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Where is the prophecy about Matthew 2:23, "So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, 'He will be called a Nazarene'"?

Matthew addresses this as a spoken prophecy but had missed who did prophesy.

Matthew 2:23

ESV - 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: "He shall be called a Nazarene.

Clarify Share Report Asked November 05 2013 My passport new Arun Kumar

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Mini John Appelt
One would have a difficult time looking for the prophecy mentioned in Matthew 2:23, because there is none. In fact, Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament. 

The names “Nazareth” and “Nazarene” are derived from the Hebrew word “netzer,” which is translated “Branch” in Isaiah 11:1. This is a prophecy of Christ, who will emerge like a shoot from the stump of the lineage of Jesse, the father of David. Accordingly, Nazareth (Nazara) means “branch-town,” and Nazarene (Nazoraios) means “branch-man.”

The word “netzer” means a small branch or twig as opposed to a stately tree and has come to mean something insignificant. This is what was thought of Jesus the Nazarene. This sense is not found in any singular verse but in a general manner in the prophetic books or “the prophets.” The following passages indicate his humble life and of Him being despised and rejected, Psalm 22:6, 8, 69:7, 11, 19, Isaiah 53:2-3, 7-9.

In the New Testament, the insignificance of Nazareth comes out in the exchange between Philip and Nathanael in John 1:45, 46, and in the comments in John 7:41 and John 7:52. Saul readily knew that Jesus was the Messiah when He identified Himself as the Nazarene, Acts 22:8. The disciples were later given the derogatory name of “Nazarenes,” Acts 24:5. 

Matthew’s pattern of citing references with the wording of “that it might be fulfilled” was unique. “Fulfilled” has a wider definition than just the fulfillment of prophecy. It can also mean a historical reference, which is found a number of times as in Matthew 2:15, 2:18, 8:16-17, 27:9. This gives reason to think the formula used by Matthew, “that it might be fulfilled,” was not intended to be a futuristic fulfillment which it sometimes does. Rather, it establishes a connection from the Scriptures to complete a thought. Matthew fills what is lacking from the Old Testament to strengthen his case concerning the life of Christ as authentic. 

The formula might be the Jewish way of thinking to connect parallel thoughts from their Scriptures. Jews were immersed in them as it was their life, their thoughts, vocabulary, and culture. It would be normal to quote or rephrase what they grew up on, just as today when people speak, their language is full of allusions to current news, fads, media, and movies. This explains why many “quotes” in the New Testament are not exact or word-for-word, leaving many commentators puzzled as to whether the New Testament writers were using the Massoretic Text or the Septuagint. The point is, they cited portions of the Word of God as their authority. 

The very familiar Old Testament passages alluded to by Matthew completed a thought. Matthew 2:23 notes that Jesus living in Nazareth will be called a Nazarene. A further sense, gleaned from the Scriptures, show Him to be a lowly, unwanted, despised person corresponding to Him being of Nazareth. Matthew using citations from the Old Testament connects these two concepts as part of his inspired record of Jesus.

October 06 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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