Nathan given. (1.) A prophet in the reigns of David and Solomon (2 Chr. 9:29). He is first spoken of in connection with the arrangements David made for the building of the temple (2 Sam. 7:2, 3, 17), and next appears as the reprover of David on account of his sin with Bathsheba (12:1-14). He was charged with the education of Solomon (12:25), at whose inauguration to the throne he took a prominent part (1 Kings 1:8, 10, 11, 22-45). His two sons, Zabad (1 Chr. 2:36) and Azariah (1 Kings 4:5) occupied places of honour at the king's court. He last appears in assisting David in reorganizing the public worship (2 Chr. 29:25). He seems to have written a life of David, and also a life of Solomon (1 Chr. 29:29; 2 Chr. 9:29).
(2.) A son of David, by Bathsheba (2 Sam. 5:14), whose name appears in the genealogy of Mary, the mother of our Lord (Luke 3:31).
(3.) Ezra 8:16.
Nathanael given or gift of God, one of our Lord's disciples, "of Cana in Galilee" (John 21:2). He was "an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile" (1:47, 48). His name occurs only in the Gospel of John, who in his list of the disciples never mentions Bartholomew, with whom he has consequently been identified. He was one of those to whom the Lord showed himself alive after his resurrection, at the Sea of Tiberias.
Nativity of Christ The birth of our Lord took place at the time and place predicted by the prophets (Gen. 49:10; Isa. 7:14; Jer. 31:15; Micah 5:2; Hag. 2:6-9; Dan. 9:24, 25). Joseph and Mary were providentially led to go up to Bethlehem at this period, and there Christ was born (Matt. 2:1, 6; Luke 2:1, 7). The exact year or month or day of his birth cannot, however, now be exactly ascertained. We know, however, that it took place in the "fulness of the time" (Gal. 4:4), i.e., at the fittest time in the world's history. Chronologists are now generally agreed that the year 4 before the Christian era was the year of Christ's nativity, and consequently that he was about four years old in the year 1 A.D.
Naughty figs (Jer. 24:2). "The bad figs may have been such either from having decayed, and thus been reduced to a rotten condition, or as being the fruit of the sycamore, which contains a bitter juice" (Tristram, Nat. Hist.). The inferiority of the fruit is here referred to as an emblem of the rejected Zedekiah and his people.
Nazarene This epithet (Gr. Nazaraios) is applied to Christ only once (Matt. 2:23). In all other cases the word is rendered "of Nazareth" (Mark 1:24; 10:47; 14:67, etc.). When this Greek designation was at first applied to our Lord, it was meant simply to denote the place of his residence. In course of time the word became a term of reproach. Thus the word "Nazarene" carries with it an allusion to those prophecies which speak of Christ as "despised of men" (Isa. 53:3). Some, however, think that in this name there is an allusion to the Hebrew netser, which signifies a branch or sprout. It is so applied to the Messiah (Isa. 11:1), i.e., he whom the prophets called the Netse, the "Branch."
The followers of Christ were called "the sect of Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5). All over Palestine and Syria this name is still given to Christians. (See NAZARETH.)
Nazareth separated, generally supposed to be the Greek form of the Hebrew netser, a "shoot" or "sprout." Some, however, think that the name of the city must be connected with the name of the hill behind it, from which one of the finest prospects in Palestine is obtained, and accordingly they derive it from the Hebrew notserah, i.e., one guarding or watching, thus designating the hill which overlooks and thus guards an extensive region.
This city is not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the home of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:39), and here the angel announced to the Virgin the birth of the Messiah (1:26-28). Here Jesus grew up from his infancy to manhood (4:16); and here he began his public ministry in the synagogue (Matt. 13:54), at which the people were so offended that they sought to cast him down from the precipice whereon their city was built (Luke 4:29). Twice they expelled him from their borders (4:16-29; Matt. 13:54-58); and he finally retired from the city, where he did not many mighty works because of their unbelief (Matt. 13:58), and took up his residence in Capernaum.
Nazareth is situated among the southern ridges of Lebanon, on the steep slope of a hill, about 14 miles from the Sea of Galilee and about 6 west from Mount Tabor. It is identified with the modern village en-Nazirah, of six or ten thousand inhabitants. It lies "as in a hollow cup" lower down upon the hill than the ancient city. The main road for traffic between Egypt and the interior of Asia passed by Nazareth near the foot of Tabor, and thence northward to Damascus.
It is supposed from the words of Nathanael in John 1:46 that the city of Nazareth was held in great disrepute, either because, it is said, the people of Galilee were a rude and less cultivated class, and were largely influenced by the Gentiles who mingled with them, or because of their lower type of moral and religious character. But there seems to be no sufficient reason for these suppositions. The Jews believed that, according to Micah 5:2, the birth of the Messiah would take place at Bethlehem, and nowhere else. Nathanael held the same opinion as his countrymen, and believed that the great "good" which they were all expecting could not come from Nazareth. This is probably what Nathanael meant. Moreover, there does not seem to be any evidence that the inhabitants of Galilee were in any respect inferior, or that a Galilean was held in contempt, in the time of our Lord. (See Dr. Merrill's Galilee in the Time of Christ.)
The population of this city (now about 10,000) in the time of Christ probably amounted to 15,000 or 20,000 souls.
"The so-called 'Holy House' is a cave under the Latin church, which appears to have been originally a tank. The 'brow of the hill', site of the attempted precipitation, is probably the northern cliff: the traditional site has been shown since the middle ages at some distance to the south. None of the traditional sites are traceable very early, and they have no authority. The name Nazareth perhaps means 'a watch tower' (now en-Nasrah), but is connected in the New Testament with Netzer, 'a branch' (Isa. 4:2; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Matt. 2:23), Nazarene being quite a different word from Nazarite."
Nazarite (Heb. form Nazirite), the name of such Israelites as took on them the vow prescribed in Num. 6:2-21. The word denotes generally one who is separated from others and consecrated to God. Although there is no mention of any Nazarite before Samson, yet it is evident that they existed before the time of Moses. The vow of a Nazarite involved these three things, (1) abstinence from wine and strong drink, (2) refraining from cutting the hair off the head during the whole period of the continuance of the vow, and (3) the avoidance of contact with the dead.
When the period of the continuance of the vow came to an end, the Nazarite had to present himself at the door of the sanctuary with (1) a he lamb of the first year for a burnt-offering, (2) a ewe lamb of the first year for a sin-offering, and (3) a ram for a peace-offering. After these sacrifices were offered by the priest, the Nazarite cut off his hair at the door and threw it into the fire under the peace-offering.
For some reason, probably in the midst of his work at Corinth, Paul took on himself the Nazarite vow. This could only be terminated by his going up to Jerusalem to offer up the hair which till then was to be left uncut. But it seems to have been allowable for persons at a distance to cut the hair, which was to be brought up to Jerusalem, where the ceremony was completed. This Paul did at Cenchrea just before setting out on his voyage into Syria (Acts 18:18).
On another occasion (Acts 21:23-26), at the feast of Pentecost, Paul took on himself again the Nazarite vow. "The ceremonies involved took a longer time than Paul had at his disposal, but the law permitted a man to share the vow if he could find companions who had gone through the prescribed ceremonies, and who permitted him to join their company. This permission was commonly granted if the new comer paid all the fees required from the whole company (fee to the Levite for cutting the hair and fees for sacrifices), and finished the vow along with the others. Four Jewish Christians were performing the vow, and would admit Paul to their company, provided he paid their expenses. Paul consented, paid the charges, and when the last seven days of the vow began he went with them to live in the temple, giving the usual notice to the priests that he had joined in regular fashion, was a sharer with the four men, and that his vow would end with theirs. Nazarites retired to the temple during the last period of seven days, because they could be secure there against any accidental defilement" (Lindsay's Acts).
As to the duration of a Nazarite's vow, every one was left at liberty to fix his own time. There is mention made in Scripture of only three who were Nazarites for life, Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist (Judg. 13:4, 5; 1 Sam. 1:11; Luke 1:15). In its ordinary form, however, the Nazarite's vow lasted only thirty, and at most one hundred, days. (See RECHABITES.)
This institution was a symbol of a life devoted to God and separated from all sin, a holy life.
Neah shaking, or settlement, or descent, a town on the east side of Zebulun, not far from Rimmon (Josh. 19:13).
Neapolis new city, a town in Thrace at which Paul first landed in Europe (Acts 16:11). It was the sea-port of the inland town of Philippi, which was distant about 10 miles. From this port Paul embarked on his last journey to Jerusalem (Acts 20:6). It is identified with the modern Turco-Grecian Kavalla.
Nebaioth height. (1.) Ishmael's eldest son (Gen. 25:13), and the prince of an Israelitish tribe (16). He had a sister, Mahalath, who was one of Esau's wives (Gen. 28:9; 36:3).
(2.) The name of the Ishmaelite tribe descended from the above (Gen. 25:13,18). The "rams of Nebaioth" (Isa. 60:7) are the gifts which these wandering tribes of the desert would consecrate to God.