Board index Christmas

Discussions and questions pertaining to Christmas: when and where was Jesus born? The Shepherds, the Wise men, the descent into Egypt, the star, the manger, and the Virgin Birth. Let's talk.

Matthew2:23 - How do you interpret it?

Postby Cicero » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:38 pm

According to Matthew, the prophets said Jesus would be called a Nazarene, when the prophets say no such thing.

Responses I've heard from Christians so far are:

1. Matthew is making this up, so what -- from liberal Christians :)

2. Matthew is referring to oral prophecy

3. Matthew is referring to a lost book

4. Matthew is referring to the root for branch (neser) as referred to in Isaiah 11

5. Matthew is referring to the prophecies which say Jesus would be humble and insignificant

So I have two questions basically; firstly, are there any other solutions? and secondly, which solution is generally preferred in Christian circles?

Re: Matthew2:23 - How do you interpret it?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:38 pm

It's quite unknown and unsettled, but I'll share some interpretations with you.

The Interpreter's Bible says the rabbis sometimes change a letter to make a point. Here's a rabbinical saying about the Law: " 'Read not haruth [engraved] but heruth [freedom]' (Avoth 6.2[1]). Translation: Furthermore, it is written, 'And the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tablets (Exodus 32:16). Do not read harut (graven) but rather heirut (freedom), for no person is free except one who engages in the study of Torah.' "
[Soncino translation] Kittel agrees: "According to the Rabbinic rule of interpretation Al-tiqri, which allows a word to be replaced by an equivalent, 'Joseph settled in Nazareth in order that there should be fulfilled what was said by the prophets, "He shall be called a Nazarene." ' " But even this carries no connection of significance. There is the wordplay between Nazarene and Nazirite, and that may be a possibility."

Albright and Mann (the Anchor Bible): "Jeremiah 31.6 may be the only example where nsr appears in both the Hebrew Masoretic text (MT) as well as in the Greek LXX. In addition, it provides the necessary context against which the incidents of vv.19-23 can be measured. The verse in Matthew doesn’t fully conform either to the LXX or the MT; it presumably rests upon a lost 'Old Palestinian' recension of a type not infrequent in the NT. Matthew is calling our attention, against the context of Jer. 31, to the role of Jesus and/or his family in the history of the whole people."

Argyle: "There may be an intended allusion to the manner of the birth of Samson (Judges 13.24) as analogous to that of Jesus, and more particularly to Samson’s vocation as a Nazir. A Nazirite was one who undertook either for life or for a shorter time a vow to observe certain rules involving various abstinences (see Numbers 6)."

Vincent: " 'A Nazarene' was a term of contempt. The very name 'Nazareth' suggests insignificance."

Beale: "In referring to the prophets, Matthew is employing a typological approach. He is seeing something already seen by the prophets' own typological understandings, but applying it to the individual who is Jesus."

In other words, no one really knows. All of these overlap to some extent, but it's unsettled. Some of these are good educated guesses, but still unsettled.
Site Admin
Posts: 5964
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm

Re: Matthew2:23 - How do you interpret it?

Postby Cicero » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:37 pm

Thanks for your detailed response.

Last bumped by Anonymous on Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:37 pm.

Return to Christmas

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest