Luke 2:5

ESV to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
NIV He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
NASB in order to register along with Mary, who was betrothed to him, and was pregnant.
CSB to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant.
NLT He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.
KJV To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
NKJV to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

What does Luke 2:5 mean?

The registration required is one ordered by Augustus, then the Emperor of Rome (Luke 2:1). Part of this requirement is for people to go to their ancestral hometowns (Luke 2:3). Since Joseph's lineage is through David, his destination is Bethlehem (1 Samuel 17:12; Luke 2:4). Scholars are divided on whether this travelling and registration happened when Quirinius was in control of Syria (Luke 2:2), or if the registration happened before an actual taxation was levied later, possibly after the death of Herod (Matthew 2:19).

Joseph's relationship to Mary is "betrothal," which is only vaguely like modern "engagement." Betrothal in the ancient world was more like "pre-marriage." It required a divorce to break, but the couple did not live together or consummate the relationship. Since Joseph and Mary are not truly married, it would have been unusual for them to travel together. In this case, however, Mary is already pregnant, with a baby miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:30–33). Since she was close to giving birth (Luke 2:6), it seems it made the most sense for her to be with her promised husband when it happened.

This will also fulfill the prophecy that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
What is the Gospel?
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