What does Matthew 2:23 mean?
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.
NKJV: 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.”
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Matthew 2:19–23 tells of Jesus' childhood return to Israel after the death of King Herod. Joseph is alerted by an angel in a dream that Herod has died; nobody who wanted Jesus dead is still living. When they return, another message from God warns Joseph not to move back to Bethlehem, in Judea. Rather, he is to settle in his hometown of Nazareth in the region of Galilee. In that way, Jesus grows up as a citizen of Nazareth, fulfilling yet another prophecy.
Chapter Summary:
King Herod is surprised and troubled by the arrival of wise men from the east. They have come looking for a newborn king of the Jews. Herod directs the men to Bethlehem to find the boy for him. The wise men find and worship Jesus. Rather than cooperating with the wicked Herod, the wise men slip away. An angel warns Joseph to flee to Egypt with his family before Herod kills all the boys in Bethlehem two years old and younger to protect his throne. After Herod's death, an angel sends Joseph back to Israel and then God directs him to settle with Mary and Jesus in Nazareth in the region of Galilee.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 1 established the genealogy and miraculous conception of Jesus Christ. Sometime after Jesus' birth, a group of wise men from the east arrive in Jerusalem. They have been tracking a star that points to the birth of the king of the Jews. They find and worship Jesus, then leave without telling the wicked king, Herod, where to find the boy. Warned by an angel, Joseph flees with Jesus and Mary to Egypt before Herod orders the execution of all the boys in Bethlehem two years old and younger. When notified by an angel again, they return to Israel and settle in Nazareth, in the northern region of Israel known as Galilee. This leads into chapter 3, which leaps forward to Jesus' adulthood, and the ministry of John the Baptist.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 5/26/2024 7:18:54 AM
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