Dictionary of Bible Names

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Bible Meaning: The guarded one
Strong's Concordance #G3478

Nazareth is the home of Mary and Joseph and the place where an angel announced to Mary she would give birth to mankind's Savior (Luke 1:26 - 38).

After Jesus' birth in Bethlehem and fleeing to Egypt to avoid Herod's wrath, Mary and Joseph went back to their home in Nazareth. The Lord lived in the city from 5 B.C. to 27 A.D. He moved to Capernaum in 27 in fulfillment of an ancient Messianic prophecy (Isaiah 9:1 - 2, Matthew 4:13 - 16).

Obscure and Insignificant

Nazareth was one of the most unlikely places in which to raise the Messiah.

After Philip was called to be a disciple, he tracked down his brother Nathanael to tell him he had found the Messiah. Nathanael's famous answer, after being told Jesus was from the city, gives us a glimpse into the generally dim view the population had of the city. His rather sarcastic response was, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:47, HBFV).

Location of Nazareth in Israel Map
Location of Nazareth

It seemed incredulous to Nathanael that the Messiah, who had long been expected, would come from such an insignificant place as Nazareth. His rather negative view of the city, however, is not without some justification from a human point of view.

The city is not directly referenced at all in the Old Testament. It was considered a place of such insignificance that it is also not mentioned in any of Jewish historian Josephus' writings, or in the Apocrypha, or in the Jewish Talmud, or in any known intertestamental Jewish writings.

Nazareth, in the first century A.D., was small, isolated and nourished by only a single spring of fresh water. It was not located on any major trade routes and was considered of no political importance. It was home to a small population able to support only a single synagogue (Luke 4:16).

Though viewed with derision by humans at the time, the city was the perfect place to raise up our humble Savior!

Important Verses

Matthew 2:23
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.

Luke 2:4
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed . . . And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

John 19:19
And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Acts 2:22
Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Acts 4:8, 10
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel . . . Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Acts 22:7 - 8
And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I (Apostle Paul) answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

Additional Studies

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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).