Thursday, November 2, 2023

Jesus' Ruler-Priest Ancestors


Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth is in Galilee. Nazareth was the home of the eighteenth priestly division, ha·pi·TSETS (Happizzez). Matthew 2 explains that "Nazarene" is derived from the prophecy "He will be called a Nazorean", but this has no source in the Hebrew Bible. The term is from the Akkadian language, the oldest known Semitic language. Na-Zor in Akkadian means "belonging to the Zorites". In 1 Chronicles 2:54, Salma of Judah is called the “father” of the Zorites. 1 Chronicles 2:5 states that Salma is also the "father of Bethlehem". So, the prophecy connects Jesus to both Nazareth and Bethlehem. These are the ancestral settlements of Jesus' Hebrew ancestors.

In 1962 excavators discovered in the ruins of a synagogue at Caesarea a small piece of a list of the twenty-four priestly divisions. This third to fourth-century marble fragment is inscribed with the names of the places where four of the divisions resided, including Nazareth, the residence of Happizzez. Until that discovery there was no record of Nazareth's existence before the sixth century A.D., other than in the New Testament and some Christian literary sources.

Since Jesus grew up in Nazareth, it is not surprising that his closest followers were Galileans. It was to Galilee that Jesus returned after His resurrection. At the Last Supper He informed his disciples: "After I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” (Matt. 26:32) This reminds us that Jesus was fully human. He expresses a desire to return home one last time before ascending to the Father.

Luke 2:4 indicates that Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to participate in a census. The Romans kept records of the growth of the Jewish population, and they knew that Jewish identity was (and still is) traced through the mother. Bethlehem was Mary's hometown. Her father, Joachim, was a shepherd-priest of Bethlehem. Mary clearly was of the Hebrew ruler-priest lines. This is acknowledged even by those who hated her, as it is written in the Talmud: “She who was the descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters.” (Sanhedrin 106a)


  1. where does the Bible say lineage is traced through the mother again?

  2. where does the Bible say lineage is traced through the mother again?

  3. The social structure of the Biblical Hebrew involved tracing descent through both the mother and father. This is called double descent. See this:


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