The Carpenters Arms sounds the quintessential English local. Allowing for the fact that many such public houses’ names derive from their original clientele, it would seem the Carpenters would have been the meeting place and “watering hole” of skilled woodworkers. The Bible is one such gathering places for carpenters!
Probably the best known of these biblical carpenters is Joseph, Jesus’ step-father. Very little is told to us about him. He was of the House of Judah we know from the genealogy in Matthew 1. He was a fair man who was not quick to denounce Mary for her pregnancy. He also took the family to the appointed festivals in fulfilment of his Jewish faith (Luke 2:41). The account of his woodworking is limited, however, with Matthew 13:55 referring to him as follows: “Isn’t this [Jesus] the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? (NIV)”
There are also several unnamed carpenters who constructed the palaces of David and Solomon. “And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house 2 Samuel 5:11 (KJV);” and “It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace. 2 He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high,with four rows of cedar columns supporting trimmed cedar beams. 3 It was roofed with cedar above the beams that rested on the columns – forty-five beams, fifteen to a row. 4 Its windows were placed high in sets of three, facing each other. 5 All the doorways had rectangular frames; they were in the front part in sets of three, facing each other (I Kings 7:1-5).” Sadly we are not given the names of builders of these impressive structures – only that they worked in cedar.
Our next carpenters are Bazaleel and Aholiab. They are found in Exodus 31 and were instrumental in the building of the tabernacle:
“1And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 5And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. 6And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded you; 7The tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle.”
These were general contractors who could turn their hands to a piece of wood as well, and their work was worthy to be the very seat of God.
Our next carpenter, was an impressive craftsman indeed – Noah. In Genesis 6:14-16 we read:
14Make you an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall you make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch. 15And this is the fashion which you shall make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16A window shall you make to the ark, and in a cubit shall you finish it above; and the door of the ark shall you set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shall you make it.
This he did with the aid of only 3 helpers. Now that’s a carpenter.
Our final carpenter, however, is the most impressive. His name was Jesus (see Mark 6:3). But what did He build? John 1:3 says – “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” That is the ultimate carpenter! Not only that though – for “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men (verse 4).”
Friends let’s all come together, and meet in “the Carpenter’s arms.”