St. Joseph's dream

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St. Joseph's dream, by Philippe de Champaigne.

Joseph's dreams refer to Biblical episodes in which Joseph, the legal father of Jesus, is visited by an angel of the Lord and receives specific instructions and warnings of impending danger. In the New Testament there are 4 specific episodes in which Joseph has such dreams.

All four episodes appear in the Gospel of Matthew and relate to the Nativity of Jesus. These episodes have been the subject of works of art by well-known artists.

Biblical accounts[edit]

The four specific episodes in the New Testament are as follows:[1]

  • First dream: In Matthew 1:20-21 Joseph is told not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, because she was conceived by the Holy Spirit. (See also the Annunciation, in which an angel informs Mary with a similar message.)
  • Third dream: In Matthew 2:19-20, while in Egypt, Joseph is told that it is safe to go back to Israel.
  • Fourth dream: In Matthew 2:22, And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee.

In art[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A Dictionary of biblical tradition in English literature by David L. Jeffrey 1993 ISBN 0-8028-3634-8 pages 538-540


  • James Hall, A History of Ideas and Images in Italian Art, 1983, John Murray, London, ISBN 0-7195-3971-4