Jeremiah 23:5, Jesus, the Branch

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

//A branch? (Hebrew: nazar). Who wants to be governed by a branch?

Jeremiah means, of course, a descendant of David, and this was indeed a strong expectation of the coming Messiah. He must have the blood of the great warrior-king David surging through him.

Fast-forward to the book of Matthew, and this curious verse about Jesus (Mat. 2:23): And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. Where did Matthew get this curious idea, that the prophets promised a Nazarene? What is a Nazarene, anyway?

It certainly isn’t someone from Nazareth, or at least it didn’t used to be. Rather, the word probably stems from the Hebrew word nazar, or branch, and may have been Matthew’s own creation. Because, as we all know, Jesus was supposed to come from Bethlehem, not his true hometown of Nazareth. Matthew’s play on words ingeniously excuses Jesus’ Galilean origins inNazareth.

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