The Bible tells us Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem during the reign of Caesar Augustus to register for the census. Such an order would have had a window of compliance, perhaps three months or more. We’re not told why Joseph had to leave at the time Mary was about to deliver.
We’re left to wonder why Mary had to go at all. In that society, the women didn’t count, so Joseph could have gone by himself to Bethlehem and, after registering, return to Nazareth. Instead, they both made the long journey, evidently without a tent but with his carpentry tools. They remained there for perhaps a year until they fled to Egypt after the wise men came to their house.
Does this indicate a strong social prejudice against the highly respected family because most people believed Mary was guilty of fornication?
To read about their trip to Bethlehem, click here.