It is a joy to me to write commentary every morning with my first cup of coffee. I read the daily Torah portion and a daily portion of the gospels and I write. Currently I am reading Nahum Sarna (JPS Torah Commentary) and Umberto Cassuto on Genesis and R.T. France on Matthew. Every year I discover new things and further clarify my understanding. Most importantly, I am with a community reading Torah and gospels daily. The following is an excerpt from today’s commentary on Matthew.
Matthew 2:23 And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
Vs. 23 presents some with a problem (those who assume the references to the Hebrew Bible in Matthew are prophecy-fulfillment statements). There is no passage in the Hebrew Bible that mentions Nazareth, much less one that says “he shall be called a Nazarene.” But in keeping with Matthew’s midrashic style, finding creative echoes of the Hebrew Bible in Yeshua’s story, the answer is not difficult. Messiah is to be called the Branch (Isa 11:1, netzer) and Nazareth (Netzeret) is “branch town.” That is, Matthew found it compelling that the Netzer David lived as a child in Netzeret.
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