10. Book Spotlight MARY KNEW
A Biography of Mary from Ancient Scriptures

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CHAPTER 1 buy the book

MARY’S PARENTS

Joachim and Anna were beloved, pious and highly respected citizens who lived in the village of Nazareth in the Province of Galilee. They dedicated their child to God before her conception. She was named Mary and ordained by God before her conception to be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Savior of humanity and the Messiah.

The name Joachim means “God prepares.” The name Anna means “grace.” It is fitting that their names meant “God prepares grace.” Unknown to them, their lives were in preparation for the existence of the Son of God on Earth.

At the time this story begins, Joachim and Anna had been happily married over forty years and lived quiet lives. They were devout and humble citizens living in a noisy and dusty peasant village. Financially, Joachim was in the upper echelon of the upper class in the Province of Galilee. Their small hamlet of Nazareth in lower Galilee, a few kilometers south of the larger village of Sepphoris, had a population of about four hundred. It was a Jewish enclave. Neither village had a synagogue.

Like most happy couples, Anna and Joachim spent much time conversing over the evening meal before moving to their rooftop patio. A colorful and large cloth awning had been stretched across the patio to provide shade during the heat of the day. A short wall had been built around their patio for safety. They often spent Sabbaths there resting and relaxing in the gentle breezes. It was also used for recreation, sleeping and devotion. Evening rituals on the patio included resting on pillows or sitting on chairs while watching sunsets from the higher vantage point.

They usually conversed in common Greek with one another. Common Greek was easy for both Jews and gentiles to understand. They spoke in Aramaic with their servants and merchants.

When servants were informed the couple was going to the roof top patio after dinner, they would lay out a pitcher of cool water and one of wine on the patio. A tray with fruit, bread and goat cheese would be placed on a low table and covered with a light cloth to keep out insects. The contents of the tray provided snacks if Anna and Joachim so desired. When the sky darkened to a deep blue, servants would light hand-sized ceramic oil lamps resting at the top of the stairwell. The wicks were of flax. When there were guests, lamps with many wicks for brighter light were used.

Olive oil was the primary fuel and considered a gift from God. Each village had an olive tree grove to supply villagers with oil. A lamp was also kept in each sleeping area. Only the very poor would sleep in a room without light.

By spending most evenings on their roof top patio, Anna and Joachim became familiar with star patterns and enjoyed watching occasional wandering bright stars march across their night sky through the year. The wandering stars were easy to recognize as they followed the same path. They didn’t twinkle like the stationary stars. Joachim studied seasonally changing star patterns, or constellations. That allowed him to know when his shepherds should move his multiple herds of cattle, sheep and goats from one property to another for best grazing. Using seasonal star changes as a calendar to manage his animals helped make Joachim a very wealthy man.

One of the topics Anna and Joachim often discussed was their childless situation. Such conversations were sad and solemn. One evening, Joachim brought up the subject which broke his heart.

“Anna, “he said, “we’ve been married many years and have no children. Why do you think God has not blessed us with a child?”

This subject had arisen many times. Joachim desired a son to carry on his business and family. Anna didn’t care if she had a boy or girl. She just wanted a child. It had been so long since they were married, Anna was ready to give up on the dream of a child. As usual, she was at a loss to know how to answer his sorrowful question.

She said, “I don’t know. We try to live right and do what is possible to help others. You’re even a local rabbi. Do you think perhaps we haven’t prayed often enough?”

“Or maybe in the right way?” he asked.

She suggested, “Maybe we need to pray for a child many times a day. I worry I’m too old to become a mother.”

“Nonsense. You look as young as ever.”

“I don’t feel as young as ever.”

She lowered her head at his compliment and ran a hand through her greying, sandy-colored hair. She loved his compliments and remembered them in her heart. Anna gently grasped his hand.

She asked, “Shall we pray right now?”

They kneeled on the patio’s smooth stone floor, faced one another, and held hands. The massive purple and orange clouds created by the setting Sun allowed streaming shafts of brilliant beams of sunlight to reach the Earth. That splendor above their rooftop sanctuary made them feel God’s presence. Bowing their heads, Joachim solemnly began their prayer.

After thanking God for their home and the multiple gifts they had been given, they humbly asked once again for the gift of a child. As in previous prayers, they vowed that if God would favor them with a child, they would dedicate that child to the service of the Lord. They ended the prayer by blessing God and the Heavenly Hosts as the holy Book of Enoch had taught them. They hoped their prayers and vows would help their cause. They thought their financial and personal support of the temple, the priests, and people in need might have helped show God they were sincere and moral citizens and would make good parents. In the future, the request for a child would be spoken during every prayer they offered.

When there was a shortage of rabbis and priests, Joachim had become a local rabbi. Nazareth had no temple. Worshippers met in different homes within the community. The duty of a rabbi was not just reading of the Torah and prayer, but to help maintain the religious order of the town. Joachim and the other rabbis made sure boys were instructed in Jewish law and the Torah. Girls and women were taught through memorization. Rabbis helped people live their lives in the manner scriptures taught.

Every Torah had to be handwritten. Special ones were decorated by scribes. To create one Torah took over a year. Because of the cost, they were limited to temples or the very wealthy. Joachim’s Torah was one of the more beautiful ones. It was an expensive and holy scroll protected and kept in a safe place in his home.

Joachim owned much property on which he maintained massive herds of cattle, sheep and goats. He employed many herdsmen to care for his animals at different locations. Only the best men were hired to keep it an honorable occupation. His wealth was primarily in the animals he raised. There were a few plots of land on which vegetables and a few olive trees were grown for the family.

His servants appreciated working for him and Anna. The home was spacious, and like other homes of the wealthy, was made in the manner of Roman architecture. His servants were Jewish citizens, free aliens from other countries and a few earning money to pay off debts.......

Biography

Irene Baron began her writing career as a trained Information Specialist with Battelle Memorial Institute under contract to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Advanced Research Projects Agency, Supreme Command Center, Research & Development Center-Thailand. She authored Geology and Hydrology sections of the classified Mekong River Project book. Under the World Engineers Joint Council in London, UK she studied Coordinate Indexing, Information Procedural Steps & Systems, Syntactical Problems, Information Retrieval, Thesauri, Relationships of Knowledge, Information Data, etc. Her degrees include Hiram College, BA and Ohio University, MA. Ms. Baron has presented workshops for the National Science Foundation, Science Education Council of Ohio and Ohio Earth Science Teachers Association. Baron taught Chemistry, Earth Science & Physical Science over twenty years. She also taught Marine & Insular Biology in cooperation with the International Field Studies, Forfar Research Station, Bahamas. Educational certification includes Assistant Superintendent, High School Principal, Middle School Principal, and Teacher for all sciences grades 7-12. She is an instructor in Classical Drawing. As a private pilot, Baron is rated in the Piper Cherokee and the Piper Arrow airplanes. Her awards are listed on her website (www.irenebaron.com). Her volunteer work has been primarily with the American Red Cross as Water Safety Director for Muskingum County. She taught First Aid and swimming 14-years and volunteered with the Local and National Ski Patrol 4-years. Ms. Baron lived in Thailand, Germany, and toured 27 countries. She currently resides in Ohio. The idea for MARY KNEW – A Biography of Mary from Ancient Scriptures began when a popular song asked if Mary knew what her future would be like. Realizing many people had no idea who Mary was or anything about her holy life, Irene Baron wrote a narrative history to tell the miraculous story of the most important woman to be born on Earth. Mary was the mother of Jesus, Immanuel, the Savior of mankind. buy the book

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