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(King James Version)
This epithet (Gr. Nazaraios) is applied to Christ only once (Matt. 2:23). In all other cases the word is rendered "of Nazareth" (Mark 1:24; 10:47; 14:67, etc.). When this Greek designation was at first applied to our Lord, it was meant simply to denote the place of his residence. In course of time the word became a term of reproach. Thus the word "Nazarene" carries with it an allusion to those prophecies which speak of Christ as "despised of men" (Isa. 53:3). Some, however, think that in this name there is an allusion to the Hebrew _netser_, which signifies a branch or sprout. It is so applied to the Messiah (Isa. 11:1), i.e., he whom the prophets called the _Netse_, the "Branch."
The followers of Christ were called "the sect of Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5). All over Palestine and Syria this name is still given to Christians. (See NAZARETH.)