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Jesus, Mary, & Joseph

 

 

Hello, and welcome to a collection of non denominational comments related to the holy family which will likely never be seen mentioned in pageants, plays, movies, and/or television specials.

Buen Camino
Pleasant Journey

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Luke 1:31-35 . . Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and shall call His name Jesus. . .Then Mary said to the angel: How can this be, since I do not know a man? And the angel answered and said to her: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy one who is to be born will be called the son of God.

The laws in the Bible regulating the use and abuse of sex pertain only to humans and animals; none that I'm aware of pertain to God.

Also, according to the Bible; where there is no law, there is no breaking the law. (Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13)

Therefore; seeing as there is no law forbidding God to impregnate a women that He's not married to, then if and/or whenever He chooses to do so; for Him it's not a sin.

Luke 1:38 . . I am the Lord's servant; Mary answered. May it be to me as you have said. Then the angel left her.

FAQ: Mary agreed to have a baby with God. How is that not a sin?

A: To my knowledge, there are no rules and/or regulations in the covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God forbidding their women to have a baby with God. I'm not saying there aren't any, maybe there is; but I've yet to run across one.

NOTE: For most folks, the issues addressed thus far are non issues; but there are toxic critics out there always watching for opportunities to denigrate Christianity so I thought it best that we get the jump on their attack.

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Matt 1:18-19 . . Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away quietly.

A righteous man is defined by Luke 1:6 as observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly. The word "all" suggests to me that Joseph wasn't compliant with just some of the Lord's wishes, nor even most, rather, the whole ball of wax. That's an amazing track record.

FAQ: Wasn't Joseph supposed to have his betrothed stoned for sleeping around? (Deut 22:23-27)

A: The covenanted law that Moses' people agreed upon with God in the Old Testament requires the testimony of a minimum of two witnesses for the prosecution in capital cases.

Deut 17:6-7 . . At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.

Sans witnesses even Joseph himself became a suspect; in point of fact, the prime suspect.

NOTE: Compare the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11). Jesus had to dismiss the woman because there was no one willing to testify against her. And even had he known by omniscience that the woman was guilty, the Lord couldn't testify against her because he wasn't a legitimate witness; and besides, he would've been the only one, whereas the Jews' covenanted law requires a minimum of two.

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Matt 1:19 . . And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man,

Curiously, the Bible doesn't say one way or the other whether Mary was righteous. By means of a judicious blend of extrapolation and fact; we might at least suggest that she was.

For example:

Luke 1:30 . . Mary, you have found favor with God.

The Greek word translated "favor" is also translated grace in quite a few places. So we could translate Luke 1:30 like this:

"you have found grace with God."

That wasn't the first time someone found grace with God. Noah did too.

Gen 6:8 . . Noah found grace in the eyes of The Lord.

And:

Gen 6:9 . . Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time,

I might be taking liberties here; but if Noah found grace with God, and he was righteous and blameless among the people of his time; then seeing as how Mary found grace with God, then maybe we can say that she too was righteous and blameless among the people of her time.

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Righteousness-- as it's presented in the story of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph --is exemplified by the righteousness attributed to the Jewish parents of the Lord's cousin; John the Baptist.

Luke 1:5-6 . .There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

The apostle Paul was another Jew who walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Phil 3:5-6 . . Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews . . . touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

It sometimes surprises people that Jesus Christ wasn't a Christian; he was a Jew-- born under the law, circumcised the eighth day --as such he was yet another Jew whose righteousness was defined by the righteousness which is in the law.

I really don't think it's a good idea to inject Christianity's by-faith righteousness into the story of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph seeing as how those folks were all Jews whose righteousness is measured by the covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God in the Old Testament-- a.k.a. the law.

Now, it's true that the righteousness which is in the law isn't righteous enough to attain heaven. However, the righteousness which is in the Jews' covenant is just as righteous in our day as it was in Moses'.

Rom 3:31 . . Do we then nullify the law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Rom 7:12 . . The law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.

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Matt 1:18 . . When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

Webster's defines "betroth" as to give in marriage and/or to promise to marry. The very same Greek word for betroth is employed again to describe their relationship on the road to Bethlehem. (Luke 2:5)

The Greek word translated "came together" means conjoin. I should think that word needs no defining. (Well, maybe for underage children it might need defining.)

Matthew 1:18-24 refers to Joseph and Jesus' mom as husband and wife. But I have it on good authority that it was the custom in those days for couples to be known as someone's husband and/or someone's wife during the engagement period; which could be up to ten or twelve months prior to the actual nuptials.

Matt 1:19 . . Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly.

Matthew 1:24 is translated in some versions to imply-- in so many words --that Joseph went and got Mary and brought her to his home. But a Greek word for home isn't actually in the manuscript. Apparently "home" in the English text is an arbitrary embellishment. It just says he took her; like this:

"And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife"

The Greek word for "took" has a variety of meanings, one of which is to accept. In other words: Matt 1:24 just means that Joseph changed his mind about breaking the engagement and agreed to go through with the wedding; it doesn't mean they started living together.

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Matt 1:22-23 . . Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying: Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel

That prophecy is located in Isaiah 7:14 which is commonly believed to specifically predict Jesus; but it primarily speaks into events back in the Old Testament.

Sometimes the word "fulfill" and/or "fulfilled" refers to applying a prophecy to something other than what it was originally intended. For example; the virgin spoken of in Isa 7:1-25 was initially a young girl in the southern kingdom during king Ahaz's reign. In order for her to be of any use to him at all for a sign, it was necessary for the girl to be someone with whom Ahaz was familiar.

FYI: The Hebrew word for "virgin" in Isa 7:14 is 'almah (al-maw') which simply means a young girl, i.e. it has more to do with age than carnal experience. The New Testament equivalent is parthenos (par-then'-os) which means pretty much the same thing. Without some additional information, it is impossible to determine whether an 'almah and/or a parthenos has, or has not, experienced carnal relations with a man.

Take Rebecca for example. She was an 'almah (Gen 24:43). But she was also a bethuwlah (beth-oo-law') which is another Hebrew word for virgins. In Rebecca's case, the Bible informs us that she was an 'almah/bethuwlah who had not yet experienced carnal relations with a man when Abraham's servant met with her. (Gen 24:16)

Mary was a parthenos (Luke 1:26-27). If that were all that's said about her, we'd only know that she was a young girl. However, Mary herself informs us that she had not yet experienced carnal relations with a man when the angel met with her. (Luke 1:34)

My point of all this is that we should never assume that the word "virgin" always, and without exception, indicates someone who's never been to bed with anyone.

Matt 1:23 . . they will call him Immanuel-- which means "God with us"

Immanuel isn't supposed to be taken as a name for God, nor taken to mean that God is on-site in person. It actually speaks of providence; for example:

Luke 7:16-17 . . And fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying: A great prophet has arisen among us! And: God has visited His people! And this report concerning him went out all over Judea, and in all the surrounding district.

It would be nice if God were with everyone following this thread just as He was with Ahaz when the king and his people were in danger of invasion from the north; and as He was with Judea when the great prophet Jesus went about restoring life to the dead; and curing the sick, the lame, and the blind.

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It's remarkable the number of people I encounter online who sincerely believe that Joseph shared a life with Jesus' mom with no intention of ever having any children by her. In other words; they actually believe that Joseph was celibate in his own home; and consequently Mary too: a young girl in the prime of life no less. I can't imagine a more dysfunctional marriage than that. (Imagine kids growing up in a home where parents never hug, kiss, or display the slightest feelings of romantic affection for each other.)

Since Mary was already engaged to Joseph prior to Gabriel's announcement; the logical conclusion is that she was marrying a Jewish guy for the usual reasons that Jewish girls wanted a Jewish husband-- to settle down, cohabit with a Jewish man, and raise a Jewish family.

And since Joseph was already engaged to Mary prior to the dream sequence, the logical conclusion is that he was marrying a Jewish girl for the usual reasons that Jewish guys wanted a Jewish wife-- to settle down, cohabit with a Jewish woman, and raise a Jewish family.

Since the inspired Gospel narratives do not clearly, and without ambiguity, indicate otherwise, it has to be assumed, from the normal round of human experience, that Joseph and Mary fully intended to sleep together after their wedding just like every other normal Jewish couple did back then.

Another point we should address is that in some versions of Christianity, it's a sin to marry with no intent of producing children. That "sin" is based upon a very early blessing in the book of Genesis.

Gen 1:28 . .God blessed them and said to them; Be fruitful and increase in number

Some folks regard that blessing as a commandment instead of empowerment. Therefore, had Mary and Joseph made no attempt whatsoever to produce children together, then they would've been guilty of disobeying that which some folks regard as a divine fiat. It gets worse.

The Bible's God tempts no man to sin (Jas 1:13). So if He had directed Mary and Joseph into a celibate, platonic marriage-- thus forcing them to disobey His early fiat --then according to some people's thinking; God would have been guilty of leading Jesus' parents into sin.

A serious ethnical point that should be noted is that Joseph and his wife were both Abraham's posterity. God early-on blessed their ancestor with this remark:

Gen 22:17 . . In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore.

Had Joseph not attempted to produce children of his own with his wife, he would have failed to participate in Abraham's blessing and do his part in perpetuating his ancestor's seed. In other words: it was Joseph's sacred privilege, and his sacred duty, to make an honest attempt to have children with Jesus' mom.

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Luke 2:1-5 . . Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone 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 family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

By then, Mary was really showing because she was in her third trimester and the baby was full-term. Artists often portray Jesus' mom riding a donkey, but in her condition, it's far more likely she was transported in a wagon. Artists also typically depict the couple traveling alone to Bethlehem, which is impressionistic rather than realistic. They were far more likely each with their own families because at that time, they were not yet married.

Where it says Joseph went to Bethlehem along with Mary doesn't necessarily indicate they traveled together as a couple. Mary's family was of the house and lineage of David too, so they were all traveling to Bethlehem for the same reason.

Luke 2:6-7 . . And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first-born son.

Now, the thing is; Jesus was not only conceived out of wedlock, but he was also born out of wedlock too because Joseph and Jesus' mom were not yet married when they traveled to Bethlehem. In point of fact, Matt 1:25 says that Joseph avoided Mary until after her baby was born.

Luke 2:21 . .On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

Mary and Joseph were both instructed to give her boy the name Jesus.

Matt 1:21 . . She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus

Luke 1:31 . .You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.

People in a small town like Nazareth usually know everybody, and know all about everybody. So it was probably common knowledge that Joseph was marrying a girl whose baby was, from all appearances, illegitimate; and there was no plausible way for Joseph and Mary to prove otherwise. In point of fact, I'd not be surprised that the rumor mill was confident the baby was Joseph's, especially seeing as how he stood with its mother for the naming; and the community must have really been curious why he didn't marry her sooner; which is typical for shotgun weddings.

(The Bible doesn't say whether the couple's parents were humiliated by this business, but it's likely they were.)

Although some men's paternal feelings are easily roused by any and every child they meet, there isn't a clue as to Joseph's feelings about Mary's infant seeing as it wasn't his own, and I can't help but wonder if maybe Joseph was somewhat grudging about giving it his name-- but of course reluctant or no, he did and so Solomon became one of Jesus' many grandfathers.

Matt 1:1-16 . .The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David . . and to David was born Solomon . . . and to Solomon . . . was born Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

The identity of Jesus' biological father was suspicious; but when Joseph stood with Mary to name her baby, from then on the lad became accepted as Joseph's boy.

Matt 13:55 . . Is not this the carpenter's son?

Luke 2:27-28 . . When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying . . .

Luke 2:41 . . Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.

Luke 2:48 . . His mother said to him: Son, why have you treated us this way? Behold, your father and I have been anxiously looking for you."

Luke 4:22 . . And all were speaking well of him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from his lips; and they were saying: Is this not Joseph's son?

Jesus was ordained of God to inherit David's throne (Luke 1:32). Now the thing is; David's throne has never been passed down to one of his sons via a mother; it's always been passed down via the fathers in his line.

For another; the throne has to come down via David's son Solomon (1Kings 1:13, and 1Chron 22:9-10). Joseph is related to Solomon. (Matt 1:6 and Matt 1:16)

Long story short: it was necessary for Joseph to adopt Mary's boy in order to get the lad into Solomon's genealogy and thus qualify as a rightful heir to the throne promised him during the angel's visit with his mother. (Luke 1:31-33)

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FAQ: Can it be known for certain whether Jesus' mom was biologically related to David?

A: Yes, very easily.

First off: David is said to be Jesus' ancestor.

Luke 1:32 . . He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.

Now, a clever sophist could construe that verse to mean Jesus was David's descendant by some other means besides biologically; however the Bible also says:

Rom 1:1-3 . . Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh

The Greek word for "seed" in that passage is sperma (sper'-mah) which is a bit ambiguous because it can refer to spiritual progeny as well as to biological progeny; for example:

Gal 3:29 . . If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed.

That seed is obviously spiritual progeny; whereas David's is biological because it's "according to the flesh" i.e. his physical human body.

Seeing as how Joseph wasn't Jesus' biological father, then we're left with Jesus' mom as the default path of flesh connecting to David's flesh.

Now, there's a rumor going round that people's biological father is the source of their blood. But if we keep in mind that Eve was constructed of material taken from Adam's body, then we are assured that any child that biologically descends from Eve's body descends from Adam's body too; whether virgin-conceived or normally conceived makes no difference as all human flesh is Adam's flesh regardless of race or gender; and if so, then all human blood regardless of type-- whether A, B, AB, and O, and/or RhD --is Adam's blood regardless of race or gender.

In other words: the only kind of human blood that could possibly be in Jesus' body was Adam's blood because there just simply isn't any other human blood to work with.

Acts 17:26 . . He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth.

There's also an ancient prediction in the book of Genesis that biologically relates Jesus to Eve.

Gen 3:15 . . I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.

Well, if Jesus is Eve's seed, then he's certainly also Adam's; there's no getting out of that.

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FAQ: Why was Joseph left out of Jesus' conception? Why couldn't he have been Jesus' biological father?

A: There's a few theories going around out there we might consider.

1 Men are filthy, unsanitary beasts. It's unthinkable that God would permit them to contaminate, and thus violate, the womb that was to bear the Holy Son of God.

Women's bodies are made of material taken from a man's body (Gen 2:21-23). Mr.Job nailed it when he remarked: Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one (Job 14:4). You see; women aren't from Venus after all; they're actually from Mars, same as men.
 

2 It was a measure to prevent the so-called fallen nature from infecting Jesus; which is believed inherited from a child's biological father.

Well; whence did Eve get it? She was constructed of material taken from Adam's body; but he tasted the fruit after she was born, so it was too late for him to pass the fallen nature on to her via procreation.
 

3 Joseph was left out of Jesus' conception in order to protect him from the curse upon king Jeconiah's royal posterity (Jer 22:29-30, Matt 1:11).

That's a very popular theory among quite a few Protestants. However; according to the language and grammar of the curse; its duration was limited to an era when the land of Israel was divided into two kingdoms-- Judah in the south and Samaria in the north --which came to an end when Nebuchadnezzar crushed the whole country and led first Samaria, and then later Judah, off to Babylonian slavery. When Christ takes the reins, he will rule over a unified Israel, i.e. there won't be two kings; one ruling in Judah and one ruling in Samaria.

And besides, Jeconiah's royal line and the curse were inseparable. Had the curse been established in perpetuity, then when Jesus was placed in Jeconiah's royal line via his adoption to Joseph, he would've inherited the curse right along with the line; virgin conceived or not would've made no difference.

Some folks try to get around the inheritance issue by claiming that Jesus was Joseph's foster child. But the angel instructed Joseph to give Mary's baby a name, which in that day was a legal way of claiming a child as one of your own. (Matt 1:21, cf. Luke 1:59-63 and Luke 2:21)

4 Another theory, which seems to us the most sensible, is that it was simply God's wishes that Jesus be not only Adam's progeny, but also His own, viz: Son of Man and Son of God; consistent with the angel's announcement. (Luke 1:32-35)

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Re: "It was a measure to prevent the so-called fallen nature from infecting Jesus; which is believed inherited from a child's biological father."

When Eve tasted the forbidden fruit, it had no effect. She went right on just as naked as before without the slightest feelings of shame. It wasn't till Adam tasted the fruit that she obtained a sense of decency. Prior to that, had someone walked up and said; "Hey you; put some clothes on, you're exposed!" she would've stared at them as if they were a man gone mad.

Eve was born before Adam tasted the fruit; so he could not, nor did he, give her a sense of decency by means of procreation, nor by means of his body parts that God used to construct her.

Since Eve didn't obtain a sense of decency from the chemistry of the fruit, nor via procreation by means of Adam's body parts; then whence?

We're left with two alternatives: either God did it or the Serpent did it. My money is on the Serpent, a.k.a. the Devil (Rev 20:2)

He has the power of death (John 8:44, Heb 2:14) and is able to tamper with the human body and the human mind, e.g. Luke 13:16, Mark 5:1-5, and Eph 2:2.

The Serpent was apparently all set and ready to wield the power of death the moment that Adam crossed the line and ate that fruit. It amazes me how quickly it set in. As soon as Adam tasted the fruit, they both immediately set to work with the fig leaves. (Serpent is an appropriate name for the Devil seeing as how they are typically portrayed in scripture as poisonous snakes whose bite is fatal; e.g. John 8:44)

FAQ: Why wasn't Eve effected by the Serpent's power of death when she tasted the forbidden fruit?

A: It was apparently God's decision that if sin and death were to come into the world, it would come via a male's actions just as life and righteousness would later be offered to the world via a male's actions. (Rom 5:12-21)

FAQ: When does the Serpent do his deadly work on people. . . in the womb or out of the womb?

A: Adam and Eve demonstrate that it can be done on adults, but I'm guessing that for most of us it's in the womb. (Ps 51:5)

In conclusion: even if Joseph had been baby Jesus' end-game biological father, the child wouldn't have necessarily been born with the so-called fallen nature because it's not passed on by one's biological father nor one's biological mother. It's obtained from humanity's other father; the Serpent-- ergo: protecting baby Jesus from the so-called fallen nature was just a simple matter of keeping the Devil's paws off him.

John 14:30 . . He has no hold on me

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Luke 2:22-24 . . And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord. (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

The birds were for Jesus' mom (Lev 12:6-8). They were a "sin" offering; but I don't think it would be wise to conclude from the wording of Leviticus that Jesus' mom was a sinner because whether sinner or saint, God required it of Moses' people; take for example Matt 13:13-15 where it's said:

"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? Jesus replied: Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. Then John consented."

John's baptism was "unto repentance" (Matt 3:11). Well; surely Jesus needed no repentance; he was a saint in the extreme sense of the word: i.e. Jesus was 110% sinless (John 8:29, 2Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, and 1Pet 2:22). However, it was God's wishes that people in the Israel of that day submit to John's baptism regardless whether they needed it-- not only because it was God's wishes, but by doing so they publically acknowledged that repentance is a good thing.

In other words: Jesus' mom brought those birds; not because she was a sinner, but primarily because it was the right thing for Jewish mothers to do.

Now, Jesus was circumcised on his eighth day (Luke 2:21). His mom brought her birds thirty-three days later (Lev 12:3-4). Along with the birds, she was supposed to bring a sum of money to redeem her boy (Num 18:15-16).

The redemption money was a buy-back; in other words: its purpose wasn't to save Jesus' soul from Hell; rather, the money was a ransom; so to speak. All the firstborn sons in Israel were God's private property to do with as He pleased. In other words: the boys were all born into slavery to God. The redemption money bought them their freedom.

It really wasn't all that much; just five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is something like twenty gerahs per shekel (Ezek 45:12) roughly equivalent to 10 English pennyweights or 1/2 troy ounce of silver. So five shekels would be about equal to 2 troy ounces. The price of silver as of Aug 05, 2020 was 27 US dollars per troy. So 2 ounces troy would total about 67.50 US dollars (57.35 Euro).

I don't know the equivalent of $67.50 back in Mary's day but in our day, silver prices fluctuate due to the activity of investors; back in her day silver's value was no doubt strictly regulated by the government and thus probably worth a whole lots less than it is now. But this is all just an exercise as the precise value of a "shekel of the sanctuary" is controversial.