifest with them.
The high priest himself, amazed beyond measure, said to them, 'Since the Lord God has not desired to reveal your sin, then I too will not judge you, and instead declare you blameless and free!
But since the maiden is already pregnant, she shall become your wife as a penance because she became pregnant unbeknownst to me, and henceforth shall never again be given another husband, even though she should become a young widow. So be it! - Go your way in peace.'
Joseph now took Mary and went with her into his homeland and was full of joy, and honored and praised his God. And his joy was all the greater, since Mary had now become his rightful wife.