Natsrat is the Hebrew name for the city of Nazareth, and Wikipedia's article on Nazareth says that the city's name
may be derived from either na·tsar, נָצַר, meaning "to watch," or from ne·tser, נֵ֫צֶר, meaning branch.
I am not sure which root word (Natsar or Netser) is the root for "Natsrat". Natsar sounds closer because of the two "a" letters, and I can see how it fits the idea of a watch, since Nazareth is on a hill. But "Netser" fits my conceptual association between Jesus' city of Natsrat and the shoot/Netser as a Messianic symbol in Isaiah 11 and Isaiah 53. On the other hand, the basis for my own association between Nazareth and Netser could be illusionary- ie. even if Nazareth and Netser were both Messianic terms, there might not be any real linguistic association. It's not necessarily true that "Nazareth" was named because its residents were descendants of David, or due to some other Messianic association.
Father Childress writes that Nazarite and Nazarene
are possibly etymologically related, though... Nazareth and Nazarene comes to us from Hebrew and Aramaic through Greek, whereas a Nazarite is an older Hebrew word. Both are possibly based on the root nasar, which means “set apart” or “consecrated.” But more likely they are unrelated and happen to sound similar, like “hole” and “whole” in English. The town of Nazareth is probably rooted in neser, which can mean to watch or keep; as it’s the name of a city that evolved over thousands of years, the original idea was probably “watch[-tower]” or “sentinel/guard”.
SOURCE: http://www.quora.com/What-is-the-differ ... a-Nazarite
Mercedes Moss theorizes in his article "Was Jesus A Nazarite? – The Nazareth and Priestly Connections"(March 27, 2012) that Nazareth was a city designated for Levitical priests to life, and that Levitical priests were in effect Nazirites due to the Nazirites' requirements. Moss notes that
Neubaurer (La géographie du Talmud, p. 190) quotes, moreover, an elegy on the destruction of Jerusalem, taken from ancient Midrashim now lost, and according to this document, Nazareth was a home for the priests who went by turns to Jerusalem, for service in the Temple (newadvent.org).
Is this significant? Yes. Scriptures indirectly reveal that the Priests were separated to God as Nazarites.
* The priest and his separation as a Nazarite (Compare Numbers 6 with Leviticus 10 & 21)
Moss also compares similarities between the rules for Nazirites and the rules for the Levitical priests.
I think that in Matthew 2:23, Matthew is relating the "Nazirite" order to Jesus' home town of "Natsrat" (Nazareth), at least by using a play on words, since the words Nazir and Natsri (Nazarene) sound similar. But Matthew's verse does not prove that Nazir and Natsrat are actually themselves etymologically related.
The Torah Class website sees Nazirite, Nazir, and Nazar as related terms both etymologically and functionally:
Since Hebrew is what is called a root-word language......that is, it takes a word and then by changing the vowel sounds, and sometimes adding or subtracting a consonant, it broadens or narrows the meaning of that word, we'll see several Hebrew word offshoots from nazir...
The base root-word, nazir, most literally means "set-apart" or "pruned". So literally translated the person who takes the vow is... called a "set-apart person" or a "pruned away person". Whereas nazir...n-a-z-i-r is a positive term that indicates being specially consecrated for service to God, the [Nazirites] must also nazar......n-a-z-a-r, be separated, from grapes......separated in the negative sense of being prohibited from grapes.
Further there is the Hebrew word nezer ..... n-e-z-e-r, which literally means shoot or branch. It is the term used for the unpruned grapevine. But the term is also used to denote the High Priest's glorious headpiece (the one with the golden band around it), as well as the long hair of the Nazarite. So when reading these passages in Hebrew we see the obvious parallel between the High Priest's head covering (his special hat), and the Nazarite's head covering (his or her long hair). Nezer, Nazir, and Nazar.....you see how these Hebrew words all work together to help us understand the relationships between priests, grapevines, and Nazarites; and of the Nazarites' being consecrated....set-apart....for God.
SEE: http://www.torahclass.com/old-testament ... -numbers-6
In other words, the Torah Class article is theorizing that Hebrew takes root words like Nazir and then changes the vowels and consonants to make related words (allegedly Netser - a shoot/branch being one such word). It claims that Nazir is a set-apart/"pruned away" person, and that Netser is a shoot/"unpruned grapevine", although I am not sure if this connection is etymologically true. I mean, I am not sure if the word "Nazir" spawned the word "Netser" based on their supposed respective meanings of a "pruned away one" and an "unpruned" shoot.
The Abarim Publications entry on Nazar and Natsar notes two places in the Bible that associate Nazir (a consecrated one) with a shoot or vine:
In Genesis 49:26 Jacob compares his son Joseph to a fruitful plant whose branches (literally 'daughters') run over a wall, and calls him a nazir to his brothers. In Leviticus 25:5 and 25:11 the word nazir is applied to the vine, which was not to be pruned in the Sabbatical year, but it is unclear why this vine is so special (but see JOHN 15:5: "I am the vine, you are the branches").
This goes along with the theory on the Torah Class website earlier that Nazir (consecrated) is associated in meaning with Netser (branch/shoot).