SPECIAL TOPIC: THE BRANCH OF THE LORD (Messianic title)

To describe this title,"Branch" (BDB 855, Targums interpreted it as the Messiah), let me quote from my commentary on Zechariah, where the term is also used (but just a note of caution, we must be careful about assigning a technical meaning everywhere a word or phrase is used—context, context, context is crucial). This term may have developed over time from a reference to ideal abundance which God's special Servant will restore (i.e., a shoot, a branch).

Let me share notes from my commentary on Zechariah.

Zech. 3:8 "the Branch" This may be "sprout" (BDB 855). This is another Messianic title (cf. Zech. 6:12; Isa. 4:2; 11:1; 53:2; Jer. 23:5; 33:15). See full discussion and Special Topic: Jesus the Nazarene.

This title is used of Zerubbabel in Zeck. 6:12 as a symbol of the royal Davidic line. It is surprising that it is used in this context, which emphasizes the priestly aspect of the Messiah. The twin aspects of redeemer (priestly, cf. Psalm 110; Isaiah 53) and administrative leader (kingly, cf. Isa. 9:6-7) are merged in the book of Zechariah (cf. Zechariah 4).

Zech. 6:12 "Branch" This word (BDB 855) means "sprout" (cf. Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Isa. 4:2; 11:1; 53:2; Jer. 23:5; 33:15). This is a title for the Messiah. In Zechariah it refers to Zerubbabel as a type of the Messiah (cf. Ibn Ezra and Rashi). The name, Zerubbabel, in Akkadian, means "shoot of Babylon." This was possibly a play on his name since he rebuilt the temple in 516 b.c., but it is really an ultimate reference to Jesus. This title and the matching verb ("will branch out," Qal imperfect) appear together in Isa. 4:2.

A description of YHWH's "Branch" (NKJV, NRSV, JB)

1. beautiful, BDB 840, cf. Jer. 3:19 (often used of the Promised Land in Dan. 8:9; 11:16,41)

2. glorious, BDB 458 means "abundance," "honor," and "glory" ("glory," BDB 802, also in this verse)

These two terms are often used together (cf. Isa. 13:19; 28:1,4,5).

Some versions take this verse as a reference to plant growth in the period of restoration (LXX, Peshitta, TEV, NJB, REB, NET Bible). In a sense the Messiah and the age of restoration are lexically linked (first part of Isa. 4:2; second part fruitful Promised Land).

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