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The Greek word translated ‘carpenter’ has a much bigger semantic range and most modern scholars agree that ‘builder’ is a better translation,” Green explains.“Nazareth was very close to Zippori which was a booming city at the time and very much in need of skilled labor.It is indeed reasonable that early homes in Bethlehem began as caves since the soft limestone area contains many.As the families grew, they built additional rooms onto the cave, but likely kept it as a storeroom or shelter for some of the more fragile lambs, etc, susceptible to weather, theft, or attack by other animals.Geologically speaking, this explains why the old town was at the bottom of the basin.But it also posed a challenge for craftsmen laboring in and around the village.

Most likely, Joseph and Jesus worked as builders, working with both wood and stone.

While the southern view declared Israel’s past, the north exposed the present and immediate future as the Roman road from Tiberius to Ptolemais (modern Acco) provided transportation for soldiers and merchants while Rome governed.

Ancient Nazareth sat upon chalky limestone while the surrounding mountains, also limestone, were made of sturdier stuff.

Returning from the Babylonian captivity in 539 BCE (and the following decades), many Jews chose to reside outside of their forefathers’ historical Judah, settling instead in the former northern kingdom of Israel.

Thus Mary and Joseph, both descendants of King David, found themselves in the small hamlet of Nazareth although their family roots ran through Bethlehem of Judah.

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