Answer for Matthew 2:23

23 and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2:23, NASB)

Muslims ask about Matthew 2:23 – “where is it written in the prophets that Messiah would be called a Nazarene?”

First, notice it says, “through the prophets” – plural.  So he is speaking of a general concept that is in more than one prophet. “that what was spoken through the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23) “Nararene” – a Nazer – נצר – nzr – a rejected branch.  Nazareth was a rejected city in the North, in “Galilee of the Gentiles”; it was rejected by the Jews in the south and around Jerusalem, since it was a Galilean town.  (northern, Gentile, defiled by non-Jews).   “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46; see also John 7:41 and 7:52)

So, “Nazareth” describes Jesus being rejected by the Jews. Isaiah 14:19 – “like a rejected branch” = כְּנֵצֶר נִתְעָב כ = like נצר =  NZR, Nazer, branch נתעב = rejected, despised Isaiah 11:1 – “then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse (father of David); and a branch (Nazer – נצר ) from his roots will bear fruit.” (see rest of Isaiah 11:1-10 – a very Messianic passage in the Jews minds.  This is referred to in Acts 13:22-23; and Isaiah 11:10 is quoted in Romans 15:12)

Isaiah 53:1-3 – concept of rejection, tender shoot, root out of dry ground

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isaiah 53:1-3)

There is another word for the Messiah as a “branch” צמח used often, combined with the concepts of a shoot (of a plant), root, sprout, and despised, shows that Matthew had many passages in mind when he wrote, “as it is spoken through the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene” = despised, rejected. Jeremiah 23:5 – Messiah will be a righteous branch. (צמח) Jeremiah 33:15 – a righteous branch (צמח )of David will spring forth Isaiah 4:2 – “branch of the Lord”  (צמח) Zechariah 3:8 – “they are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the branch.” (צמח) Zechariah 6:12 – the one whose name is “Branch” (צמח) There are several words for “branch”(צמח is used more often) with root and shoot (Isaiah 53:1-3; 11:1) and “Nezer” (נצר) is not always used in every passage.  But the concept of a branch, with the concepts of “shoot” and “root” and “rejected”; and the concept of being rejected combines all these passages as demonstrating what Matthew 2:23 was referring to.

About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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5 Responses to Answer for Matthew 2:23

  1. I just posted this for you on Williams’ blog:


    I don’t think he understood your question so let me break it down for him on your behalf.

    The claim that Matthew changed Mark assumes what is yet to prove, which Denis already touched upon. Namely, that Mark was written first and that Matthew used him as a source. Now Ken simply ask him to provide solid historical, archaeological, textual proof that Mark came first and that Matthew used and changed Mark to suit his purposes.

    As you were suggesting, Matthew and Mark may have been culling from a pool of oral tradition passed on by the Apostles to their respective communities in which different groups put different emphases on our Lord’s teachings, i.e., one group focused on the rich man’s addressing Christ as good whereas the other group(s) highlighted the rich man’s asking about the good things he needed to do to inherit eternal life.

    Now with that said Ken, are you aware that the Quran retells the same story with major verbal variations and/or contradictions, a fact I have documented in several articles and rebuttals? And do you know why this is so much more devastating to the Muslim beliefs since the Quran is supposedly the dictated words of Allah, which means that Allah was incapable of repeating the same exact story with the same exact conversations with the same exact wording?

    Therefore, we would expect different writers to emphasize different aspects of the same teaching and to record those speeches in different ways, but why should this be the case with the Quran when it is supposedly the work of a single writer whose supposed to be the omniscient creator of all things?

    Lord willing, I will post some of these examples for the benefit of all the commenters here.

    And here is my article showing how Allah can’t repeat the same exact conversations in the exact same way:

  2. Here is another helpful link for you that records the major contradictions within the same speeches recorded in the Quran:

  3. Ken Temple says:

    Now with that said Ken, are you aware that the Quran retells the same story with major verbal variations and/or contradictions, a fact I have documented in several articles and rebuttals?

    At first I thought you meant by “the same story” as the same historical occurrence of Mark 10 / Matthew 19 in question; but then later I realized that you mean “the Qur’an repeats historical narratives in different places with major verbal variations and/or contradictions, a fact I have documented in several articles and rebuttals”

    Yes, I knew that.

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