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Nazareth


Naz’areth (the guarded one), the ordinary residence of our Saviour, is not mentioned in the Old Testament, but occurs first in Matt. 2:23. It derives its celebrity from its connection with the history of Christ, and in that respect has a hold on the imagination and feelings of men which it shares only with Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It is situated among the hills which constitute the south ridges of Lebanon, just before they sink down into the plain of Esdraelon. (Mr. Merrill, in “Galilee in the Time of Christ” (1881), represents Nazreth in Christ’s time as a city (so always called in the New Testament) of 15,000 to 20,000 inhabitants, of some importance and considerable antiquity, and not so insignificant and mean as has been represented.—Ed.) Of the identification of the ancient site there can be no doubt. The name of the present village is en-Na╠ézirah, the same, therefore, as of old; it is formed on a hill or mountain, Luke 4:29; it is within the limits of the province of Galilee, Mark 1:9; it is near Cana, according to the implication in John 2:1, 2, 11; a precipice exists in the neighborhood. Luke 4:29. The modern Nazareth belongs to the better class of eastern villages. It has a population of 3000 or 4000; a few are Mohammedans, the rest Latin and Greek Christians. (Near this town Napoleon once encamped (1799), after the battle of Mount Tabor.) The origin of the disrepute in which Nazareth stood, John 1:47, is not certainly known. All the inhabitants of Galilee were looked upon with contempt by the people of Judea because they spoke a ruder dialect, were less cultivated, and were more exposed by their position to contact with the heathen. But Nazareth labored under a special opprobrium, for it was a Galilean and not a southern Jew who asked the reproachful question whether “any good thing” could come from that source. Above the town are several rocky ledges, over which a person could not be thrown without almost certain destruction. There is one very remarkable precipice, almost perpendicular and forty or fifty feet high, near the Maronite church, which may well be supposed to be the identical one over which has infuriated fellow townsmen attempted to hurl Jesus.

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Nazareth.