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Roy Sutherland wrote:

Hi, guys —

Referring to Matthew 2:23, where in the prophets is it written that Jesus shall be called a Nazarene?

Thanks,

Roy

  { Referring to Matthew 2, where in the prophets is it written that Jesus shall be called a Nazarene? }

Eric replied:

Hi Roy,

I didn't see a response to your question so I shall provide one.

My textual notes say:

The term Nazarene (Ναζωραiος) might be more exactly transcribed Nazoree. Its termination thus suggests a member of a sect (cf. Pharisee, Sadducee) rather than an indication of origin; cf. Magdalene, i.e. of Magdala. It is probable that the term Nazoree was first applied to the disciples after our Lord’s death, Acts 24:5, with a measure of contempt for the provincial origin (cf. John 1:46) of the founder of the sect. When the word became common its hostile sense would diminish (cf. Quaker) and it might well have become synonymous with the strictly geographical term Nazarene originally used of Jesus himself (Prat, I, 119) — hence its use throughout Matthew, Acts, John (Mark uses Nazarene). Nevertheless, it was always possible to recall the original, contemptuous flavour of the expression, and it is probable that this is Matthew’s intention here (Lagrange). If this is so, he wishes to say that the obscurity of his Master’s home, though now a subject of derision, should not be unexpected to those who knew the prophets. These, rightly read, had spoken of a Messias humanly inglorious, Isaiah 53, Psalms 21. It is perhaps less probable that the term Nazoree contains a verbal reference to the sapling (nēser; Douay Version flower) from the Davidic root, Isaiah 11:1. This would make the prophecy little more than a punning coincidence and would scarcely justify Matthew’s plural prophets.

Jones, A. (1953). The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew. In B. Orchard and E. F. Sutcliffe (Eds.), A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (p. 857). Toronto; New York;Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson.

Another set of notes remarks:

He shall be called a Nazarene: No Old Testament prophecy corresponds to this exact wording. Matthew apparently paraphrases the message of several prophets into a summary statement about the Messiah. The paraphrase is based on a word association between Jesus’ home of Nazareth and the Hebrew word netser, translated as branch in Isaiah 11:1. Isaiah used the image of a branch growing from a stump to signify hope for the kingdom of David. The great Davidic tree (dynasty) had been cut off since the Exile, but the sprouting branch indicated that God would raise up another king from the hopeless situation. Later prophets used this same image to signify the Messiah-king (Jeremiah 23:5, 33:14–16) who would build the Temple (Zechariah 3:8, 6:11–13). See notes on Matthew 1:17 and 16:18.

Mitch, C. (2010). Introduction to the Gospels. In The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (p. 11). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Eric

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