This is Nazareth Matthew 4:15
quotes Isaiah 9:1
as a prophecy fulfilled, referring to “Galilee of the Gentiles.”
It is important to note here that Jesus spent His childhood in a city within a region that did not have a closed-minded Judaizing command that held foreigners with contempt.
This will be a decisive factor for Christianity to reach the world as opposed to being isolated from those outside of Judaism.
Scripture states that prophecy was being fulfilled in Jesus being a “Nazarene.”
Most proposals are agreeably problematic though.
Some have related this to a wordplay being used by Matthew in relation to Isaiah 11:1
This would mean that Matthew is using “Nazarene” as the Hebrew word “nēşer,” which would mean “branch” or “root.”
Another take is that the word is connected with an earlier Hebrew name of “Nazara,” which would refer to the entire district of the land.
In this case, it would mean “Galilean.”
Nevertheless, in Acts 24:5
, an attorney by the name of Tertullus levies charges against Paul by saying he is a “ringleader of the sect of Nazarenes.”
While it carries a slightly different spelling, it is clearly a derogatory name used by Jews towards Christians.
During the Herodian and pre-Herodian periods, Nazareth was approximately the size of a 60 acre plot of land with an estimated population of 480 persons (1st
The village has been understood to be purely Jewish as late as the 4th
c AD. When the failure of the First Jewish Revolt occurred in Jerusalem, 24 divisions of priests fled northward from the temple.
One of the priest’s families named Hapizez settled in Nazareth.
This priestly “character” in Nazareth carried deep into the 3rd
c AD according to the Midrash Qoholeth.
Nazareth classically is referred to as a “tiny village” with no mention of a church from the records of Eusebius and Jerome.
However, during the Constantinian period, at least two main churches were built: The Church of Gabriel and the Church of Annunciation.
Some caves in the area were set apart as shrines to Mary and Jesus.
During 679-704 AD, Muslim conquest held the Church of Annunciation hostage and demanded a very large ransom from the Christians, to which they paid.
When excavations ensued in the late 19th
and early 20th
c, several interesting artifacts were recovered from the general region and caves discovered beneath the Church of Annunciation.
A Neanderthal skull was also unearthed near Nazareth in 1934.
Caves were discovered that were adorned with painted plaster, a cross, and inscribed prayers to Jesus in Greek language.
These caves are adjoined to a building that has been identified as a Jewish-Christian synagogue.
Excavations also revealed that under the beautiful mosaic floors therein, from an earlier period, was a Jewish ritual bath (mikveh) with seven steps leading down into the water.