Bible Cities: Bethlehem
THE city of Bethlehem (or House of Bread) lies within the territory assigned to the tribe of Judah. It lies in the midst of what was a fertile country, about six miles south by west from Jerusalem. The ancient city was beautifully situated on a commanding ridge, 2700 feet above the level of the sea. The hills around it were terraced, and clothed with vines, fig trees, and almonds, and the surrounding valleys yielded luxuriant harvests of grain. Jacob buried Rachel near its gate, and it was the home of Ruth and the birthplace of David, and " David's greater son " the Lord Jesus Christ. Its population was small in the days of the Saviour, but at present is about 3000, nearly all the inhabitants being Christians. It is said to be one of the cleanest and neatest towns in Israel. St. Jerome lived there for more than thirty years, and there made his famous translation of the Bible into the Latin language. - Ancient Geography
Ancient Bethlehem - Map of New Testament Israel
BETH`LE-HEM (house of bread), i. A town of Israel six
miles south of Jerusalem. Early called Ephrath and Ephrata,
Gen. 35:16-19, Josh. 15:59. Both Ephrata and Bethlehem in
Ruth and Samuel. Bethlehem-Judah in Josh, 17:7. The
birthplace of David and Christ, Matt 2:1-5 ; Luke 2:4. ii,
A town in Zebulon, Josh, 19:15.
Ancient Bethlehem - Kids Bible maps
This map shows the city of Bethlehem where Jesus was born
in a manger. The reason it is important that Jesus was born
in Bethlehem is because in Micah 5:2 it was prophesied that
the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. It`s also important
to know that Bethlehem was also the birthplace of King
David. And it was prophesied that the Messiah would come
from David`s family. Jesus fulfilled both prophesies!
Bethlehem in Easton's Bible Dictionary
house of bread. (1.) A city in the "hill country" of Judah.
was originally called Ephrath (Gen. 35:16, 19; 48:7;
It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2),
Beth-lehem-judah (1 Sam. 17:12), and "the city of
2:4). It is first noticed in Scripture as the place
died and was buried "by the wayside," directly to
the north of
the city (Gen. 48:7). The valley to the east was the
the story of Ruth the Moabitess. There are the
fields in which
she gleaned, and the path by which she and Naomi
returned to the
town. Here was David's birth-place, and here also,
years, he was anointed as king by Samuel (1 Sam.
it was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his
brought water for him at the risk of their lives
when he was in
the cave of Adullam (2 Sam. 23:13-17). But it was
above every other city as the birth-place of "Him
forth have been of old" (Matt. 2:6; comp. Micah
Herod, "when he saw that he was mocked of the wise
and slew "all the children that were in Bethlehem,
and in all
the coasts thereof, from two years old and under"
18; Jer. 31:15).
Bethlehem bears the modern name of Beit-Lahm, i.e.,
flesh." It is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem,
standing at an
elevation of about 2,550 feet above the sea, thus
higher than Jerusalem.
There is a church still existing, built by
Great (A.D. 330), called the "Church of the
Nativity," over a
grotto or cave called the "holy crypt," and said to
"stable" in which Jesus was born. This is perhaps
existing Christian church in the world. Close to it
grotto, where Jerome the Latin father is said to
thirty years of his life in translating the
Latin. (See VERSION -T0003768.)
(2.) A city of Zebulun, mentioned only in Josh.
Beit-Lahm, a ruined village about 6 miles west-
Bethlehem in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
("house of bread"), i.e. in a fertile region. Two hours
journey, in a southward or rather southwesterly direction
from Jerusalem, by the Jaffa gate. Existing at the time of
Jacob's return to Israel; originally called Ephrath or
Ephrath, i.e. fruitful (Genesis 35:16; Genesis 35:19;
Genesis 48:7; Psalm 132:6). Hur and Salma, Hur's son, both
have the title "father of Bethlehem" (1 Chronicles 2:51; 1
Chronicles 4:4). Hur is the father of Uri, father of
Bezaleel (1 Chronicles 2:20; Exodus 31:2-11). Tradition made
Jesse "a weaver of the veils of the sanctuary"; and as
trades are hereditary in the E. he may have inherited the
embroidering skill of his forefather whom Moses employed for
the tabernacles being "filled with the spirit of God"
(Exodus 25:35). Hence appears the appropriateness of the
allusions to the "weaver's beam" in representing the spears
of giants slain by David and his heroes.
After the conquest of Canaan it bears the name
Bethlehem Judah; distinguishing it from Bethlehem in Zebulun
(Joshua 19:15-16; now Beit-lahm, six miles W. of Nazareth).
It was occupied once by a Philistine garrison, when David
desired a draught from the well by the gate, so familiar to
his childhood (2 Samuel 23:14-15; 1 Chronicles 11:15-19).
The Levite Jonathan, son of Gershom, who became the Danites'
priest at their northern settlement, and the Levite's
concubine whose cruel death at Gibeah caused the destruction
of Benjamin, came from Bethlehem (Judges 17:7; Judges 18:30;
Judges 19:9.) The connection of Bethlehem with Moab appears
in the book of Ruth. Hence the undesigned propriety appears
of David, Ruth's descendant, choosing the king of Moab's
house at Mizpeh as the safest retreat for his parents, when
he was outlawed by Saul (1 Samuel 22:3-4).
Bethlehem was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles
11:6). In Jeremiah's time (Jeremiah 41:17) the caravansary
of Chimham near Bethlehem (see 2 Samuel 19:37-40) was the
usual starting place for Egypt. The inn (kataluma) mentioned
in Luke 2 was a similar one, and possibly the same. At the
return from Babylon, 123 "children of Bethlehem" accompanied
Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:21; Nehemiah 7:26). Bethlehem is called
the "city of David" (Luke 2:4), but the "town (Greek
village) where David was" in John 7:42. Now Beitlahm, "the
house of flesh." Solomon's pools and "gardens" (Ecclesiastes
2:5) lay S. of Bethlehem. Thekoa, built (fortified)by
Rehoboam, lay S.E., the place of Amos' (Amos 1:1) birth
(Amos 7:10-15). S.W. is the valley of Sennacherib's
overthrow. N.E. is the traditional scene of the angels'
vision to the shepherds; but the hills were more likely to
have been the scene of the flocks being kept than the grain
Dr. Clarke identified a well of pure water here with
that which David thirsted for; but the traditional site is a
group of three cisterns half a mile away on the other side
of the wady on the N., and Robinson denies the existence of
any well of living water in or near the town (2 Samuel
23:15-18). Bethlehem is now a village with one chief street,
and population (wholly Christian) of 3,000. The slopes
outside abound in figs, vines,...
Bethlehem in Hitchcock's Bible Names
house of bread
Bethlehem in Naves Topical Bible
1. A city southwest of Jerusalem
Jud 17:7; 19:18
Called EPHRATAH and EPHRATH
Ge 48:7; Ps 132:6; Mic 5:2
Jud 17:7-9; 19:1,18; Ru 1:1; 1Sa 17:12
Rachel dies and is buried at
Ge 35:16,19; 48:7
The city of Boaz
Ru 1:1,19; 2:4; 4
Taken and held by the Philistines
Jeroboam converts it into a military stronghold
The city of Joseph
Mt 2:5,6; Lu 2:4
Birthplace of Jesus
Mic 5:2; Mt 2; Lu 2:4,15
Herod murders the infants of
-2. A town of Zebulun, six miles west of Nazareth
Israel judged at
Bethlehem in Smiths Bible Dictionary
(house of bread).
1. One of the oldest towns in Israel, already in
existence at the time of Jacob's return to the country. Its
earliest name was EPHRATH or EPHRATAH. See
Ge 35:16,19; 48:7 After the conquest Bethlehem
appears under its own name, BETHLEHEM-JUDAH. Jud 17:7; 1Sa
17:12; Ru 1:1,2 The book of Ruth is a page from the domestic
history of Bethlehem. It was the home of Ruth, Ru 1:19 and
of David. 1Sa 17:12 It was fortified by Rehoboam. 2Ch 11:6
It was here that our Lord was born, Mt 2:1 and here that he
was visited by the shepherds, Lu 2:15-17 and the Magi. Matt
2. The modern town of Beit-lahm lies to the east of the main
road from Jerusalem to Hebron, six miles from the former. It
covers the east and northeast parts of the ridge of a long
gray hill of Jura limestone, which stands nearly due east
and west, and is about a mile in length. The hill has a deep
valley on the north and another on the south. On the top
lies the village in a kind of irregular triangle. The
population is about 3000 souls, entirely Christians. The
Church of the Nativity, built by the empress Helena A.D.
330, is the oldest Christian church in existence. It is
built over the grotto where Christ is supposed to have been
2. A town in the portion of Zebulun, named nowhere
but in Jos 19:15 Now known as Beit-lahm.
Bethlehem in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
beth'-le-hem (bethlechem; Baithleem, or Bethleem, "house of
David," or possibly "the house of Lakhmu," an Assyrian
I. Bethlehem Judah:
Bethlehem Judah, or EPHRATH or EPHRATHAH (which see) is now
Beit Lahm (Arabic = "house of meat"), a town of upward of
10,000 inhabitants, 5 miles South of Jerusalem and 2,350 ft.
above sea level. It occupies an outstanding position upon a
spur running East from the watershed with deep valleys to
the Northeast and South It is just off the main road to
Hebron and the south, but upon the highroad to Tekoa and En-
gedi. The position is one of natural strength; it was
occupied by a garrison of the Philistines in the days of
David (2 Sam 23:14; 1 Ch 11:16) and was fortified by
Rehoboam (2 Ch 11:6). The surrounding country is fertile,
cornfields, fig and olive yards and vineyards abound.
Bethlehem is not naturally well supplied with water, the
nearest spring is 800 yds. to the Southeast, but for many
centuries the "low level aqueduct" from "Solomon's Pools" in
the ArTas valley, which has here been tunneled through the
hill, has been tapped by the inhabitants; there are also
many rock-cut cisterns.
1. Early History:
In 1 Ch 2:51 Salma, the son of Caleb, is described as the
"father of Bethlehem." In Gen 35:19; 48:7 it is recorded
that Rachel "was buried in the way to Ephrath (the same is
Beth-lehem)." Tradition points out the site of Rachel's tomb
near where the road to Bethlehem leaves the main road. The
Levites of the events of Jdg 17; 19 were Bethlehemites. In
the list of the towns of Judah the name Bethlehem occurs, in
the Septuagint version only in Josh 15:57.
2. David the Bethlehemite:
Ruth, famous chiefly as the ancestress of David, and of the
Messiah, settled in Bethlehem with her second husband Boaz,
and it is noticeable that from her new home she could view
the mountains of Moab, her native land. David himself "was
the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem-judah, whose name
was Jesse" (1 Sam 17:12). To Bethlehem came Samuel to anoint
a successor to unworthy Saul (1 Sam 16:4): "David went to
and fro from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem"
(1 Sam 17:15). David's "three mighty men" "brake through the
host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of
Beth-lehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought
it to David" (2 Sam 23:14,16). Tradition still points out
the well. From this town came those famous "sons of
Zeruiah," David's nephews, whose loyalty and whose ruthless
cruelty became at once a protection and a menace to their
royal relative: in 2 Sam 2:32 it is mentioned that one of
them, Asahel, was buried "in the sepulchre of his father,
which was in Bethlehem."
3. Later Bible History:
After the time of David, Bethlehem would appear to have sunk
into insignificance. But its future fame is pointed at by
Micah (5:2): "But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art
little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall
one come forth ...
Bethlehem Scripture - 1 Chronicles 11:18
And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and
drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that [was] by the
gate, and took [it], and brought [it] to David: but David
would not drink [of] it, but poured it out to the LORD,
Bethlehem Scripture - 1 Chronicles 2:51
Salma the father of Bethlehem, Hareph the father of Bethgader.
Bethlehem Scripture - 1 Chronicles 4:4
And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah.
These [are] the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah, the
father of Bethlehem.
Bethlehem Scripture - Luke 2:15
And 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.
Bethlehem Scripture - Luke 2:4
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of
Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called
Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
Bethlehem Scripture - Matthew 2:16
Then 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 enquired of the wise men.
Bethlehem Scripture - Matthew 2:6
And thou Bethlehem, [in] the land of Juda, art not the least
among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a
Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Bethlehem Scripture - Micah 5:2
But 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.
Bethlehem Scripture - Ruth 1:22
So 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.
Bethlehem Scripture - Ruth 4:11
And 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:
If you notice a broken link or any error PLEASE report it by clicking HERE
© 1995-2019 Bible History Online