Joseph was probably born in Bethlehem, his father’s name was Jacob (Matthew 1,16) and it seems that he was the third of six children.
By tradition young Joseph was a humble boy of great talent, a gentle and devout person.
The life of Saint Joseph
Joseph was a carpenter and lived in Nazareth. At the age of approximately thirty years he was called together with other bachelors of tribe of David by the priests of the Temple in order to get married. In the Temple the priests gave a branch to everyone and told them that Virgin Mary from Nazareth would marry the one whose branch would bud. "And a branch will exit from the root of Jesse, and a flower will dull from its root "(Isaiah). Only the branch of Joseph bloomed and he was recognised as spouse destined to the Holy Virgin by the Lord.
At the age of 14 years Mary was given in spouse to Joseph; however she still was in the family house in Nazareth of Galilee for one year, as this was the period required near the Hebrew between the marriage and the entrance into the house of the spouse. Here She received the announcement of the Angel and accepted: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word".
Since the Angel had told her that Elisabeth was pregnant (Luke 1,39), she asked Joseph to take her to her cousin who was in the last three months of pregnancy. They had to face a long travel of 150 Km as Elisabeth lived in Ain Karim in Judea. Mary remains there until the birth of John the Baptist.
Come back from the Judea Mary informed her spouse about that maternity of which he could not know the cause. Very uneasy Joseph fought against the anguish of the suspicion and he quite meditated to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1,18), since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame. In fact if he had denounced Mary as adulteress according to law she would have stoned to death and the son with Her.
(Leviticus 20,10; Deuteronomy 22, 22-24).
Joseph was going to perform his decision when an Angel appeared to him in a dream and said "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” (Matthew 1,20). All worries vanished and he even hurried the ceremony of the income in his house with his spouse.
Because in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled (Luke 2.1), Joseph and Mary left for the city of origin of the dynasty, Bethlehem. The travel was very hard, both for the difficult conditions and for Mary near to maternity.
In those days Bethlehem was full of strangers and Joseph looked anywhere for a place for his spouse but his hope to find good acceptance was not met. Mary gave birth to Her firstborn son in a manger in the country of Bethlehem (Luke 2,7) and some shepherds came to visit and help them.
The law of Moses prescribed that the woman was considered impure after the delivery, and she would have to withdraw for 40 days if she had given birth to a son, and 80 days for a daughter; then she had to go to the Temple for purifying herself legally and making an offer which for the poor people consisted in two turtle-dove or two pigeons. If then the child was first-born he belonged to God Jahvè by law. When the time of the purification comes they go to the Temple in order to offer their first-born to the Gentleman. In the Temple they met the prophet Simeon who announced Mary: "and you yourself a sword will pierce.".
Later some Magi came from east (Matthew 2,2) looking for the baby King of the Judeans. By knowing that Herod became very afraid and tried to know where he was in order to destroy him. The Magi found the child, worshipped him and offered their gifts giving relief to the Holy Family.
After their departure, an Angel of the Gentleman appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.".
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt (Matthew 2,14), a travel of approximately 500 Km. The greater part of the way was in the desert, infested by numerous snakes and very dangerous because of brigands. The Holy family had therefore to live the painful experience of refugees far away from their country, so that it would be fulfilled what the Gentleman said through the Prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son.".
In the month of January of the 4 d.C., When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said: "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." (Matthew 2,19). Joseph obeyed to the words of the Angel and they left but when he heard that the successor of Herod was his son Archelao Joseph was afraid to go there. Advised in dream, he went to Galilee and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that it would be fulfilled what the prophets said: "He shall be called a Nazorean.".
The Holy family went to Jerusalem for festivity of Passover as every year. After the festivity days they moved home believing that the little Jesus of 12 years was in the group. But when they noticed that he was not there, they began to look for him and after three days they found him in the Temple, sitting with the masters, listening to them. When they saw him they were astonished and his mother told him: "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.".
Twenty years of work and sacrifice for Joseph passed; he had always been near his spouse and died little time before his son began preaching. Therefore he did not see the passion of Jesus on the Golgotha probably because he could not effort the atrocious pain of the crucifixion of the most beloved Son.