Isaiah 11:1 "The Stump of Jesse"; Matthew 2:23 "called a Nazarene"


NAB quotes:

Matthew 2:23
23 [a]He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazorean.”

Isaiah 11:1
But a shoot shall sprout from the stump[c] of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.

Thanks to a friend, I came to learn that Matthew 2:23 likely refers to Isaiah 11:1. That to make it simple, the Hebrew word for “branch” or “stump” seems to be a word that is much like the word for Nazareth or Nazarene.

The word branch, or green shoot, in 11:1 is נצר (netser), so Matthew is probably indulging in a word-play. If so, then Matthew’s reference can only be to Isaiah 11:1 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] not the other ‘Branch’ prophecy in Zechariah 3:8 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] since in Zechariah the text uses an unrelated Hebrew word for “branch” (צמח tsemach). -

A bit of an explanation but so this book was written so long ago, there is even a second explanation on that webpage.

Does anyone here have anything to add on to this??

In simple terms, I guess we are saying the word for “branch” and “Nazarene” seem similar however, I am certainly no scholar if anyone knows more on this.


That about covers it. Sometimes the Gospel writers (especially Matthew) stretched a bit in their attempts to demonstrate connections with Old Testament prophecies.


The Old Testament writings always had a veil, and that veil was lifted at the coming of the Messiah when Jesus Himself explained all of the Old Testament connections to the apostles. So Matthew did not stretch anything. He knew the precise meaning of the Old Testament prophecies. The reason for the Old Testament being veiled was so that the enemies of Christ wouldn’t be able to know the exact details of Jesus’ Incarnation into the world. An example for why this was necessary was Herod’s attempt to find the Christ child with the intention to kill Him. God was practicing Opsec.

Compare it to the following:

What is Opsec?

Opsec keeps potential adversaries from discovering critical, tactical information. As the name suggests, it protects operations - planned, in progress and those completed. Success depends on secrecy and surprise, so the military can accomplish the mission quicker and with less risk.

The profile pages have been designed with Opsec in mind. Things you post on your profile and in the activity feeds are viewable ONLY by members you have accepted as friends. However, you should always maintain Opsec awareness, especially when posting on the public section of the site, such as forums or news.

Here are some guidelines:

Limit what you say about…

*]Military movements (deployment/redeployment dates, dates of field exercises, flight information etc.). For example, posting dates such as “next Tuesday” IS a specific date
*]Any issues with the unit
*]Anything concerning security
*]Equipment issues (what, no flak vests?)
*]Locations of units (it’s OK to say they’re in Iraq, but not to say that your spouse’s unit is at 14th and Ramadan in Kadamiyah)


*]Discuss future destinations
*]Discuss future operations or missions
*]Discuss dates and times of exercises
*]Discuss readiness issues or numbers
*]Discuss specific training equipment
*]Discuss people’s names and locations in conjunction with operations
*]Speculate about future operations
*]Spread rumors about operations
*]Discuss sensitive information in public areas of the site
]Post excessive personal information on public pages, such as:
]Deployment timing
*]Your family members’ full names, ages or where they attend school
*]Your address
*]Rank and unit affiliation
*]Deployed address



It appears that I had not completely done my homework on this point. I had always gone with the consonant difference between “netser” and “Nazareth.” However, it occurred to me that the Hebrew letter “tsade” is sometimes transliterated “z,” perhaps from having come thru German (where “z” is pronounced “ts.” For example, in Hebrew the first letter of “Zion” is actually a tsade. So I actually looked up “Nazareth,” and sure enough, in Biblical Hebrew the “z” is actually a “tsade” (check it out in Wikipedia – “Nazareth” = “Natsrat”). However, there is still one thing missing, and that is an actual etymological link between "netser and “Nazareth/Natsrat.”

As an 11-year veteran of the USAF and a 22-year employee of NSA, I am somewhat familiar with the concept of OPSEC :smiley:


I don’t think I’ve ever seen the following theory floated, but one time I thought this might be helpful information:

Nazareth is an important city in the region of Galilee, and Jesus was prophesied to be from Galilee in Isaiah 9:1-7.

Perhaps the reference to Nazareth was a synecdoche – referring to the whole (Galilee) by referring to a prominent part (Nazareth). It might be like what we might do if someone predicted that the next president would come from New York. If a candidate from New York City appeared, but there was a dispute about him, we might cite the New York prophecy but specify the city, because where else are you going to be from in New York? (I guess Buffalo is pretty populous, but…)

Anyway, it needs work, but there may be something there.


Sometimes I believe one can even come across people who might claim Nazareth didn’t exist.

Here is a good essay dealing with this issue. Yes, it does sound like Nazareth existed. We have to consider that some people may want to toss in something and then, almost accept it as fact.


Nazareth wasn’t an ‘important city’ at that time - it didn’t even swell and become a city until some centuries well after the time of Jesus (partly thanks to Christians who began to increasingly settle in the up-until-then Jewish area due to the fact that, well, it was Jesus’ place). Nazareth in the 1st century was most likely just a small, four-acre (1.6 hectares) hamlet - that’s probably why outside the gospels, no contemporary source ever mentioned the place; it’s too insignificant, just like many other hamlets in the area - just a short distance from the nearest important city, Sepphoris.


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