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Reference: Nazareth


A town in the north border of the Plain of Esdraelon. It was a place of no history (being entirely unmentioned in the OT, Josephus, or the Talmud), no importance, and, possibly, of bad reputation (Joh 1:48). Here, however, lived Mary and Joseph. Hither, before their marriage, was the angel Gabriel sent to announce the coming birth of Christ (Lu 1:26-38), and hither the Holy Family retired after the flight to Egypt (Mt 2:23). The obscure years of Christ's boyhood were spent here, and in its synagogue He preached the sermon for which He was rejected by His fellow-townsmen (Mt 13:54; Lu 4:28). After this, save as a centre of pilgrimage, Nazareth sank into obscurity. The Crusaders made it a bishopric; it is now the seat of a Turkish lientenant-governor. Many traditional sites are pointed out to pilgrims and tourists, for not one of which, with the possible exception of the 'Virgin's Well' (which, being the only spring known in the neighbourhood, was not improbably that used by the Holy Family), is there any justification.

R. A. S. Macalister.

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