What is Nazareth?
(separated.?), a city of Galilee, famous as the home of Jesus during his childhood and youth until he began his public ministry. It was about 14 miles from the Sea of Galilee, 6 miles west of Tabor, and 66 miles north of Jerusalem in a straight line. On the north side of the plain of Esdraelon is a crescent-shaped valley about a mile long and averaging a quarter of a mile wide, but swelling out into a broader basin, completely shut in by a wall of gently rounded hills, some fifteen in number, and from 400 to 500 feet in height. Within this basin, and on the lower slope of these hills, is Nazareth. Although the village itself was shut in by these hills, the view from the summit behind the town is quite extensive, taking in Hermon, Carmel, Gilead, Tabor, Gilboa, and the plain of Esdraelon. It is one of the most beautiful views in the Holy Land. History. - Nazareth is not mentioned in the O.T. nor by any classical author, nor by any writer before the time of Christ. It was for some unknown reason held in disrepute among the Jews of Judaea. John 1:46. It was situated in a mountain, Luke 4:29, within the province of Galilee, Mark 1:9, and near Cana, as John 2:1-2, Rev 1:11 seems to imply. There was a precipice near the town, down which the people proposed to cast Jesus. Luke 4:29. It is mentioned twenty-nine times in the N.T. At Nazareth the angel appeared to Mary; the home of Joseph, Luke 1:26; Luke 2:39, and to that place Joseph and Mary returned after their flight into Egypt. Matt 2:23. The hills and places about the town possess a deep and hallowed interest to the Christian as the home of Jesus during his childhood and youth, until he entered upon his ministry, and had preached in the synagogue, and was rejected by his own townspeople. Even after Capernaum became "his own city" he was known as "Jesus of Nazareth," Matt 13:54-58; Mark 6:1-6; Acts 2:22; Deut 3:6; 1 John 4:10; Zech 6:14, and his disciples were called "Nazarenes." In the days of Constantine, Nazareth was peopled by Samaritan Jews, but in the sixth century Christian pilgrimages began to be made to the town. In 1109, Tancred held Galilee, and Nazareth became the seat of a Christian bishopric. In 1160 a council was held at Nazareth which made Alexander III. pope of Rome. During the Middle Ages Christian pilgrims frequently visited Nazareth. When the Turks conquered Palestine, in 1517, the Christians were driven from the town. In 1620 the Franciscan monks gained a foothold there, and began to rebuild the village. At the battle of Mount Tabor, in 1799, Napoleon with his army encamped near Nazareth. The town is now called En-Nasireh, or Nasrah, and has from 5000 to 6000 population, though the Turkish officials estimate it at 10,000. There are about 2000 Mohammedans, 2500 Greeks, 800 Latins, and 100 Protestants. The inhabitants pursue farming, gardening, and various handicrafts, and the village is quite a centre of trade for the adjoining districts. The houses are well built. There are a large Latin church and monastery, a synagogue, a Greek church, a fine Protestant church under the care of the English Church Missionary Society, a Protestant hospital, and a large female orphanage (completed 1874). The Synagogue is claimed by tradition to be the one in which Christ taught, but cannot be traced to a date earlier than a.d. 570. Near the Greek church of the Annunciation is a spring called "Mary's Well," to which the women resort every evening with their water-jars for their daily supply, and to which Mary with her holy Child may have gone. The women of Nazareth, like those of Bethlehem, are distinguished for beauty above their sisters in the East. The brow of the hill over which the enraged Nazarenes threatened to cast Jesus is probably near the Maronite church, though tradition places Nazareth (After Photographs.) it at the "Mount of Precipitation," 2 or 3 miles south of the town.