Beth-lehem, Bethlehem

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1. City of Judah, also called BETH-LEHEM-JUDAH (Judg. 17:7-97And there was a young man out of Bethlehem-judah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. 8And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehem-judah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed. 9And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehem-judah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place. (Judges 17:7‑9)). It is first mentioned in connection with the death and burial of Rachel (Gen. 35:1919And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. (Genesis 35:19)). The history of Ruth is also connected with Beth-lehem (Ruth 1:1-221Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. 2And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem-judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. 3And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. 4And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. 5And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. 6Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread. 7Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. 8And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. 9The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. 10And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. 11And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; 13Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me. 14And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. 15And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. 16And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 17Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. 18When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. 19So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? 20And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. 21I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? 22So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest. (Ruth 1:1‑22); Ruth 2:44And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you. And they answered him, The Lord bless thee. (Ruth 2:4)). David was anointed in the house of Jesse the Bethlehemite, so that apparently it was the place of David’s birth (1 Sam. 16:44And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably? (1 Samuel 16:4); 1 Sam. 17:12, 1512Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem-judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul. (1 Samuel 17:12)
15But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem. (1 Samuel 17:15)
); and this accounts for its being called in Luke 2:1111For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11) the “city of David.”‘ It was also the birth-place of Jesus: though it was “little among the thousands of Judah,” it the better agreed with His humiliation. Beth-lehem, signifying “house of bread,” is a very appropriate name for a place from where the Savior should proceed as a man—He who was the living bread that came down from heaven.
Apparently it was originally called EPHRATH, (Gen. 35:16, 1916And they journeyed from Beth-el; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labor. (Genesis 35:16)
19And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. (Genesis 35:19)
; Gen. 48:77And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem. (Genesis 48:7)); and was afterward called EPHRATAH, (Ruth 4:1111And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: (Ruth 4:11); Psa. 132:66Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood. (Psalm 132:6)). It is once called BETH-LEHEM EPHRATAH, that is, the fruitful, for the ruler of Israel was to come from thence (Mic. 5:22But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2); Luke 2:4,154And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) (Luke 2:4)
15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. (Luke 2:15)
; John 7:4242Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? (John 7:42)). This led to the massacre of the infants by Herod (Matt. 2:16-1816Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 17Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 18In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. (Matthew 2:16‑18)).
It is identified with Beit Lahm, 31° 42’ N, 35° 12’ E, situated 6 miles south of Jerusalem, on a narrow ridge which runs from the central range of hills. The ridge is cut into terraces, which are covered with olives and vines. There are now about 5,000 inhabitants, almost all called Christian, with convents for the Latins, Greeks, and Armenians. An enormous pile of buildings called the “Church of the Nativity” is connected with the convents.
2. Town in Zebulun, mentioned only in Joshua 19:1515And Kattath, and Nahallal, and Shimron, and Idalah, and Bethlehem: twelve cities with their villages. (Joshua 19:15), also called Beit Lahm, 32° 44’ N, 35° 10’ E, described as a most miserable village. (It is not known which of the above places is referred to in Judges 12:8,108And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. (Judges 12:8)
10Then died Ibzan, and was buried at Bethlehem. (Judges 12:10)