Matthew 2:23

23 There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He will be called a Nazorean."

Matthew 2:23 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 2:23

And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth
Which was a city of Galilee, and where Joseph and Mary had both dwelt before, ( Luke 1:26 ) ( 2:4 ) here they came and fixed their habitation,

that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet.
This affair of going into Galilee, and settling at Nazareth, was brought about with this view, to accomplish what had been foretold by the prophets, or prophet, the plural number being used for the singular, as in ( John 6:45 ) ( Acts 13:40 ) . And indeed it is so rendered here in the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions; and designs the prophet Isaiah, and respects that prophecy of his in ( Isaiah 11:1 ) "and there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and (run) , "a branch shall grow out of his roots"; a prophecy owned by the Jews F5 themselves to belong to the Messiah, and which was now fulfilled in Jesus; who as he was descended from Jesse's family, so by dwelling at Nazareth, he would appear to be, and would be "called a Nazarene, or Netzer, the branch"; being an inhabitant of Natzareth, or Netzer, so called from the multitude of plants and trees that grew there.

A Nazarene,
as David de Pomis says F6,

``is one that is born in the city Netzer, which is said to be in the land of Galilee, three days journey distant from Jerusalem.''

Now though Christ was not born, yet because he dwelt at Nazareth, and was educated there; hence the Jews frequently call him (yruwnh ewvy) , "Jesus, the Nazarene F7"; and sometimes only (yruwnh) , "the Nazarene" F8. They also design him by (run Nb) , "Ben Netzer" F9, of whom they say a great many evil things: and that Christ is often called Jesus of Nazareth, or the Nazarene, and his followers Nazarenes, from the place of his habitation, is known to everyone. One of Christ's disciples is called Netzer in the Talmud F11, and made to plead for his life, because his name signified a branch, according to ( Isaiah 11:1 ) . Surenhusius observes F12, that the form (rmanv hm Mwyql) "to fulfil what is said", used by the Talmudists, and which he takes to be the same with this here, is used by them, when they allege not the very words of Moses, or the prophets, but their sense, which is deduced as a certain axiom from them; and thinks it is applicable to the present case.


F5 Targum, Jarchi, Aben Ezra & Kimchi in loc.
F6 Lexic Heb. fol. 141. 2.
F7 T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 17. 1. Ganz. par. 2. fol. 14. 2. Abarbinel in Dan. fol. 44. 1.
F8 Ganz. par. 1. fol. 24. 2.
F9 T. Bab. Cetuboth, fol. 51. 2. & Gloss. in ib. Bereshith Rabba, fol. 67. 2. Abarbinel in Dau. fol. 44. 1.
F11 T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 43. 1.
F12 Biblos Katallages, p, 2, 3, 4, 197

Matthew 2:23 In-Context

21 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee.
23 There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He will be called a Nazorean."
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.