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Bible Cities: Bethlehem
Ancient Bethlehem

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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. It was originally called Ephrath (Gen. 35:16, 19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11). It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2), Beth-lehem-judah (1 Sam. 17:12), and "the city of David" (Luke 2:4). It is first noticed in Scripture as the place where Rachel died and was buried "by the wayside," directly to the north of the city (Gen. 48:7). The valley to the east was the scene of 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, in after years, he was anointed as king by Samuel (1 Sam. 16:4-13); and it was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his heroes 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 distinguished above every other city as the birth-place of "Him whose goings forth have been of old" (Matt. 2:6; comp. Micah 5:2). Afterwards Herod, "when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men," sent and slew "all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under" (Matt. 2:16, 18; Jer. 31:15). Bethlehem bears the modern name of Beit-Lahm, i.e., "house of flesh." It is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem, standing at an elevation of about 2,550 feet above the sea, thus 100 feet higher than Jerusalem. There is a church still existing, built by Constantine the Great (A.D. 330), called the "Church of the Nativity," over a grotto or cave called the "holy crypt," and said to be the "stable" in which Jesus was born. This is perhaps the oldest existing Christian church in the world. Close to it is another grotto, where Jerome the Latin father is said to have spent thirty years of his life in translating the Scriptures into Latin. (See VERSION -T0003768.) (2.) A city of Zebulun, mentioned only in Josh. 19:15. Now Beit-Lahm, a ruined village about 6 miles west- north-west of Nazareth.

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 abounding valley. 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 And BETH-LEHEM-JUDAH 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 2Sa 23:14-16 Jeroboam converts it into a military stronghold 2Ch 11:6 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 Mt 2:16-18 -2. A town of Zebulun, six miles west of Nazareth Jos 19:15 Israel judged at Jud 12:10

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 born. 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 deity): 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:

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