As trees denote, in figurative language, great men and princes, so branches, boughs, and plants denote their offspring. Christ is called "the Branch," the "rod out of the stem of Jesse," and "branch out of his roots," Isa 11:1; 53:2; Zec 3:8; 6:12; being a royal descendant of the princely house of David, Jer 23:5; 33:15. The word branch also illustrates the union of believers with Christ, Joh 15:5-6. It is used in Eze 8:17 as a symbol of idolatrous worship, probably in allusion to the carrying of fragrant boughs in honor of idols.
a symbol of kings descended from royal ancestors (44'>Ezr 10:44,44; Da 11:7); of prosperity (Job 8:16); of the Messiah, a branch out of the root of the stem of Jesse (Isa 11:1), the "beautiful branch" (Isa 4:2), a "righteous branch" (Jer 23:5), "the Branch" (Zec 3:8; 6:12).
Disciples are branches of the true vine (Joh 15:5-6). "The branch of the terrible ones" (Isa 25:5) is rightly translated in the Revised Version "the song of the terrible ones," i.e., the song of victory shall be brought low by the destruction of Babylon and the return of the Jews from captivity.
The branch of Jehovah (Isa 4:2), the sprout of Jehovah, Messiah (Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zec 3:8; 6:12; Lu 1:78 margin). Fruit bearing, so as to "fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isa 27:6). He is at once a "branch" and a "root" (Isa 11:1; 53:2). "The root and offspring (offshoot) of David" (Re 22:16), the Brother of man and the Source of manhood. Lu 2:7 shows the depressed state of David's royal line, represented by Joseph and Mary, at the time when Jesus was born "out of the stem of Jesse" (the stump cut close to the roots at that time); "a root out of a dry ground." Perfect purity and grace were wrapped up under the root's seemingly unattractive scales. Sin had dried up the life of the humanity out of which He sprang.
Degenerate human nature, even Judaism, could never have produced Him. Though rooted in the dry ground of earth, He had a heavenly and self derived life. Believers being such "as He is in this world" (1Jo 4:17) are also "branches" in Him the living vine, yielding fruit instinctively, spontaneously, naturally, their love corresponding to His (John 15), "the branch of My planting" (Isa 60:21). "An abominable branch," a useless sucker cut away by the husbandman; else the tree's branch on which a malefactor was hung, and which was buried with him. "They put the branch to their nose" (Eze 8:17), expressing insolent security; they turn up their nose with scorn, or rather they held up a branch of tamarisk to their nose at daybreak, while singing hymns to the rising sun.
1. The great variety of Heb. words rendered by our 'branch' may be gathered from the following list of passages, in each of which a different term is used: Ge 40:10; Ex 25:33; Nu 13:23; Isa 16:8; 27:10; Jer 11:16; Zec 4:12; Ps 104:12; Job 15:32; 18:16. In the following verses RV or Revised Version margin adds or substitutes another word: Isa 18:5 ('spreading branches') Isa 25:6 ('song'), Eze 17:3,22 ('top,' 'lofty top'), Ps 80:15 ('Heb. son': Revised Version margin of Ge 49:22, in like manner has 'Heb. daughters'), Pr 11:28 ('leaf') Job 8:16 ('shoot'). In the NT four Greek words are translated 'branch,' but Revised Version margin points out that 'layers of leaves' are meant at Mr 11:8, and at Joh 12:13 palm-branches are in question. 2. 'Branch' is used figuratively for human offspring (Job 15:32), especially for the scion of a royal house (Da 11:7); also for persons in lofty station (Isa 9:14). The Heb. netser, properly signifying 'sprout' or 'shoot,' but rendered 'branch' (Isa 11:1), is a designation of the Messianic king; not improbably this was in the Evangelist's mind when he wrote Mt 2:23. We have the same English term at Jer 23:5; 33:15, where another word, tsemach, is a title of the Messiah, intimating that this 'shoot' should arise out of 'the low estate' of the restored remnant. Zec 3:8; 6:12, following Jeremiah, actually makes Tsemach a proper name. The Targ. on Jer. and Zech. unhesitatingly substitutes for it 'the Messiah.'
BRANCH, a title of Messiah: "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a BRANCH shall grow out of his roots," Isa 11:1. See also Zec 3:8; 6:12; Jer 23:5; 33:15. When Christ is represented as a slender twig, shooting out from the trunk of an old tree lopped to the very root and decayed, and becoming itself a mighty tree, reference is made,
1. To the kingly dignity of Christ, springing up from the decayed house of David;
2. To the exaltation which was to succeed his humbled condition on earth, and to the glory and vigour of his mediatorial reign.