Nazareth is situated on the most southern of the ranges of lower Galilee, about ten miles from the plain of Esdraelon. “You cannot see from Nazareth the surrounding country, for Nazareth lays in a basin; but the moment you climb to the edge of this basin . . . what a view you have. Esdraelon lays before you, with its twenty battlefields:

The scenes of Barak’s and of Gideon’s victories

Of Saul’s and Josiah’s defeats

Of the struggles for freedom in the glorious days of the Maccabees.

There is Naboth’s vineyard and the place of Jehu’s revenge upon Jezebel; there Shunem and the house of Elisha; there Carmel and the place of Elijah’s sacrifice. To the east the valley of Jordan, with the long range of Gilead; to the west the radiance of the Great Sea (Mediterranean Sea). . . . You can see thirty miles in three directions” (Smith, Hist. Geog., p. 432). Across the plain of Esdraelon emerged from the Samaritan hill the road from Jerusalem and Egypt. The name of the present city is en-Nazira, the same as of old.


Modern Nazareth is a bustling city with a population of some forty to fifty thousand, composed largely of Muslims and Christians. A Jewish community has settled on the heights above the city. Tourism is an especially important basis of the economy. The chief attraction of Nazareth is the new Church of the Annunciation (1966) built on the traditional site of Mary’s house, which is shown under the church. This church replaced an earlier one built in 1730, which in turn was constructed on the site of a twelfth-century Crusader church. Nearby is the Church of St. Joseph (consecrated in 1914), which stands on the traditional site of Joseph’s carpenter shop (shown below the church). Between the two churches is a Franciscan monastery. Not far away is Mary’s well, which has certainly provided water for the village from the first century to the present. (From The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth when they were married, and made their journey from there for the taxing:

Luke 2:4—4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth from Egypt after fleeing from Bethlehem to escape Herod’s sword:

Matthew 2:22–23—22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

This of course was where Jesus grew up, helping Joseph in the carpenter’s shop:

Luke 2:39–40­­—39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Jesus rejected in His home town as the Messiah, in fact they tried to kill Him.

Luke 4:16–31—16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. 22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? 23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. 24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. 28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. 30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way, 31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.

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