Matthew 2:23

ESV And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.
NIV and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
NASB and came and settled in a city called Nazareth. This happened so that what was spoken through the prophets would be fulfilled: 'He will be called a Nazarene.'
CSB Then he went and settled in a town called Nazareth to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
NLT So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: 'He will be called a Nazarene.'
KJV 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.

What does Matthew 2:23 mean?

In obedience to the Lord's direction and out of concern about living under the reign of Herod the Great's ruthless son Archelaus, Joseph settled down in the northern region of Galilee in the town of Nazareth. According to Luke 1:26–27 and Luke 2:39, Joseph and Mary were both from Nazareth, so they were returning to their hometown.

Jesus, then, grew up being known as a Nazarene—meaning someone from Nazareth—rather than as a Bethlehemite. Nazareth was not a big town. Some scholars estimate that the local population would have been between 200 and 1600 people in Jesus' early years. Nazareth did have a low reputation in Israel, however. When first learning of Jesus, the disciple Nathanael famously said, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46). It would have been considered unimportant, low-class, and backwards to more sophisticated Jews.

Matthew adds that Jesus' being known as a Nazarene was a fulfilment of what was spoken by the prophets. This is an interesting remark, since no known biblical prophecy says Messiah would come from Nazareth. However, many prophecies indicate He will be despised (Psalm 22:6; Isaiah 49:7; 53:3). Isaiah 11:1 refers to a "branch" coming from Jesse. The Hebrew term for "branch" is nē'ser and implies something lowly or common. Perhaps being from the despised town of Nazareth fulfilled those prophecies in Matthew's eyes.

The fact that Jesus was known as being from Nazareth, rather than from Bethlehem, caused some to question how He could claim to be Messiah (John 7:41–42). The designation "Nazarene" causes confusion for a different reason today. Traditional views of Jesus have confused His upbringing as a "Nazarene" with the Old Testament vows of a "Nazarite" (Numbers 6:2–21), who would take vows including not cutting their hair. This confusion inspired the depiction of Jesus with unusually long hair in classical art.
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