A branch is a smaller division of a main part, such as of a tree, a stream, or a family. In the Bible several Hebrew and Greek words are variously translated “branch,” “sprout,” “sprig,” “shoot,” “offshoot,” “bough,” “frond,” “twig,” and “treetop.” Branches of trees played a part in the worship of Israel. During the Festival of Booths, in the seventh month, Ethanim or Tishri, branches of trees, including palm, olive, myrtle, and poplar, were used in constructing booths in which the people resided for the duration of the festival.—Le 23:40; Ne 8:15.
At Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Nisan 9, 33 C.E., the crowd that had come to Jerusalem for the Passover and the Festival of Unfermented Cakes greeted him by waving palm branches, hailing him as the king of Israel. (Joh 12:12, 13) Likewise, the “great crowd” of John’s vision at Revelation chapter 7 are shown waving palm branches as they attribute salvation to God, who is on the throne, and to the Lamb.—Re 7:9, 10.
Figurative Usage. Jesus was brought up in the small town of Nazareth, probably meaning “Sprout-Town.” The apostle Matthew calls attention to Jesus’ being called a Nazarene (apparently from the Heb. neʹtser, sprout) as a fulfillment of prophecy, alluding to the prophecy at Isaiah 11:1.—Mt 2:23.
The apostle Paul likens those who become part of Abraham’s seed in line for the heavenly Kingdom to branches on a symbolic olive tree. Wild olive branches (people of the nations, Gentiles) were grafted in to replace “broken off” natural branches (Jews) because only a few accepted Christ, the majority failing. Thus the full God-ordained number is completed, in its final state being composed of Jews and Gentiles.—Ro 11:17-24.
“Offshoot” or “bough” and the related terms mentioned above are used in the Scriptures to denote a son or offspring, a descendant. In Jacob’s blessings to his sons he calls Joseph an offshoot (Heb., ben, “son”). (Ge 49:22, ftn) Destruction leaving neither root nor bough symbolizes the wiping out of the family or of all of a certain kind, or complete destruction beyond possibility of revival.—Mal 4:1; compare Isa 5:24; Ho 9:16.
Jesus Christ is prophetically spoken of in the Hebrew Scriptures as Jehovah’s servant “Sprout” (NW, Le) or “the Branch” (KJ, AT), “the Bud” (Ro). (Zec 3:8) At Zechariah 6:12, 13, “the man whose name is Sprout” is described as building the temple of Jehovah and sitting as a priest upon his throne. This can apply to none other than Jesus Christ, since he alone could fill the office of King and Priest under God’s arrangement. Jesus Christ is promised as a righteous “sprout” raised up to David. This One will execute righteousness and justice. (Jer 23:5; 33:15; compare Isa 53:2; Re 22:16.) He is also called a twig and a sprout out of Jesse, David’s father.—Isa 11:1.
The end of the dynasty of the kings of Babylon was pictured by likening it to “a detested sprout,” thrown away and not deserving of a burial.—Isa 14:19.
Just as Jehovah the Creator causes the sprouting growth in garden plants and trees, so “sprout,” “bough,” and similar terms are associated with prosperity, increase, and blessings from Jehovah. (Isa 4:2; 60:21, 22; Job 29:19) He has promised that “just like foliage [“a branch,” KJ; “a green leaf,” RS] the righteous ones will flourish.”—Pr 11:28.