First Century Nazareth House

  • By D. Thomas Lancaster  | Comments (0)
  • December 21, 2009

Archaeologists in Nazareth announced the discovery of the remains of a house dating back to the time of our Master. The first-century-era house is the only one dating to the days of Yeshua discovered in Nazareth.

Read about the discovery here.

Nazareth was a small Jewish community probably pioneered by descendants of the royal line of David. Villages tended to be large extended families. Children rarely left home. Families built additional wings on their houses, adding subsequent generations to the patriarchal home. In just a few generations, one or two of these large families could constitute a clan occupying a small village. There is every possibility that Joseph the carpenter’s fellow townsmen were also his cousins, uncles and nephews, hence also men of the line of David.

As descendants of David, it would have been natural for Joseph’s family clan to cling to Isaiah’s prophecy of the Netzer (נצר), the promised messianic "branch" who would one day spring forth from their family.

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch (netzer) from his roots will bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1-2)

It is possible that the Davidic clan that founded the community of Nazareth named their community Nazareth (Natzeret, נצרת) in anticipation of the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s words through them. Nazareth, then, would mean "Branchtown." Under the reign of the false king Herod and the tyranny of the evil Roman Empire, the Davidic clan longed for the true Branch (Netzer), the Messiah who was to be born from among their kinsmen.

Every son born to the descendants of the dynasty possessed the potential of rising to reclaim the throne of their father David. Every baby boy, particularly in those days of heightened messianic expectation, was the potential Netzer (Branch) growing from the stump of Jesse. Thus they named their town after their great hope for Messiah.

Perhaps it is to Isaiah 11:1-2 that Matthew was referring when he said:

[He] came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene (natzri)." (Matthew 2:23)

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