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BRANCH. A word representing eighteen different Hebrew and four Greek words in the Bible, most notably as a title applied to the Messiah as the offspring of David (Jer.23.5; Jer.33.15; Zech.3.8; Zech.6.12).

Branches were carved into the lampstand adorning the Tabernacle (Exod 37:18) by Bezalel. Hyssop, dipped in the blood of the passover lamb, applied the preserving sign to the lintel and the door posts of the Israelites, so that the destroyer avoided their dwellings. When one was to be cleansed from a corpse, he took hyssop, dipped it in water containing ashes of the burnt sin offering and sprinkled it upon the tent of the dead person and its furnishings and occupants. Likewise a house in which leprosy had been found, but which did not pass on the disease was cleansed by hyssop, dipped in the blood of a killed bird and sprinkled seven times, aided by a living bird carrying away some of this blood (Lev 14:51). When a red heifer was burned for the removal of sin, cedar wood and hyssop branches were included (Num 19:6).

Jesus reminded His disciples that as a branch puts forth its leaves to promise summer so certain events will herald His coming. Branches were cut from the trees and spread on the road the first time He entered Jerusalem in triumph (Matt 21:8). He compared the luxurious growth of the mustard plant to the advancing kingdom of God so that birds could nest in its branches (Luke 13:19). Paul in Romans 11 compares the Jews to the natural branches and the Gentiles to grafts, and warns against both unbelief and pride which can cause their severance from the richness of the olive tree, a symbol of God’s mercy.

Branches can represent people. In Zechariah the two olive branches are “the two anointed who stand by the Lord of the whole earth” (Zech 4:14). The most interesting use of “Branch” is to represent the Lord Jesus Christ. He was prophesied as a righteous Branch for David “to reign as king and deal wisely” (Jer 23:5) in the Temple which He shall rebuild (Zech 6:12) and to “execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jer 33:15). Then prosperity reigns and everyone may guest his neighbor under his own vine and fig tree (Zech 3:10).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

bransh: Represented by very many words in the Hebrew.

(1) zemorah used especially of a vine branch. The spies "cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes" (Nu 13:23). See also Eze 15:2; Na 2:2. "They put the branch to their nose" (Eze 8:17), refers to some unknown idolatrous practice, as does also Isa 17:10, "thou plantest pleasant plants, and settest it with strange slips," or "vine slips of a strange (god)" the Revised Version, margin.

(2) yoneqeth, literally "a sucker." "The tender branch thereof will not cease" (Job 14:7). Used figuratively of Israel, Ps 80:11 (the Revised Version (British and American) "shoots"); Eze 17:22 the King James Version; Ho 14:6, and of the wicked, Job 8:16 (the Revised Version (British and American) "shoots"), 15:30.

(3) kippah, Job 15:32. Isa 9:14; 19:15, the Revised Version (British and American) has "palm-branch," "Therefore Yahweh will cut off from Israel head and tail, palm-branch and rush, in one day" (9:14).

(4) netser (of the same Hebrew root, according to many commentators, as Nazareth), literally "a little shoot springing from the root" ("out of a shoot from her roots," Da 11:7), which may be planted out to grow (Isa 11:1; 60:21), or may be rooted out and thrown away (Isa 14:19).

(5) tsemach. The "branch" of Messianic prophecy. See Prophecy. "In that day shall the branch (m "shoot" or "sprout") of Yahweh be beautiful and glorious" (Isa 4:2); "a shoot out of the stock of Jesse" (Isa 11:1); "a righteous branch" (Jer 23:5; 33:15): "my servant the Branch" (Zec 3:8); "the man whose name is the Branch" (Zec 6:12).

(6) qanah, is used for the "branches" of the golden candlesticks (Ex 25:32; 37:18 ff). Literally, qanah means a "reed." There are a number of words, less frequently used, meaning "branch":

(7) baddim (plural only used; Eze 17:6; 19:14).

(8) dalith (plural only used; Jer 11:16).

(9) maTTeh (Eze 19:11).

(10) ca`iph (Isa 18:5; ce`appah (plural) (Eze 31:6); car`appah (Eze 31:5)).

(11) `anaph (Mal 4:1; Ps 80:11); `anaph (Da 4:14,21); `eneph (Eze 36:8).

(12) pu’rah, "a bough" (Isa 10:33); po’roth (pl. only) (Eze 31:5,8).

(13) tsammereth, "foliage" or "boughs of trees," literally "locks" or "fleece" of trees (Eze 17:3; 31:3).

(14) qatsir (collective) (Job 14:9), "boughs" (Ps 80:11), "branches."

(15) shibbeleth, the two olive branches of Zec 4:12.

(16) soqch, root meaning "to interweave" (Jud 9:49); sokhah (Jud 9:48), "boughs."

(17) sarigh (pl. only, sarighim), "branches" (of the vine) (Ge 40:10; Joe 1:7). Represented in Greek in the New Testament:

(1) baion (Joh 12:13), "a palm branch."

(3) klema, a slip or cutting of the vine, especially one cut off to be grafted into another plant (Joh 15:2,4,5,6).

(4) stibos (= stoibas), a "twig" or "bough" (Mr 11:8).

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