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'ON MATTHEW 2: 23.
Και ελθών κατώκησεν εις πόλιν λεγομένην Ναζαρέτ: όπως πληρωθή το ρηθέν δια των προφητών, ότι Ναζωραίος κληθήσεται.
We here engage in a preliminary inquiry respecting the name of the city of Nazareth. As we find it only in the New Testament, different views might be entertained in respect to its orthography and etymology. Ours is the following : the name was properly and originally 737; as the name of a city it received in Aramæan the feminine ending *; and lastly, on account of the original appellative signification of the word, an was sometimes appended to mark the stat. emphat, of the fem. in x. We have an analogous case in the name Dalmanutha, the same place which is called jinak by the Talmudists : see Lightfoot, Decas Chorograph. Marc. præm., Opp. II. p. 411, sqq. Also probably in yoßbuti, x1, formed from the masc. 31, dorsum. That the original form was Nezer, that this continued in use along with that also in n, and that the
served merely to designate the stat. emphat. or, if the Hebrew is regarded as the ground form, was only the hardening of the 7 femin, which equally suits our purpose, we prove by the following arguments. 1. The testimony of the Jews. David de Pomis (in De Dieu, Critic. Sacr. on M. 2: 23.) says, yra 75110 ingon
" A Nazarite is one born in the city Nezer, in Galilee, three days' journey from Jerusalem." In the Talmud, in Breschit Rabbah, and in Jalkut Schimeoni on Daniel, Christ receives the reproachful name, Ben Nezer, the Nazarene: see the passages in Buxtorf, Lex. c. 1383, in Lightfoot, Disquis. Chorog. Johan. præm., Opp. II. p. 578, sq., Eisenmenger, I. p. 139.
abominable or ,נצר נתעב adultcrous Branch, and ,נצר נאפוף the names
because the start there ,בר כוכבא or בן כוכב called himself ,17 :24
Gieseler has endeavoured, it is true, on Matth. 2: 23, (in den Studien und Crit. 1831, III. p. 591,) to give another meaning to this appel lation. He supposes it to refer to Isaiah 11:1. It passed over to the Jews from the Christians, who called their Messiah ??, because he was the one promised by Isaiah. But this supposition is correct only so far, as this designation was indeed chosen by the Jews in reference to the assertion of the Christians, that Christ was the 733 predicted by Isaiah; as in like manner they gave him also
, , ), detestable Branch, (from Isaiah 14: 19.) comp. Eisenmenger, I.
pp. 137, 138.
But it is erroneous to attribute the origin of this appellation entirely, or even chiefly, to this reference to Isaiah 11: 1. Against this the name itself is decisive. It would then have been not Ben Nezer, but only 73). Gieseler asserts, indeed, that he in whom a particular prophecy was fulfilled, was “the son of this prophecy," and in proof of this usage he appeals to the fact, that the Pseudo-Messias under Adrian, with reference to the 2315, Num.
: , ), promised had appeared in him. But this is only plausible; we can just as little prove from it, that Christ, as he in whom the prophecy concerning the Nezer was fulfilled, could be called Ben Nezer, as on the other hand we can prove from the appellation Ben Nezer, that the said Pseudo-Messias could be named Barkochba solely because the prophecy concerning the star was believed to be fulfilled in him. Reland has already shown (Geogr. II. p. 727,) that Barkochba probaby bore this name, as originating from Kokab, a city and region beyond the Jordan. He made his descent of such special importance, because he sought for a deeper meaning in the coincidence of the name of his birth-place with that of the subject of the prediction Num. 24. The assumption, however, that, among the Jews, he in whom a prophecy was fulfilled was called its son, e. g. the Messiah, the servant of God, the Prince of Peace, the Son of the Messiah, &c., is entirely without support, and improbable in itself. Besides, this import of the term Ben Nezer has the uniform interpretation of the Jews against it. Jarchi, in the gloss on the passage relating to this name in the Talmud, explains Ben Nezer by “he who has sprung from the city of Nazareth.” A barbanel, in his book Majene Hajeschua, after the citation of a passage from Jalkut Schimeoni, says; “ Yet mark well how they have interpreted the little horn (Dan. 7:8) of the Ben Nezer, which is Jesus the Naza
rene.” Buxtorf also cites from the Lexicon Aruch, which is of high authority : 552917 33 73), “ Nezer (or Ben Nezer) is the accursed Nazarene.” Lastly, it is inconceivable, that the Jews, in a connexion where they heap the basest calumnies upon Christ, should, without any explanation, give him an honorable appellation borrowed from the Christians. 2. This result is confirmed by the assertions of Christian writers. In the time of Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 1, 7) and of Jerome, the place still bore the name of Nazara. The latter says, under the word Nazareth : “Est autem usque hodie in Galilaa viculus contra Legionem, in quinto decimo ejus milliario ad orientalem plagam, juxta montem Tabor, nomine Nazara.” (Comp. Reland, I. p. 497.) In the epistle 17, ad Marcellum, he identifies the name expressly with Nezer: “ Ibimus ad Nazareth, et juxta interpretationem nominis ejus videbemus florem Galilaæ." 3. To these considerations we add that the gentilitia formed from Nazareth can be explained only when the n is regarded as not belonging to the ground form of the name. For in that case it must of necessity be found in the gentilitia; thus e. g. from anathoth nJy could in no way be formed, but only my. In the New Testament we find only the two forms Ναζωραίος and Ναζαρηνός, never Ναζαρεταίος. Gieseler has felt the difficulty which these names present on the common hypothesis, but has sought to remove it (1. c. p. 592) by the supposition, that the form received its peculiar stamp from regard to 73), which the early Christians were accustomed to con
But this supposition would, at most, be admissible only in case the form '?), also without n, were not the exclusive one among the Jews, and the Arabic form also were not entirely analogous.
We may now inquire in what sense 2 was given to a place in Galilee as a proper name. Here the supposition of Jerome is undoubtedly to be rejected, viz. that Nazareth was so called as being the flower of Galilee ; partly because 733 never occurs in this sense; and partly because it is improbable, that the place should receive a name which could be appropriate to it only κατ' αντίφρασιν. It is far more probable that it was thus called on account of its being so small a place, a feeble twig in contrast with a stately tree. In this sense the word 733 occurs, Isaiah 11:1, 14:19; and also in the Talmudic idiom, where D'733 denotes virgulta salicum decorticata, vimina ex quibus corbes fiunt. Indeed there was the more occasion to give to the place this name, as the symbol was seen in
.נצרת nect with
the surrounding region ; the chalky hills around Nazareth are covered with low shrubs and bushes, (comp. Burckhardt's Reisen, II. p. 583.) What these were in comparison with the stately trees which adorned other places, such was Nazareth in comparison with large cities.
This name attributed to the place on account of its small beginning, like the name Zoar, little city, was at the same time an omen of its future character. The feeble twig never grew to be a tree. In the Old Testament Nazareth is never mentioned, perhaps because it may have been first founded after the exile. It is unnoticed by Josephus. It was not, like most other cities in Palestine, ennobled by recollections of ancient time. Indeed there rested on it a special disgrace besides that which was common to the whole of Galilee ; as almost every land has its place or city to which some peculiar reproach attaches, often from accidental circumstances. This is clear, not only from the question of Nathanael, John 1 : 47, “ Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ?" but also from the fact, that, from the earliest times, the Jews have supposed they were casting the greatest disgrace upon Christ, when they called him “the Nazarene”; while the reproach resting on all Galilee was at a later period removed by the circumstance, that the most celebrated of the Jewish academies, that of Tiberias, was situated in it.
Let us now inquire how far the residence of Christ at Nazareth fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. The prophets everywhere declare, that the Messiah, springing from the fallen and decayed family of David, should appear at first without external rank or dignity. The foundation for all other similar passages is found in Isaiah 11: 1. “ There shall come forth a rod out of the fallen stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit; " which Quenstedt has well illustrated in the Dissertatio de Germine Jehovæ in the Thes. Theol. Philol. I. p. 1015," Ubi jam stemma Isai ex humilioribus initiis in Davide ad decus regiæ majestatis evectum non tantum axiomate regio et omni externo splendore, quem in Davide accepit, erit orbatum, sed etiam ad privatam conditionem, in qua erat ante Davidem, denuo redactum, ita ut trunci omni ramorum ac frondium apparatu denudati instar se habeat, nec quicquam supersit præter radices, nihilominus tamen ex illo trunco adeo acciso, et, uti videbatur, pæne arido procedet virga regia, et ex illis radicibus efflorescet surculus, super quem requiescet spiritus domini," etc. (Comp. Vol. I. p. 374.) The passage in Isaiah 53 : 2, entirely agrees with this;
" He grew