I like the stone mason theory because that would make Jesus and St. Joseph (the patron of manly men) really tough.

But, is there any significance to the traditional conception of Jesus following St. Joseph as a table and chairs sort of carpenter as opposed to a millstone and monuments sort of carpenter borne of the Old Testament prophets?

Are there any allusions to carpentry in the Old Testament?

3 Answers 3


No. I researched exactly this when working on this answer. This is not mentioned in the Old Testament.


Carpentry is mentioned in the Old Testament but not as a prophecy about Jesus. Carpenters are mentioned in several of the histories - unsurprisingly usually in the context of building houses and the like - and once or twice in Isaiah (depending which version you use - sometimes it is translated as the more generic "craftsman" instead of "carpenter").


Zechariah 1:20

English: And YHVH showed me four carpenters. LXX: καὶ ἔδειξέν μοι κύριος τέσσαρας τέκτονας

The same Greek word, τέκτων, is used in Matt. 13:55 and Mark 6:3.

The Talmud (Sukka 52b) states that the four carpenters are Messiah ben David, Messiah ben Ephraim (i.e., ben Joseph), Malki-Tzedek, and Eliyahu. But, we know that Jesus is both Messiah ben David and ben Ephraim, he is a priest after the manner of Malki-Tezedek, and he is a prophet greater than Moshe.

  • חָרָשׁ in Zechariah (translated carpenter) merely means craftsman. It is used to describe masons, engravers and other types of stoneworkers & carpenters. The same is technically true of the Greek τέκτων. So, the prophecy can be fulfilled regardless of the type of craftsman. However, τέκτων is frequently contrasted in Greek writings with stone-worker or mason (λιθολόγος, λαξευτής) even though it could encompass these trades and so τέκτων is most closely associated with carpentry, but doesn't exclude stoneworkers Nov 26, 2017 at 16:27

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