Is there a missing prophecy of the Nazarene?

In this interesting post by Gerald Sigal, find out whether there is any prophecy of the Nazarene that may be missing from the Bible. Or is there a missing prophecy of the Nazarene?

Matthew 2:23 states: And he [Joseph, along with Mary and Jesus] came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled: "He will be called a Nazarene." I don't find any such prophecy in my Bible. Am I missing parts of the Bible?

Answer: At no point in the Jewish Scriptures is the Messiah referred to as a Nazarene. Despite Matthew's statement, there is no prophecy, which mentions that the Messiah will be an inhabitant of Nazareth. In fact, the town of Nazareth is never mentioned in the Jewish Bible.

It has been speculated that what Matthew is referring to is the description of the Messiah as a netser ("shoot"), i.e., a new, flourishing growth from the Davidic line. This term first appears in Isaiah: "And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit" (Isaiah 11:1). But despite Isaiah's use of the term, it is nowhere indicated that the Messiah would actually be called netser. An alternate suggestion connects Matthew's usage with the word natsar, "guard," "keep."

It cannot be that Matthew is referring to the Messiah as being a Nazarite, for nowhere in the Jewish Scriptures is it stated that the Messiah will ever take the Nazarite vow. Furthermore, the spelling of the words Nazarite, nazir (from the Hebrew root N-Z-R), and Nazarene, notsri (from the Hebrew root N-TZ- R), are not the same in Hebrew.

The speculation as to whether the evangelist is comparing Nazarene and netser (or natsar) or Nazarene and Nazarite is inconsequential, for there is no basis in fact for either claim. Matthew 2:23 gives the reason for Jesus being called a Nazarene (Greek, "Nazoraios") is because he lived in Nazareth (Greek, "Nazaret"). It has nothing to do with netser, natsar, or nazir. At best, Matthew is indulging in a play on words. There is no reason for giving credence to this New Testament "fulfillment" of a non-existent prophecy.


© Gerald Sigal