The widowers are assembled, each with his staff. The high priest takes each man's staff and takes them with him into the temple and prays.
After he has finished praying he comes back out and begins handing the staves back to their owners. None of them had a sign upon them. Joseph is the last man and as he is handed it a dove flies out of the staff and perches on his head. Interesting note, there is another version of this story where Joseph's staff buds with lilies. 'In the Christian West, this is understood as an emblem of his virginity.' Which doesn't mesh with the rest of this text, since when the priest tells Joseph that he has been called to receive the virgin of the Lord into his keeping Joseph balks at it, saying that he is an old man and has sons. He fears that this will make him the laughing stock of Israel. But the priest reminds him of the fate of those who go against God's will and Joseph capitulates and takes Mary into his house.
'He said to her, "Mary, behold, I have received you out of the temple of the Lord my God, and now I am leaving you in my home, for I must go and work at building my homes. I will return to you quickly. May the Lord God take care of you."'
So Mary is wed, and then left in charge of the household and an unknown number of children. She was maybe 12, 13 years old when she became the mother and mistress of this household. Can you imagine that? It seems so freaky now, because at that age kids are still figuring out life and which end is up. But in the past there was no such concept of childhood. Children grew up hard and fast because they had to and they dealt with many things that we don't believe that they're capable of dealing with now.