Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Eternal Nazarene

(see previous entry “A Priest Forever”)

There is another person whose title and office are strikingly similar. The book of Samuel from the Dead Sea Scrolls does not always follow the Masoretic Text. Sometimes it follows the Septuagint instead. In some places, there are even things that have never been seen before. This is one of them...

“And I will dedicate him as a Nazar forever.”
--1 Samuel 1:22, DSS

Nazar is, of course, a type of priest (commonly called a Nazarite). It is another way of saying “I will make him a priest forever.”

The context is hard to pinpoint because some of the text of the scroll is missing. The verse could refer to Samuel since Samuel was in the process of being dedicated as a Nazarite. However, seeing that such a phrase virtually doubles as a Davidic statement recalling kingship in context of Psalm 110 and 1st Maccabees, it seems unlikely ascribing it to him. Samuel may have been a priest, but was never king nor meant to be one. Could this be a prophecy that was lost from scripture?

The root of Nazar (nzr) is the same root as the words “Nazareth” and “Nazarene.” This could be translated as a play on words to also say “I will dedicate him, the Nazarene, forever.” Wouldn't it be bizarre if someone was said to be a priest forever and was from Nazareth?

But nazar also means “branch.” The Branch, in Zechariah, is said to be symbolically linked to a high priest named Joshua. Wouldn't it be bizarre if some guy from Nazareth was said to be a priest forever and his name was something like Joshua?


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