Jesus, Mary and Joseph Were Royals, Not Peasants

I have been bothered by the modern attempt to call Mary and Joseph peasants. It is usually done more with the Virgin Mary when contemporary writers and commentators stress she was a simple peasant girl, or that Jesus was from a peasant family.  But no matter how many times this is uttered, it does not make it true. It is, in fact, an untruth, or at best a misunderstanding. 

Joseph was a descendant of King David, and as such he was blue-blooded. It had been prophesied in the Old Testament that the Messiah would come from the House of David.  In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, it is shown that Joseph was from the lineage of Davidic Kings, and because Joseph was Jesus's legal father, he conferred on his Baby Boy, the title of "Son of David". This was known to Jesus's peers, Jesus is called, "Son of David" 17 times in the New Testament. Mary, as Joseph's wife was certainly the spouse of a man descended from the Davidic Kings. Mary and Joseph journeyed to Bethlehem because Joseph, as a blood-relative of King David, claimed Bethlehem as his ancestral home and had to register on the census there. 

Mary's ancestry, however, is not shown in as much detail in the New Testament. But from ancient times, from the time she lived, it has been part of received tradition that Mary was of the Davidic line of Kings, too. Those who spoke of Mary's family tree would not have been so bold as to lie that she belonged to a line that she didn't; they would have been fabricating that she was of royal blood and in the ancient world this was despicable. There is circumstantial evidence; Mary was the only daughter of older parents, Joachim and Anne, and it was Jewish law that an only girl had to marry into the same house as her kith and kin, so she could secure her inheritance. By tradition, we understand that Mary and Joseph lived in the house she inherited from her parents; how could she have inherited this house had she not married within her own, that was the House of David? Also, Jesus is referred to as the "Son of David" many times, but He is never referred to as having a mother who belonged to a different house. 

There is no grounds for asserting that Mary belonged to any other family than the Davidic line of Kings. Yes, there is less theological support to substantiate that Mary was a daughter of David, but there is still overwhelming historical evidence to prove she was from the Davidic line of Kings, and this needs to be asserted lest her nobility be forgotten or dismissed. In the gap, comes the label that she was a peasant; this is baseless, even fraudulent. 

In the old European feudal system, the class structure had kings at the top, then nobles, next knights and at the very bottom, peasants. I am concerned that there is an attempt to impose this medieval social class system on the Holy Family. Yes, the Holy Family were not wealthy, but their lack of shekels owed more to the times they lived in, and did not detract from their noble Davidic blood. They were ruled over by the Romans, so they were not leaders in the political sphere, but the Roman occupation could not take from from their genetic inheritance.

To be fair to the people who emphasize (and who sometimes protest) that the Holy Family were peasants, they may wish to make Jesus, Mary and Joseph seem more humble, more relatable so they are accepted by the everyday man. Many of us (myself especially) had peasant roots and if we hear that the Holy Family were peasants, then the thinking goes that we may be more likely to feel at home with them. I'd be wary of this approach, even though I'm of peasant stock, because it isn't the truth, and falsehoods distance us from the real humanity of Joseph and Mary, if we cannot know them for their identities as people with royal blood, then we are more separate from them, not closer.