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            Matt. 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.”  God gave instructions to Joseph to go to Galilee and when they did, they settled in Nazareth. These citizens were commonly despised as dishonest and wicked, even by other Galileans (Jn. 1:46).  Because of this choice of residence, the word Nazarene was given to Christ, just as the prophets had foretold would happen.

            But, what prophet said this?  We do not know.  The prophets generally predicted his humble circumstances (Isa. 53).  And certainly Nazareth was considered "second rate" (John 1:45-46).  But, Matthew possibly quoted a prophet whose message was not made part of the Old Testament record. ?Keep in mind that only a few of those old prophets left written messages, not all of them.  Interesting that the Lord himself, in his conversation with Saul on the road to Damascus, also identified himself as “Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 22:8).

Robert Notgrass

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