Truth, Understanding, Insight

Jesus (Yeshua):The Carpenter

11th January 2009, hej


1) Introducing Yeshua, the carpenter

Surprisingly, though the gospels recount what Yeshua (Jesus, see The name of Jesus) said and did, we are not told much about him as a person. For example, we are not told what he looked like. However, we have one piece of information that seems merely an aside. We are told he worked as a carpenter. An examination will reveal that this aside is not irrelevant detail but a deliberately placed pointer to prophetic statements. It will be shown that the scriptures reveal an extraordinary layering of detail.

Matthew and Mark both note the reaction of the locals to Yeshua's work.

They were astonished, and said, Whence has this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary?.. (Matthew 13:54-55 KJV)
Many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence has this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. (Mark 6:2-4 KJV)

To those of Nazareth, Yeshua was just the local carpenter. Occupation, as it does now, determined an individual's social position. Not only that, but his social position is confirmed by who his family are. Mary was of the royal family of David, but this descent had had no significance socially since the time of the captivity of Babylon. It is to be noted that the information that Yeshua is a carpenter occurs twice. This indicates this information may be of some importance to us.

A carpenter works with timber to make beams. Yeshua uses this experience as the basis of an illustrative analogy.

Either how can thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself behold not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shall thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye. (Luke 6:42)

However, a carpenter knows that joining timber requires either, complicated and accurate mortising, or metal fasteners. Assembling iron nails and brass fixings was a significant component of David's work for Solomon's temple (1 Chron 22:3). Carpentry is, therefore, as much about the placement of nails as the use of timber.

The mention of nails makes us think the crucifixion. Thomas says

Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. (John 20:25 KJV)

There is a deep irony in this situation. Amongst many possible means, the carpenter is killed by being nailed to a timber stake.

That Yeshua, as a carpenter, uses construction analogy is not surprising, and the fact that there is a connection between crucifixion and carpentry may be just a co-incidence. However, there are yet more connections to carpentry and Yeshua's work. It will be shown that there is a deep connection between prophecy that uses the language of carpentry, specifically the idea of nailing, and Yeshua's work.