THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS
THE GOSPEL OF JAMES

Biographical Gospel of the Lord

- Chapter 12 -
The Decree Of Augustus Caesar


 
J
OSEPH in good spirits now spent two more months in his house with Mary, now his wife, and worked for her support.
 
2
When her time was fulfilled and Mary was close to the time of delivery, there came a new blow which caused Joseph great concern.
 
3
For the Roman emperor Augustus issued a decree in all his lands that all the peoples in his empire were to be counted, recorded and classified for reasons of taxation and recruitment.
 
4
The Nazarenes were not exempt from this command, and Joseph was compelled to go to Bethlehem, the city of David, where the Roman recording commission was set up.
 
5
When he heard this command, because of which he had already been called to an assembly in Jerusalem, he said to himself,
 
6
'My Lord and my God, this is a hard blow for me at this very time when Mary is so close to delivery!
 
7
What shall I do now? - I must of course have my sons recorded, for they are unfortunately subject to bearing arms for the emperor, but what in heaven's name, o Lord, shall I do with Mary?
 
8
I cannot leave her at home, for what would she do when her time began to press her?
 
9
But if I take her along, who will assure me that her time will not befall her while still on the way and I will not know what to do with her?
 
10
And if I do just manage to bring her before the officials of Rome, how shall I have her recorded there?
 
11
Perhaps as my wife - whereof no one except myself and the high priest knows anything?
 
12
Truly, I am almost ashamed to do that before the sons of Israel, for they know that I am an old man of over seventy years. What will they say, if I record the barely fifteen-year-old child - and that in a highly pregnant condition - as my lawful wife?
 
13
Or should I have her recorded as my daughter? But the sons of Israel know whence Mary is, and that she is not my daughter.
 
14
If I have her recorded as the to-me-entrusted maiden of the Lord, what might those few, who may not know that I have justified myself in the temple, say to me so they were to see Mary highly pregnant? -
 
15
Yes, now I know what I will do - I will wait for the day of the Lord! On that day the Lord my God will do what He thinks best and it will also be for the best! So be it.'