Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Joseph, the Carpenter
The greek word translated “carpenter” used to describe Joseph in our Bible was a very broad term that could also be translated “building-tradesman.” It could describe someone who worked with wood, stone, plaster, or tin and could even be used to describe an unskilled building worker.
One common job a carpenter did was to make planks of wood for a roof. The carpenter had to first cut down trees for timber with an axe or primitive saw, then either saw down the length of the wood or shape the wood into suitable beams with a hand adze (an axe-like tool used primarily for shaping wood). (You can see some pictures of first century carpentry tools here. )
Carpenters also made smaller items for the home like doors, window lattices, stools, low tables, and chests. In Nazareth Joseph most likely supplied farmers with agricultural tools like yokes, ploughs, and shovels. But it’s unlikely he would have found enough work in Nazareth alone, and probably often traveled to nearby towns to work on building projects or sell his craftwork.
PRINTABLE: : This coloring page by Bible Printables features various trees that grew in Isreal. These are examples of the trees Joseph may have used for wood for his carpentry.
PRINTABLE: : A coloring page of an Olive Tree, another tree that Joseph might have used wood from.
The Biblical Wood Shop
Isreal Pages: Sepphoris and Nazareth
Photo by Andrew Dowsett