This word craftsman generally means a builder of many things; an artisan. Traditionally however, the word has been interpreted and translated simply to "carpenter" though it would more likely include (what we think of today as) a master builder. Architects would have been known as an Architekton. Carpenters and craftsmen were more respected in the past; the Tekton was, after all, the maker of so many more things than just housing (buildings), cabinetry, furniture, tools, carts and wheels, boats, oars and masts, and so on.
Yeshua spent His early years as an apprentice shop carpenter, which was much the same then, as it is today. As a carpenter myself, I had the time (3 decades) to achieve the Master Carpenter stage: This implies the ability to do at a master level, many facets of works, under the term carpentry. I began as a teen in the 1970's building water-bed frames, speaker boxes, stash boxes, coffee tables, stereo cabinets, and other such smaller wood-works.
At 18, I became a wage slave (a mammon servant), building homes as well as smaller office buildings, veterinary clinics, and so forth. This meant that I traveled to where the structures were built and applied my trades there, on site, with tools that could be carried there. But I also had a home wood-shop, where I kept my cabinet building tools, jigs, templates, and the large slab tables used to set-up jigs upon. In the past, wood-shops were used (likewise) to make furniture, as well as wagon wheels, instruments, and other wood products that could not be exposed to weather.
Yeshua was well-known in His Village of Nazareth as a carpenter (Matt 13:55; Mark 6:3); the stepson of the local carpentry shop owner, and so they likely never traveled far, but only to do handyman (type) work locally. Tools back then were heavy and expensive; they'd have to be hauled in carts pushed by hand, or if you were well-to-do, pulled by animal-power (horses, donkeys, camels, oxen, and so on). It was not logical to travel far from home to do such work, and such workers were everywhere in those days anyway.
Yeshua spent His entire life in the region of Galilee, and so the postulated unknown years (silent years, lost years, or missing years of Jesus) are attempts to link Him with other acts He had nothing to do with. These postulates (most likely sedentary people) never labored with their hands; they do not know that at the end of the labor day, all you want to do is bathe, eat and sleep! Even so, we who are His disciples, are daily driven to be like Him in every way possible (Matt 10:24-26): the cost of discipleship indeed.
An apprenticeship typically took a decade (back then, between the ages of 16-26 or so), and for Yeshua, He was also learning theology, as well as being a typical teenager, student, and son of a sizable family. Since travel back then was dangerous for anyone, only when absolutely necessary, did women and children travel about: Even a 19 year old boy would be vulnerable. It was always safer to travel in groups, which was common then, and partly why He collected a dozen men to travel with, when He began His earthly ministry. And the region was rough terrain, slow going, and humans must stay near water sources.
Remember also that there was no treated lumber back then, and so dry rot and deterioration was a common threat to exposed lumber, and thus, is was necessary to regularly replace damaged wood parts everywhere: roof rafters, shingles, doors, window-frames, floorboards, wheels, carts, hand tools, and so on. Steel works were expensive due to the raw materials, but wood was more abundant; hence, most everything was made with it (no plastics back then).
Carpenter shops would make all kinds of daily use things, such as bowls and other kitchen utensils, food storage containers, and so on. Also, hand tools such as shovel and hammer handles; anything where steel would be married to wood. Then there is household furnishings, cabinets, picture frames, and I think you can begin to get the idea here. Even after the house was built, there was much more to make. Even the horizontal cross beam of Roman crucifixion was a reusable product created in a carpenter shop.
A Tekton can also be an artisan, who can also produce artwork and crafts; a skill of a Tekton could also include writing and/or drafting; many things were covered under the art of communication. Language was once primarily symbols rather than letters. Imagery, idols, talismans, and other means of communication were more prominent in ancient times than they are in modern times; we today use primarily the written/spoken word as communication, and film rather than canvas.
I imagine Messiah Yeshua knew how to make tents as well, since it's a combination of structure (the frame) and the skin or fabric as cover. Of course, people did not begin to specialize until the modern era, when we got too busy with way too many things, and to the point that we could not fathom knowing everything about any one thing: Many had to become specialists. But it is still possible to master more than one thing (catchy rimes notwithstanding).
In addition to His labor talents, Yeshua was also interested in (and learned) in Jewish Theology; this we know because even as a boy He spent time in Jewish temples (Luke 2:42-47). It is presumed, based upon how and what He taught, and how much He knew about the Pharisees, that He likely studied under the Pharisees, as well as the Essenes, though His ultimate theological core would come from the Indwelling Holy Spirit, following His baptism (Matt 3:13-17).
We know that The Messiah eventually taught in their Jewish synagogues (Matt 4:23; 9:35; 10:17-18; 12:9; 13:54-58; 23:33-35): He was very wise for His age; what we would label genius. But Yeshua was a country boy; He was rural, living and engaging the natural world. The Messiah as Tekton, reveals much about His social level and economic stature. We know that He never built Himself a home (Matt 8:20; Luke 9:58): It is also logical to assume (however) that He knew His life here on Earth was to be short, for He was earth-born for a central purpose: To be the Lamb of God.
But understanding First Century construction methodology, as well as the crafts and trades, helps us to understand our Master in relation to the Messiah Scriptures: Understanding the culture and the politics also helps us to understand Scripture in that context. Indeed, many of the parables Yeshua employed, came from His employment; from His culture; from how humans lived upon Earth, back then.
For example, the hills of Golgotha was an elevated area that was selected to display those sentenced to die: It was a fear tactic; hence, up on a hill, so it could easily be seen from almost anywhere around it. Not long after the crucifixion of Messiah Yeshua, the place of the skull became desolate of trees, even unto this day.
The Roman Imperialists would order laborer slaves to clear-cut all trees and foliage, except for the (select) trees to be used for crucifixion poles. They'd strip trees designated to be the upright (crucifixion) posts of all limbs and branches, leaving only a 12' tall stump (hence, crucified on a tree).
The carpenters milled (roughly) 4x8-inch horizontal reusable cross-beams, with holes already bored through, to accommodate wooden spikes, which would wedge in. A rounded slot was cut into the very top of the tree-stump, allowing the rope to glide through it, as the cross beam (with the person already attached) was raised until the beam reached a dado notched into the tree: The rope was secured to the back of the tree, but left on the cross beam so the dead bodies could later be lowered.
The tree stump methodology would eliminate the need to cut down a tree, mill it, and then dig a deep hole to re-secure it back into the ground. The natural stump is more secure and would last longer. They reused these tree-stumps many times for decades. Before the modern crane, most high-up construction work was done using similar methods.
The intent of impaling the human body was for torture; it likely had nothing to do with the act of crucifixion itself, which was more about public humiliation than anything (Mark 15:16-20). Crucifixion was a public reminder of what happens when you defy the wealth-class, who could afford lands and castles and armies, which is what gave them their king-ships and lord-ships to begin with. In the American Old West, those hanged by the neck at noon would be left dangling until sundown for the same reason; a public warning of criminal consequences.
The Romans drove thin but wedge-shaped hardwood spikes (stakes) through the palms of the hands, and into pre-bored holes in the cross-beam; not to actually dangle people from them: The ropes held the weight of (both) the human body and the beam. They would be tied and then spiked to the cross-beam, before they were escorted on the walk of shame to the execution-area stand of trees. The feet were then spiked to the lower part of the tree, to keep them from flailing about, trying to get down. The symbolic act of spiking (nailing; piercing; staking) the hands was to show onlookers the painful price for criminal acts, for which we use our hands to do the evil deeds. Remember; their justice was an eye for an eye (Matt 5:38-39).
Indeed, once we have a deeper understanding of the natural world, as well as the time and culture that Messiah Yeshua was operating within; scripture takes on a life of its own, well beyond the modernity that has long infected it. Even friendship with those committed to Messianic Judaism would expand the mind of those currently confined to western enculturation. Those who are dominated by the modern (and now the mostly westernized) world are oblivious, because they are enculturated, not recreated!
Without the Indwelling Ruach HaKodesh to enlighten them, humans are Spiritually blind: We all have brains, but precious few have the mind of Messiah! (1Co 2:9-12,13-16): Was blind but now I see! And a Tekton was someone who could repair anything that's broken or worn out. Messiah Yeshua is still doing this today! He heals the Soul, by His Impartation: From the Indwelling Holy Spirit, we are renewed; restored; remodeled; recreated. But the carpenter cannot begin to remodel the home until He is first allowed in. (References to a tree: Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal 3:13-14; 1Pe 2:21-24)
For if their casting away is the reconciling of the world, what is the reception except life from the dead? For if the first-fruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, also the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and became a sharer of the root and the fatness of the olive tree with them, do not boast against the branches. But if you boast, it is not you that bears the root, but the root bears you. You will say then, The branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in. Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be high-minded, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, fear lest He also may not spare you either.
Behold then the kindness, and the severity of God; on those having fallen, severity; but on you, kindness, if you continue in the kindness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And those also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in. For God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the natural wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree; how much more these being according to nature will be grafted into their own olive-tree? For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, lest you should be wise within yourselves; that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the nations has comes in. Romans 11:15-25
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Rev 2:7
Why Was Yeshua A Carpenter? ~ Rod of an Almond Tree in God's Master Plan ~ Story of the Jews (PBS Video) ~ Hung on a Tree ~ Hill of Calvary ~ Who Killed Yeshua? ~ Hebrew-4-Christians ~ Diversity of Early Christianity
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