Location of the town of Nazareth

The town of Nazareth was established by the descendants of Bethlehem after their return from the Babylonian exile which began in 538BC. In Jesus’ time it was a small town of no more than 1000 people and was located a steep hill with sheer cliffs on its southern border.

The word Nazareth means ‘branch’ and is not to be confused with the English word Nazirite. There are two very different and distinct Hebrew words that appear similar in English.

Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 11:1) that said the Messiah would come from the ‘branch of Jesse’. The Jews were very familiar with this prophecy but they had dismissed the possibility of a literal interpretation that said the Messiah could actually come from a place called ‘Branch’.

As it turned out Jesus was born in Bethlehem as the scriptures predicted which was Jesse’s hometown and he grew up in a town which was formed by Jesse’s descendants which just happened to be called ‘Branch town’. The Messiah did indeed come from the branch of Jesse.