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Nazareth was a small town located in the Roman province of Galilee. Most notably it was the town where Joseph and Mary lived during their betrothal and later Jesus Christ. The town was typically despised and the name may be connected to a prophecy in Isaiah.

History

Early History

Establishment

Nazareth was built on a hill overlooking a cliff[1] in Galilee sometime before the New Testament's timeframe (before the birth of Jesus). The town was very small, but large enough to house a Jewish synagogue[2], which contained a copy of the Book of Isaiah. Virtually nothing is known about when or why the town was constructed. It is known that the town had a very insignificant population and was predominantly Jewish, despite its location in Gentile territory.

Prophecy

While its origins are unclear, the town was one of prophecy. In the Book of Matthew a prophecy is referred to that foretold Jesus living in Nazareth[3]. There is not an obvious Scriptural prophecy that tells this (except an indirect inference that could be implied[4]), so it may have originated from a linguistic pun in Isaiah, or a prophecy not recorded in the Bible (but given by God, since it was fulfilled[5]).

Hated Town

Nazareth was viewed very negatively, maybe in light of the unclarity in prophecy. Before Jesus ministry a view spread by the Pharisees was that a prophet couldn't originate from Nazareth[6]. This may be, because of a misunderstanding arising from prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem[7]. In addition the town may have been generally hated by Judeans with no relevance to prophecy. Regardless if negative views was connected with scriptural misunderstanding, the town had an unpositive reputation[8]

Legacy

Etymology

Verses

  1. Luke 4:29 (Link)
  2. Matt 13:54, Mark 6:2,, Luke 4:16 (Link)
  3. Matt 2:23 (Link)
  4. Hos 11:1, Matt 2:15 (Link)
  5. Deut 18:22 (Link)
  6. John 7:41-42, 52 (Link)
  7. Micah 5:2 (Link)
  8. John 1:46 (Link)

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