Was this the house in Nazareth where Jesus grew up?
Alice C. Linsley
Archaeological findings in Nazareth include an ancient wine press, terraced hillsides used as vineyards, an irrigation system, and three watchtowers in the fields. These date to Jesus' time. Perhaps these were in Jesus' mind when He told the parables of the sower, the wheat and the tares, and the vineyard workers.
Nazareth was on an ancient trade route that went north from Egypt through Galilee. It was called the "Via Maris" in Roman times, but the route was traveled for many centuries before the Roman presence in Palestine. Another ancient road went from Nazareth to Jerusalem. It was along this road that the priests of Nazareth traveled to the temple to perform their sacred duties when it was their appointed time of service.
In 1962, excavators discovered in the ruins of a Caesarea synagogue a small 3rd to 4th century marble fragment with a list of the twenty-four priestly divisions. This list names the places where four of the divisions resided, including Nazareth, the home of the eighteenth priestly division, hapiTSETS (Happizzez). Until the discovery of this fragment, there was no extra-biblical record of Nazareth's existence before the sixth century A.D, and no identification of a priestly division at that town.
According to 1 Chronicles 24:15, the eighteenth priestly division was called hapiTSETS (Happizzez). The name is related to the ancient Egyptian word for the life-sustaining Nile, Hapi. Many claim that the word Nazareth is related to the Hebrew word for branch, but it is more likely that Nazareth is related to the Ge'z rwt, meaning king, and the Nilotic Shilluk word reth, also referring to a king. According to Strong's Hebrew Concordance: 5145. נֵ֫זֶר (nezer) refers to consecration or a crown. Melchi, a name that appears twice in the Virgin Mary's ancestry, means "my image" in Amharic, a language spoken in the Upper Nile.
The Apostle Peter performed a miracle in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Acts 3:6). The phrases "Jesus of Nazareth" and "Jesus, Son of David" apparently became synonymous in the minds of people who had heard about Jesus. When the blind beggar Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was near him, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47)
Related reading: Jesus' Home in Nazareth?; The Priests of Nazareth; The Nazareth-Egypt Connection; Jesus' Hidden Years at Nazareth; Joseph's Relationship to Mary; Tomb of Horite Priest